Possible Symptoms and Signs of Anal Cancer
If you’re dealing with anal cancer, the following symptoms may occur:
- Anal bleeding;
- A constant or recurring itching;
- A constant or recurring painful feeling in the anal area;
- You feel as if there is a lump or a mass in the anus;
- There are changes in the functioning of your bowel. You may need to visit the toilet more or less often than usual. Moreover, there is an increased strain during bowel movement;
- The diameter of your stool narrows;
- You may notice abnormal discharge from the anus;
- Your lymph nodes located either in the groin or in the anal area are swollen.
More than half of the patients dealing with anal cancer notice bleeding that, in the majority of cases, is the first symptom of the cancer. Do not forget that the symptoms that occur in case of anal cancer may coincide with the ones that occur due to different diseases. The list of the diseases that may cause the same symptoms involves hemorrhoids, fissures, fistulas and anal warts. Therefore, you’re strongly recommended to talk everything over with your doctor.
Risk Factors in Case You’re Fighting Against Anal Cancer
The most common risk factors in case of anal cancer are the following:
- HPV or human papilloma virus infection. If there is a chronic infection or a high-risk type of HPV, you may face anal cancer. Approximately 86 to 97 % of anal cancer cases are due to HPV. HPV-16 is considered to be guilty of the majority of anal cancer cases occurrence. If you’re injected the HPV vaccine, you may avoid the disease in future. It may be also interesting for you to read the information on the recent increase in the number of HPV-related cancers.
- HIV infection. Those people who suffer from HIV, that may result in AIDS, are more prone to being diagnosed with the cancer.
- A history of receptive anal intercourse. Those men and women (especially, if they are under 30) who have had receptive anal intercourse are more likely to have anal cancer in future.
- Cases of cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer also make a person more prone to the disease since the reason for them is the same – HPV infection.
- The functioning of your immune system being lowered. Those people whose immune system doesn’t function 100 % the way it should, are more likely to get ill with the cancer. For instance, a person has recently undergone a surgical operation and now there is a need for him or her to take particular drugs that aim to suppress the immune system.
- Dealing with chronic local inflammation. Patients who have fistulas or open wounds that don’t heal for a long time have a bit increased risk of facing the cancer.
- Your age. In two-thirds of all cases, anal cancer is diagnosed in people who are older than 55.
- Smoking and tobacco use. If you have this bad addiction, you’re more prone to facing the disease in future. At the same time, your risk will significantly decrease if you give it up.
- Your race and gender. Afro-Americans (especially men) face the cancer more often than Europeans do. In overall, these are exactly women who are more prone to it than men.