Anal Cancer: The New Gay Epidemic The Media Won’t Talk About

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Anal Cancer is said to be the gay community’s next big crisis, according to The Los Angeles Times. In fact, the American Cancer Society describes the future for the gay community as grim due to this catastrophe. The organization also estimates that by the end of this year, there will be an additional of 8,200 new anal cancer cases. 

 

The worst thing is that over 50% of these cases will be diagnosed at stage III or IV due to the absence of national screening recommendations. These cases have less than 40% on a 5-year survival period. Hence, this is what creates major public health concern, as well as the looming depression cases that come along with anal cancer.

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A study shows that anal cancer results from HPV, a sexually transmitted virus. The reason of its wide affliction and susceptibility in the gay community is all in under wraps. In fact, the society is always dancing around the topic. What’s sure enough though is that women who engage in anal sex have a higher risk of contracting anal HPV, based on a study. There are also undisclosed non-sexual causes of anal HPV that are entirely vague and confusing – meaning more research and study is needed.

 

Since the topic of anal cancer and anal HPV seems to be a taboo to discuss, a lot of people inflicted with these illnesses end up keeping their conditions to themselves, even when they are already experiencing the symptoms. They also get depressed because this health issue is really taking a toll on their physical being. Depression is real and it can add more problems on top of cancer. 

 

Based on a Hawaiian study, there is a higher risk of HPV for women who engage in anal sex, but the percentage is not as high as expected. Other causes of the transmission can be any of the following:

 

  • Non-penetrative sex
  • Use of fingers and sex toys
  • Shedding from cervical secretions

 

The report also shows that the participants of the study are twice as highly likely to contract the HPV virus high-risk strains, which is associated with cervical and other cancers, compared to the virus’ low-risk variation. 

 

In general, the possibility of anal cancer resulting from regular anal sex is highly possible. This is said to be one of the reasons why the gay community is suffering from this disease. And since people seem to be ashamed of the considered cause of anal cancer, only a few gay people are open enough to talk about it because they want to be cured.

Source: rawstory.com

This makes it incredibly hard for people with this disease to actually get treatment for anal cancer and to also handle the emotional aspect of having the sickness. Trying to keep it bottled up and ignoring the possible signs and symptoms of anal cancer may be one of the reasons why diagnosing the cancer is usually accomplished at the late stages of the disease. 

 

This is even worse when the person with anal cancer has depression on top of the disease. The usual treatment for depression usually involves talking about what the person is feeling hopeless or helpless about and that is cancer. How can you tell your therapist that you have anal cancer and that it’s the reason why you’re depressed? 

Palliative Care For Colorectal Cancer Patients

Understanding Colorectal Cancer

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The emergence of colorectal cancer as one of the most serious diseases in the world is highly notable. Here is a condition that occurs in the lower part of the large intestine. Abnormal cells tend to proliferate rapidly around the area. When screened a bit late, the disorder can immediately turn deadly.

 

Colorectal cancer is typically associated with another grave malady that inhibits the rectum which is just a few inches down the intestine. It is around the age of 50 that you will usually acquire either forms of the disease. If detected, you will be subjected to surgery and chemotherapy to manage and control the progression of the illness.

Understanding Palliative Care

Source: ww2.kqed.org

Coping up with colorectal cancer is not merely about medications and surgical procedures. Doctors will put you under palliative care. This is a specialized approach given to individuals with serious maladies. The focus of this method is to improve the quality of your life. You will undergo a de-stressing process where corresponding symptoms and complications of the cancer will be managed considerably.

 

Palliative care is all about extra care and comfort. Physicians, nurses and other medical personnel concerned will make sure that you will be given support that goes beyond the usual treatment procedures. This means that moral, emotional and psychological mechanisms will be integrated to the overall curative course of action.

 

The challenges of colorectal cancer go beyond the progression of the disease inside your body. The impact can be overwhelming which means that such effects can be devastating to your total psyche. This is where the extra layer of attention comes in.

 

Treating Colorectal Cancer Symptoms-How Palliative Care Can Help

 

Once determined, the treatment approach to control colorectal cancer is swift. Surgery is initially the common step to counter the disease. Usually, you will experience extreme pain within the site being operated on. What is even more troubling is the impact of conventional colorectal cancer remedy. Disturbances to your bowel movements are a major cause of concern considering that waste elimination will be affected.

 

Almost always, the process of emptying your bowel will be blocked. This can lead to further complications like re-directing the waste disposal exit in other parts of your body. Within this context, how you excrete your body trash can jolt you psychologically due to physical alterations in your system.

The inclusion of chemotherapy in your recovery approach is about limiting the spread of cancer cells. 

 

Although helpful, the effects can also be troubling. You will feel nauseous, weak and extremely tired. You will also experience hair loss, anemia, diarrhea and nerve pains. Radiation can also cause adverse reactions including infertility and sexual problems.

 

If you are experiencing abdominal pain coupled by changes in bowel movement plus abrupt weight loss, it is highly likely that colorectal cancer has set in. Finding blood on your stool will strongly suggest the progression of the disease.

 

The introduction of palliative care will lessen the perilous impact of your malady. Doctors will focus on specifically managing your symptoms. Proper diet and nutrition will be instituted. Notable medical therapies include adequate fluid intake and electrolyte balance to lessen the impact of the disease’s indications.

 

It is also possible to alleviate your mental anguish by talking to someone. Specialists, therapists and counselors are available for an anonymous chat session with you should you need help – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/chat/pros-and-cons-of-an-anonymous-chat-room/.

How to Get Palliative Care

Source: uclan.ac.uk

If you or a loved one is experiencing colorectal cancer symptoms, never delay undergoing the corresponding tests. In addition, request for palliative care from your attending physician.

 

Depression In Anal Cancer Patients

Source: express.co.uk

Angela has a loving husband named Phil and he has been with her through thick and thin for the last 25 years. They have a daughter aged 23 who is married now and a grandchild is on the way. The couple were very happy with their lives, fulfilled in their careers and has a strong family bond. Angela is a cancer survivor – breast cancer, to be exact – and she has been cancer-free for the last 15 years.

 

They live healthy lives. Both work out and eat nutritious meals most of the time. Of course, there are occasional treats like wine and sugary foods, but they always try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

 

It was quite a shock last year for Angela when during her regular yearly check-up, it was discovered that she has cancer again. This time, it was anal cancer. Since she was a cancer survivor, Angela was hopeful that she’d beat this again, but it was really a tough undertaking and right now, she is suffering from bouts of depression.

 

When the cancer will crush you from the inside out…

Source: express.co.uk

Angela’s anal cancer is inoperable, meaning it is terminal and only time will tell as to how long she has left in this world. It is very devastating, to say the least, for Angela and the whole family. She has survived cancer at a young age and now, she has cancer again? And this time, she can’t survive it? This is really taking a toll on her mental health as well as her physical health – the symptoms and the pains are getting deeper and more excruciating because of the fact that she won’t make it out alive. 

 

If you are swimming in a pool of lemon juice, find that small seed of hope where you can hold on.

 

After all the crying and the “why-did-this-happen-to-me-I’m-dying” talks, Angela’s husband Phil asked her for a favor. He wanted Angela to let go of her anger and just accept the reality that this is the will of God and how it’s going to be. Phil is a very strong man, but the thought of losing his wife is gut-wrenching. He understood that Angela may have a few years left and he wanted those last few years to be filled with love and happiness. 

 

The whole family went into therapy.

Source: relatefamilytherapy.com

Phil decided that they must make it through as a family and so all of them, Phil, Angela, their daughter Kim and Kim’s husband, spoke with a therapist twice a week as a group. They too have their individual counseling sessions just to get through the day without having to be depressed and angry all the time. Is it working? At times, yes. Angela is more receptive now and even with her condition, she tries to find it in herself to be the mother and the wife she must be for Kim and Phil. She was also prescribed anti-depressants to regulate her hormonal surge.

 

What about her physical symptoms?

 

Angela has tumors in her anus and is constantly looking for trial programs on anal cancer. She was also subjected to some surgical procedures, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It is very hard for her to sit down for a long period or do the things she normally does. There are days when she is optimistic, but sometimes, she would say “I am at the end of my rope!”. It is truly a struggle for Angela and her bowel movements are always painful. Holding on to the idea that she still has some time left to spend with Phil and Kim makes her depressive moods dissipate. Her will to live is strong if she can manage her depression.

Colon, Rectal, And Anal Cancers

Source: beatingbowelcancer.org

Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer and Anal Cancer are types of cancer that are often interchanged. But medical experts are very particular in its definition and these three are not the same at all. Colon Cancer is different from Rectal Cancer and Anal Cancer. To be sure of what these cancers are really all about, this article will define each and briefly provide some facts.

 

Colorectal Cancer or CRC

 

This medical term can be used for both colon and rectal cancers, but there is a distinction. Colon Cancer starts at the colon, whereas, Rectal Cancer begins at the rectum. These are two very different parts of the body, but both are within the digestive system tract, specifically in the large intestines. 

 

The large intestine is basically made up of the colon with four sections – the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon, and the sigmoid colon. The rectum, on the other hand, is after the colon. It is only 6 inches in length and the waste of the body passes through that canal. The opening of the rectum is the anus.

 

Now, if the cancer forms in the ascending, transverse, descending or sigmoid colon sections, then clearly, it is Colon Cancer. If it is within the last 6 inches of the large intestines, then, it is Rectal Cancer. But then again, both can be called Colorectal Cancers since the colon and rectum are connected. 

 

Early stages of Colorectal Cancer

Source: oncologynews.com

In its early stages, CRC may pose symptoms like stomach aches and bloating which can be misdiagnosed as ulcer or disease of the gall bladder. Some bleeding of the rectum may occur while releasing bowels. It can also be mistaken as hemorrhoids. That’s why you need to be aggressive and don’t take symptoms for granted. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, sudden weight loss, and abdominal tumors are also some of the signs of Colorectal Cancer. 

 

Testing for CRC

 

Some of the tests performed to determine Colorectal Cancer are as follows:

 

  • Fecal occult blood testing (FOBT)
  • Stool DNA testing (sDNA)
  • Digital rectal examination
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy (optical and virtual)
  • Barium enemas

 

It is advisable that once a person reaches the ages of 50, they must subject themselves to these physical exams to prevent or treat early signs of Colorectal Cancer.

 

Anal Cancer

 

Anal Cancer or Anal Canal Carcinoma is a type of cancer that spreads on the anal tissues. The problem with this type of cancer is that it can be mistaken as hemorrhoids and so, doctors initially pass it off as such. Rectal bleeding and lumps on the anus area are its common symptoms. It may be too late when you discover that the cancer is malignant. Therefore, you must be vigilant when your anus bleeds and ask your doctor to have it checked for Anal Cancer, just to be sure. 

 

So, Colon Cancer manifests on the colon, Rectal Cancer develops in the rectum and Anal Cancer progresses on anal tissues. Colorectal Cancer can be Colon or Rectal Cancer, but not Anal Cancer. Here’s to hoping that you understand everything correctly.

 

Treatments and Therapy

Source: anxiety.org

The most common treatment for Colorectal and Anal Cancers is chemotherapy. There are other programs to treat these cancers and it includes surgery, radiation therapy, and other options. Specialists like a Radiation Oncologist will know how to proceed and help those with Colorectal and Anal Cancers. 

 

During this trying time, a person with cancer will also need emotional support and healing. He or she can speak with a counselor to ease the worries. Online therapy at BetterHelp is one viable solution for that.

 

What are the Different Stages of Anal Cancer

Blog: analcancersite.com

Cancer stages are a process that doctor’s used in order to describe the spread of a patent’s cancer.  Doctor’s evaluate and compare cancerous cells to healthy cells in order to determine the grade of cancer a patient is facing and to determine the stage of cancer.  

Staging is used in order to describe the location of the cancer, the parts of the body that it has spread to, and if it is affecting various other parts located in the body.  Diagnostic testing is used by doctors in order to determine the cancer’s stage. The process of determining the stage of cancer that a patient is facing may not be complete until after all necessary tests have been completed.  Determining the stage of cancer that a patient is facing assists the doctor in determine what type of treatment is best and assists in determining a prognosis (or chance of survival) for the patient. There are numerous stages for each individual type of cancer.

The System

Source: colorectal-cancer.ca

Doctor’s utilize the TNM staging system in order to describe the stage of anal cancer that a patient is facing.Diagnostic test results and scans are used in order to determine how large the tumor is, where the tumor is located, if the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes and the extent of the spread, and whether or not the cancer has metastasized and to what extent.

Results are combined in order to determine what stage of cancer an individual is facing.  There are five cancers of anal stages. Stages are simply a way to describe the cancer so that treatment options can be explored.

