Anal Cancer (cont.)
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Anal cancer facts*
- Anal anatomy
- What is anal cancer?
- What are the different types of anal cancer?
- What are other types of anal masses or growths?
- What are anal cancer statistics?
- What causes anal cancer?
- What are the risk factors for anal cancer?
- What are the symptoms and signs of anal cancer?
- What's involved with anal cancer screening (early detection)?
- How do health care professionals make a diagnosis of anal cancer?
- How do health care professionals determine anal cancer staging?
- What types of health care professionals diagnose and treat anal cancer?
- What is the medical treatment for anal cancer?
- Surgery for anal cancer
- Radiation therapy for anal cancer
- Combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy for anal cancer
- What are treatment options for stage IV anal cancer or metastasis?
- Is it possible to prevent anal cancer?
- What is the prognosis for anal cancer?
- Where can one find information about clinical trials or research for anal cancer?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What types of health care professionals diagnose and treat anal cancer?
Anal cancers often need a team of health care professionals that collaborate in the treatment of anal cancers. Usually the doctors on a person's team work out of the same institution or hospital and have had experience in treating cancer patients together. Team members often include two or more of the following doctors:
- Primary care physician (PCP)
- General surgeon (best if he or she has special training in colon and rectal disease surgery
- Radiation oncologist
- Medical oncologist
These physicians will be able to design a specific treatment protocol that best suits the patient and his or her cancer.
What is the medical treatment for anal cancer?
Anal cancer treatment involves a variety of therapies including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these.
Surgery for anal cancer
Historically, all but the smallest anal cancers were treated with a radical surgery called abdominoperineal or AP resection, leading to a permanent end colostomy. About 70% of patients survived more than five years in limited studies of this approach. This is no longer the primary anal cancer treatment of choice. Chemotherapy and radiation without radical surgery are now favored.
A limited resection of small stage I cancers can be curative for these small cancers of the anal margin or perianal skin when the anal sphincter is not involved. Radical resection today is reserved for some cases of residual or recurrent cancer in the anal canal after non-operative treatment. Other nonsurgical approaches (involving chemotherapy with a radiation boost or radioactive seed applications) may be used to avoid colostomy in those circumstances.
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