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Anal Cancer Treatment

Our Treatment Approach

As one of the nation’s largest cancer centers, we care for more patients with anal cancer than most other hospitals. At MD Anderson, a team of experts personalizes your comprehensive care plan to be sure you receive the most effective treatment with the fewest possible side effects.

A team of anal cancer specialists, including oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and others as needed, focus on your treatment. They are supported by a group of specially trained nurses, nutritionists and social workers.

Most Advanced Therapies

We make every effort to preserve the sphincter without affecting control of bowel movements, and we use all means possible to decrease the risk of a colostomy.  However, if a colostomy is needed, highly qualified nurses help you make the transition and maintain your quality of life.

If you have anal cancer that has spread (metastasized) and/or have HIV or AIDS, we offer the most advanced treatments, as well as clinical trials (research studies) of new agents.

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

Anal cancer is treated in our:

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Our Anal Cancer Treatments

Anal cancer often can be treated successfully with chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy. If the cancer has spread (metastasized), a combination of therapies including surgery as well as participation in a clinical trial may be suggested.

The team of specialists focusing on your care will discuss with you the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including:

  • The stage of anal cancer
  • Where the tumor is in the anus
  • If you have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other immunosuppressed condition
  • If the cancer has just been diagnosed or if it has returned after being treated
  • Your age and general health

Your treatment for anal cancer will be customized to your particular needs. Treatments for anal cancer, which may be used to fight the cancer or help relieve symptoms, may include:


MD Anderson offers the most up-to-date and effective chemotherapy options to treat anal cancer.

Radiation Therapy

New radiation therapy techniques and remarkable skill allow MD Anderson doctors to target anal cancer tumors more precisely, delivering the maximum amount of radiation with the least damage to healthy cells.

For instance, some anal cancers can be treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This technique, which was developed at MD Anderson, precisely targets the cancer and causes less damage to healthy tissue.


Like all surgeries, anal cancer surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. MD Anderson’s surgeons are among the most skilled and renowned in the world. They perform a large number of surgeries for anal cancer each year, using the most advanced techniques.

If surgery is needed to treat anal cancer, your surgeon may use one of the following procedures:

Local resection: The tumor, along with some of the tissue around it, is surgically removed.

Abdominoperineal resection (APR): The anus, the rectum and part of the colon are removed through an incision in the abdomen. The end of the intestine is attached to an opening (stoma) in the abdomen. Body waste leaves this opening and is collected in a plastic bag outside the body. This also is called a colostomy.

Targeted Therapies

MD Anderson is leading into the future of cancer treatment by developing innovative targeted therapies. These agents are specially designed to treat each cancer’s specific genetic/molecular profile to help your body fight the disease. Many of the doctors who treat cancer at MD Anderson are dedicated researchers who have pioneered and actively lead national and international clinical trials with novel targeted agents.

Our Anal Cancer Clinical Trials

Since MD Anderson is one of the nation’s leading research centers, we’re able to offer clinical trials (research studies) of new treatments for anal cancer.

To find out more about clinical trials at MD Anderson for anal cancer, visit our Clinical Trials database or speak to your doctor.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center