What are the symptoms of anal cancer? Disease is on the rise in the U.S.


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 years ago  •  23 comments

By:    A. Pawlowski

What are the symptoms of anal cancer? Disease is on the rise in the U.S.
The vast majority of cases are associated with the human papillomavirus, but about three-quarters of American adults don't know HPV causes the disease.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

The United States is experiencing a “dramatic and concerning” rise in the rate of new   anal cancer   cases and deaths from the disease, particularly among young black men and elderly women, researchers reported Tuesday.

The incidence of squamous cell carcinoma of the anus — the most common type of anal cancer — rose 2.7 percent per year over a recent 15-year period, while anal cancer mortality rates increased 3.1 percent per year during that time.

At this rate, the disease can be considered as one of the fastest accelerating causes of cancer incidence and mortality in the U.S., said the study’s lead author Ashish Deshmukh, an assistant professor at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston.

“The rates are increasing very rapidly,” Deshmukh told the "Today" show. “It’s concerning. Traditionally, our perception of anal cancer has been that it’s one of the rarest forms of cancer and because of that, it’s neglected.”

Actress Farrah Fawcett, who   died of the disease in 2009 , was one of the first high-profile patients to talk about her diagnosis publicly.

Among some of the startling statistics: The risk of developing anal cancer was five times higher for black men born in the mid-1980s compared to those born in the mid-1940s. That may be because young black men are disproportionately affected by HIV, which raises the risk for developing the cancer, Deshmukh said.

The risk doubled among white men and white women born after 1960. The disease may surpass cervical cancer to become the leading human papillomavirus-linked cancer in elderly women, the study noted. One possible reason: Older people have weaker immune systems, impairing their ability to clear HPV from their bodies, and elderly women outnumber elderly men.

The proportion of cases diagnosed when the cancer had already spread to other parts of the body doubled, which suggests the rise in cases isn’t driven by more intense screening that would catch early-stage tumors, Deshmukh noted.

“It’s really hard to understand what might be causing the rise in incidence and mortality,” he added. Possible reasons include more risky sexual behavior in recent decades and the rise in obesity rates, which could be a factor, he said.

For the study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers analyzed data in U.S. cancer registries from 2001 through 2015. They also looked at causes of death from a database compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics over that time.

They found 68,809 cases of anal cancer and 12,111 deaths from the disease.

The vast majority of these cases are associated with the human papillomavirus, but about three-quarters of American adults don't know HPV causes the disease, a   recent study , also led by Deshmukh, found.

He called the findings “shocking.”

What is anal cancer?

It develops when malignant cells form in the tissues of the anus.

About 6,530 people are diagnosed with anal cancer each year, with 91 percent of the cases believed to be caused by HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How to prevent HPV-related cancers

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. Most sexually active adults in their 20s have been exposed to it, but for most, the infections clear up without causing harm, NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar said.

It’s important to remember the vast majority of people who have it don’t get anal cancer, the   American Cancer Society   said.

HPV also causes almost all cervical cancers and many cancers of the vagina, vulva and penis.

An   HPV vaccine   is available to protect against harmful strains of the virus and it’s the only vaccine that actually prevents cancer. The earlier you get it, the more effective it is, said Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician and the spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She recommended it for both boys and girls. "It's made an incredible difference," she said.

What are the risk factors for anal cancer?

Besides being infected with HPV, the   National Cancer Institute   says they include:

  • Having many sexual partners
  • Having anal sex
  • Being over 50
  • Experiencing frequent anal redness, swelling and soreness
  • Having anal fistulas (abnormal openings)
  • Smoking

What are the symptoms?

They can be uncomfortable to talk about with a doctor, but early detection is key:

  • Bleeding from the anus or rectum, which is often the first sign of the disease
  • Pain or pressure in the area around the anus
  • Itching or discharge
  • A lump near the anus
  • A change in bowel movements, like narrowing of stools

How is the cancer diagnosed?

It’s often found when a doctor performs a digital rectal examination — inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the lower part of the rectum to feel for lumps. That’s how   actress Marcia Cross’ cancer   was discovered during a routine medical appointment. She credits it for saving her life.

Thin, flexible instruments with lights and cameras can also help doctors take a closer look at any suspicious spots and a biopsy can determine if cancer is present.

Imaging scans are used to find if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

What is the treatment?

It depends where the tumor is located and whether it has metastasized.

Standard treatment includes radiation, chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumor.

Doctors can also remove the anus, the rectum and part of the colon in a major operation called an abdominoperineal resection.

It’s used only if other treatments don’t work or if the cancer comes back after treatment, according to the   American Cancer Society .

What is the outlook for patients?

As with all cancers, early detection is extremely important. More than 80 percent of patients whose anal cancer had not spread   lived for at least five more years   after diagnosis. That number dropped to 30 percent when the cancer had spread to the liver or lungs.


jrDiscussion - desc
Professor Guide
1  Tacos!    2 years ago
Doctors can also remove the anus, the rectum and part of the colon in a major operation called an abdominoperineal resection.

