Anal Cancer

  • Medical Author: Jay B. Zatzkin, MD, FACP
  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Quick GuideSTD Diagnosis, Images, Symptoms, Treatment

STD Diagnosis, Images, Symptoms, Treatment

What are anal cancer statistics?

Anal cancer is far more rare than colorectal cancer. Anal cancer will be found in about 5,700 women and 2,500 men in 2017. It will result in 1,100 deaths in 2017. It is more common today than it was 30 years ago.

In contrast, colorectal cancer is projected to be diagnosed in over 70,000 men and 64,000 women in 2017. It will result in about 50,000 deaths in 2017, far more than anal cancer.

What causes anal cancer?

Anal cancer is most commonly caused by infection of the anal lining tissues by a high-risk type of human papillomavirus such as HPV-16. It is also more common in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus, the virus than can lead to AIDS). Cigarette smokers also get more anal cancer than do nonsmokers. Other risk factors for anal cancer usually will be those associated with the likelihood of acquiring HPV infection. Certainly, there are also cases of anal cancer for which no certain cause is found.

What are the risk factors for anal cancer?

Anal cancer risk factors include the following:

  • Age over 50
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Many sexual partners
  • Receptive anal intercourse/anal sex
  • Smoking
  • Conditions that impair the immune system including HIV viral infection and immunosuppressive medicines
  • History of other pelvic cancers caused by HPV infection
  • Recurrent anal irritation with pain and redness
  • Race and gender: Anal cancer is more common in women than men in most ethnic groups. In African Americans, it is more common in men than women.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/28/2017

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