Early treatment of anal cancer promises positive outcomes, but if you ignore anal cancer symptoms, you’ll most likely need to have major surgery. If you have any symptoms of anal cancer, the highly experienced team of oncologists at Wellness Oncology & Hematology in West Hills and Tarzana, California, can help. Their specialist physicians have considerable expertise in diagnosing and treating anal cancer and excel in preserving the anal sphincter wherever possible. Call Wellness Oncology & Hematology to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.
Anal cancer is a condition that affects the anal canal, which is the short section at the end of your rectum where stools come out. It’s an unusual cancer that tends to develop in patients who have a sexually transmitted infection called the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Doctors believe that HPV is the cause of most cases of anal cancer, but additional risk factors include:
Anal cancer develops from mutated cells that multiply continually, forming growths in the anal canal. Cancerous cells can also spread to other tissues, but this rarely happens with anal cancer. If it does spread, it can go to the liver and lungs and becomes significantly more difficult to treat.
Symptoms of anal cancer include:
If you can feel a lump in your anal canal, get it checked out at Wellness Oncology & Hematology. The team does a physical exam and takes a biopsy of any suspicious tissue. They might also do an ultrasound to get detailed images of the tumor and the soft tissues in the anal canal.
The most common treatment of anal cancer is a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
You can take chemotherapy medicine orally or have injections. The drugs travel all around your body in your bloodstream, destroying all the most rapidly growing cells, including the cancer cells. Radiation therapy involves receiving high doses of radiation from X-rays or protons that kill cancer cells.
Most patients have radiation therapy for 5-6 weeks, with chemotherapy as well in the first and fifth weeks. Combining the two treatments produces better results than using one treatment on its own. Unfortunately, it can mean you experience some unpleasant side effects like nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and anal soreness.
If your tumor is a small, early-stage growth, the team at Wellness Oncology & Hematology might be able to remove it without damaging the anal sphincter. That means your ability to hold in stools isn’t affected.
Larger tumors that don’t respond to other treatments may need an abdominoperineal (AP) resection, which involves removing your anal canal, rectum, and a part of your colon. You’ll need to use a colostomy bag to collect digestive waste for the rest of your life.
Wellness Oncology & Hematology's medical oncologists, Dr. Shaye, Dr. Lashkari, and Dr. Ho create a personalized treatment plan to help every patient fight anal cancer. As well as established treatments, they consider all possible and emerging therapies to fight the spread of anal cancer and cure it, to improve your overall health and prolong your life.
If you have any symptoms of anal cancer, call Wellness Oncology & Hematology today or book an appointment online.