Rectum Cancer is one of the most aggressive types of cancer, especially if it is not detected in its early stages. Its favorable location makes it a taboo for the majority of the population is another reason why this type of cancer is often overlooked.
What is anal cancer?
Anal cancer develops in the opening of the rectum (anus) of a lump that is created by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the anus. Although not very common, it is often overlooked as the symptoms it gives are too embarrassing to discuss.
Anal cancer and colorectal cancer are two different types of cancer. Colo-rectal cancer affects the colon and rectum, while anal cancer only affects the opening of the rectum or anus.
Anal cancer affects nearly 8,000 Americans every year, of whom 1,000 die. One in four people is diagnosed with this type of cancer only after it spreads to lymph nodes, and one in ten people is diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other organs. Unfortunately, this type of cancer has been on the rise in recent years, although it is still rarer than colorectal, rectal or colon.
Anal Cancer Symptoms
As with any type of cancer, early detection of anal cancer is crucial to successful treatment. This, however, is not always easy since the symptoms it gives are not always present. Here are the symptoms you should never ignore:
- Itchy anus
- Sensation or pain in the anus
- Unusual bowel movements
- Anal bleeding
- Unusual flow through the anus
- A hardened area or lump near the anus
Although the exact causes of anal cancer are still unknown, some contributing factors include a weakened immune system, smoking, anus and frequent irritation. Anal cancer mainly affects adults over the age of 60. In addition, men younger than 35 years and women over 60 are also at a higher risk of developing colon cancer.
How to Detect Anal Cancer in its Early Stages :
As already mentioned, early detection is vital to successful treatment. Traditional medicine offers a number of methods to detect anal cancer and some of these include:
- Rectal examination : A doctor examines the anal cavity with his fingers for abnormalities or lumps in the anus.
- Anoscopy : This method gives a clearer view of the interior of the anus. It is done with an colonoscope, a small tubular instrument that the doctor inserts into his anus. This test is usually performed after the doctor has found no abnormality during the digital rectal exam.
- PET, MRI, CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds and biopsies are also methods used for the detection of anal cancer. These tests are controversially found by some people who claim they can cause anal cancer to spread.