Tumor – T

Source: aboutcancer.com

The T is used in combination with a letter or number in order to tell how large the tumor is and where the tumor is located.  There are stages that are divided into smaller groups so that the tumor can be described in more detail.  

TX is when an evaluation of the tumor cannot be completed.  T0 is when a tumor does not exist. Tis is when the tumor is smaller than two centimeters.    T1 means that the tumor is between two and five centimeters. T3 means that the tumor is larger than five centimeters.  T4 means that the tumor has reached organs in the body, such as the bladder or urethra.  

Node- N

The N stands for lymph nodes in the TNM staging system.  Lymph nodes are bean shaped organs in the body that fight off infection.  Regional lymph nodes are the lymph nodes that are located near the anus. Distant lymph nodes are lymph nodes that are located in other parts of the body. 

NX means that an evaluation of regional lymph nodes cannot be completed.  N0 means that an evaluation of regional lymph nodes cannot be completed. N1 means that the cancer has reached the lymph nodes located around the rectum.   N2 means that the cancer has reached the lymph nodes in the pelvic and/or groin area on the same side of the body. N3 means that the cancer has spread to lymph nodes that are located on either side of the body

Metastasis- M

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The M is used in order to describe if the cancer has made its way to other parts of the body.  MX means an evaluation cannot be treated. M0 means that Metastasis has not occurred and M1 means that metastasis has taken place.

Grade- G

Anal cancer can also be described by its grade.  The grade is used in order to tell what the cancer cells look like in comparison to healthy cells when the cells are viewed under a microscope.  Cancerous tissue is compared with healthy tissue. Healthy cells typically contain numerous cell types grouped together. When cancer cells look similar to healthy cells, but contain different groupings, this is known as a differentiated tumor.  When cancer cells differ greatly in appearance from healthy tissue, this is known as poorly differentiated tumor. The grade of cancer that you are facing is used so that the doctor can predict how quickly the cancer is likely to spread. The lower grade of tumor, the better prognosis for the patient.

References:

http://analcancerinfo.ucsf.edu/staging-and-prognosis

http://www.cancercenter.com/anal-cancer/stages/

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/anal-cancer/stages-types

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2003634-overview

 

What is Anal Cancer?

If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with anal cancer, you are probably feeling extremely stressed out and confused.  Many individuals leave the initial doctor’s visit in a fog. They have no clue what their diagnosis means. If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with, you are afraid a diagnosis is a possibility, here is some critical to help you understand the diagnosis.

Is it Common?

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Many individuals are unaware of the fact that anal cancer is rare.  It begins in the anus. For those who are unaware, the anus is the medical term used for the opening that is found at the end of the rectum.  In 2014, it was predicted that little over seven thousand individuals would be diagnosed with anal cancer and it was predicted that nine-hundred and fifty of those would result in death.  Compare this to the predictions for colorectal cancer. In 2014, it was predicted that over one hundred and thirty-six thousand individuals would be diagnosed with anal cancer and over fifty thousand of those would result in death.

What are the odds?

About half of diagnosis of anal cancer occurs before cancer can spread.  Around thirteen to twenty-five percent of diagnosis has spread to the lymph nodes. Only ten percent of all cases are found after the cancer has spread throughout the organs or diagnosed after the cancer has metalized. The good news is that anal cancer is normally found in the early stages.  This means that the chances for successful treatment are very high. In fact, the survival rate for this type of cancer is around sixty percent for mean and approximately seventy-one percent for women.

When the cancer is found in the beginning, the survival rate is over eighty percent.  If the cancer is found after spreading to the lymph nodes, the survival rate is around sixty percent.  Once cancer reaches the organ, around one in every five patients live at least five years, if not longer.

Who is at Risk?

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You may be wondering if you or someone that you love could be at risk for anal cancer.  Around eighty percent of cases of anal cancer are diagnosed in individuals that are at least sixty-five years of age.  When anal cancer is diagnosed before the age of thirty-five, it is primarily found in men. When anal cancer is diagnosed after the age of fifty, it is more common in women.  

