Anal cancer is a condition in which malignant (cancerous) cells divide and grow uncontrollably in the tissues of the anus and anal canal. Located at the end of the large intestine, below the rectum, this is the region of the body through which solid waste is eliminated. Anal cancer is relatively rare – far less common than cancers of the colon or rectum. It is most common among women in their early 60s, though men who have same-sex partners also have a high risk of developing the condition. Anal cancer has a significant link to the human papilloma virus (HPV), though other risk factors have been identified as well.
Most anal cancers develop in the mucosa – the inner lining of the anal canal, an area roughly an inch and a half long that connects the rectum with the anal verge (the place where the anal canal meets the external skin of the anus). However, many different kinds of tumors can develop in the anus and anal canal, and not all of them are malignant. Benign tumors (noncancerous), however, can develop into cancer over time.
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Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program takes a unique approach to treating anal cancer by assembling a multispecialty team of experts that meets weekly to develop and monitor the progress of an individualized treatment plan for each patient. This collaborative team includes:
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Interventional oncologists
- Endoscopy specialists
Each of these experts brings a highly specialized medical understanding to the diagnostic, treatment and patient care process. Our oncologists have extensive experience in treating anal cancer and know which treatment strategies work best given the health and age of the patient, the dynamics of the individual tumor and other variables. Plus, our researchers work diligently each day through our vigorous clinical trials program to find new, more effective treatments to help overcome anal cancer and prevent it from returning. For these reasons and more, Moffitt has been named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute – the only cancer center based in Florida to have received this designation. When you entrust your cancer treatment to the experts at Moffitt, you know you are in good hands.
Contact Moffitt Cancer Center by calling 1-888-MOFFITT or by filling out our convenient online patient registration form to learn more about anal cancer and the ways in which we can help you fight it. No referral is required to meet with our oncologists specializing in anal cancer.