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Symptoms of anal cancer

Men and women discussing anal cancer

This page tells you about the symptoms of anal cancer.

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Symptoms of anal cancer

The symptoms of anal cancer can be similar to other problems of the anus, for example piles (haemorrhoids) or anal fissures.

The most common symptom is bleeding from the back passage (rectal bleeding). Other symptoms can include

  • Pain in the anal area - together with bleeding may be confused with piles
  • A sensation of a lump around the anus
  • Severe itching (pruritus)
  • Discharge of mucus from the back passage
  • Difficulty in controlling your bowels (faecal incontinence)

But 1 in 5 (20%) people diagnosed with anal cancer have no symptoms.

Remember - anal cancer is rare. If you have any of these symptoms it is more likely to be something else. But it is still important to report them to your doctor.

 

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About anal cancer symptoms

The symptoms of anal cancer can be similar to other problems of the anus, such as piles (haemorrhoids) or anal fissures.

The most common symptom is bleeding from the back passage (rectal bleeding). Nearly half of all people diagnosed with anal cancer have had rectal bleeding or blood in their stools. Other cancer symptoms can include

  • Pain in the anal area - together with bleeding may be confused with piles
  • 1 in 3 people (30%) have a sensation of a lump around the anus
  • Severe itching (pruritus)
  • Discharge of mucus from your back passage
  • Difficulty in controlling your bowels (faecal incontinence)

But 1 in 5 people (20%) diagnosed with anal cancer don’t have any symptoms.

Remember - anal cancer is rare. If you have any of these symptoms it is more likely to be something else. But it is still important to report them to your doctor. Depending on your symptoms, you may need to see a bowel specialist doctor.

The earlier a cancer gets picked up, the easier it is to treat. Treatment is also more likely to be successful. See your GP as soon as possible if you notice worrying symptoms.

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Updated: 7 February 2014