February 24, 2023
Anal cancer starts in the anus or rectum, which are part of the digestive system. It occurs when cells in the anus or rectum grow uncontrollably and form a tumor. Anal cancer can spread to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of the body if not treated in time.
Anal cancer is considered a rare type of cancer, but its incidence has been increasing in recent years. It is more prevalent in some demographics, such as older adults, those with a history of HPV infection, weakened immune systems, or a family history of specific genetic abnormalities. Additionally, people with a history of other cancers like cervical or vulvar cancer are more likely to develop anal cancer.
During a physical examination for anal cancer, a healthcare provider will examine the anus and rectum for any lumps, masses, or other abnormalities. Physical examination is typically done in combination with other diagnostic tests, such as imaging tests, to help determine if cancer is present. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that the physical examination is not only for diagnosis but also to track the progress of the treatment and detect recurrences.
A Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) is a procedure that is used to examine the rectum and the lower portion of the colon for any abnormalities. It is typically done as part of a routine physical examination for people over 50. Also, people who have symptoms such as rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits, undergo this examination.
It is a procedure used to examine the anus and lower rectum. This process is done in combination with other diagnostic tests to determine whether or not cancer is present. Anoscopy is a major diagnostic tool for anal cancer and other conditions of the anus and rectum. It can help to detect abnormal growths or lesions early on when they are most treatable.
A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the anus or rectum and examined under a microscope to determine if cancer is present. Different types of biopsies can be performed on the anus and rectum, including incisional, excisional, endoscopic, and transrectal techniques. Recovery time after a biopsy is usually short and most people can resume their normal activities within a day or two.
Imaging tests are used to produce pictures of the inside of the body and can help to detect and diagnose anal cancer. Some common imaging tests used for anal cancer include - CT scan (computerized tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PET (positron emission tomography) scan, and ultrasound.
Surgery is a common treatment option for anal cancer, and the type of surgery generally depends on the stage and location of the cancer.
Local excision: This is a procedure in which the cancerous cells or tissues and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue are removed.
Wide local excision: Under this procedure, a larger amount of surrounding healthy tissue is removed.
Abdominoperineal resection (APR): In this procedure, cancer and the entire anus and rectum are removed.
Pelvic exenteration: Here the process includes the removal of cancer and the entire anus, rectum, bladder, and some or all the pelvic lymph nodes.
Also known as radiotherapy, this treatment option for anal cancer uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy are of 2 main types which are as follows:
External beam radiation therapy: It is given from a machine outside the body.
Brachytherapy: This is given from a small, radioactive source that is placed inside the body, close to the cancer affected area.
Radiation therapy can cause side effects, such as fatigue, skin changes, and diarrhea.
In Chemotherapy, drugs are used to kill cancer cells. The drugs given under the therapy travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells all over the body. Chemotherapy is often administered in cycles, with a rest time following each treatment session to allow the body to heal.
The side effects associated with this therapy are nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, and an increased risk of infection.
Targeted therapy uses drugs to target specific molecules or proteins that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. It can cause side effects, such as rash, diarrhea, and high blood pressure. Undoubtedly, it can be an effective treatment option for anal cancer, but it may not be suitable for all patients. The best treatment for a patient will depend on the stage and location of the cancer, the patient's overall health and the tumor's genetic makeup.
Anal cancer makes for only 2.7% of all gastrointestinal cancers reported in the United States, making it a relatively uncommon cancer. However, the incidents of anal cancer have increased in recent years. Therefore, it is essential for those who have a higher chance of acquiring anal cancer to be aware of the signs and undergo routine screenings. To receive any assistance related to anal cancer, contact Advanced Cancer Treatment Centers in Brooksville in Brooksville, Florida and schedule an appointment.