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The anus is where stool leaves your body when you go to the bathroom. It is made up of your outer layers of skin and the end of your large intestine. Anal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the anus.
Anal cancer is rare. It is more common in smokers and people over 50. You are also at higher risk if you have HPV, have anal sex, or have many sexual partners.
Symptoms include bleeding, pain, or lumps in the anal area. Anal itching and discharge can also be signs of anal cancer.
Doctors use tests that examine the anus to diagnose anal cancer. They include a physical exam, endoscopy, ultrasound, and biopsy.
Treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
Treatments and Therapies
- Anal Cancer: What Happens After Treatment? (American Cancer Society)
Statistics and Research
- Cancer of the Anus (National Cancer Institute)
- Electrocautery Superior to Topical Treatments for Precancerous Anal Lesions (National Cancer Institute)
- What's New in Anal Cancer Research and Treatment? (American Cancer Society)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Anus Neoplasms (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Irradiation of FDG-PET-Defined Active Bone Marrow Subregions and Acute Hematologic Toxicity in...
- Article: Conditional Survival in Anal Carcinoma Using the National Population-Based Survey...
- Article: Incidence, Surgical Treatment, and Prognosis of Anorectal Melanoma From 1973...
- Anal Cancer -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- After chemotherapy - discharge Available in Spanish
- Anal cancer Available in Spanish
- Anoscopy Available in Spanish
- Pelvic (between the hips) radiation - discharge Available in Spanish
- Understanding Chemotherapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Available in Spanish
- What to Know about External Beam Radiation Therapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Available in Spanish