When you compare a number of single men with a number of men who are married that are diagnosed with anal cancer, it is found that single men are six times more likely to receive a diagnosis.  It has also been found that engaging in the receiving part of anal intercourse plays a part in the development of this type of cancer. HPV or human papillomavirus is a risk factor. Individuals with this virus have a higher chance of being diagnosed with anal cancer.  For those that may be unaware of what HPV is, it is a virus that results in genital warts.  

Individuals who have a diagnosis that means that their immune system has been compromised in some way, such as HIVs, are likely to end up with anal cancer.  The prognosis for this group is a lot more severe than individuals that have not had their immune system compromised in some way.

What to do?

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If you think that you or a loved one may have anal cancer, you need to make an appointment with your doctor immediately.  The sooner that you or your loved one are diagnosed and begin treatment, the better your chances will be to fight cancer. If you have a loved one that has been recently diagnosed with cancer, you want to make sure that you are patient with them and realize that they just got some scary news themselves.  Allow them some time to process the news before you begin asking them a bunch of questions. If you have recently been diagnosed, you should take a few days to process and then tell your friends and family. You do not want to wait to tell your friends and family because you are going to need them in the days to come.  

 

References

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/anal-cancer/about/what-is-anal-cancer.html

https://www.cancer.gov/types/anal/patient/anal-treatment-pdq

https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/anal-cancer

 

How are the Stages of Anal Cancer Staged?

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Determining a stage for cancer is a process that doctors use to identify how extensive the spread of the cancer is.  Treatment options and the chances for survival depend on the stage of cancer that you are in. For this reason, it is important to know what stage of cancer you are facing.  Anytime that you are diagnosed with anal cancer, you want to ask about the stage you are in and have the treatment team that you can explain in a way that can be understood. Diagnosis of anal cancer comes from a variety of tests and examinations.  There are several different systems that can be used to determine the stage of anal cancer that you are facing. However, the system commonly used is known as the TNM system. This system is utilized for the tumors found in the anal canal only.

The System

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There are three vital pieces of information that are used in the TNM system for determining the stage of anal cancer that you are in.  The T describes the size of the tumor. The size of the tumor is measured using centimeters. The T is also used to describe if the cancer has hit the organs close to the tumor.  The N is used to describe the extent of the spread regarding lymph nodes nearby. The M indicates if the cancer is metastasized yet. Metastasized means that cancer has reached other organs.  More details about each factor are described by numbers that follow the letters. The numbers zero through four are used to describe the intensity of cancer. If you see the letter X, this means that it cannot be determined because there is no information available now.

T

TX means that the primary tumor is unable to be determined.  T0 means that there is no evidence present to suggest a primary tumor.  This means that the cancer is in the mucosa. The mucosa is the top layer of cells that line the inner anus.  This means that cancer has not spread to deeper layers. T1 means that the tumor that was found measures no more than 2cm across.  T2 means that the tumor measures between two and five centimeters across. T3 means that the tumor measures over five centimeters across. T4 can be related to any size tumor.  This means that the tumor has spread to nearby organs. This can be the urethra, the vagina, the bladder, or even the prostate gland.

N

NX means that the lymph nodes are not assessable now.  N0 means that cancer has not yet spread to the lymph nodes that are nearby.  N1 means that cancer has reached the lymph nodes located around the rectum. N2 means thatcancer has reached the lymph nodes located to one side of the pelvis/groin.  N3 means that cancer has reached the lymph nodes located near the rectum and to the lymph nodes located in the groin/pelvis area. It can also mean thatcancer has reached the lymph nodes on both sides of the groin/pelvis area. 

M

M0 indicates that cancer has not spread.  M1 indicates thatcancer has reached the lymph nodes of your abdomen or that it has reached your internal organs.

Grouping

After the separate categories are assigned, the information is combined to determine a stage of 0-IV.  Each stage coincides with a similar prognosis and is treated accordingly. Lower stages tend to have the best chances of survival than later stages.

STAGE 0

Stage 0 is typically Tis, N0, and M0.  This is an extremely early stage in cancer.  It is also commonly referred to as pre-cancer.  If you are in this stage of anal cancer, it means that the cancer is only located on the top layer of the anal tissue.

Stage 1

Stage 1 is T1, N0, M0.  This means that cancer has typically spread beyond the top tissue layer.  However, the tumor typically measures less than two centimeters across. However, cancer at this stage has not spread to lymph nodes or any distant location.

