Why choose us for anal cancer care?
Anal cancer is a rare condition, but you can count on our doctors to carefully evaluate any symptoms you may have. Although the thought of anal cancer makes many people uncomfortable, seeking care at Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, could save your life.
Our cancer doctors (medical oncologists) regularly evaluate and treat this condition. This level of expertise enables us to deliver a higher level of care to more patients. Our skilled providers tailor therapies to your individual needs so you can focus on healing.
Anal cancer is one of the many forms of gastrointestinal cancer we treat. Get more information about our gastrointestinal (GI) cancer program.
What you need to know about anal cancer
- The anus is the last part of your digestive system. It is the opening through which stool exits the body. Anal cancer happens when damage occurs to cells in this area, causing abnormal cells to form and grow.
- One of the biggest risk factors for anal cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV). This disease spreads through sexual contact. You can lower your risk of HPV and anal cancer by receiving an HPV vaccination.
- Don’t let shame or embarrassment stop you from talking to a doctor about anal cancer. Catching it early allows you to receive timely care.
How to talk to your doctor about anal cancer
It’s natural to have a lot of questions after receiving an anal cancer diagnosis. We are here for you with the answers and reassurance you need.
You might want to ask your doctor about:
- Additional testing that may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis or plan treatments
- Cancer stage, the size of the cancer and if it is likely to spread
- Treatment options, including nonsurgical therapies for early-stage cancers
- Potential treatment side effects and what we can do to help you get relief
- Support to help you cope with the ways anal cancer may affect your daily life
Making care decisions can be challenging. Our team is here for you. We explain tests and treatments in ways you can understand and describe how they work. You can also bring family members or trusted friends with you for support.
We have experience treating these common and complex forms of anal cancer:
- Squamous cell carcinoma, the most common type of anal cancer, forms in the outer layer of anus tissue.
- Adenocarcinoma begins in the glands that help keep the anus moist, which are located just beneath the outer surface.
- Basal cell carcinoma occurs in deeper layers of anus tissue.
- Cloacogenic carcinoma develops in the part of the anus that’s farthest from the external opening.