What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Anus?
It is the most common type of cancer of the anus and occurs in the cells that line (makeup) the anus. Five-year survival rates range from 48% to 54%.
What is the Anus?
The anus is the outer lower end of the intestine. Once digested, food travels from the stomach to the small intestine. It then travels from the small intestine to the main part of the large intestine called the colon. The large intestine absorbs water and salt from digested food and sends it back to the bloodstream. The rest is waste known as feces or stool. Stool accumulates in the last part of the intestine and then is excreted out of the body through the anus.
It accounts for about 4% of all cancers of the lower gastrointestinal tract. It is more common in people over 50. Squamous cell carcinoma of the anus is more common in men (1.9 times) than in women (1.5 times).
There is no well-known cause, but risk factors such as having anal warts, human papillomavirus infection, HIV infection, older age, male gender, cigarette smoking, poor dietary intake with low fiber, use of immunosuppressive medicines, and having multiple sexual partners are considered potential risk factors for developing anal adenocarcinoma.
Signs and Symptoms
In most cases, the patient is asymptomatic and is only diagnosed at an advanced stage of cancer. Some initial warning signs and symptoms:
- Change in bowel habits, constipation, diarrhea, or more frequent urge to pass stool.
- Dark colour stool due to the presence of blood in the stool
- Feeling as if the bowels are not empty after defecation.
- Bleeding from the anus
- Pain in the abdomen
- Un explained weight loss
- Excessive sweating at the night
The following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Endoscopic examination of the anus, rectum, and large intestine. Endoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to visualize the internal organs of the body directly through the endoscope.
- Computed tomography (CT-pelvis) helps to differentiate squamous cell cancer of the rectum from anal cancer.
- Biopsy of the lesion/tumour and histopathological examination
Surgical removal of the tumour is the main treatment option. Other treatment options are chemotherapy along with radiation therapy.
What Support can we Give for Squamous cell carcinoma of the Anus?
Squamous cell carcinoma of the Anus is rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Squamous cell carcinoma of the Anus, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: