Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Anal Carcinoma Treatment

The treatment for anal cancer depends on whether the cancer has spread to tissue around the anus. A person with anal cancer may undergo surgery to remove a small tumor, while chemotherapy or radiation therapy is used to treat tumors that have spread beyond the anus. Chemotherapy drugs kill rapidly growing cancer cells. Radiation therapy uses x-ray beams to destroy cancer cells. A course of radiation therapy and chemotherapy may require weeks or months.

A person with a large anal cancer tumor may require surgery to remove the entire anus. In this case, the surgeon connects the end of the intestine to the abdominal wall, forming a colostomy. Stool passes through the colostomy, and is collected in a bag that is attached to the abdomen.

Treatment for anal cancer may include:

Anal Carcinoma Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of anal cancer.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • Will I need occupational therapy?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
  • Are my children at risk for this condition?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Anal Carcinoma Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat anal cancer:

Anal Carcinoma Surgery

There are two main types of surgery for anal cancer:

  • Local surgery:
    • Removes the tumor from the anus without opening the abdomen.
    • This is performed when the cancer is confined to the tissues of the anus.
  • Abdominal surgery:
    • Opening the abdomen to remove large tumors and lymph nodes.
    • If the anus and rectum are completely removed, the person will need a colostomy.

Continue to Anal Carcinoma Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Anal Carcinoma References
  1. Clark MA, Hartley A, Geh JI. Cancer of the anal canal. Lancet Oncol. 2004 Mar;5(3):149-57. [15003197]
  2. Sato H, Koh PK, Bartolo DC. Management of anal canal cancer. Dis Colon Rectum. 2005 Jun;48(6):1301-15. [15793642]
  3. Welton ML, Sharkey FE, Kahlenberg MS. The etiology and epidemiology of anal cancer. Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2004 Apr;13(2):263-75. [15137956]
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