Anal cancer symptoms can be elusive, and may not appear in the earliest stages of the condition. There have been cases in which anal cancer caused no outward signs at all. However, in cases where there are symptoms, bleeding from the anus and/or bloody stools may be the first signs to appear. Often, people will assume that rectal bleeding is associated with hemorrhoids – a fairly common cause of the symptom. However, physicians recommend that any bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stools be checked, just in case it is being caused by something more serious.
Other potential anal cancer symptoms are also connected with other, benign conditions. However, if a person is experiencing one or more of these issues, a medical professional should be consulted to ensure that the symptoms are not associated with malignancy (cancer). Some of these warning signs include:
- Itching in or around the anus
- A lump or mass at the anal opening
- Narrowing of the stool or other changes in bowel movements
- A feeling of pain or pressure in the anal area
- Abnormal discharge from the anus
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take symptoms like these very seriously. The multispecialty team within our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program will discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing, and we never require a referral. If the symptoms point toward the possibility of anal cancer, we can begin the diagnostic process immediately, all within our state-of-the-art cancer center. For those who are diagnosed with anal cancer, our collaborative tumor board will meet right away, and every week thereafter, to evaluate the condition and treatment plan as long as the patient is under our care. We can help manage every step of the patient’s progress, and we can coordinate treatment with the patient’s primary physician to ensure that proper follow-up care continues once the cancer is in remission.
If you have questions about anal cancer symptoms, or you want to consult with our anal cancer team about other related concerns, contact Moffitt Cancer Center by calling 1-888-MOFFITT or by using our online patient registration form.