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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.

Some growths that form in the anus, like inflammatory polyps, are not cancer. Other growths, like anal warts (condylomas), are caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). People who have anal warts are more likely to get anal cancer.

To diagnose anal cancer, a doctor 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.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerArvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last RevisedSeptember 13, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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