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- Patient Comments: Anal Cancer - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Anal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs
- Patient Comments: Anal Cancer - Experiences
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
- Anal cancer facts*
- Anal anatomy
- What is anal cancer?
- What are the different types of anal cancer?
- What are other types of anal masses or growths?
- What are anal cancer statistics?
- What causes anal cancer?
- What are the risk factors for anal cancer?
- What are the symptoms and signs of anal cancer?
- What's involved with anal cancer screening (early detection)?
- How do health care professionals make a diagnosis of anal cancer?
- How do health care professionals determine anal cancer staging?
- What types of health care professionals diagnose and treat anal cancer?
- What is the medical treatment for anal cancer?
- Surgery for anal cancer
- Radiation therapy for anal cancer
- Combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy for anal cancer
- What are treatment options for stage IV anal cancer or metastasis?
- Is it possible to prevent anal cancer?
- What is the prognosis for anal cancer?
- Where can one find information about clinical trials or research for anal cancer?
Quick GuideSTD Diagnosis, Images, Symptoms, Treatment
The anus is the lowest end of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is the opening through which stool, or fecal matter, normally passes. The anal canal extends from the lower end of the rectum to the skin; this is where anal cancer occurs while colorectal cancer occurs in the rectum and colon. This canal is surrounded by muscles forming the internal and external anal sphincters that allow us to control when we defecate, or have a bowel movement. The perianal skin surrounds the anus in the perineal region behind either the vaginal orifice or the scrotum.
What is anal cancer?
Cancers arise in areas of the body when some of the cells of a tissue become abnormal in both their gross and microscopic appearance and in their behavior. These malignant cells can damage adjacent healthy tissue cells by directly invading them. Cancer cells also have the ability to invade blood vessels and lymphatic channels and spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
While anal cancer begins in the anus, people sometime confuse it with colorectal cancer, which occurs in the colon and/or rectum.
What are the different types of anal cancer?
The majority of primary cancers of the anus are squamous cell carcinomas. Other types of anal cancers include
- cloacogenic (also called basaloid or transitional anal cancer),
- adenocarcinoma of the anal glands, and
- melanoma (rare).
What are other types of anal masses or growths?
Not all growths in the anal region are cancers. A benign growth of tissue on a short stalk is called a pedunculated polyp. A flat-bottomed growth is called a sessile polyp. The sessile polyps are more likely to show precancerous or cancerous change microscopically.