A more uncommon form of cancer, anal cancer is a type of cancer affecting the tissue within the anal canal. The anal canal is a tube comprising the end of your rectum through which stools are expelled from your body.
Anal cancer is relatively rare, though incidence rates have been on a gradual rise. About one in 500 people will develop anal cancer at some point in life. While anyone can be diagnosed with anal cancer, it is most often found in women.
Types of rectal or anal cancer are generally categorized based on types of cells affected. This includes:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Cloacogenic carcinoma
Causes and Risk Factors
Anal cancer is caused by a genetic mutation that results in abnormal cells that multiply out of control within the anal canal, and eventually form into polyps and a tumor. These cancer cells may eventually spread to other parts of the body.
The exact cause of this genetic mutation still remains unknown, though some risk factors have been identified. Two-thirds of all anal cancer cases occur in individuals over the age of 55. Smokers tend to have a higher risk of anal cancer as well.
One of the most well-known risk factors of this disease is human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV comprises over 100 viruses that are sexually transmitted. HPV infections are the catalyst for an estimated 95 percent of rectal cancer diagnoses. In most cases, the immune system can neutralize HPV before it creates genital warts or shows any noticeable symptoms. However, persistent HPV infections may result in significant cell changes that can turn into cancer. Thankfully, the HPV vaccine provides highly effective protection against various strains of the virus, including those that are responsible for anal and other cancers.
Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging
Signs and symptoms of the disease can vary, but the most common symptoms include:
- Pain or discomfort in the anal area
- Bleeding from the rectum or anus
- Anal itching
- A mass or growth in the anal canal
Diagnosis and testing for rectal cancer usually starts with a visual inspection and physical examination. The oncologists will feel for any unusual growths in your rectum and anus or use a short, lighted tube known as an anoscope. The doctor may also use ultrasound imaging, CT scans, MRIs, or PET scans to gain better insight. If the oncologists discover any problems or abnormalities, they may take a biopsy for further analysis.
Using these tests and procedures, the doctor will assign your cancer to a stage. Staging plays an important role in evaluating types of treatment and determining if treatment is effective. Anal cancer is categorized in five stages (0 to IV). The higher the stage number, the more likely that the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
About Alternative/Natural Treatment of Anal Cancer
Treatment for anal cancer depends on your health, personal needs, and the stage that the cancer has progressed. Typically, anal cancer is treated with surgery or a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, these types of treatment may leave you and your immune system weak and depleted, preventing you from properly fighting off the cancer cells.
This is where alternative treatments come into play. These natural treatments for cancer patients can work in conjunction with more traditional treatments to ease side effects and support their recovery.
Immunity Therapy Center offers a wide range of alternative, natural treatments that are customized to your personal health, medical history, and cancer progression. Our team works directly with you to ensure that you receive a personalized treatment plan that suits your specific needs. One-on-one consultations with our staff ensure that you are treated as an actual person and patient. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us today.