Anal Cancer Treated by Cancer Doctors in Baltimore
At Mercy, our physician team works closely with patients to completely assess their condition and determine the best treatment options. Our medical oncologists and colorectal specialists collaborate to treat oncologic concerns such as anal cancer.
Anal cancer is a rare form of cancer that occurs in the anal canal, located near the end of the rectum. Anal cancer develops when healthy cells grow at an abnormal rate and then develop into a tumor or a mass.
Anal cancer has been linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. HPV is found in a large number of anal cancers and it is the most common source.
Because anal cancer symptoms are similar to other common conditions like hemorrhoids, patients tend to put off seeing the doctor in a timely manner. When diagnosed at an early stage anal cancer is treatable.
Anal cancer symptoms may include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Anal pain
- A tumor or mass in the anal canal
- Irritated itching in the anal area
The doctor will perform a physical exam and obtain a thorough medical history.
The exam may include several tests:
- Digital exam of the rectum or anal canal
- Endoscopy exam
- Ultrasound to create a picture to see if there is any abnormality
- Biopsy to determine if cells are cancerous
After confirming a diagnosis of anal cancer, the doctor then will determine the stage of your cancer. To determine the stage of cancer, additional tests and procedures may be performed to see if the cancer has spread.
These tests may include:
- Chest X-ray
Many factors are used to determine the best treatment options for anal cancer including general health, the stage of anal cancer and a patient’s personal preferences.
Usually, treatment for anal cancer is chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Your doctor may recommend surgery along with the chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatment.