Signs and symptoms of anal cancer and its risk factors - Houston Colon – Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery

Signs and symptoms of anal cancer and its risk factors

February 21, 2011

Anal cancer is not a very common form of cancer. As the name suggests, it is cancer that infects the anal canal. The anal canal in turn is a short tube found at the end of the rectum, through which stools leave the body.

The signs and symptoms of anal cancer are similar to that of more common anal conditions like hemorrhoids. The usual cancer symptoms for anal cancer are bleeding from the anus or rectum, pain in the anal region, anal itching and a mass or growth in the anal canal.

As the symptoms for cancer of the anus are similar to other underlying conditions, those suffering from these more common anal conditions seldom approach their doctor immediately.

This is why it is important to talk to your Houston colon doctor if you notice any of these signs and symptoms of anal cancer. When diagnosed early, anal cancer signs and symptoms can be treated  using a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. Moreover, if treated at an early stage, the chances of the treatment succeeding are much better.

Risk factors

The probability of a person suffering from anal cancer may be increased if they exhibit the following risk factors for anal cancer.  Old age is a risk factor, which is why anal cancer is predominant in people aged 50 and above.

Men and women who engage in anal sex and have multiple sexual partners have a larger risk of suffering from anal cancer. While smoking elevates the risk of anal cancer, people who stop smoking have a slightly elevated risk of anal cancer.

Human papillomavirus increases the possibility of various types of cancer like anal and cervical cancer. Another risk factor for anal cancer is taking drugs to suppress the immune systems, and organ transplants. Even the long time use of corticosteroids increase the risk of cancer of the anus, and thus increases the chances of developing signs and symptoms of anal cancer.

So those with any of these risk factors, and who exhibit any of the signs and symptoms of anal cancer should discuss their doubts and apprehensions with their Houston colon doctor immediately.