ANAL cancer – a different disease to bowel cancer – is a disease few known about and even fewer want to talk about. Experts said one in five people don’t experience any symptoms of the cancer, which can make it even more lethal. Women are more likely to get it than men, but over the last ten years, Cancer Research UK said the number of people suffering with the disease has increased.
The anus is the part of the bowel that opens to the outside of the body from the rectum and measures about three cm. Around nine in ten cases of anal cancer are linked to the HPV infection – human papillomavirus – the same virus that causes the majority of cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis and oropharynx. Different types of HPV are classed as either high risk or low risk, depending on the conditions they can cause.
HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and people can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. This is why typical risk factors of the disease can include having multiple sex partners, having anal intercourse but can also include being HIV-positive. Symptoms of the disease can be similar to other problems, including haemorrhoids or anal fissures.
Seven signs of the disease include:
Blood in the poo
This is the most common symptoms of the disease – with half of all patients affected in this way.
Lumps around the anus could be a sign the disease. They can be confused with haemarrhoids – piles. Small lumps around the groin can also be an indicator of the disease.
An increase in the number of size of piles can also be a warning sign of anal cancer.
Pain in the anal area affects around 30 per cent of patients, charity Beating Bowel Cancer reports. Experts suggest swelling, persistent redness or soreness around the area could also be an indicator.
Difficulty in passing stools and extreme constipation are common symptom of the condition.Feeling a continuous urge to pass a motion, with no production, possibly with increased mucus can also be a warning sign. Difficulty controlling your bowels – also known as fecal incontinence – should be investigated by a doctor. (*Source: EXPRESS – Home of the Daily and Sunday Express Fri, Apr 28, 2017)
Cancer Research UK said one in three people have a sensation of a lump around the anus. It said: “Some people also experience severe itching – which is called pruritus, while others have a discharge of mucus from the anus.” But it is still important to report them to your doctor. “Depending on your symptoms, you may need to see a bowel specialist doctor.” Other risk factors of the disease include a history of cervical, vaginal or vulval cancer, age, lowered immunity, and people who have received organ transplants.