Anal Cancer By James Adams
Signs and Symptoms of Anal Cancer • Some cases of anal cancer cause no symptoms at all. But bleeding occurs in more than half of patients and is usually the first sign of the disease. Often the bleeding is minor. At first, most people assume that hemorrhoids are the cause of their bleeding. Itching can also be a symptom. This is more often a sign of AIN, which should also be treated. Important symptoms of anal cancer include: • Rectal bleeding • Rectal itching • Pain in the anal area • Change in the diameter of stool • Abnormal discharge from the anus • Swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin areas • There are a number of benign conditions, such as hemorrhoids, fissures, or anal warts that can cause similar symptoms. But if any of the signs or symptoms of anal cancer are present, discuss them with your doctor without delay. Remember, the sooner you receive a correct diagnosis, the sooner you can start treatment, and the more effective your treatment will be.
How is Anal Cancer diagnosed? • Anal cancer is often fairly easy to diagnose because it is in a fairly easy-to-reach area. Although some cases of anal cancer in people at high risk for that disease are diagnosed by screening tests, such as the digital rectal exam and/or anal Pap test, most people are diagnosed after their cancer starts to cause symptoms.
Cures for this cancer? • So far they haven’t found a cure for this cancer but they are trying to find one as we seek.
How you can prevent getting this cancer • The best way you can protect yourself from anal cancer is to be aware of what makes you more likely to get it. These are called your risk factors. You can’t affect some risk factors, but others you can do something about. Knowing more about the risk factors for anal cancer can help you make healthy choices to help you avoid it. • If you find that you are at risk for anal cancer, there’s a lot you can do. Making healthy changes in your life can control some risks. Here are some ways to reduce your risk of getting anal cancer. • Avoid human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The best way to reduce your risk of anal cancer is to avoid HPV infection. Not having anal sex is the best way to prevent HPV infection. Condoms can prevent you from getting or giving HIV to your sexual partner, but they do not totally protect against HPV. That’s because this virus can be spread by skin contact from areas that are not covered by the condom. Plus, HPV can be present for years without causing symptoms. • Stop smoking. If you stop smoking, you lower your risk for anal cancer and many other types of cancer. • You can also take steps to try to catch anal cancer in its early stages, when it is easiest to treat. Find out how you can be screened for anal cancer and how to recognize its symptoms.