Cancer is one of the most widespread diseases in the world, and it causes symptoms that are unbearable. The treatments are very aggressive and often times people can’t stand them.
Still, there is one type of cancer that is overlooked, and in this article, we are going to talk about it.
What is anal cancer?
This is a form of cancer that appears at the end of the rectum. But, don’t confuse it with colorectal cancer, because colorectal cancer is a type that affects the rectum and the complete large intestine, whereas anal cancer will only affect the opening of the rectum.
The reason why this type of cancer is often times overlooked is because the location it appears in, which is a part of the human body that cannot be examined every day, and cannot be seen very well. When people talk about cancer, they don’t even think about this cancer type, and that is why they will often time ignore the symptoms and the warning signs of this dangerous disease. This is also a topic that some people find embarrassing, and by ignoring or failing to recognize the symptoms, they are essentially making the things even worse.
Quick facts about anal cancer
Around 8,000 Americans are being diagnosed with anal cancer every year. About 1,000 of them will die as a result of this disease.
1 in 10 people that are suffering from this cancer type, will usually become diagnosed after the disease has already started to spread to the other organs.
It is not a type of cancer that is very common, but it is starting to increase. The researchers say that when patients are not visiting their doctors on time because they fail to recognize the symptoms, is the main reason why this cancer type is often times overlooked.
Most common symptoms of anal cancer
Being able to identify anal cancer is very important, especially in its earliest stage. This can be very tricky because the symptoms are very hard to be recognized. But nevertheless, you need to make sure that you are looking for these symptoms:
- Anal bleeding
- Tenderness or pain in the anus
- Unusual discharge from the anus
- Itching in the anus
- A lump or a hard area around or outside the anus
- Unusual bowel movements
It is unclear what is the reason for the appearance of anal cancer. There are factors that can increase the risk of developing this cancer type, like frequent irritation of the anus, a compromised immune system or excessive smoking.
The group of people that are most affected by this cancer type are people over 60. In fact, as much as 80 percent of the people that are suffering from anal cancer are people over 60 years of age. But, that does not mean that men under 35 cannot be affected by this disease. Also, anal cancer is most likely to appear in women over 50.
How to detect it early?
If you are able to detect this disease in its early stages, you can overcome it. There are many techniques that will help you detect it, and we are going to show you the best of them:
Digital rectal exam
This is a method where the doctors use a lubricated glove on the hand, and searches the anal cavity with the fingers, in order to find any lumps or other abnormalities.
In this method, the doctor will use an anoscope, which is a small tubular instrument. It is done in cases where the doctors suspect some abnormalities which have been found throughout the digital rectal exam.
Biopsies, ultrasounds, CT scans, PET scans, X-Rays and MRIs
These procedures are used by specialists in order to find and detect anal cancer. But, there are some experts that believe that this form of examination can only make the disease spread faster.
The best thing that you can do when you get to the ages that we mentioned above, is to have an annual rectal exam. They are really uncomfortable but do not forget that they are very important for your overall health.