What is the treatment for anorectal cancer?

The treatment for anorectal cancer will depend on the stage of cancer, and may involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation are generally the first line of treatment for anal cancers.

- Radiation may be administered externally, or internally using radioactive seeds or catheters placed in or near the cancer.
- Chemotherapy is often administered with radiation.
- Surgery for small, contained cancer or cancer in the lower part of the bowel is usually done as a local resection, in which diseased tissue is removed along with some surrounding healthy tissue. This procedure can preserve sphincter muscles.

For more extensive cancer, a resection is performed, in which the anus, rectum, part of the lower colon, and lymph nodes are removed through an incision made in the abdomen. The surgeon then attaches the end of the intestine to an opening, called a stoma, which he or she makes in the abdomen, where stool collects in a bag attached to the outside of the abdomen.

Continue Learning about Anal Cancer

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.