What is anal cancer?
Anal cancer is a type of cancer that manifests on a person’s anus. The anus is the body part wherein your wastes are released. It is connected to the rectum. Yes, the anus is also susceptible to cancer, and it can form lumps or tumors. There are tumors though in the area that can be benign or non-cancerous.
Who can acquire anal cancer?
The prevalence of anal cancer is very low. The percentage of anal cancer cases in America is about 0.5% which is less than one. There are approximately 8,000 new cases of anal cancer each year in the country.
It also usually develops in people between the ages of fifty to eighty years old. Studies also show that females are more susceptible to anal cancer than males. But as of recent years, the occurrence of anal sex is topping up on men since there is a widespread anal sex activity among gay men.
What are the risks (and signs) associated with anal cancer?
- People with HPV or human papillomavirus and genital warts are more at risk of contracting anal cancer.
- Those who have many intimate sexual relations are also at risk.
- Anal penetration, protected or unprotected, may be a cause of anal cancer – high risk.
- Fragile immune system, smokers, old individuals and inflamed anus (chronic) are also connected risks of anal cancer.
What are the indications of anal cancer?
- Rectal bleeding
- Constant pain in the anal region
- Secretions from the anal area
- Swelling or tumors in the anus or groin
- Itchy anal area
- Changes in bowel movements
These symptoms are not exclusive to anal cancer alone, but most are clear signs of the disease.
How is anal cancer detected?
You will be feeling the signs and symptoms of anal cancer, and when you do, you will be going to your doctor. From there, the doctor will interview you of your present condition, and the history of your health. A physical examination will be done to rule out cancer, if not, ascertain that it is cancer. The following tests will be administered:
- Anoscopy or Proctoscopy
Can I get a second opinion on my “possible” anal cancer diagnosis?
It is up to you. You’re the one who has the medical condition and if it will provide you a better understanding of your disease and how to treat it, then, by all means. Get a second opinion from another specialist.
What is the treatment for anal cancer?
There are three ways to treat anal cancer:
- Radiation therapy
It is one of the active forms to kill cancer cells, in general. Radiation therapy is widely used these days, especially for anal cancer. The therapy procedure uses x-ray to eliminate the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is a process for a patient with cancer – they have to take medication for the tumors to diffuse. This treatment is best supplemented by Radiation therapy, especially for anal cancer.
- Surgical Procedure
People with anal cancer also resort to surgery because growth in the anal area must be removed while keeping the anal canal intact.
Are there studies, research, and clinical trials at the moment for anal cancer?
Since it is so rare, studies are ongoing about anal cancer understanding. As for the clinical trials, yes, there are some teams and medical centers finding ways to learn more about anal cancer treatment. The side effects of such are also monitored. There is no significant news about it, for now, though.