Well, that sounds pretty terrible.

PhD Guide
1.1  Freefaller  replied to  Tacos! @1    2 years ago
that sounds pretty terrible.

Yup that about covers it, not really much you can add

Professor Principal
2  CB     2 years ago

Wow! Very interesting video, Perrie. Very interesting topic. Uh-huh! Good call to get the 'word' out there! I am just going to jump in:

From the Food and Drug Administration website:

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted virus. It is passed on through genital contact (such as vaginal and anal sex). It is also passed on by skin-to-skin contact. HPV is not a new virus. But many people don't know about it. Most people don't have any signs. HPV may go away on its own-- without causing any health problems.

  • Who can get HPV?
  • HPV and Cancer
  • Is there a test for HPV?
  • Can I prevent HPV?

Who can get HPV?

Anyone who has ever had genital contact with another person may have HPV. Both men and women may get it -- and pass it on-- without knowing it. Since there might not be any signs, a person may have HPV even if years have passed since he or she had sex.

You are more likely to get HPV if you have:

  • sex at an early age,
  • many sex partners, or
  • a sex partner who has had many partners.

If there are no signs, why do I need to worry about HPV?

There are over 100 different kinds of HPV and not all of them cause health problems. Some kinds of HPV may cause problems like genital warts. Some kinds of HPV can also cause cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, or anus. Most of these problems are caused by types 6, 11, 16 or 18.

Is there a test for HPV?

Yes. It tests for the kinds of HPV that may lead to cervical cancer. The FDA approved the HPV test to be used for women over 30 years old. It may find HPV even before there are changes to the cervix. Women who have the HPV test still need to get the Pap test.

Can I prevent HPV?

FDA has approved vaccines that prevent certain diseases, including cervical cancer, caused by some types of HPV. Ask your doctor if you should get the HPV Vaccine.

What else can I do to lower my chances of getting HPV?

  • You can choose not to have sex (abstinence).
  • If you have sex, you can limit the number of partners you have.
  • Choose a partner who has had no or few sex partners. The fewer partners your partner has had -- the less likely he or she is to have HPV.
  • It is not known how much condoms protect against HPV. Areas not covered by a condom can be exposed to the virus.

Is there a cure for HPV?

There is no cure for the virus (HPV) itself. There are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause, such as genital warts, cervical changes, and cervical cancer.

What should I know about genital warts?

There are many treatment choices for genital warts. But even after the warts are treated, the virus might still be there and may be passed on to others. If genital warts are not treated they may go away, stay the same, or increase in size or number, but they will not turn into cancer.

HPV and Cancer

What should I know about cervical cancer?

All women should get regular Pap tests. The Pap test looks for cell changes caused by HPV. The test finds cell changes early -- so the cervix can be treated before the cells turn into cancer. This test can also find cancer in its early stages so it can be treated before it becomes too serious. It is rare to die from cervical cancer if the disease is caught early.

What should I know about vaginal or vulvar cancer?

Vaginal cancer is cancer of the vagina (birth canal). Vulvar cancer is cancer of the clitoris, vaginal lips, and opening to the vagina. Both of these kinds of cancer are very rare. Not all vaginal or vulvar cancer is caused by HPV.

What should I know about anal cancer?

Anal cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the anus. The anus is the opening of the rectum (last part of the large intestine) to the outside of the body

Sophomore Guide
3  katrix    2 years ago

Unfortunately, many parents refuse to get their kids vaccinated for HPV because theybelieve it will make their children more likely to have sex.

This "abstinence only education" mindview is killing people.

PhD Principal
3.1  Kathleen  replied to  katrix @3    2 years ago

My daughter and nieces were vaccinated.  Any vaccination that prevents cancer is something you don’t want to miss. 

Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
3.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  katrix @3    2 years ago


As a woman who had a stage 3 dysplasia (pre-cancer) from HPV, I can understand why many parents didn't want their daughters to have the vaccine. 

When my girls were of the age to get it, it was brand new. At that time, the vaccine was only tested on 18+year old women and not 10-year-old girls, because the AMA said it was unethical to test it on children. The irony is that it was unethical to test but not unethical to sell at $300 for the 2 shots to the same age group. Even my own ped had a hard time arguing with me about this. 

So I told my kids in order not to get HPV, use a condom, but always better to wait. 

We are only now getting to the age, where the first batch of kids who got the vaccine will know if the vaccine will interfere with reproduction in any way, which was my concern. Both of my daughters are now in the medical field and are grateful that I didn't take the chance with their future, 

I am hoping that the vaccine works for obvious reasons. I know I have to worry, like many women of our generation about another side effect from this virus. But as for the earliest kids who got this vaccine, only time will tell, if there are long term side effects, and I hope not. 

