Anal Cancer Awareness

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Anal cancer awareness is vital to understand the causes and treatment relating to the anal cancer. Cancer is a disease, which mainly occurs due to the unexpected cell behavior. In this disease, the body cells grow uncontrollably and disturb the cell growth mechanism. They also harm the adjacent tissues by intruding and destroying them. These destructive cells spread rapidly to the other parts of the body through the bloodstream and the lymph. Cancer is mainly caused due to the environmental factors or the hereditary genetic causes.

Understanding the anal cancer

Anal Cancer Awareness Ribbon

The bowel in the human body starts with an opening called as anus and the bowel movements are mainly controlled by the sphincter. Sphincter is a ring of muscles controlling the bowel movements. Anal canal is an area connecting the rectum and the anus and is around 4 cm long. Anal cancer mainly starts in the anus.

Anal is formed partly from the intestine and partly from the skin. Skin surrounding the anus is called as perianal area. Tumors detected in the perianal area must not be confused with the anal cancer as they come under the category of the skin cancer.

Anal cancer causes

Anal cancer awareness cannot be understood thoroughly without knowing the causes for the disease. Following are some of the important anal cancer causes relating to the disease.

  • Smoking- Smoking is definitely injurious to the health. It decreases your body resistance considerably and makes you prone to the anal cancer. Smoking is also a common cause for all other types of cancer. Chain-smokers are more prone to the disease than the normal smokers.
  • Tobacco chewing- Tobacco chewing is another major cause of cancer. It affects your body badly and disturbs the cell growth mechanism.
  • Anal sex- The activity is highly injurious to the health. It may lead to the infections, skin irritations or injuries further making you prone to various kinds of diseases. Chances of the anal cancer in such cases are high as the activity is directly related to the anal system.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) - HPV is the cause for the majority of the anal cancer cases. Getting infected by the HPV has a close connection with your sexual activities. Having many sexual partners will increase the chances of getting infected with the HPV.

It must be understood that getting infected by the HPV doesn't necessarily lead to anal cancer but makes you prone to it. In the United States, around 6 million people suffer from the HPV infection annually but the cases of anal cancer are well below ten thousand. But ninety percent of those suffered from the anal cancer worldwide were HPV infected.

  • Benign anal lesions- This is another important cause of the anal cancer and is mainly related to the bowels.
  • Poor immunity- A strong immune system protects you from infections and diseases and helps in systematic cell functioning. Poor immune system makes you more prone to diseases like cancer. A proper and healthy lifestyle is the key to proper immune system. Regular dosage of medicines to improve your health is of little use if your eating habits are not proper.

Anal cancer symptoms

Anal cancer early signs and symptoms are easy to find and can be detected quite early. The most important and primary symptom is the bleeding. You must consult your doctor immediately if the anus is bleeding. Ulcers around the anus must be taken seriously as they can spread to the buttocks.

Uneasy movement of the bowels or the discharge of the mucus (jelly like substance) from the anus can also be a good symptom. Anal pain or discomfort also needs the immediate medical attention and can help to detect the anal cancer.

Anal cancer diagnosis

Anal cancer awareness can help you better to understand the various techniques to diagnose the disease. Some of the commonly used techniques are as under.

  • Internal examination of the back passage by a medical examiner
  • Biopsy- a thin tube is passed through the back passage to pick some sample cells from the tumor. The cells are further examined to detect the chances of cancer.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computerized tomography) scan- A detailed picture of the inside body is taken for further examination. The process is absolutely painless and harmless.
  • X Ray- This is the most commonly used technique to examine the body and detect the spread of the tumor.

Anal cancer stages

The disease goes through the various stages and can be treated completely if detected in the early stage. In the first two stages, the cancer normally restricts itself to the anus and doesn't affect or spread to the nearby areas. In the third stage, the cancer spreads to the nearby areas like the lymph, rectum or the organs like the vagina or the bladder. In the fourth stage, the cancer may spread to the other parts of the body including the liver.

Anal cancer treatment

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the common forms of treatment to control tumors. Surgery can also be done to treat small tumors. In advanced anal cancer stages, surgery can also be done simultaneously with the chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Surgery can be of two types as abdominoperineal resection or the local resection. In the abdominoperineal resection, the anus and the rectum are removed. A local resection surgery is done by removing only the area affected by the cancerous cells. There are many other forms of treatment based on the nature of the anal cancer and its stage. Also, the pattern of treatment may vary from person to person depending upon his abilities to sustain the nature of treatment and his response to the prescribed medicines.

Anal cancer awareness is very helpful in diagnosing and treating the cancer in time. Anal cancer is not a common form of cancer and is detected among only a small number of people worldwide. But it is a type of cancer and can be fatal if the symptoms are taken lightly.

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