Stage 2

Stage 2 is typically T2 or T3, N0, and M0.  This is still a relatively early stage. However, cancer has reached nearby organs.  It has not yet reached the lymph nodes or any distant location.

Stage 3 

Stage three is typically broken into two different grouping.  Stage 3 A can be T1-T3, N1, M0 or T4, N0, M0. T1-T3, N1, M0 means that the tumor can be any size.  The tumor has not reached nearby organs but has reached the lymph nodes that are located around your rectum and has not spread to distant sites.  T4, N0, M0 means that cancer has grown into nearby organs but not the lymph nodes or distant sites.  

Stage 3 B is typically either T4, N1, M0 or Any T, N2-N3, M0.  With T4, N1, M0, cancer has grown in the nearby organs and the lymph nodes around your anus.  However, it hasn’t reached distant sites. With Any T, N2-N3, M0 cancer can be any size. It may or may not have grown in the organs nearby.  However, cancer in this group has spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvis, even if it hasn’t reached around the rectum. Cancer has not spread to distant sites at this point.

Stage 4

Stage four is the last stage.  This can be cancer of any size.  It doesn’t matter if it has grown in the nearby organs or nearby lymph nodes.  For it to be stage four cancer, it means that it has spread to distant organs or distant tissues.

Source: imgur.com

 

References:

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/anal-cancer/treating/by-stage.html

http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/anal-cancer/stages-and-grades

http://www.cancercenter.com/anal-cancer/stages/

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/anal-cancer/stages-types

http://analcancerinfo.ucsf.edu/staging-and-prognosis

How is Anal Cancer Diagnosed?

There are cases of anal cancer where people that are at a high risk of the disease are diagnosed through screening tests.  There are other times that a doctor may find cancer during a routine checkup or when a minor procedure is performed. Typically, when cancer is identified this way, it is effective because the tumors are identified early on.  Anal cancer is typically diagnosed, however, because an individual is having symptoms consistent with the disease. When an individual is suspected of having anal cancer, there are exams and tests that are performed to confirm the diagnosis.  When cancer is identified, then more tests are conducted so that the stage of cancer can be identified. Here are some of the exams used to identify anal cancer.

Medical/Physical

When you are experiencing symptoms that coincide with anal cancer, a doctor will typically inquire about your medical history.   This is done to determine what risk factors you have. Further, your doctor is going to conduct an examination. This examination is done with the purpose identifying physical signs that anal cancer exists.  This typically includes a rectal exam. When the results are abnormal, the doctor may decide further testing is needed to identify the exact issue. This means that you may be referred to a specialist that specializes in diseases of the anus, colon, or rectum to have more tests conducted and to set up treatment options.  

Endoscopy

Source: drborcich.net

Another examination you may be required to undergo is known as an endoscopy.  These exams are when a tub containing a small lens on the end of it is used to examine the inside of the body.  There are different types of endoscopy that can be utilized to find what is causing your symptoms. These tubes can even be used to get a biopsy from the anal canal.  When you have an endoscopy done, you are typically lying on a table on your side with your knees to your chest or bent over a table.

Anoscopy

Source: clinicalgate.com

Anoscopy is like an endoscopy.  With these exams, a short hollow tube is used.  The tube is about three to four inches in length and around one inch around.  There are times that it will have a light on the end of it. The tube is lubricated and entered the anus and rectum.  When the light is shined into the tube, it provides the doctor of a clear view of the anus and the lining of the lower part of the rectum.  This exam isn’t exceptionally painful overall.

Proctosigmoidoscopy

Another exam that you may have completed is the rigid Proctosigmoidoscopy.  The tube is like the one used for an Anoscopy. The main difference is that the tube is longer to allow the doctor to see both the rectum and the lower portion of your sigmoid colon.  You may find that you need to take laxatives or even have an enema before the test is completed so that you know that your bowels are empty.

Biopsy

There are times that the procedures will reveal suspicious growth.  When that happens, your doctor will need to take some of the tissue to sample it and find out whether it is cancer.  This is known as a biopsy. When the growth occurs inside the anal canal, the doctor can typically pull this sample using the scope during the examination.  There are times that anesthetic is given to numb the area before a biopsy is taken. Once this is completed, the doctor cuts a small amount of tissue and sends it to the lab for testing.  If the tumor is small, there are times that the doctor will remove the entire thing and send it to the lab for testing. There are different types of biopsy’s that can be completed, and you may want to ask your doctor about the procedure that is being conducted.

