Anal Cancer | Miami Cancer Institute | Baptist Health South Florida
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Three generation family supporting benign blood disorder patient at Miami Cancer Institute

Anal Cancer

When treating anal cancer, Miami Cancer Institute’s highly qualified care team makes every effort to preserve your bodily function and quality of life.

Several types of tumors may be found in the anus, including malignant (cancerous), benign (non-cancerous) and precancerous (may develop into cancer). Anal cancer occurs more often in women than men because more women have human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a risk factor for the disease.

Anal Cancer Risk Factors

Several factors have been found to increase the risk of anal cancer, including:

  • Over age 50
  • Many sexual partners
  • Anal sex
  • Tobacco use
  • History of cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Immunosuppressive drugs

Symptoms of Anal Cancer

Anal cancer often does not have symptoms. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Anal bleeding or discharge
  • Change in bowel habits or stool appearance
  • Lump close to the anus
  • Pain or pressure around the anus
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin area

Miami Cancer Institute’s diagnostic specialists use the most advanced technology and minimally invasive techniques to diagnose anal cancer. If you have symptoms of anal cancer, your doctor will perform a physical exam and review your health history, including lifestyle habits and family history.

You also may have one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Imaging tests, such as X-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI and PET scans, colonoscopy, proctoscopy, anoscopy,
  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy, to see if the cancer has spread
  • Laboratory tests, such as blood, urine or stool tests, measure the amount of certain substances released by organs, tissues or tumor cells in your body
  • Laparoscopy, which enables your physician to view organs inside your abdomen

Treatment for anal cancer is most successful when delivered by specialists with extensive experience using the most advanced techniques. Your treatment may include:

  • Surgery, to remove the tumor and affected tissue
  • Chemotherapy​, to destroy cancer cells and control their growth
  • Medication, to relieve and reduce pain
  • Radiation therapy, which precisely targets the cancer and causes less damage to healthy tissue
  • Targeted therapy​, which uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells, blocking their growth and spread
  • Clinical trials, which may offer access to new treatments

Experts in our Cancer Patient Support Center collaborate with your care team to provide you with supportive therapies in areas such as psychosocial oncology, pain management, integrative medicine, nutrition and exercise and rehabilitation.