Different types of tumors can form in the anus. Some, like polyps, are not benign; others can be patches of irregular cells that can become cancerous.
Most cases of anal cancer occur in people older than 50. The most common type of anal cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which begins in the cells that line most of the anal canal.
Bleeding from the rectum is the most common symptom of anal cancer. Treatment for anal cancer is quite effective, though, and most people who are treated will be cured.
Your treatment depends on the size and location of the tumor and the extent of the disease. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are all treatment options.
Side effects of treatment for anal cancer depend on the specific treatment given and can vary from patient to patient. Your cancer specialist will work with you to keep any side effects at a minimum.
Learn more about anal cancer from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Physician Data Query (PDQ®) for patients. It includes information about prevention, screening, and treatment.