Anal cancer is a malignancy arising in the anus, which is the distal opening of the gastrointestinal tract. This is not the same as colorectal cancer, which occurs in the colon and rectum. If you have anal cancer, you may experience bloating, changes in bowel habits, a lump near the anus, rectal bleeding, itching or a discharge. Your bleeding may be severe. This is a relatively rare disease, occurring in 2.2% of all Americans, according to the American Cancer Society.
By far, the most common cause of anal cancer is an human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Based on studies performed in Denmark and Sweden, it is estimated that 90% of anal cancers are derived from an HPV infection. Smoking is also a risk factor. Smokers develop anal cancers at a rate several times that of non-smokers. If you suspect that you may have anal cancer, call us at (860) 826-3880 to set up an appointment.
The treatment of Anal Cancer is based on the staging of the cancer. The treatment is multimodality and may require radiation with chemotherapy and surgery.
Not smoking or quitting smoking is a great way to reduce the risk of developing this kind of rare cancer. Studies suggest a fourfold increase in the risk of developing anal cancer if you smoke, regardless of your gender. We also recommend the HPV vaccine in persons not exposed to human papillomavirus to prevent infection with HPV.