WHAT IS ANAL CANCER?
Anal cancer is a tumor, which is the result of abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the anus. Anal tumor starts in the anus, located at the end of gastrointestinal tract.
ANAL CANCER: FAST FACTS
- It’s estimated that over 91 percent of anal tumor cases are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV).
- The risk of having an anal cancer is slightly higher in women than men.
- More females than males are diagnosed with anal tumor each year.
- About 5,530 women and 2,770 men are newly diagnosed with anal cancer annually in the United States.
- Annual anal cancer diagnoses are comprised of roughly 1,000 women and 480 men in the United Kingdom.
- Worldwide, human papilloma virus (HPV) causes 5 percent of all cancer.
- In addition to anal cancer, HPV also causes vaginal, penile, cervical, head and neck cancers.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANAL TUMOR?
Anal cancer are of following types —
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC):
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is second most common form of skin cancer.
It occurs due to the uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells arising from the squamous cells in the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of human skin.
Sometimes, it is also called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC). Approx. 90 percent of anal tumors are squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and result from human papilloma virus (HPV) most of the time.
Malignant melanoma cancer develops from the pigment-containing cells.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC):
BCCs arise in skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (outermost layer of skin). Basal cell carcinoma cancer occurs in the area around the anus. More than 4 million cases of BCC cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States.
This cancer occurs either in the lining of the anus near the rectum or in the anal glands that produce mucous.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ANAL CANCER?
Symptoms of anal cancer may include —
- Bleeding from the anus
- Lump near the anus
- Pain in anal area
- Anal itching
- Discharge from the anus
- Changes in bowel movements, including diarrhea and constipation
Women may also experience the following symptoms —
- Lower back pain as the tumor presses on the vagina
- Vaginal dryness
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OF ANAL CANCER?
Risk factors of anal tumor may include —
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV):
Multiple Sexual Partners:
Having multiple sex partners increases the risk of contracting human papilloma virus (HPV), which, in turn, boosts the risk of anal tumor.
Receptive Anal Sex:
Men and women that have anal sex are at the higher risk of developing this cancer. Men who have sex with men and who are HIV-positive are up to 90 times more likely to develop this cancer as compared to normal individuals.
Smokers are also at a higher risk of having anal or other cancer.
Women who have had vaginal or cervical cancer, and men who have had penile cancer are at higher risk of developing anal cancer. This is also linked to HPV infection.
Benign Anal Lesions:
Irritable bowel disease (IBD), fistulae, hemorrhoids or cicatrices have been linked to anal cancer.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE ANAL TUMOR?
Depending on the symptoms and medical history, diagnosis of anal tumor may carry out a number of tests. It can be detected by anoscopy, proctoscopy, or an endorectal ultrasound.
If cancer is suspected, a biopsy test should be done. CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound may also help.
HOW TO PREVENT ANAL TUMOR?
Anal cancer is rare. But some precautions may help to reduce its further risk. Prevention may include —
- Don’t smoke
- Use condoms when having sex
- Limiting the number of sexual partners
- Abstaining from anal sex or intercourse
- Reducing the chance of being infected with HPV through vaccination
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS OF ANAL TUMOR?
The treatment for anal cancer really depends upon a number of factors, the precise location of the cancer, the size of the tumor and the general health of the patient.
Typically the doctors work together with the individual to determine the best possible treatment plan. There are mainly 3 types of treatment for anal cancer, they’re —
The kind of surgery depends on the stage of the cancer. Early stage cancer or situ cancer has been treated by removing this cancerous cells together with a little field of the surrounding tissue mass. Thereafter, the patient really needs regular follows ups for screening and following removal of reproductive tissues.
A portion of the tissue is removed for biopsy patients in later phases of cancer undergo an operation. Thereafter radiation and chemotherapy are given in conjunction. Patients who’ve combination therapy invariably aren’t subjected to treatment through major surgery.
Nevertheless, patients who can’t have chemotherapy and radiotherapy can have to undergo major surgery. Typically this happens when this cancer is still current after the first therapy or there is a relapse after this therapy is finished.
In the Event the cancer is recurrent, the individual may have to experience a colostomy where the anus, rectum and part of the colon are removed, and an opening is created in the gut so that feces could be collected in a bag. Lymph nodes are removed in this procedure.
This treatment entails using high energy X rays to kill this cancer. The kind of radiation is called external beam radiotherapy. Nevertheless, in times radiation can be given via implants this kind of therapy is known as internal radiotherapy or brachytherapy.
This therapy has adverse effects which include fatigue, stomach problems, skin reaction, rectal irritation, and discomfort when passing feces. Occasionally, scar tissue can form and this could cause problems with bowel movements.
Majority of the adverse effects disappear when the therapy is over.
Here drugs are utilized to kill the cancer cells. The drug is intravenously fed to the bloodstream and target only cancer cells. This treatment is extremely effective when along with radiotherapy. The advantage of the conjunction ensures that lower doses of radiation have been used and the likelihood of destroying this cancerous tissue completely are very high.
Patients who’re HIV positive are provided low doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy however it depends upon how badly the immunity system is compromised by the HIV. Adverse effects of chemotherapy include fatigue, possibility of infection, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
These adverse effects are dependent on the general health of the individual and usually disappear when the therapy is completed.
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