Anal cancer, cancer located at the end of the large intestine, has symptoms that include anal or rectal bleeding, anal pain or pressure, anal discharge or itching, a change in bowel movements, and/or a lump in the anal region. Treatment for anal cancer may involve radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery and depends upon the stage of the cancer, its location, whether cancer is eradicated after the first treatment, and whether the patient has HIV.
Anal cancer is usually curable when found localized. Early detection remains the key to long-term survival as it is in many forms of cancer.Read more: Anal Cancer Article
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Picture of Anus
The opening of the rectum to the outside of the body. See a picture of Anus and learn more about the health topic.
Related Disease Conditions
Blood in the Stool (Rectal Bleeding, Hematochezia)
Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding (hematochezia) refers to the passage of bright red blood from the anus. Common causes include anal fissures, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, colitis, Crohn's disease, colon and rectum polyps, and cancer. The color of the blood in the stool may provide information about the origin of the bleeding. The color of stool with blood in it may range from black, red, maroon, green yellow, gray, or white, and may be tarry, or sticky. Treatment of blood in the stool depends on the cause.
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Genital Warts (HPV) Infection in Women
Genital warts is a sexually transmitted infection (STI, STD) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is the most common STD in the US. The warts can appear anywhere on the skin where sexual contact has occurred. The warts look like raised, flesh-colored lumps or bumps that have a cauliflower-like appearance. Signs and symptoms of genital warts in women include vaginal, vulva, or groin pain, itching, and burning where the wart(s) is. Treatment can remove warts or lesions, but it does not prevent spread of the virus, and the warts usually grow back. Removing genital warts does not prevent the infection from spreading elsewhere on the body. There is no cure for genital warts, and there is no vaccine to prevent them; however, there is a vaccine to prevent infection from four common types of HPV. Gardasil vaccine available for female adolescents and teens to prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer.
STDs in Men
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge. Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes. Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching to include: infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Colon cancer (bowel cancer) is a malignancy that arises from the inner lining of the colon. Most, if not all, of these cancers develop from colonic polyps. Removal of these precancerous polyps can prevent colon cancer.
An anal fissure is a small tear or cut in the skin lining of the anus. Pain and/or rectal bleeding during bowel movements are common symptoms of anal fissures. Treatment includes increasing liquid intake, using stool softeners, prescription medications, and surgery.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs)
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States. STDs can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus or mouth, or through contact with blood during sexual activity. Examples of STDs include, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs), and scabies. Treatment is generally with antibiotics; however, some STDs that go untreated can lead to death.
Internal bleeding occurs when an artery or vein is damaged and blood to escapes the circulatory system and collects inside the body. Internal bleeding can be caused by a variety of situations such as blunt trauma, deceleration trauma, medications, fractures, and spontaneous bleeding. Treatment of internal bleeding depends on the cause of the bleeding.
Symptoms of 12 Serious Diseases and Health Problems
Learn how to recognize early warning signs and symptoms of serious diseases and health problems, for example, chronic cough, headache, chest pain, nausea, stool color or consistency changes, heartburn, skin moles, anxiety, nightmares, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, lightheadedness, night sweats, eye problems, confusion, depression, severe pelvic or abdominal pain, unusual vaginal discharge, and nipple changes. The symptoms and signs of serious health problems can be caused by strokes, heart attacks, cancers, reproductive problems in females (for example, cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and sexually transmitted diseases or STDs), breast problems (for example, breast cancer and non-cancer related diseases), lung diseases (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, lung cancer, emphysema, and asthma), stomach or digestive diseases (for example, cancers, gallbladder, liver, and pancreatic diseases, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease), bladder problems (for example, urinary incontinence, and kidney infections), skin cancer, muscle and joint problems, emotional problems or mental illness (for example, postpartum depression, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mania, and schizophrenia), and headache disorders (for example, migraines, or "the worst headache of your life), and eating disorders and weight problems (for example, anorexia or bulimia).
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Infection
HPVs or human papillomaviruses are a group of viral infections of the skin and mucous membranes. Certain high-risk types of HPV infection cause certain cancers (cervical, penile, anal, vaginal, and oral). There are no signs or symptoms of HPV infection. HPV infection is an extremely common STD and is highly contagious. People are at higher risk of getting HPV infection if they have multiple sex partners, a weakened immune system, or breaks in the skin. HPV vaccinations prevent HPV infection. Treatment for HPV infection is antiviral medication. There is no cure for HPV infection.
Cancer Risk Factors and Causes
Though it's difficult to say why some people develop cancer while others don't, research shows that certain risk factors increase a person's odds of developing cancer. These risk factors include growing older, family history of cancer, diet, alcohol and tobacco use, and exposure to sunlight, ionizing radiation, certain chemicals, and some viruses and bacteria.
Tumor grade is a system used to classify cancer cells in how likely the tumor is to grow and how abnormal they look under a microscope. Tumor grade is not the same as tumor stage. A biopsy is taken to determine if the tumor is benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
Genital Warts in Men (HPV)
The HPV virus (genital warts) in men can cause health problems. Genital warts are confined primarily to the moist skin of the genitals or around the anus. Genital warts are caused by the human papillomaviruses (HPVs), which are transmitted through sexual contact.
Cancer fatigue is a lack of energy that is caused by cancer or cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy, or bone marrow transplantation. Strategies to combat cancer fatigue include scheduling rest, pacing oneself, planning ahead and prioritizing work and activities, eating the right foods, exercising, and practicing proper body mechanics.
