Anal Cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the anus. It is a short tube below the rectum, through which stool leaves your body.
People with anal cancer are mostly treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The combination treatments increase the chance of cure but also cause a risk of adverse side effects.
Several factors can increase your risk of developing anal cancer. Some people with a certain disease or condition may not acquire anal cancer but it can increase the risk.
The risk factors included are the following –
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection – HPV infection is very common. It can spread through sexual activity. Even if the person has no signs or symptoms of anal cancer one can spread anal cancer.
- Anal Warts – People who have had anal warts are more prone to get anal cancer. Also, people who are infected with HPV subtypes are more likely to get affected by anal cancer.
- HIV Infection – People infected with HIV virus are much more likely to get anal cancer compared to those not affected by HIV.
- Sexual Activity – Sex partners with HPV and HIV infection can increase the risk of developing anal cancer. Also, having multiple sex partners can increase the risk of infection of HPV and HIV. It can occur in both men and women.
5. Smoking – People who smoke frequently have a higher risk of developing anal cancer.
6. Low Immunity – People with reduced immunity suffer from certain medical conditions or diseases such as AIDS, and organ transplants are at a higher risk of anal cancer.
7. Gender and Race – It is common in White women and Black men.
The signs and symptoms of anal cancer included are –
- Bleeding from the anus or rectum
- Small lumps around the anus
- Pain in the area of the anus
- A mass or growth in the anal canal
- Anal itching
- Loss of bowel control
- Discharge of mucus from the anus
If the signs and symptoms indicate anal cancer the exams and tests are conducted to determine the stage, type, and location of cancer.
1. Physical Examination – If you have symptoms of anal cancer then doctors will examine you through a pelvic exam, pap test, or digital rectal exam. The doctors will focus on the groin area to find the lumps in the lymph nodes for signs of anal cancer.
2. Blood Tests – Your doctor will check for HIV through a blood test as it can increase your chance of anal cancer.
3. Imaging Tests – It uses x-rays, magnetic fields, sound waves, and radioactive substances to create pictures of the inside of your body. The tests are used –
- To find cancer cells
- The spread of cancer
- Treatments of cancer
- Signs of cancer
4. Ultrasound – It uses sound waves to make pictures of internal organs. It helps in determining the spread of cancer in the anus.
5. CT (Computed Tomography) Scan – It uses x-rays to make detailed cross-sectional images of the body. The test can determine if cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
6. MRI (Magneti Resonance Imaging) – It uses radio waves and magnets to see detailed pictures of areas. The test is performed to determine the spread of cancer in nearby lymph nodes.
7. PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan – It is a powerful type of scan compared to a CT scan. It is specifically used when doctors find it difficult to determine the location of cancer. The PET scan can show a spread of cancer in the vast section areas such as the liver, bones, lymph nodes in the pelvis, or other organs.
8. Endoscopy – It is a thin flexible tube used to view the inside part of the body that includes the anus, rectum, and entire colon.
9. Biopsy – If a change or growth of cancer is seen during an endoscopic exam your doctor will perform a biopsy where a small tissue is tested to check if it has cancer.
There are different types of treatments for anal cancer such as –
1. Surgery – There are two types of surgeries performed to destroy the cancer cells –
- Local resection – In this surgical procedure, the tumor is cut from the anus along with some of the healthy tissues around it. This procedure is used when the cancer is small and has not spread to other parts of the body.
- Abdominoperineal resection – In this procedure, the anus, rectum, and a part of the sigmoid colon are removed through an incision made in the abdomen.
2. Radiation Therapy – It uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy used –
- External Radiation Therapy – Uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the area of the body.
- Internal Radiation Therapy – It uses a radioactive substance to kill cancer cells.
3. Chemotherapy – It uses anti-drugs called ‘chemo’ to kill cancer cells from dividing.
4. Immunotherapy – The patient’s own immune system is used to destroy cancer cells. The substances are made inside the body or made in a laboratory to boost the body’s natural defenses against cancer.
Uhapo is a well-qualified cancer care service network that specializes in providing a variety of chemotherapy services. We are a dedicated team of health professionals providing effective solutions to all cancer patients in need. If you’ve concerns regarding your treatments and disorders then you can connect to Uhapo’s contact page – https://www.uhapo.co.in/contact/ or 24/7 Support Number +91-9137-44-1392 for supportive care regarding your necessary issues with cancer.