Posted in: Anal Cancer Treatment by Dr. Tarang Krishna
Anal cancer is rare malignancy that starts in the anus - the opening at the end of the rectum.
Who gets Anal Cancer?
Most of the anal cancers are diagnosed in people who are over the age of 60. Before the age of 35, anal cancer is more common in men. However, after 50, anal cancer is slightly more common in women than men. The rate of anal cancer is almost 6 times higher in single men as compared to married men.
The common signs of anal cancer are -
1. Pain in the anal area.
2. Lumps around the anus.
4. Vaginal dryness
5. Anal itching
6. Bleeding per rectum/ Mucus or jelly-like discharge from the anus
7. Women may experience lower back pain as the tumour presses on the vagina.
8. Changes in the bowel movements such as diarrhea, constipation or thinning of stools.
9. Problems controlling the bowel movements
Anal cancer forms when a mutation turns healthy cells into abnormal cells. Healthy cells grow and multiply at a set rate, dying after a set time. Abnormal cells grow and multiply out of control and do not die. The abnormal cells form a mass. Cancer cells invade the tissues nearby and seperate from the initial tumour to spread elsewhere in the body. Anal cancer is also related to sexually transmitted infection known as Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Evidence of HPV is noticed in majority of anal cancers. However, HPV is thought to be the most common cause of anal cancers.
Anal Cancer Treatment depends on various factors such as the size of the tumour, how far it has spread, where it is, and the general health of the patient. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the main options for Anal Cancer Treatment.
Surgery - The type of surgery depends on the position and size of the tumour.
Resection - The cancer specialist removes a small tumour and some surrounding tissue. It can be done only if the anal sphincter is not affected.
Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy - A single or combination of the two destroys anal cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses drugs that ceases the cancer cells from dividing. Radiotherapy uses high energy rays that destroys the cancer cells. However, both have adverse effects which includes -
1. Loss of appetite
2. Nausea or vomiting
3. Loss of hair
4. Mouth ulcers and many more.
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