There different anal cancers. Some anal cancers can be easily recognized because they have symptoms and signs that lead people to see their specialist. Unfortunately, some anal cancers cannot be detected until they reach an advanced stage because they may not cause any symptoms or signs. There are also some anal cancers that can cause symptoms like those of diseases different than cancer. These cannot be diagnosed in the first phase because there is a delay of diagnosis.
A type of cancer that begins at the opening of the rectum (anal) is called anal cancer. The worst thing about this type of cancer is that this cancer is often unnoticed by almost everyone because of the location. In most cases, people who experience the symptoms of anal cancer are embarrassed to talk about their problem with their family or with their specialist.
The chances that anal cancer can be detected and diagnosed in earlier stages depend on the type and location of cancer. Sometimes they begin higher up in the rectum canal and are hard to be diagnosed because they don’t send any symptoms in the first phase. Anal cancers spread faster than other cancers, making it harder to detect them early.
Colorectal cancer and anal cancers are two different cancers. Anal cancer affects only the beginning of the rectum, but colorectal cancer affects the whole large intestine and rectum.
According to the statistics, more than 8,000 Americans are diagnosed with anal cancer every year. Unfortunately, 1,000 of them will probably die from it. Statistically, 1 of 4 people is diagnosed after the disease has already spread to lymph nodes, and 1 of 10 people are diagnosed with cancer has spread to other organs.
The number of people who suffer from anal cancer has grown rapidly in the last few years.
The Symptoms of Anal Cancer!
Sometimes, it is very hard to detect anal cancer in the first stage, because usually there are not any common symptoms that time. But, when anal cancer progresses, it causes many different symptoms such as:
- Swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin areas
- Rectal bleeding
- A lump or mass at the anal opening
- Rectal itching
- Pain or a feeling of fullness in the anal area
- Abnormal discharge from the anus
- Narrowing of stool or other changes in bowel movements
You should be very careful and you shouldn’t panic because these symptoms can also be caused by non-cancer conditions like anal warts, fissures, and hemorrhoids.
However, if you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately visit your doctor so that the cause can be detected and treated.
The main reason for anal cancer is unclear in most cases. But there are some factors like smoking that increase the risk of anal cancer. People who are older than 60 have an increased risk of developing anal cancer. Men under 35 and women older than 50 have a higher risk of developed anal cancer.
How to Detect Anal Cancer Early?
Detecting anal cancer during its early stages is very important. There are many techniques that can reveal the presence of anal cancer. Some of them:
- Digital Rectal Exam – The doctor first checks at the outside of the anus to find out whether you have fissures and hemorrhoids. When he is ready with this, he puts on a special latex glove and with a lubricated finger examines the rectum to look for lumps or any other abnormalities.
- Anoscopy – This is a method when a small, tubular instrument known as an anoscope is inserted a few inches into the anus so the doctor can check whether you have tumors, infections, hemorrhoids, anal polyps, or anal fissures. This procedure is usually performed when the doctor finds something abnormal during the digital rectal exam.
- Biopsies, CT scans, ultrasounds, x-rays, MRIs and PET scans – All procedures that can be used to detect the presence of anal cancer. But, all of these procedures are surrounded by controversies as a result of many studies which suggest that they either cause or spread cancer.