Cancer has become one of the most widespread diseases all around the world. It causes unbearable and painful symptoms as well as extremely aggressive treatments that people cannot stand.
Still, one form of cancer is especially overlooked. That is the anal cancer and we will discuss it in depth.
What is Anal Cancer
This form of cancer appears at the opening of the anus, or in other words, at the end of the rectum. Do not confuse anal cancer with colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer which affects the rectum as well as the large intestine, while the anal cancer on the other hand affects the opening of the rectum. The location is the main reason for overlooking this type of cancer.
This body part cannot be seen very well or examined every day. People do not even think about it when they talk about cancer in general.
Because of that, many people might ignore the warning signs or symptoms that appear. This topic is also embarrassing for some people. However, ignoring the symptoms can make matters a great deal worse.
Quick Facts about Anal Cancer
Almost 8,000 Americans become diagnosed with anal cancer every year. Even a 1,000 of them will probably die as a result of this form of cancer. 1 in 10 people with anal cancer usually become diagnosed after it has started to spread to their other organs.
It is not a very frequent form of cancer, but it does start to increase. According to researchers, not visiting the doctor on time because of symptoms that were not noticeable is one of the main reasons to overlook anal cancer in the first place.
6 Most Common Symptoms of Anal Cancer
It is of utmost importance to be able to identify anal cancer during its earliest stage. This is very difficult since some of the symptoms are very hard to present.
Still, be on the lookout for the following symptoms.
- Anal bleeding
- Unusual discharge from anus
- Tenderness or pain in the anus
- Itching in the anus
- Unusual bowel movements
- A hard area or a lump around or outside of anus
The cause for the appearance of anal cancer is still unclear. There are some factors which can increase the risk of developing this type of cancer, such as smoking, frequent irritation of the anus or a compromised or weakened immune system.
People over 60 are at greater risk. They comprise about 80 percent of the cases of anal cancer. However, men under 35 years can also develop anal cancer.
In women, it is most likely to appear over 50. As soon as you reach this stage, make sure you visit a specialist for a complete examination regularly just to make sure that you are healthy.
How to detect anal cancer early
If anal cancer is detected at the earliest stages, it can be properly dealt with. Many procedures can help you to detect it. Some of the best ones are:
Digital Rectal Scan
This method includes using the digits of your fingers for examination. The doctor uses a lubricated glove on one of the hands and searches the anal cavity with the fingers to discover if there are any lumps or similar abnormalities present.
During this procedure, the doctor uses an anoscope, which is a small, tubular instrument to get more detailed look of the anus. It is usually done if the doctor suspects there is something abnormal discovered during the digital rectal scan.
Ultrasounds, Biopsies, MRIs, X-Rays, PET Scans and CT Scans
These are all procedures that specialists rely on in order to detect anal cancer. They are followed with extreme controversy since it is believed that they can make the cancer spread because of radiation.
The best thing you can do is to have annual rectal exams. They can be really uncomfortable, but they are important for your health.