The anal canal is a short tube surrounded by muscle at the end of your rectum. The rectum is the bottom section of your colon large intestine. When you have a bowel movement, stool leaves your body from the rectum through the anal canal. As the cancer grows, it may stay in nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body, a process called metastasis. Anal cancer starts in the cells around or just inside the anal opening. A person may be diagnosed with precancerous cells in the anal area. With time, these cells may have a high chance of becoming cancerous. While this condition is treated differently than anal cancer, it is the reason to get treatment early. A risk factor increases your chance of getting a disease.
STATS AND FACTS
Symptoms of anal cancer
Sometimes anal cancer causes no symptoms at all. But bleeding is often the first sign of the disease. The bleeding is usually minor. At first, most people assume the bleeding is caused by hemorrhoids painful, swollen veins in the anus and rectum that may bleed. They are a benign and fairly common cause of rectal bleeding. Most often these types of symptoms are more likely to be caused by benign non-cancer conditions, like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or anal warts. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy. Signs and Symptoms of Anal Cancer. Important symptoms of anal cancer include: Rectal bleeding Rectal itching A lump or mass at the anal opening Pain or a feeling of fullness in the anal area Narrowing of stool or other changes in bowel movements Abnormal discharge from the anus Swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin areas Most often these types of symptoms are more likely to be caused by benign non-cancer conditions, like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or anal warts.
Diagnosing anal cancer
Anal cancer occurs in the anus, which is at the end of the gastrointestinal tract. It is different from and less common than colorectal cancer, which is cancer of the colon or rectum. Anal cancer is rare, but the number of new cases is rising. Of these, 5, will affect females, and 2, will affect males. The ACS expect around 1, people to die from anal cancer, including females and males. Anal cancer is rare before 35 years of age. The average age of diagnosis is when a person is in their early 60s. Around 1 in people will develop anal cancer at some time.
Ask your doctor to use this picture to show you where the cancer is. Solid waste poop comes out of the anus. There are many types of anal cancer. Most are rare. Your doctor can tell you more about the type you have. Below are the medical names for the most common types of anal cancer. Carcinoma is another name for cancer. These tumors start in the cells that line the inside of the anus and have grown into the deeper layers of the anus. Some anal cancers cause no symptoms at all.