PhD Principal
3.2.1  Kathleen  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3.2    2 years ago

My daughters pediatrician waited 10 years before he started recommending it. My daughter got it when she was 17, so far she had no side effects. I lost my sister from Cervical Cancer, so I felt  like it was a gift to my daughter from my sister. I did not know where the reproductive information came from. Every doctor and midwife I spoke to recommended it. Now, if it was brand new and my daughter was very young, I would have waited.  

Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
3.2.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kathleen @3.2.1    2 years ago


17 is age-appropriate, and right before I sent my girls off to college ( they are identical twins) I offered them the option of getting the shot because I was worried about cervical cancer. They turned it down and opted for condoms and since they were already 18 it was out of my hands. 

I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. It must have been a huge shock to your family. Mine showed up on a routine pap, but still, I was shocked. Hence why I felt it was important to post this story.

PhD Principal
3.2.3  Kathleen  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3.2.2    2 years ago

I had forgotten about when they turn 18, mine is 19 now and it feels strange that you have to step back. Glad you did post it and I wish you good health in the future with your Paps.

Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
4  Release The Kraken    2 years ago

When the river runs red, don't take the dirt road detour.

Professor Principal
5  CB     2 years ago

It does appear there is information (an action) in this article for everybody to at least consider. This virus can pop up in other places in the body including and besides the anus.

Dean Moriarty
Professor Participates
5.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  CB @5    2 years ago

I'm a male what can be done? My research indicates they do not have a test to see if a male has HPV so how can they know it is the cause of cancer if they can't detect the HPV? What can a male do to prevent this cancer or HPV if he isn't sure that he has the virus or he thinks he might have it?  The vaccine is given to males between the age of 9 to 21 and it appears they will not give it to males over the age of 45.

Professor Principal
5.1.1  Ender  replied to  Dean Moriarty @5.1    2 years ago

A strange one. I read that most sexually active people come into contact with HPV yet it usually takes care of itself and goes away.

When I was young, never even heard of it. Now people get vaccinations for it.

Dean Moriarty
Professor Participates
5.1.2  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Ender @5.1.1    2 years ago

Yes and I was reading the vaccine is given to males between the age of 9 and 21 and they don't offer it to males over the age of 45. There is no available test for me to know if I'm a carrier and no vaccine available for men my age. 

PhD Principal
5.1.3  Kathleen  replied to  Ender @5.1.1    2 years ago

Not always, there are some strains that cause cervical cancer. 

PhD Principal
5.1.4  Kathleen  replied to  Dean Moriarty @5.1.2    2 years ago

It’s for the next generation, we are past that unfortunately.

Professor Principal
5.1.5  CB   replied to  Dean Moriarty @5.1    2 years ago

Perhaps Perrie, can share a point or two on your questions?

Hi Dean! I think and may remember being informed that most people of a "certain age" should simply assume exposure to HPV because-and I am going to be loose with my wording here-science had not known to warn us about this, and people were sexually expressing themselves in various activities across a wide spectrum' unto and touching its discovery. The real concern, besides the development of its cancerous intent, are two important points I have also heard: 

1.) You can get HPV is you only have sex activity once.

2.) It can linger in the body for indefinite number of years.

Professor Principal
5.1.6  CB   replied to  Dean Moriarty @5.1.2    2 years ago

Dean check this out from 2013:

Michael Douglas Cancer HPV says oral sex caused his throat cancer | NBC News Video on HPV Cancer


NOTE: This video (below) I have not completed listening to, still I want to add it here for 'discovery.'

Michael Douglas Speaks About His Battle With Cancer at the 2014 AHNS and IFHNOS Meeting

Dean Moriarty
Professor Participates
5.1.7  Dean Moriarty  replied to  CB @5.1.6    2 years ago


Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5.1.8  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Dean Moriarty @5.1    2 years ago

There is no routine test, but you can be checked for warts in those areas. If you have them, you have HPV. Usually, a cystoscopy is needed and I think worth it. 

Professor Principal
5.1.9  CB   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1.8    2 years ago

Thanks Perrie!

Dean, I got this from the link provided by Perrie! I drop it here for emphasis.

Treatments for HPV Infection in Men

There is no treatment for HPV infection in men when no symptoms are present. Instead, doctors treat the health problems that are caused by the HPV virus.

When genital warts appear, a variety of treatments can be used. The patient can apply prescription creams at home. Or a doctor can surgically remove or freeze off the warts.

Early treatment of warts is discouraged by some doctors because genital warts can go away on their own. It can also take time for all warts to appear. So a person who treats warts as soon as they appear may need another treatment later on.

Anal cancer can be treated with radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. The specific treatments depend on the stage of cancer -- how big the tumor is and how far the cancer has spread.

PhD Principal
6  MrFrost    2 years ago

What a shitty way to go. 

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Freshman Silent
7      2 years ago

I find it kind of surprising how many young black males are affected by this. Are that many of them really taking it up the butt? I didn't think that would be the case since homosexuality is often ridiculed in their communities....


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