Miami Cancer Institute’s renowned gastrointestinal cancer specialists combine medical expertise and compassionate care to provide the best treatment options for our patients. Our anal cancer specialists have access to a range of cutting-edge technologies to diagnose and treat your specific cancer, with the goal of creating a personalized plan that effectively treats your cancer, while preserving your body’s functionality and your quality of life.
Our multidisciplinary team consists of internationally renowned oncologists who focus on the whole patient, from diagnosis, to treatment, to post-cancer life. Each individualized anal cancer care plan includes innovative treatments and services, such as nutritional advice and physical rehabilitation and pain management, to address your whole journey as a patient. Not only do we focus on the treatment that is right for your cancer, we focus on the treatment that is right for you as a patient. In some cases, a clinical trial may be available to treat your cancer. Your care team will work closely with you to find a trial that fits your cancer type and stage.
What is anal cancer?
Various types of tumors can form in the anus, the opening at the lower end of the large intestine that exits the body. Tumors of the anus can be malignant (cancerous), benign (non-cancerous), and precancerous (which can turn into cancer). Anal cancer is more common in women than in men because more women have the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a predisposing factor to the disease.
What are the types of anal cancer?
Anal cancer is often classified according to where in the anus it develops, whether in the anal canal or in the anal margin, which is the outer opening. Treatment often depends on where the cancer is located. Anal cancer that is confined to the inner surface layer of the anus is called carcinoma in situ (CIS) or Bowen disease. This type of cancer is often classified as precancerous.
Cancer that spreads beyond the anus is known as invasive anal cancer. These can be:
- Adenocarcinomas, which are commonly found in the cells of the tissue lining the rectum.
- Squamous cell carcinomas
- Basal cell carcinomas
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs). These tumors are a form of sarcoma that are found in the intestinal tract.
Risk factors for anal cancer
Several risk factors for anal cancer exist. These include:
- Being over 50 years old
- Having had multiple sexual partners
- Practicing anal sex
- Using tobacco products
- A history of cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer
- Being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Having HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus
- Using immunosuppressive medications