The anus is an organ that lies at the end of the digestive tract below the rectum. It consists of two sections: the anal canal and the anus or anal verge. The anal canal is a cm long structure that lies between the anal sphincter one of the muscles that controls bowel movements just below the rectum and the anal verge which represents the transition point between the digestive tract and the skin on the outside of the body. Muscles within the anal canal and anus control the passage of stool from the rectum to outside the body. Cancer is when cells grow in an uncontrolled way which can lead to a tumor forming. Anal cancer is a malignant cancerous tumor of either the anal canal or anal verge.
Long term outcome after combined modality treatment for anal cancer
Standard treatment for anal cancer stages I-III usually involves a combined use of chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy alone is the standard treatment for stage IV anal cancer, although radiation is sometimes used as well. Radiation for anal cancer typically recurrent anal cancer may focus on areas where the cancer has progressed. We will discuss the short-term side effects and long-term side effects ,and at the end of the page we provide suggestions for how to build your care team and who should be included. The care team after treatment is important for managing side effects after anal cancer treatment. Please note that the short-term side effects listed on this page may apply to all radiation to varying degrees.
For many people with anal cancer, treatment can remove or destroy the cancer. The end of treatment can be both stressful and exciting. For other people, the cancer might never go away completely. Some people may need to get treatments to try and help keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with cancer that doesn't go away can be difficult and very stressful.
If you have symptoms of cancer contact your doctor. Read our information about coronavirus and cancer. Most side effects of radiotherapy to the anus gradually go away in the weeks or months after treatment.