Other tests

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There are other tests that you may also have to undergo for anal cancer to be properly diagnosed.  You may undergo Imaging tests that could help identify cancer, an ultrasound, a CT scan, an MRI, a chest X-ray, or a PET scan.  The type of testing that will be done depends on the symptoms you are experiencing, what the doctor finds, and what you and the doctor decide should be done.  

 

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anal-cancer/diagnosis-treatment/diagnosis/dxc-20233236

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anal-cancer/diagnosis-treatment/diagnosis/dxc-20233236

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/anal-cancer/getting-diagnosed/tests-diagnose

https://www.mdanderson.org/cancer-types/anal-cancer.html

https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/anal_cancer/diagnosis.html

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Anal Cancer

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You may be experiencing signs and symptoms that have you wondering if you could have anal cancer.  It is important for you to understand that anal cancer is not the same as bowel cancer. In fact, very few individuals are aware of what anal cancer is.  Most individuals that have it don’t want to have to talk about it. They don’t want to tell their family or friends. Anal cancer, if not caught in the early stages, can be deadly.  

Many experts have said that as many as one in every five-people affected by anal cancer never have any symptoms.  This can make cancer deadlier. This is because, without the signs and symptoms, individuals do not know what it is. Overall, the disease is more likely to affect women than it is to affect men.  However, in recent years, the number of individuals affected with anal cancer has increased. Research shows that the occurrence of anal cancer has gone up over one hundred percent since the end of the 1970s.   

Anal cancer is rare.  However, there are studies that indicate the rates are rising.  There are many that say the rise in cases of anal cancer can be attributed to HPV.   Anal cancer affects the anus. This is the part of your bowl that opens outside of your body away from the rectum.  The anus is about three centimeters.  

Nine out of ten cases of anal cancer are related to HPV.  This is the same virus that is responsible for many cancers in the cervix, vagina, oropharynx, vulva, and penis.  There are different types of HPV. Each one is separated into either high or low-risk category. They are separated into these categories based on the symptoms that each one causes.  HPV is contracted through skin-to-skin contact. Individuals can also contract HPV by engaging in oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with an individual that is infected.    

Symptoms of anal cancer can be easy to miss because they sometimes mirror other health problems.  Here are some common signs and symptoms of anal cancer.

Blood

The most common symptom of anal cancer is blood in the feces.  Approximately half of all individuals struggling with anal cancer have experienced blood in their feces.

Lumps

If you notice that you have unusual lumps around your anus, you might want to talk to your doctor.  Lumps located around the anus could be easily confused with hemorrhoids. When individuals have small lumps located around their groin area, this could be an indication of anal cancer.  

Pain

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Around thirty percent of individuals diagnosed with anal cancer experience pain around their anus. There have been suggestions made that if you experience swelling and redness or soreness around your anus that will not go away, this could be a symptom of anal cancer.  If these symptoms combine with other symptoms or don’t seem to go away, make sure you call your doctor and schedule an appointment as soon as you can. 

Bowel Movements

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Have you noticed that you have been having unusual bowel habits lately?  Has it been harder to pass a stool? Have you been experiencing bouts of extreme constipation?  Have you noticed that you continuously feel the urge to pass a stool, but you can’t seem to pass one?  These can be signs of anal cancer. Another sign that you may have anal cancer is difficulty controlling your bowel movements.  

Wrapping it Up

There is available research that shows around one in every three persons with anal cancer has a lump around their anus.  There are others that experience constant itching. Others have noted experiencing a discharge of mucus.  

No matter what symptoms lead you to believe something may be wrong, you should seek medical care immediately.  Your primary doctor should be able to refer you to a specialist if one is needed. There are many factors that can increase your risk for anal cancer and you should ensure that you go over these and your symptoms with your doctor as soon as possible.  

 

References

http://www.medicaldaily.com/anal-cancer-early-signs-and-symptoms-disease-no-one-talks-about-406240

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/anal-cancer/symptoms

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/anal-cancer/understanding-cancer/signs-and-symptoms.html

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/anal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-and-symptoms.html

http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/anal-cancer/symptoms-and-signs

http://www.cancercenter.com/anal-cancer/symptoms/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156549.php

https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/anal-cancer-symptoms-signs/