Discussing this subject is often considered uncomfortable. However, this form of cancer exists and is highly aggressive. Anal cancer is a topic rarely broached in public discourse.
This article aims to provide insights into this specific form of cancer (anal cancer), including methods of identification and recommended actions in the event of its occurrence.
Detecting anal cancer in its early stages is feasible, but requires familiarity with its indicators. Its sensitive location, which contributes to its taboo nature among the general populace, also leads to its frequent oversight.
What Constitutes Anal Cancer? Anal cancer originates at the opening of the rectum (the anus) due to the formation of an abnormal mass resulting from uncontrolled cell growth in that region.
It’s crucial to differentiate between anal cancer and colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer affects the colon and the entirety of the rectum, while anal cancer exclusively impacts the anus or the opening of the rectum.
Almost 8,000 Americans are affected by anal cancer annually, and it claims 1,000 lives. A quarter of individuals receive a diagnosis after the cancer has spread to their lymph nodes, and one in ten are diagnosed after it has metastasized to other organs. Regrettably, this cancer’s incidence has risen in recent years, though it remains less common than colorectal, rectal, or colon cancer.
Signs of Anal Cancer These are symptoms that warrant attention:
- Itching in the anal area
- Sensitivity or discomfort in the anus
- Irregular bowel movements
- Anal bleeding
- Unusual discharges from the anus
- A hardened region or lump near the anus
Contributing factors to anal cancer typically include a compromised immune system, smoking, and recurring irritation of the anus. This type of cancer predominantly affects individuals aged 60 and above. Furthermore, males under 35 and females aged 60 and above are at elevated risk of developing colon cancer.