Anal cancer


Anal cancer is a cancer that start in the anus which is the end part of the rectum. It is the final short tube (about 2 to 4 cm long) of the rectum where the stool leaves the body.

Anal cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the anal canal and skin around the anus. It is also called carcinoma of the anal canal and margin.

The treatment of anal cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.


The following are the signs and symptoms of anal cancer. 

  • Anal or bleeding
  • Mass in anal canal
  • Having pain at the anus
  • Itchiness at the anus
  • Incontinence of stool
  • Inconsistent bowel movement

If you notice these symptoms, consult your doctor.


The cause of anal cancer starts with the mutation of the genes which can turn healthy cells into abnormal cells. It instructs the abnormal cells to divide rapidly outgrowing the healthy cells and creating a tumor. After some time, cancer cells may spread to the surrounding tissues or other parts of the body (metastasis).

Anal cancer is more common with those who have high risk subtypes of  human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which is a sexually transmitted disease, IV infection, receptive anal intercourse.

Risk factors

These factors have higher risk of having anal cancer:

  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Anal sex (receptive)
  • Having HPV infection (high risk subtypes 16,18)
  • Old age. 50 years old or older.
  • Women are more at risk than men. However, men who have sexual intercourse with men are also at higher risk.
  • HIV infection
  • History of cancer. Having a history of cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer
  • Drugs or conditions that suppress your immune system. Taking immunosuppressant medications for those who have had organ transplants. HIV infection which suppresses the immune function.
  • Smoking