Anal cancer symptoms are pretty similar to those of hemorrhoids, such as anal bleeding. This is why many people tend to ignore it until things get out of hand. Thus, doctors often advise patients to get themselves checked as soon as possible.
In some cases, patients do not experience any symptoms at all. However, with time, they start getting symptoms, such as itching in and around the rectum, abnormal discharge from the anus, swollen lymph nodes present in the groin or anal region, rectum bleeding, and pain in the anal area.
Though having one or more of these signs does not mean one has anal cancer, it can get a little uncomfortable to talk about these issues. But it is always better to seek help from a healthcare provider if these symptoms worsen or do not go away even after medication.
If these signs of anal cancer are recognized and reported at an early stage, it can lead to positive health outcomes and improve survival rates. Also, since an anal cancer lump is often present at a location the doctors can easily reach, the diagnosis becomes easy.
Here are the common signs and symptoms of anal carcinoma
Bleeding is one of the first and foremost anal tumor symptoms. Initially, this bleeding is mild and does not cause too much trouble. However, with time, the patient starts experiencing pain along with bleeding. Also, bleeding from the rectum may cause the stool to look black or dark brown in color.
Other symptoms of anal cancer include pain in the anal area along with bleeding. This pain comes whenever the patient tries to go through bowel movements. In most cases, there is a burning sensation of pain followed by blood in the stool.
Many patients also experience a mass or growth in the anal cavity as one of the early signs of anal cancer. This mass may appear at the end of the anus and can be felt by the patient.
Anal itching is also included in the early symptoms of anal cancer. Though it is a common condition, if the problem does not improve or the itching increases even after medication, one should get it checked. In some cases, anal itching is also followed by bleeding and pain.
Another symptom of anal cancer is feeling a lump near the anus. However, this symptom is common with hemorrhoids as well, but there is a common difference between the two lumps. The anal cancer lump feels like a piece of flesh but is harder than the lump of hemorrhoids.
Patients suffering from cancer of the anal canal may feel burning pain or pressure in the area around their anus. Again, pain is accompanied by bleeding from the rectum in all anal cancer types.
A change in bowel movements could also be one of the anal tumor symptoms. It implies having fewer or more bowel movements than usual or experiencing straining during bowel movements.
One of the symptoms of anal cancer, which is common in hemorrhoids, is a narrowing of the stools. This anal tumor symptom is accompanied by a change in bowel movements in the case of anal carcinoma.
Squamous cell cancer presents itself as a nonhealing ulcer around the anus. These ulcers, along with an anal cancer lump, are one of the early symptoms of anal cancer.
Another common sign of anal carcinoma is a feeling of pain, fullness, or discomfort in the rectum. As one of the early signs of anal cancer, this uneasiness in the rectum, when combined with other common symptoms, can raise the alarm for the physician.
Now, the question arises: what are the causes of anal cancer? Carcinoma of the anus is normally caused by a sexually transmitted infection known as the human papillomavirus (HPV).
One of the common reasons for anal cancer (squamous cell type) is a sexually transmitted HPV infection. Other risk factors for squamous cell cancer include smoking, HIV, smoking, anal receptive intercourse, and immunosuppression.
Though the real cause of anal tumors is unknown, there are some risk factors. One of the reasons for anal cancer, or anal adenocarcinoma, is HPV, lowered immunity, and smoking.
HPV is one of the primary causes of anal cancer. HPV is one of the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases. Though people infected with HPV do not exhibit any symptoms, they can indeed affect others.
Those who have received treatment for cervical, vaginal, or vulvar cancer in the past are at a higher risk of developing anal cancer. The possible reasons behind this include HPV infection, compromised immunity, and inflammation caused by previous cancer treatments.
Smoking is also one of the major causes of anal cancer, as it is not only one of the major risk factors but can also lead to its recurrence. Doctors put it at the top of the list of what causes anal cancer.
Many case studies have reflected on the possibility of patients with sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS or HIV and a history of anal warts getting diagnosed with anal cancer. The reason behind this is that patients with chlamydia, anal warts, and AIDS/HIV have a compromised immune system, which leads to the easy growth of cancerous cells in the body.
The right time to see a doctor is when you start experiencing any of the symptoms of anal cancer. Though these symptoms may seem minor and you may not feel comfortable talking about them, it is always better to be cautious. Also, since these symptoms are similar to those of hemorrhoids, they can create confusion and lead to an unnecessary delay in diagnosis.