About precancer and anal cancer
Anal cancer begins when healthy cells in or on the anus change and grow out of control, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but won't spread. At first, the changes in a cell are abnormal, but not yet cancerous. Researchers believe, however, that a number of these abnormal changes are the primary step during a series of slow changes which will cause cancer.
Types of anal cancer
The anus is formed from differing types of cells, and every type can become cancerous. There are several different types of anal cancer based on the type of cell where the cancer began:
Ø Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of anal cancer. This cancer begins within the outer lining of the anal canal.
Ø Cloacogenic carcinoma accounts for about 25% of all anal cancers. Anal cancer arises between the outer a part of "> a part of the anus and therefore the lower part of the rectum. Cloacogenic cell cancer likely starts from cells that are almost like epithelial cell cancer, and it's treated similarly.
Ø Adenocarcinoma arises from the glands that make mucous located under the anal lining
Ø Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that can appear in the perianal (around the anus) skin.
Ø Melanoma begins in cells that produce color found in the skin or anal lining.
Anal Cancer: Symptoms and Signs
People with anal cancer may experience the subsequent symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with anal cancer don't have any of those changes. Or, the explanation for a symbol could also be a special medical condition that's not cancer.
Ø Bleeding from the anal area
Ø Pain or pressure in the anal area
Ø Itching or discharge from the anus
Ø A lump or swelling near the anus
Ø A change in bowel habits or change in the diameter of the stool
Anal Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention
A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the event of cancer, most don't directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them together with your doctor may assist you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.
The following factors may raise a person’s risk of developing anal cancer:
Ø Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Research shows that infection with this virus may be a risk factor for anal cancer. Sexual activity with someone who has HPV is the most common way someone gets HPV. There are different types of HPV, called strains. Research links some HPV strains more strongly with certain sorts of cancers. There are vaccines available to protect you from some HPV strains.
Ø Age. Most people diagnosed with anal cancer are between age 50 and 80.
Ø Frequent anal irritation. Frequent anal redness, swelling, and soreness may increase the danger of developing anal cancer.
Ø Anal fistula. An anal fistula is an abnormal tunnel between the anal canal and the outer skin of the anus. The tunnel often drains pus or liquid, which may soil or stain clothing. An anal fistula may irritate the outer tissues or cause discomfort. An anal fistula may increase the danger of developing anal cancer.
Ø Cigarette smoking. Smoking tobacco can cause harm throughout the body. Chemicals from the smoke can enter the bloodstream and affect nearly every organ and tissue in the body. Smokers are about 8 times more likely to develop anal cancer than nonsmokers.
Ø Lowered immunity. People with a disease or condition affecting the immune system—such as human immunodeficiency (HIV) or organ transplantation—are more likely to develop anal cancer. People who take immunosuppressive drugs that make the immune system less able to fight disease are also more likely to develop anal cancer.
Different factors cause different types of cancer. Researchers still check out what factors cause anal cancer, including ways to stop it. Although there's no proven thanks to completely prevent this disease, you'll be ready to lower your risk. Talk together with your health care team for more information about your personal risk of cancer.
Ø Talk with your doctor about HPV vaccination. The HPV vaccine Gardasil is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for prevention of anal cancer. Learn more about cancer vaccines.
Ø Avoid anal sexual intercourse, which carries an increased risk of HPV and HIV infection.
Ø Limit the number of sex partners. Having many partners increases the risk of HPV and HIV infection.
Ø Use a condom. However, albeit condoms can protect against HIV, they can't fully protect against HPV.
Anal Cancer: Diagnosis
Doctors use many tests to seek out , or diagnose, cancer. They also do tests to find out if cancer has spread to a different a part of the body from where it started. If this happens, it is called metastasis. For example, imaging tests can show if the cancer has spread. Imaging tests show pictures of the within of the body. Doctors can also do tests to find out which treatments could work best.
This section describes options for diagnosing anal cancer. Not all tests listed below are going to be used for each person. Your doctor may consider these factors when choosing a diagnostic test:
Ø The type of cancer suspected
Ø Your signs and symptoms
Ø Your age and general health
Ø The results of earlier medical tests
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