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Signs and Symptoms of Anal Cancer

Anal cancer is an uncommon cancer that is not to be confused with colorectal cancer.  The etiology, risk factors and treatment are all different from colorectal cancer. The anus is a one-and-a-half inch tube that lies below the rectum.  Two ring-like muscles called sphincter muscles open and close the anal opening to let stool pass from the body.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of anal cancer below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Anal Cancer are as follows:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Bloating
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Rectal itching
  • A lump or growth in the anal canal
  • Pain in the anus
  • Lower back pain
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Anal redness, swelling and soreness

About 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with anal cancer each year.  The numbers of anal cancer are rising, though it is not clear why.  Anal cancer is associated with the human papillovirus (HPV), the same virus that is associated with cervical cancer.  Risk factors for the signs and symptoms of anal cancer include anal sex (increases the risk seven-fold), smoking, having many sex partners, and being over the age of fifty.

Diagnosis of Anal Cancer

Anal cancer is diagnosed through a visual inspection of the anus, coupled with an ultrasound to detect any abnormalities.  A biopsy is usually taken to confirm the diagnosis of anal cancer.

Anal cancer is almost always localized, and rarely spreads to other parts of the body.  Surgery is very effective for anal cancer, if it is treated early. Chemotherapy and radiation are also used to improve the chances of a cure.  Up to 10% of patients with anal cancer will develop metastatic disease, meaning it will spread to other parts of the body, usually the liver and lungs.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Anal Cancer

What You Need to Know About Anal Cancer – It’s Your Life, Live It!
Michael Braham
Anal Cancer – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
ICON Health Publications

The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Anal Cancer: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age
Icon Health Publications
21st Century Complete Medical Guide to Colon Cancer (Colorectal, Rectal and Anal Cancer) – Authoritative Government Documents and Clinical References … on Diagnosis and Treatment Options
PM Medical Health News

Anal Cancer Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Information about anal cancer treatment, clinical trials, and other topics from the National Cancer Institute.

  • American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons

Information for patients about anal cancer.

  • Medicine Net . com

Get information about anal cancer causes, risk factors, symptoms, signs, diagnosis, prognosis, staging, recurrence and treatment (chemotherapy, radiation therapy).

  • WD

Information including symptoms, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, treatment, causes, patient stories, videos, forums, prevention, and prognosis.

  • Hemorrhoid . net

General Information, Treatment Overview, Stages of Anal Cancer, Treatment by Stage, HIV and Anal Cancer, Video References.

  • Med Help

MedHelp’s Anal Cancer Help Forum. This forum is for help, questions and support regarding anal cancer.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms of this uncommon cancer associated with HPV.

  • Web MD

Anal cancer is a rare malignancy that starts in the anus — the opening at the end of the rectum.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.