Anal cancer

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Switzerland

Anal cancer is a rare condition. It is usually a squamous cell cancer that develops from skin cells. Some anal cancers are adenocarcinoma and are treated like rectal cancers.

The main risk factor for anal cancer is the papillomavirus . Common manifestations of anal cancer are anal pain, anal bleeding, itching, and even anal incontinence .

Diagnosis of anal cancer is based on clinical examination with biopsy and requires a CT scan of the chest and the abdomen, as well as an MRI of the pelvis. In some cases, a PET scanner may be required.

INFO +  Medical examinations in the radiology division

Anal cancer is rarely treated with surgery

Each cancer case is discussed during a weekly multidisciplinary meeting named tumor board  .

Treatment is based on radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy. Surgery is only rarely necessary and is reserved for patients with small lesions with a favorable prognosis (local excision) or even for patients with recurrence after non-surgical treatment (abdomino-perineal amputation). Sometimes, creation of an ostomy  to divert the intestinal content becomes necessary.

Adenocarcinoma
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Common cancerous tumor that develops from cells in a glandular lining or from the gland itself
Papillomavirus
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Sexually transmitted virus
Anal incontinence
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is defined as the involuntary loss of gas or stool
INFO + Anal incontinence 
Tumor board
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A meeting between specialists from several disciplines related to cancer, to determine the best possible treatment for each patient. 
INFO +  The Digestive Cancers Program
Ostomy
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The surgical connection of a segment of the digestive tract to the skin outside its natural location.
INFO +  Ostomy
Last update : 26/07/2021