Anal Cancer

Features

The symptoms of anal cancer are not unique and are also symptoms of other conditions, such as hemorrhoids. Although anal cancer is relatively simple to diagnose, there is often a delay in diagnosis because of a misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of anal cancer include:

  • Lumps or bumps located near the anus;
  • Anal bleeding or bleeding during bowel movements;
  • Anal discharge;
  • Pain in or around the anus;
  • Itchy sensation around or inside the anus
  • Change in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea and the thinning of the stools

Epidemiology

Anal cancel is not common, although an increased incidence has been associated with infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), lifetime number of sexual partners, genital warts, cigarette smoking, receptive anal intercourse, and infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Causes

While the exact cause of anal cancer is not known, most anal cancers appear to be linked to infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). While HPV infection seems to be important in the development of anal cancer, the vast majority of people with HPV infections do not get anal cancer.

Most people know that smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. But few realize that the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke can travel from the lungs to the rest of the body. Many studies have noted an increased rate of anal cancer in smokers, and the effect of smoking is especially important in people with other risk factors for anal cancer.

The following risk factors can contribute to anal cancer:

  • Being over 50 years of age;
  • Practicing receptive anal sex;
  • Having many sexual partners;
  • Being infected with HPV;
  • Abnormal opening in the anus (fistulas);
  • Frequent anal redness, swelling and soreness;
  • Smoking cigarettes.

Treatment

The tree basic treatments of anal cancer are:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
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