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Anal cancer


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Anal cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the anus (where your bowel connects to the outside of your body).

Symptoms of anal cancer include bleeding, discharge, lumps and itching inside and outside the anus.

Most anal cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common virus you can get from sex or skin-to-skin contact of the genital area.

It’s not always possible to prevent anal cancer. Having the HPV vaccine, using a condom during sex and quitting smoking may help.

To check for anal cancer, you may have a test where a thin tube with a camera is put into your bottom and a small sample from your anus is removed.

Anal cancer can usually be treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, depending on the size of the cancer and how far it has spread.

Page last reviewed: 08/03/2021
Next review due: 08/03/2024