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 and/or have HIV or AIDS, we
offer the most advanced treatments, as well as clinical trials of new
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
- Location of the tumor 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:
Anal cancer surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. MD Anderson surgeons 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.
MD Anderson offers the most up-to-date and effective chemotherapy options to treat anal cancer.
New radiation therapy techniques allow MD Anderson doctors to target anal cancer tumors more precisely, delivering the maximum amount of radiation with the least damage to healthy cells.
Some anal cancers can be treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This technique precisely targets the cancer and causes less damage to healthy tissue.
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.
MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials offering
promising new treatments that cannot be
found anywhere else.
Find the latest news and information about anal cancer in our
Knowledge Center, including blog posts, articles, videos, news
releases and more.
May 29, 2014
When people learn that I have cancer, they usually appear saddened and offer me encouragement, often adding how good I look. When they learn that I have stage IV cancer, their sadness deepens, and they tell me how sorry they are. When they discover that I have stage IV anal cancer, they appear shocked and either shut up or ask in hushed voices how I "caught it."
After four years, you would think I'd be used to the...