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Understanding Anal Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Anal cancer starts quietly and might mimic haemorrhoids.

Dr. Zoran Milenković, a gastroenterologist, warns that anus cancer has a fatality rate comparable to other malignancies, even though it is uncommon.

Rare anus cancer. Only 3% of digestive tract cancers and 1% of all malignancies are malignant. Anal cancer is treatable, and the five-year survival rate is 70%.

Anal Cancer Commonly Mislocalizes.

Malignant tumours of the anal canal are anal cancer. A muscular ring connecting the puborectal muscles with the internal and external anal sphincters defines the anal canal, the terminal section of the large intestine. In an eKlinika interview, gastroenterologist Dr. Zoran Milenković said it stretches from the anus to the ampoule.

Our interlocutor argues that the architecture of the anal area as the last segment of the gastrointestinal system and unique anatomical and histological characteristics frequently lead to tumour localization mistakes. Thus, rectum carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas of the anal area are commonly called anal carcinomas, according to him. Incomplete incidence and prevalence statistics result


Understanding Anal Cancer

Anal Cancer Kinds

Epithelial tumours (intraepithelial neoplasia and carcinomas), malignant melanoma, and non-epithelial cancers include anal canal tumours (sarcomas, lymphomas, etc.)

80% of anal carcinomas are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). 5-10% are adenocarcinomas. Adenocarcinomas might be rectal, anal fistula, or glandular. Squamous cell carcinoma is more common than adenocarcinoma due to the anal canal’s squamous-layered epithelium and potential causes. A gastroenterologist says anal margin malignancies, which are skin tumours, are classified as such.


HPV, HIV, and Anal Cancer

Dr. Zoran Milenković says anus cancer rates vary geographically. It is also greater in nations with higher rates of cervical, vulva, and penile cancer, he says.

Human papillomavirus infection may cause various malignancies. HPV types 16 and 18 trigger a complicated inflammatory process and carcinogenesis in about 80% of anal cancer cases. Immunodeficiency, especially HIV, increases anus cancer risk. Dr. Milenkovic believes HIV patients have a 40-fold greater risk of anal cancer than the general population:

Anal Cancer Risks

Male gays have the greatest illness risk. With HPV infection, anal cancer or anal sex was greatest in this group. Smoking, age, and a history of treating anal condylomas (warts) are further risk factors. Anus cancer is more common in elderly women over 70 years old (over 60 percent of cases).

Most nations have a 2 per 100,000 anal cancer rate. Thus, 51,000 anal cancer cases were reported worldwide in 2020, including in our nation.

Anal Cancer, Hiding Symptoms

Dr. Zoran Milenković says anal cancer symptoms are often distinct, atypical, and non-specific. He said the initial signs are anal pressure, inflammation, and pain. If these symptoms don’t intensify, sufferers ignore them.

They typically ascribe them to hemorrhoidal illness, other non-specific observations, or delay reporting to the doctor owing to the unpleasantness of the symptoms and the body area where they reside. Up to 20% of patients are examined six months after symptoms start. The condition causes anus discomfort, itching, purulent or bloody discharge, tumour tissue prolapse or ulceration, and sores. Patients with anal sphincters may have incontinence or constipation. The doctor mentions perianal infections, abscesses, and fistulas with locally progressed tumours.

How are anal exams and diagnostic techniques confirmed?

Local disease and disease stage are discovered while diagnosing anus cancer. Anamnestic data plus a simple physical examination are used to diagnose anus cancer.

It involves anal inspection, digitorectal examination, anoscopy, and inguinal examination. 25% of individuals had enlarged inguinal lymph nodes on their initial checkup. Biopsy and pathohistological confirmation follow a tumour suspicion. The gastroenterologist says this removes smaller tumours altogether.

Post-PH tests

After pathohistological confirmation, chest and abdominal CT scans indicate illness stage. To determine metastasis. Dr. Milenkovic thinks little pelvic MR will indicate local expansion. Endoscopic ultrasonography and lymph gland puncture are also done.

In women with a locally advanced malignancy, a gynaecological exam is needed to rule out vaginal involvement. Treatment and sequence depend on disease stage. Dr. Zoran Milenković reports that just 5% of anus cancer patients had metastases during the first examination.

Anal cancer treatment:

The main treatment for anus cancer is radiotherapy or combination chemoradiotherapy, according to eKlinik portal experts. Even tiny cancers without local or distant dissemination respond well.

Local recurrences need surgery. Only local progression—recurrence—progresses metastases. Dr. Zoran Milenković highlights the importance of local disease management with therapy in anal cancer treatment and prognosis.

Anal cancer spreads—what then?

Before chemoradiotherapy, a protective colostomy is performed if the illness has spread locally, vaginally, or stenosed the anal canal.

Local recurrences need surgery. A monitoring and control procedure is needed to detect recurrence and evaluate chemoradiotherapy. Recurrence surgery may increase 5-year survival to 60%. It involves rectum amputation (often with a more extensive resection of the tissues of the small pelvis and resection of adjacent organs, for example, the vagina). The gastroenterologist says local excision may remove tiny cancers.

How long should treated patients be monitored?

From 8 weeks to 6 months following radiation treatment, Dr. Milenkovic monitors tumour regression. He says local recurrences usually emerge within three years after treatment. Thus, patients should be followed twice a year for two years, three years, and five years following therapy.

The gastroenterologist recommends morphological approaches (CT, MR, occasionally PET CT) for follow-up and differential diagnosis of probable recurrence (fibrosis, scarring after radiation). Pathohistological verification of the change is also needed. About 40% of anus cancer patients have distant metastases (mostly in the liver and lungs), which worsens their prognosis, according to the expert (five-year survival is about 30 percent).

Good treatment, 70% five-year survival.

Dr. Zoran Milenković believes anus cancer is treatable and has a 70% five-year survival rate.

Although uncommon, their mortality is comparable to other malignant illnesses. Even modest anal symptoms and pain may indicate a malignancy, not haemorrhoids. Hemorrhoidal illness diagnoses over a third of malignancies. Anal and digitorectal examinations may rapidly diagnose patients with comparable problems. Our portal interlocutor notes that a general practitioner can accomplish this.

Preventing Anal Cancer

Smoking cessation, HPV vaccination, and sexual protection prevent anus cancer. In an interview with our site, gastroenterologist Dr. Zoran Milenković recommended more regular monitoring of immunosuppressed patients, those with HPV or anal condylomas, and HIV patients.


Disclaimer: This article is for Educational Purpose only

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