What is Anal Cancer?
Anal cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that occurs in the anal canal. The anal canal is a short tube at the end of your rectum through which stool leaves your body.
Anal cancer can cause signs and symptoms such as rectal bleeding and anal pain.
Most people with anal cancer are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. Though combining anal cancer treatments increases the chance of a cure, the combined treatments also increase the risk of side effects.
Anal Cancer Symptoms
- Bleeding from the anus or rectum
- Pain in the area of the anus
- A mass or growth in the anal canal
- Anal itching
- Constipation / Diarrhea
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Anal Cancer Risk Factors
- Smoking cigarettes may increase your risk of anal cancer.
- Older age. Most cases of anal cancer occur in people age 50 and older.
- Many sexual partners. People who have many sexual partners over their lifetimes have a greater risk of anal cancer.
- Anal sex. People who engage in receptive anal sex have an increased risk of anal cancer.
- History of cancer. Those who have had cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer have an increased risk of anal cancer.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infection increases your risk of several cancers, including anal cancer and cervical cancer. HPV infection is a sexually transmitted infection that can also cause genital warts.
- Drugs or conditions that suppress your immune system.
- People who take drugs to suppress their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs), including people who have received organ transplants, may have an increase risk of anal cancer. HIV – the virus that causes AIDS – suppresses the immune system and increases the risk of anal cancer.
Anal Cancer Prevention
- Practice safer sex
- Get vaccinated against HPV
- Stop smoking
Early detection is key to beating cancer!