What is anal cancer?

Jared C. Frattini, MD
Colorectal Surgery
Jared Frattini, MD from Medical Center of Trinity discusses anal cancer and typical treatment procedures in this video.

Anal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the anus. The anus is the end of the large intestine, below the rectum, through which stool (solid waste) leaves the body. The anus is formed partly from the outer, skin layers of the body and partly from the intestine. Two ring-like muscles, called sphincter muscles, open and close the anal opening to let stool pass out of the body. The anal canal, the part of the anus between the rectum and the anal opening, is about 1 and half inches long. The skin around the outside of the anus is called the perianal area. Tumors in this area are skin tumors, not anal cancer.

This answer is based on source information from National Cancer Institute.

Continue Learning about Anal Cancer

Anal Cancer

A rare disease, anal cancer accounts for less than 6,000 cases a year in the U.S., although its incidence appears to be increasing each year. Anal cancer occurs when malignant tumors develop at the opening end of the rectum. Benig...

n, or noncancerous, tumors can also later develop into anal cancer. While no one knows its cause, doctors believe a genetic mutation leads to anal cancer. Caught early, this cancer can be cured; however, once it spreads to other organs, the five-year survival rate drops to 20%. Treatment includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgical removal of the cancer. If you are older than 50, have multiple sexual partners, smoke cigarettes or have the human papillomavirus (HPV), you are at greater risk of developing this cancer. You are also at greater risk if you take immunosuppressive drugs like those taken after an organ transplant. Visit your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms: anal itching, bleeding in the anus or rectum, and pain near the anus.

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.