Anal cancer is one of the most overlooked cancers a person can get. This is mostly due to its unfortunate location, which kind of makes it embarrassing to talk about. Just imagine going to the doctor’s office and asking for an anal examination – of course, the doctor is going to do it, as it is his job to take you seriously, but some people do find the whole ordeal kind of upsetting. Anyway, today we are going to list 15 different early-warning signs of anal cancer, so perhaps that is going to help in preventing this deadly form of cancer.
Anal Cancer is Often Overlooked
As with all other cancers, the sooner a cancer is detected, the easier (and higher chances of success) the treatment. Sadly, due to its location, anal cancer is often overlooked by people and even doctors who may be too ashamed to talk about it.
It Is One of the Most Aggressive Forms of Cancer
Here is where things get worse – while anal cancel is one of the most overlooked forms of cancer, it is also one of the most aggressive forms. This means that once a few cells start to form, the cancer can rapidly grow and expand in the area around your anus.
There Are Two Different Rectum Cancers
There are actually two different cancers that affect the rectum – they are called “anal cancer” and “colorectal cancer.” The difference is in the location where they grow; otherwise, they caused by the same things, and have a similar growth pattern.
Developing From a Lump
The first type of rectum cancer, called “anal cancer,” developed at the opening of the rectum, from a small lump that is created by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the anus. Colorectal cancer, on the other hand, can affect both the colon and the rectum.
1 in 8 People Diagnosed, Will Die
Although anal cancer is somewhat rare in occurrence (about 8,000 people get it every year in the United States), there is a more worrying statistic to talk about – out of those 8,000 people, about 1,000 are going to die. That is a rate of 1 in 8.
Spreading to Lymph Nodes
Another worrying statistics about anal cancer is that 1 out of 4 people that have this type of cancer, are only going to get diagnosed after the cancer has spread to their lymph nodes. In an even worse case, 1 out of 10 people are going to get diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other organs.
It Is Not as Frequent as Other Cancer Types
While there are a lot of ugly statistics about the deadliness of anal cancer, at least we can find some comfort in knowing that anal cancer is not as frequent as some of the other cancers in that area – such as colon, rectal or colorectal cancer.
Symptoms of Anal Cancer
Although there are some indicators of anal cancer that can help you catch the cancer before it spreads, it is important to know that sometimes this type of cancer can start growing for some period of time without displaying any kind of symptoms.
List of Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of anal cancer can be “pain or tenderness in the anus, itching in the anus, anal bleeding, other unusual discharge from the anus, the presence of a lump or hard area near outside of the anus, unusual bowel movements.”
In Many Cases, the Cause is Unknown
Just like most other cancers, the exact cause may not be known in many cases. There are certain lifestyle choices that can increase your chances of having any type of cancer, so it would be wise of you to implement the lifestyle changes listed on the next pictures if you want to improve your chances.
Frequent Irritation of the Anus
If you have frequent irritation of the anus (due to any cause, such as infections, having hemorrhoids or other medical complications) that can increase the chances of having certain cells mutate, and start growing a small tumor in your rectum.
Just like most other cancers, cigarette smoking can often be ” the last straw to break the camel’s back.” This means that although smoking alone may not cause anal cancer if your body has other medical complications, every negative thing you do in your day could be the one last step needed to develop cancer.
Having a Compromised Immune System
Many people that develop anal cancer could be carrying the HIV virus. That alone is not a problem, but if the virus causes you to have a compromised immune system that can greatly increase the chances for bad mutations in your rectum to cause a cancerous growth.
People Over 60 Are At Risk
People that are over the age of 60 are at the greatest risk of developing anal cancer. One statistic shows that over 80% of people who develop anal cancer are over this age. Over the age of 50, women are more likely to develop anal cancer than men.
Regular Checkups Can Save Your Life
One of the keys to beating anal cancer is to have regular checkups. Some tests for anal cancer may be invasive, but that is why there are some non-invasive methods your doctor can use in order to check you up. One of those methods is doing an X-ray.