Researchers continue to investigate the causes of anal cancer. Known risk factors that have been identified include chronic infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus HPVgender and age. HPV, a collection of more than viruses spread primarily by contact during vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity, is responsible for the majority of anal cancers.
Cancer is made of changed cells that grow out of control. The changed abnormal cells often grow to form a lump or mass called a tumor. Cancer cells can also grow into invade nearby areas.
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Muscles anal sphincters that surround the anal canal relax to allow waste to leave your body. Anal cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that occurs in the anal canal. The anal canal is a short tube at the end of your rectum through which stool leaves your body. Most people with anal cancer are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.
A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking or diet, can be changed.
Anal cancer is not the same as cancer of the colon or rectum. To learn about these cancers, see the topic Colorectal Cancer. Anal cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the anuswhich is the opening at the end of the rectum.
Having these risk factors does not mean that you will definitely develop cancer. Men and women with HPV have an increased risk of developing anal cancer. For most people the virus causes no harm and goes away without treatment.
The anal canal is a short tube surrounded by muscle at the end of your rectum. The rectum is the bottom section of your colon large intestine. When you have a bowel movement, stool leaves your body from the rectum through the anal canal.
The vaccine can be used to prevent cervical cancer, of course, but also is effective against HPV-related cancers of the vagina, vulva, and anus. The vaccine can also prevent low-risk lesions like genital warts in either gender. Most anal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that develop in the anal canal the passage linking the lower intestine to the outside of our bodies.