Anal Cancer Awareness Month & Ribbon
Cancer that originates at the anus - end of the rectum is called Anal Cancer. The disease occurs more commonly in older adults and men.
The most common symptom of anal cancer is severe itching in the anal region. Pain, pressure, bleeding or unusual anal discharge and lump near anus are the other common symptoms of this condition. The bowel movements are also affected.
Anal infection from HPV is a major cause of anal cancer. Immuno-compromised patients are also more susceptible to this disease. Other reasons include receptive anal intercourse.
Digital rectal examination, procedures for hemorrhoids and such routine procedures may reveal anal cancer. After this initial discovery other procedures such as anoscopy and endorectal ultrasound are conducted. To detect the type of cancer, biopsy is done. To determine the stage of the cancer CT scan, MRI and liver function tests are conducted. PET scan is not necessary here.
Anal cancer can be prevented by practicing safe sex, taking HPV vaccinations – Gardasil and Cervarix for males and females respectively. Gardasil can be used for both genders, but Cervarix is meant only for women. A healthy lifestyle can prevent its occurrence too.
Side effects from radiation and chemotherapy include nausea, depression, sleep disorders and fatigue. These can be helped by using alternative medicine under the guidance of the physician.