Anal cancer

Anal cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the opening at the end of the rectum (anus). Anal cancer is uncommon and is often curable.

Symptoms of anal cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the rectum.
  • Redness, swelling, or pain in the area of the anus.
  • Itching or discharge from the anus.
  • A lump near the anus.

To diagnose anal cancer, a health professional will examine the anus and perform a rectal examination. If anal cancer is suspected, a biopsy will be performed.

Treatment for anal cancer includes surgery, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy. The long-term outcome (prognosis) and choice of treatment depend on the stage of the cancer and the person's general health.

Last Updated: October 1, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology

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