Cancer has become one of the most widespread diseases all over the world. It causes unbearable symptoms as well as very aggressive treatments that people can’t stand. Still, one form of cancer is especially overlooked. It’s anal cancer and in this article, we’re going to discuss more about it.
What Is Anal Cancer?
This form of cancer appears at the opening of a person’s anus or in other words, at the end of the rectum.
Quick distinction: Don’t confuse anal cancer with colorectal cancer! Colorectal cancer is a type which affects the rectum as well as the complete large intestine, but anal cancer only affects the opening of the rectum.
The location is the main reason for the overlooking of this type of cancer. This body part can’t be seen very well or examined every day. People don’t even think about it when they talk about cancer. Because of that, they may ignore some of the warning signs or symptoms that appear in them. This topic is also embarrassing for some people. Ignoring the symptoms can make the disease worse.
Quick Facts About Anal Cancer
Almost 8,000 Americans become diagnosed with anal cancer every year. Even 1,000 will probably die as a result of this form of cancer.
1 in 10 people with anal cancer usually become diagnosed after it has started to spread to their other organs.
It isn’t a very frequent form of cancer, but it starts to increase. According to researchers, not visiting the doctor on time because of symptoms that weren’t noticed is one of the main reasons to overlook anal cancer.
6 Most Common Symptoms of Anal Cancer
It’s extremely important to be able to identify anal cancer during its earliest stage. This is very difficult since some of the symptoms are very hard to present. Still, make sure you are careful about these symptoms:
- Anal bleeding
- Unusual discharge from anus
- Tenderness or pain in the anus
- Itching in the anus
- Unusual bowel movements
- A hard area or a lump around or outside of anus
The cause for the appearance of anal cancer is unclear. There are some factors which can increase the risk of developing this kind of cancer, like: cigarette smoking, frequent irritation of the anus or a compromised immune system.
People over 60 are at the greatest risk. They comprise about 80% of the cases of anal cancer. But, men under 35 can also develop anal cancer. In women, it is most likely to appear over 50.
As soon as you reach this age, make sure you visit a specialist for a complete examination regularly just to make sure that you’re healthy.
How To Detect Anal Cancer Early?
If anal cancer is detected at the earliest stages, it can be overcome. Many procedures can help you detect it. Some of the best ones are:
Digital Rectal Exam
This method includes using the digits of your fingers for examination. The doctor uses a lubricated glove on one of the hands and searches the anal cavity with the fingers to discover any lumps or similar abnormalities.
During this procedure, the doctor uses an anoscope, which is a small, tubular instrument to get a more detailed look of your anus. It is usually done if the doctor suspects something abnormal discovered throughout the digital rectal exam.
Ultrasounds, Biopsies, MRIs, X-Rays, PET scans and CT Scans
These are all procedures that specialists use in order to detect anal cancer. But, they are followed with great controversy since it is believed that they can make the cancer spread.
The best thing you can do is to have get annual rectal exams. They can be really uncomfortable, but still, they are important for your overall health!
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