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Anal Cancer

What Is Anal Cancer?

Anal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the anus. The anus is the opening at the end of the rectum (the end part of the large intestine) through which body waste passes.

Cancer in the outer part of the anus is more likely to occur in men. Cancer of the inner part of the rectum is more likely to occur in women. If the anus is often red, swollen, and sore, there is a greater chance of getting anal cancer.

Anal cancer is more common in American women than men. It is often seen above age 60. In younger adults, it is more common in single homosexual men than in heterosexual men. This occurs because receptive anal intercourse significantly increases the risk of developing this cancer.

Anal cancer is very uncommon.

What are the Risks of Developing Anal Cancer?

Some of the risks for developing anal cancer are: receptive anal intercourse and Genital warts.

What are the Symptoms of Anal cancer?

Some of the symptoms are: bleeding, pain and discomfort in the anal area, itching or discharge from the anus, or a lump near the anus.

Can Anal Cancer be Treated?

Yes. The chance of recovery and type of treatment depend on the stage and location of the cancer and the patient's general health.

Some of the treatment options are:surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery is most appropriate only for patients with very early stages of the disease, especially when the location of the cancer makes it easy to operate. Most patients are treated with Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy.

Stages of Anal Cancer

  • Stage 0 anal cancer is very early cancer. The cancer is found only in the top layer of anal tissue.
  • Stage I
    The cancer has spread beyond the top layer of anal tissue, is smaller than 2 centimeters in diameter. It has not spread to the muscle tissue of the sphincter.
  • Stage II
    Cancer has spread beyond the top layer of anal tissue and is larger than 2 centimeters in diameter, but has not spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes (small, bean-shaped structures found throughout the body that produce and store infection-fighting cells).
  • Stage IIIA
    Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes around the rectum or to nearby organs such as the vagina or bladder.
  • Stage IIIB
    Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the middle of the abdomen or in the groin, or the cancer has spread to both nearby organs and the lymph nodes around the rectum.
  • Stage IV
    Cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes within the abdomen or to organs in other parts of the body.
  • Recurrent
    Recurrent disease means that the cancer has come back (recurred) after it has been treated. It may come back in the anus or in another part of the body.

Effects of Treatment

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