There are a lot of things that people feel uncomfortable talking about with their doctor. They know that the discussion needs to happen, but they feel extremely embarrassed. Anal cancer is one of those discussions. It’s a very rare and uncommon type of cancer which occurs in the anal canal. Because this is a rare type of cancer there are signs of anal cancer that people constantly overlook.
No one wants to be diagnosed with cancer, but it does happen, which means the discussion needs to happen. If it doesn’t, and you do have cancer, it will spread and can be fatal. In order for this discussion to occur, you’ll need to look for signs.
Below are the following signs of anal cancer that should never be overlooked. Don’t be embarrassed; noticing these signs can save your life.
Before I get into the signs of anal cancer, I would like to discuss what causes anal cancer. Anal cancer is caused when a genetic mutation turns the healthy, normal cells into abnormal ones. When healthy cells grow, they do it at a set rate. This means that they die at a set rate as well. When abnormal cells grow, there is no set rate. They’re out of control and they never die. Because they never die, the abnormal cells create a mass tumor.
It doesn’t stop there. Everyone has cancer cells in their body, but until they are triggered, they are dormant. But once they are active, they invade nearby tissues and will separate from the mass tumor and will spread throughout the body. In order to prevent this cancer from occurring, there are certain risk factors that everyone needs to be aware of. The main risk factor is anal sexual intercourse. This not only increases the chances of developing anal cancer but also HIV as well. HPV is another risk factor that can increase your chances of developing anal cancer as well. For those who do not know what HPV is, it’s a sexually transmitted infection.
Pain In the Anus: In a lot of cases, pain or tenderness in the anus means that you have hemorrhoids. In some cases though, pain in the anus is a telltale sign of anal cancer. The pain will be mild to start, but it will be a constant pain. If it’s not diagnosed and treated, the pain will become unbearable, which is a sign that the cancer is spreading.
Itchy Anus: In most cases, an itchy anus does not mean you have anal cancer. If this was a telltale sign, there would be a panic. This sign is something that you pair with other signs of anal cancer. So if your anus is itchy, chances are you just have an itch that needs to be scratched. But if you begin to experience other signs of anal cancer, go see your doctor.
Anal Bleeding: This is one of the first signs of anal cancer. However, people will often assume that anal bleeding is caused by hemorrhoids. They wouldn’t be wrong, but if they decide to self-diagnose themselves and rule out anal cancer on their own, they could be in trouble.
Discharge From the Anus: There are many different types of discharge that can come from the anus. In regards to anal cancer, if you experience a mucus discharge from your anus, you may have anal cancer. The mucus will be wrapped around your stool when you use the washroom. If you notice this is becoming a constant thing, go see your doctor immediately.
A Lump Outside the Anus: If you notice a lump outside of your anus, it’s something you should monitor. If that lump begins to increase in size, chances are it’s a tumor. Usually, if the lump increases in size, the pain will soon follow because the tumor is growing.
Unusual Bowel Movements: This sign of anal cancer is very common with other diseases and infections. But if you do experience unusual bowel movements, it’s something that should be noted and monitored. If you find that you’re going too much, or too little, your doctor will need to know all of this information.