Anal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the anus. The anus is at the end of the large intestine, below the rectum, through which stool or solid waste goes out of the body. The anus is formed partly from the outer skin layers of the body and partly from the intestine. Being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) increases the risk of developing anal cancer.
Symptoms of Anal Cancer:
- Bleeding from the anus or rectum
- Lump near the anus
- Pain or pressure in the area around the anus.
- Itching or discharge from the anus.
- Change in bowel habits.
Factors affects the prognosis or chance of recovery and treatment options:
- The size of the tumor.
- Where the tumor is in the anus.
- Whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes
Treatment of anal cancer:
Treatment of anal cancer depends on the stage of cancer, patient’s overall health and his own preferences.
Combined chemotherapy and radiation
Doctors usually treat anal cancer with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. Combined, these two treatments enhance each other and improve chances for a cure.
Chemotherapy:In chemotherapy treatment of cancer, drugs are given to patient to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body which is also called - systemic chemotherapy. When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas which is also called - regional chemotherapy. Chemotherapy treatment also depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Radiation Therapy:In Radiation therapy of cancer treatment high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation are used to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy:
- External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.
- Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer.
Radiation therapy treatment depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. External and internal radiation therapy are used to treat anal cancer.
Surgery of Anal Cancer
Typically, different procedures are used to remove anal cancer based on the stage of the cancer:
- Surgery to remove early-stage anal cancers.
- Surgery for late-stage anal cancers or anal cancers that haven't responded to other treatments.