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With a six times higher incidence in single men as compared to married men, anal cancer is a malignancy that develops in the anal canal, a small narrow tube present at the end of the rectum, which serves as a passage for the stools leaving your body. Though anal cancer is quite rare, it can metastatic to other parts of the body. Some common types of anal cancer include:
The symptoms of anal cancer mimic those of various other conditions like haemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal diseases. The most common of these include:
Anal cancer is a result of uncontrollable growth and accumulation of abnormal cells in the anus, eventually, result in the formation of a tumour. This is believed to be a result of undesired mutations in the DNA of the anal cells. As the cancer advances, it can enter the bloodline and metastasize to other parts of the body.
Various risk factors that increase your chances of developing anal canal cancer include:
Our doctor will evaluate the patient’s symptoms and medical history. They will also perform to diagnose cancer or to rule out other conditions. These tests will include:
Surgery - The aim of the surgery is to remove the tumour and the surrounding tissues that have been affected by it. In case the anal cancer is at an early stage, the tumour can be easily removed without inducing any damage to the sphincter muscles. In case of advanced anal cancer, the patient may need and abdominoperineal resection, or AP resection. This involves the surgical removal of the anal canal, the rectum and a portion of the colon.
Chemotherapy – It uses special drugs, that are given orally or intravenously, to target rapidly-growing cancerous cells. Chemotherapy may also be used in combination with radiation therapy to treat cancers that have not yet metastasized. This is referred to as chemoradiation.
Radiation therapy – It used x-ray beams of high intensity to target the cancerous cells. This may be given before the surgery, to reduce the size of the tumour, and after the surgery to destroy cancerous cells that were left behind during the surgery. These radiations may be given externally, using a special radiation machine, or from within, using certain radiation-emitting substances.
Immunotherapy – It involves the use of certain drugs that help to boost the body’s immune system and is usually recommended to patients with advanced anal canal cancer.