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Anal cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that occurs in the anal canal. The anal canal is a short tube at the end of your rectum through which stool leaves your body. Anal cancer can cause signs and symptoms such as rectal bleeding and anal pain. Most people with anal cancer are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.
Most often these types of symptoms are more likely to be caused by benign (non-cancer) conditions, like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or anal warts. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to have them checked by a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
1. Risk Factors for Anal Cancer. Before evaluating symptoms, doctors usually assess risk factors associated with anal cancer. People who have a human papillomavirus infection (HPV) or genital warts are at a higher risk, though the majority of people with HPV never develop anal cancer.
Early detection of anal cancer is common because these tumors develop in a part of the digestive tract that doctors are able to see and reach. Symptoms of early-stage anal cancer often prompt patients to visit their doctor, though not everyone experiences symptoms.
But, while anal cancer isn’t hugely common (like, say, breast cancer), it is something you need to know about. Especially since it turns out that anal sex actually ups your risk profile…