Anal cancer originates in the anal canal and is an uncommon type of cancer. However, the risk of developing anal cancer increases with age. Therefore, “it is essential to have a fundamental understanding of this disease and its treatment options”, says Dr Purnendu Bhowmik, the best anal cancer doctor in Kolkata.
Approximately about 50% of all anal cancers are diagnosed before cancer spreads beyond the primary site. 13% – 25% are diagnosed after cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, and 10% are diagnosed after cancer has spread to distant organs.
Upon early detection, anal cancer treatmentcan be effective.
Treatment for Anal Cancer
There are various treatment options available for anal cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
- Surgery – If the cancer tumour is small and located in the perineal area, a local resection can be effective. It is an operation that only removes the tumour and, in most cases, saves the sphincter muscles that controls the passage of stool.
Laparoscopic anal canal cancer surgery has a growing track record for providing safe treatment for locally advanced tumours. It is a minimally invasive procedure with numerous advantages like – reduced need for painkillers, faster recovery of bowel function, shorter length of stay, and less blood loss. However, the procedure is not easy to perform and have a steep learning curve. “It demands the expertise of a trained surgeon,” says Dr Purnendu Bhowmik.
- Radiation Therapy – Intensity-modulated radiation therapy is the most common type of radiation treatment for anal cancer. This procedure allows radiation to be shaped according to the cancer area to be treated. Radiation therapy for localized anal cancer ensures a greater than 70% likelihood of five years survival rate.
- Combination of Chemo and Radiation Therapy – Combination of lower doses of radiation therapy and chemotherapy is the primary treatment for stage 1, 2, 3A and 3B anal cancers that are too extensive for local resection. The combination treatment in most cases ensures 5-year survival without colostomy for over 75% of stage I, 65% of stage II, and 40% to 50% of stage 3 anal cancer cases.
- Palliative Care – For patients with stage 4 anal cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy can be used as palliative care to reduce symptoms.
Consult a Doctor
If you notice the following symptoms of anal cancer, consult Dr Purnendu Bhowmik, the best anal cancer doctor in Kolkata.
- Rectal Bleeding
- Itching in the area surrounding the rectum
- A lump at the anal opening
- A feeling of fullness and pain in the anal area
- Changes in bowel movements
- Abnormal anal discharge
- Loss of bowel control
The symptoms can indicate other non-cancerous conditions like haemorrhoids; however, it is essential to let a doctor conduct the necessary tests to rule out the possibility of cancer.