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Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & risk factors

Cancer can appear anywhere on the body – including the anus. A malignant ulcer forms in the anal canal. You can find out how the disease develops, what risk factors there are and how it is treated here.

Anal carcinoma occurs in the lower end of the intestine, the anal canal, and on the anal rim. The anal rim extends from the anus to five centimeters outwards. This type of cancer is very rare compared to colon cancer. However, those who have had other anal diseases are at higher risk and should be aware of possible symptoms.

Symptoms of Anal Cancer

The German Cancer Society names the following symptoms that may indicate anal cancer:

  • Blood on the chair
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Itching in the anal area
  • Foreign body feeling
  • Stool irregularities
  • constipation
  • Problems controlling bowel movements
  • Enlarged inguinal lymph nodes
  • Strikingly shaped chair, such as a pencil-thin chair or notches in the chair
  • Exhaustion
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats

What are the risk factors for anal cancer?

Certain types of human papilloma viruses are considered to be the main cause of anal cancer. Viruses are primarily transmitted via sexual contacts. Unprotected anal intercourse in particular is considered a risk factor.

People who have drugs suppressing their immune systems, like people with a donor organ, have weakened defenses. People with AIDS also have a weaker immune system. This increases your risk of becoming ill. This also applies to anal cancer.

Smoking also increases the risk of developing anal cancer. In addition, according to the experts of the German Cancer Society, there are chronic diseases in the anus, such as hemorrhoids, Fistulas, fissures or herpes that can occur in parallel with anal carcinoma. Patients with anal infections must therefore be carefully monitored by a doctor.

How is anal cancer diagnosed?

In the event of suspicion or as part of an early diagnosis examination, a proctologist will first carry out a tactile examination. The proctologist is a specialist in all diseases of the rectum and anal canal. This also checks whether the sphincter is working properly, because this can be an indication of diseases.

The doctor can make a confirmed diagnosis by means of a rectal mirror (proctoscopy). During the mirroring, a tissue sample is also taken from the anal canal and checked for malignant changes in the laboratory. Usually, an ultrasound examination is also carried out, and the doctor also feels it Lymph nodes on the ledges.

If the diagnosis is actually anal cancer, it must be complete Colonoscopy (Colonoscopy) to investigate whether there may also be tumors, cancer precursors or inflammation in the colon, such as Crohn’s disease. Further examinations of the abdominal cavity and chest are used to assess whether metastases have already developed.

What types of anal cancer are there?

There are two forms of anal cancer. These are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma and
  • Anal rim tumors.

Squamous cell carcinomas are the more common variant.

How is anal cancer treated?

Which therapy is given depends on the type of cancer. A so-called anal rim tumor is surgically removed. In the event that neighboring regions are also affected, combined radiochemotherapy is also carried out. Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used. The lymph nodes in the pelvis and groin are also irradiated.

Squamous cell carcinoma in the anus is usually treated with combined chemoradiation. Surgery to remove parts of the rectum is rarely done.

What are the chances of a cure for anal cancer?

With squamous cell carcinoma, the prognosis is between 50 and 95 percent depending on the stage of the cancer. The earlier the tumor discovered, the greater the chances of recovery.

The success rate that a surgically removed anal carcinoma heals and does not return is very good, according to the German Cancer Society. Here there is an “excellent forecast”, it says.

Can You Prevent Anal Cancer?

According to the German Cancer Society, a large part of the diseases of anal cancer could be prevented by immunization against the triggering human papillomavirus. Because the pathogen of the so-called risk type too cervical cancer HPV vaccination for girls is covered by statutory health insurance. Condoms also help to significantly reduce the risk of infection with HP viruses.

A healthy diet, low alcohol consumption, exercise and not using cigarettes are useful behaviors for the prevention of diseases in general. Cigarettes have been shown to pose an increased risk of anal cancer.

Important NOTE: The information is by no means a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online.de cannot and must not be used to independently diagnose or start treatments.

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