Colon Cancer Prevention
Colorectal cancer is both curable and preventable if it is detected early and completely removed before the cancerous cells metastasize to other parts of the body. Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy (along with digital rectal examination and stool occult blood testing) are both effective at preventing colo-rectal cancers and detecting early colo-rectal cancers.
Certain behavioral, lifestyle, and environmental factors contribute to cancer. Cancer prevention involves modifying these factors to decrease cancer risk. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake, and obesity increase the risk of certain cancers. Vaccines, genetic testing, and cancer screening also play a role in cancer prevention.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy (STDs)
When you are pregnant, many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be especially harmful to you and your baby. These STDs include herpes, HIV/AIDS, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Symptoms include bumps, sores, warts, swelling, itching, or redness in the genital region. Treatment of STDs while pregnant depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy and the progression of the infection.
Cancer pain results from the tumor pressing on nerves or invading bones or organs. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery can also cause pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, radiation, biofeedback, and relaxation techniques are just some treatments for cancer pain.
Local ResourcesFind a local Oncologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Colonoscopy Procedure and Preparation
- Chest X-Ray
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan)
- Endoscopy (EGD) Procedure
- CT Scan (Computerized Tomography)
- What Happens During a Fistulotomy?
- Clinical Trials
- Radiation Therapy
- Is an Anoscopy Painful?
- Screening Tests for Cancer
- HPV Test
- Bowel Diversion Surgery: Ileostomy, Colostomy, Ileoanal Reservoir, and Continent Ileostomy
- Colon and Colorectal Cancer Screening
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- What Is a TME Surgery?
- What Are Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) and Transanal Minimally Invasive Surgery (TAMIS)?
- Rectal Pain
- Rectal Bleeding (Blood in Stool, Hematochezia)
- Stool Color & Texture Changes (Black, Red, Maroon, Green, Yellow, Gray, Tarry, Sticky)
- Anal Itching (Pruritus Ani)
- Anal Cancer
- Fecal Incontinence
- Pelvic Pain
- How to Choose a Doctor
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
Medications & Supplements
- Dilaudid vs. Fentanyl (Pain Strength Comparison and Side Effects)
- Gardasil (HPV Vaccine)
- fentanyl patch (Duragesic)
- Side Effects of Zofran (ondansetron)
- capecitabine (Xeloda)
- Pemazyre (pemigatinib)
- granisetron transdermal system (patch), Sancuso
- Fusilev (levoleucovorin)
- Proleukin (aldesleukin) Side Effects, Warnings, and Drug Interactions
Prevention & Wellness
- HPV Blamed for Rising Rates of Anal Cancer
- Most Americans in the Dark About Cancer-Causing HPV, Survey Finds
- 'Desperate Housewives' Star Keen to Spread Awareness of Anal Cancer
- Still Too Few Teens Getting the HPV Vaccine
- Health Tip: Understanding the HPV Vaccine
- Cancer Advances Rely on U.S. Funding: Report
- Odds of Surviving Anal Cancer Colored by Income
- U.S. Cancer Death Rate Continues to Fall
- HPV Vaccine May Even Protect Women Who Never Got It
- Scientists Report Progress on Genetic Test for Anal Cancer
- 'Cancer Profile' Is Changing for Americans With HIV
- Got the HPV Vaccine Before You Knew You Were Pregnant? Don't Worry
- Screening, HPV Vaccine Can Prevent Cervical Cancer: FDA
- Anal Cancer Rates Rising in Many Parts of the World
- HIV Patients Less Likely to Get Treatment for Cancer: Study
- Distance Matters for Quality Rectal Cancer Care
- Study Pinpoints Best Timing for Rectal Cancer Surgery
- HPV Vaccination Rates Lowest in States With Highest Cervical Cancer Rates: Study
- Anal, Throat Cancers on the Rise Among Young Adults, Study Finds
- U.K. Experts Urge HPV Vaccine for Young Gay Men
- Delaying Colonoscopy Puts Man in Grave Danger
- Some HPV-Linked Cancers Rising in U.S.: Report
- HPV Vaccine Not Linked to Promiscuity in Girls
- Too Few Girls Get HPV Vaccine Against Cancer: CDC
- HPV Vaccine Reducing Infections, Even Among Unvaccinated: Study
- HPV Cancer Hits 8,000 Men, 18,000 Women a Year
- HIV Raises Anal Cancer Risk in Women, Study Says
- Most Anal Lesions Don't Cause Cancer in Men, Research Shows
- Pediatricians Renew Call for HPV Vaccine for Boys
- Pediatricians' Group Recommends HPV Vaccine for Boys
- Oral HPV Infection Strikes Men More Than Women: Study
- 40 Years On, the Triumphs and Challenges of America's 'War on Cancer'
- Higher Cancer Risk in People With HIV
- Males 11-21 Should Get Gardasil HPV Vaccine
- Can HPV Vaccine Stop Throat Cancer?
- Half of Men Have Genital HPV
- HPV Shot Prevents Genital Warts in Boys and Men
- Gardasil Approved for Anal Cancer Prevention
- Gardasil HPV Vaccine Stopping Genital Warts
- HPV Vaccine: Cost-effective Way to Prevent Anal Cancer
- Exercise Recommended for Cancer Patients
- FAQ: Farrah Fawcett Fights Anal Cancer
- New Anal Cancer Therapy Fails to Improve Outcomes