The anus helps eliminate waste outside the body as it forms the opening at the lower end of the intestines. When cells in the anus start multiplying abnormally, it results in anal cancer. Depending upon where the anus cancer begins, anal cancer can be of two types– cancer of the anal canal and cancer of the perianal skin.
Over 90% of all anal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Other rare anal cancers are adenocarcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. Though the exact cause of anal cancer is unknown, some common risk factors that increase one’s risk of developing this condition are:
Bleeding from the anus, lump or growth near the anus, pain or pressure around the anal region, change in bowel movements and itching or discharge from the anus are some common symptoms of anal cancer.
A multidisciplinary team of specialists evaluates diagnostic test results and determines the most suitable treatment plan for you. Surgery is usually not the first line of treatment for anal cancer. When surgery is recommended, local resection and abdominoperineal resection are two procedures for anal cancer treatment.
During surgery for anal cancer, only the cancerous portion or the part of the anus affected by cancer is removed. The entire anus and adjoining part of the intestine may be removed if your cancer recurs. You may be given a stoma or pouch to collect waste. This procedure is called a colostomy.
Your doctor will discuss the benefits vs risks of undergoing surgery for anal cancer. Feel free to discuss any concerns you have about this procedure. If you need more clarity, ask your doctor for a second opinion.
Surgery may be recommended for your anal cancer in the following clinical scenarios:
The cost of anal cancer treatment in the UK depends upon several factors. For most people, the treatment cost comprises services like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, medication, travel expenses, doctor visits and symptomatic management costs.
If you have been recommended surgery for your anal cancer, it adds to the overall cost of your treatment. The price of anal cancer surgery will also include a few days of hospital stay and follow-up visits post-surgery. Check with your insurance provider if your health policy covers surgical and hospital stay costs.
Other treatment options for anal cancer are; Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, and Immunotherapy.
Radiation therapy external and internal radiation therapy is used for anal cancer. The type of radiation therapy you require will depend upon the type and stage of your cancer. Radiation therapy is used for stage II and III anal cancers after surgery.
Chemotherapy routinely used for anal cancer treatment, it is combined with radiation therapy (chemoradiation) to treat stage II, III and IV anal cancers. It is the preferred treatment for stage IV anal cancers to relieve symptoms and prolong life.
Immunotherapy treatment uses drugs to stimulate the body’s immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells effectively. The right immunotherapy drugs will be determined by your doctor based on the type of receptors on the anal cancer cells.
The treatment varies for recurrent anal cancers. Your doctor will inform you about each treatment option’s benefits and side effects, making it easy to make informed decisions about your anal cancer treatment.
If you are looking for an appointment with the top anal cancer specialist near you or need a priority appointment for a second opinion from the best oncologists in the UK, we can help you! Reach out to us; our cancer care team will help you with your anal cancer care needs.