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.
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.
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