Anal cancer occurs when irregular cells develop and reproduce in your anal canal. Anal dysplasia is a situation identified by abnormal changes in your cells — it is a prototype of anal cancer. On the other hand, anal cancer treatments involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, abdominoperineal resection, and immunotherapy.
The anal canal links your anus to your rectum and this section is approximately 1 to 2 inches long. It is the portion of the body that passes solid waste or poop. Anal cancer is also known as carcinoma of the anal canal.
Squamous cell carcinoma- the most common type of anal cancer. This appears to be the same as common skin cancer in the microscope, but anal cancer is entirely different. Another type of anal cancer is adenocarcinoma.
It is essential to note that anal cancer is diverse from rectal and colon cancer. These are three distinct diseases and are treated in different ways.
What are the different symptoms of anal cancer?
Around a quarter of the individuals with anal cancer do not see any symptoms. When they exist, anal cancer symptoms can be:
- Bleeding in the rectum, specifically in the bowel movements.
- A mass or lump.
- Pain and itching.
- Observe a change in your gut or bowel movements like recurrence or consistency of your stools.
- Leaking stool.
- Feeling like you continuously require a bowel movement.
Causes of anal cancer
The correct cause of anal cancer is not known. All the same, there are some risk factors linked to the disease. For instance, most anal cancer conditions are connected with HPV or Human Papilloma Virus. But it is significant to note that many people with HPV do not have anal cancer.
Treatments for anal cancer
Anal cancer treatment is based on what cancer type it is and how far it has gone. The most regular treatments are surgery to eliminate early-stage cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy for stage two or three anal cancers, APR (abdominoperineal resection), and immunotherapy for people with stage four anal cancer.
1. Early-stage cancer surgery
Early-stage cancer does not enter your anal wall and can be cured by completely taking out the affected skin. Even a few smaller tumors that have developed into the anal wall can be eliminated with surgery. These smaller tumors generally do not need additional chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment. This surgery is known as local excision.
2. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy
Chemotherapy employs drugs to fight off cancer cells. Some chemotherapy can be taken orally, whereas other medications should be provided by your vein or as a vaccine to your muscle.
Radiation therapy employs a tool that sends high-power X-rays or molecule streams to cancer cells in the body.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy work in sync for the highest effectiveness. Your healthcare service provider will modify your treatment plan as per your particular needs.
3. APR or Abdominoperineal resection
There is a surgical treatment known as APR or abdominoperineal resection. This anal cancer treatment removes cells from your anus, rectum, and big intestine by dissection into your abdomen. APR might also eliminate lymph nodes that have turned out cancerous. APR is utilized when cancer does not react to different methods or if cancer comes again. If you have APR, you will require a long-lasting ostomy. In this condition, a portion of your colon is removed, and the residual part opens into the stoma on your belly. A pouch encloses the stoma. Thus, stool can come out of your body.
4. Cancer immunotherapy
Your healthcare expert may suggest immunotherapy with or without chemotherapy to treat stage four anal cancer symptoms. Immunotherapy employs medicines to improve your immune system to kill cancer cells more efficaciously.
Is there any side effect of anal cancer treatment?
All treatments may include some side effects. If you have any problems with the side effects of any treatment, please make sure to discuss it with your healthcare expert. He will be able to help you get different methods of coping.
How much time does it take to recover from anal cancer treatment?
The duration of anal cancer treatment relies on many factors, such as at what stage your disease is, the treatment you get, and your complete health. Ensure you talk to your healthcare specialist about what to consider in your condition.
Prevention of anal cancer
There is not an effective method to confirm you do not get anal cancer, but you can protect yourself by decreasing some risk factors like:
- Stop smoking if you do!
- Follow the safe sex rule if you are involved in anal sex.
- Get the vaccine for HPV or Human Papilloma Virus. This vaccine stops not only anal cancer but also different types of cancers such as mouth and throat, cervical and penile cancer.
Diagnosis of anal cancer can be daunting. It is significant to understand everything about your situation. So that you can make better decisions about your longstanding health, and, if you have any anal problem, you can talk to healthcare experts about diagnosis and possible anal cancer treatments.