Given the yearly rates at which men and women have acquired anal cancer in recent years, medical data suggest that there will be over 5,000 new cases identified this year. While this is a high number of individuals, this disease is considered uncommon compared to other types of cancer.
What Is Anal Cancer?
Before we go any further, let us define anal cancer exactly. This cancer grows in the anus, which is a portion of the gastrointestinal system. When one has a bowel movement, fecal matter is released from this region of the body.
It is also important to understand that, although the phrase “anal cancer” refers to many distinct types of cancer, this disease is more than one kind of cancer. The kind of cell from which this cancer develops determines the type of cancer.
Types Of Anal Cancer
The anus is made up of many kinds of cells, and each type can become malignant. There are many kinds of anal cancer depending on the type of cell in which cancer began:
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This is one of the prevalent types of anal cancer. This kind of cancer grows in the anal canal’s outer lining.
Cloacogenic carcinoma is a kind of cancer caused by Cloacogenic carcinoma, a kind of anal cancer that resembles squamous cell carcinoma. It is located between the anus and the lower portion of the rectum and accounts for about 25% of all anal malignancies. Clonogenic cell cancer is thought to begin in cells similar to squamous cell cancer and is treated similarly.
Adenocarcinoma develops in the glands that produce mucus underneath the anal membrane.
Melanoma starts in cells that generate colors, such as those seen in the skin or anal lining.
Symptoms of Anal Cancer
Symptoms of anal cancer include:
👉Bleeding from the bottom
👉Itching and discomfort around the anus
👉Tiny lumps around and within the anus,
👉A discharge of mucus from the bottom,
👉Difficulties regulating when you poop (bowel incontinence)
👉The urge to defecate often with looser, runner poops.
👉Anal cancer may have no symptoms at all or may be difficult to detect.
Diagnosis of Anal Cancer
Screening procedures, such as the digital rectal exam and anal Pap test, may identify individuals at high risk for anal cancer. Anal cancer may be discovered during a regular physical check or a minor surgery, such as hemorrhoid removal. Because the tumors are discovered early, treating malignancies discovered this manner is frequently extremely successful. However, most anal malignancies are discovered as a result of a person’s indications or symptoms.
👉Physical Exam And Health History
An examination of the body to look for general health indications, including illness symptoms such as tumors or anything else that seems odd. A history of the patient’s health habits and previous diseases and treatments will be collected.
If a change or growth is discovered during an endoscopic check, your doctor will need to remove a portion of it to determine if it is cancer. This is known as a biopsy. If the tumor is in the anal canal, it is frequently possible to remove it using the scope. Before the biopsy, drugs may be administered to numb the region. The tissue is then sliced into tiny pieces and submitted to the lab. If the tumor is small, your doctor may attempt to remove it all during the biopsy.
A pathologist would examine the tissue sample under a microscope. If cancer is found, the pathologist will provide a report outlining the cell type and other cancer information, such as being linked to an HPV infection.
Anal cancer may spread to adjacent lymph nodes. Swollen lymph nodes in the groin may indicate cancer metastasis. Infection may cause lymph nodes to swell. Biopsies may be required to determine if cancer has spread to adjacent lymph nodes.
A rectal examination is a procedure in which a doctor puts a gloved finger into your rectum to feel abnormalities. The rectum is a section of the big intestine. A rectal examination is performed to detect tumors or swellings in the rectum or prostate gland. The rectum is near the prostate gland.
Further Tests For Anal Cancer
More testing will be performed if any of your biopsies reveal cancer in the anus. The findings will assist you and your doctor in determining the best course of therapy for you. You may be subjected to any of the following tests:
👉 CT scan
A sequence of detailed images of regions within the body, such as the belly, pelvis, or chest, taken from various angles. A computer connected to an x-ray machine creates the images. A dye may be injected into a vein or ingested to make the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This is also known as computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
👉MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
A magnet, radio waves, and a computer are used to create a sequence of detailed images of regions within the body.
👉Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Of The Lymph Nodes
An FNA of the lymph nodes test may be performed to determine the presence of cancer cells in the lymph nodes. The doctor inserts a tiny needle into the lymph node and aspirates some cells into a syringe.
Anal Cancer Treatment
Radiation therapy is a kind of cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to either kill or prevent cancer cells from developing. Radiation treatment is classified into two types:
External radiation treatment uses a machine located outside the body to direct radiation toward the cancerous region.
Internal radiation treatment involves using a radioactive material encapsulated in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters inserted directly into or near the tumor.
How radiation treatment is administered is determined by the kind and stage of the cancer being treated. Anal cancer is treated with both external and internal radiation treatment.
Local resection: This is a surgical technique in which the tumor and part of the healthy tissue are removed from the anus. If the malignancy is small and has not spread, local resection may be performed. This treatment may preserve the sphincter muscles, allowing the patient to regulate their bowel motions.
An operation in which the anus, rectum, and a portion of the sigmoid colon are removed via an incision in the abdomen. The doctor sews the end of the intestine to a hole on the surface of the abdomen called a stoma, which allows bodily waste to be collected in a disposable bag outside of the body.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses medicines to halt the development of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or preventing them from growing. Chemotherapy medicines enter the circulation and may reach cancer cells throughout the body, whether administered orally or injected into a vein or systemic muscle chemotherapy.
Radiosensitizers are medicines that increase the sensitivity of tumor cells to radiation treatment. Combining radiation treatment with radiosensitizers may result in the death of more tumor cells.
Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that employs the patient’s immune system to combat the disease. Substances produced by the body or created in a laboratory are used to augment, enhance, or restore the body’s natural anti-cancer defenses. This cancer treatment is also known as biotherapy or biologic therapy.
Anal cancer is treated in various methods, depending on the kind and stage at which it has progressed. Sometimes physicians may recommend surgery, which is typically followed by radiation and chemotherapy, while other times, they recommend radiation and chemotherapy without surgery. The physicians will assist and advise, but the patient will make the ultimate choice.
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