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Anal Cancer

Our Approach

MD Anderson’s Colorectal Center treats more patients with anal cancer than most other cancer centers in the nation. This depth of experience and expertise sets us apart, enabling us to offer you the most accurate diagnosis methods and the very latest treatments for anal cancer.

Your care plan is customized by a team of renowned anal cancer specialists. They work together to ensure the most-advanced therapies with the fewest possible side effects. During treatment and beyond, they are supported by specially trained nurses, social workers, nutritionists and others.

Our high level of experience in minimally invasive and sphincter-sparing surgeries and other innovative techniques can help many people with anal cancer. We offer the most advanced therapies for every type of anal cancer, including in people with HIV and AIDS. Because we know quality of life is important, we make every effort to preserve the sphincter, without affecting control of bowel movements.

Leading-Edge Treatment and Research

As one of the world’s largest cancer research centers, MD Anderson is leading the investigation into new methods of anal cancer diagnosis and treatment. You benefit from the most advanced research and a range of clinical trials of new agents.

And, at MD Anderson you’re surrounded by the strength of one of the nation’s largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers. We have all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with anal cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Advanced anal cancer treatments including sphincter-preserving and minimally invasive surgery, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and leading-edge chemotherapy and targeted therapies
  • Novel chemotherapy and targeted therapies for anal cancer
  • Special expertise in complex types of anal cancer, including in people with HIV or AIDS
  • Higher level of experience in anal cancer than most other cancer centers
  • Clinical trials of new anal cancer treatments

Anal Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

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Anal Cancer Facts

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 5,000 people are diagnosed with anal cancer in the United States each year. Unfortunately, this figure is increasing. The average age of people diagnosed with anal cancer is the early 60s. It occurs slightly more often in women than men because more women have human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a risk factor for anal cancer. Anal cancer often can be treated successfully if it is found early.

The anus, which is about 1-1/2 inches long, connects the rectum (lower part of the large intestine) to the outside of the body. It allows solid waste (also called stool or feces) to pass from the body. The sphincter is two muscles that open and close the anus to let waste pass. The anus is lined with squamous cells, which also are found in the bladder, cervix, vagina, urethra and other places in the body.

Anal Cancer Types

Several types of tumors may be found in the anus. While some of them are malignant (cancer), others are benign (not cancer) or precancerous (may develop into cancer). The main types of anal cancer are:

Carcinoma in situ is early cancer or precancerous cells. They are only on the surface cells of the anal canal. This also may be called Bowen’s disease.

Squamous cell cancer (carcinoma) forms in the cells that line the anus. This is the most common type of anal cancer.

Adenocarcinomas develop in the glands around the anus.

Skin cancers, including basal cell and melanoma, often are found when they are in advanced stages.

If you have anal cancer, it is important to be seen by expert doctors. We can help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center