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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

  • Small lumps around the anus, which may look like piles
  • Pain in the anal area or the sensation of a lump there
  • Discharge of mucus from the back passage
  • Difficulty in controlling your bowels (faecal incontinence)
  • A lump (or lumps) in the groin

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

Remember - anal cancer is rare, so if you have any of these symptoms they are more likely to be caused by 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

  • Small lumps around the anus, which may be confused with piles
  • Pain in the anal area - 1 in 3 people (30%) have some pain in the area or a sensation of a lump there
  • Discharge of mucus from your back passage
  • Difficulty in controlling your bowels (faecal incontinence)
  • A lump (or lumps) in the groin

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

Remember - anal cancer is rare, so 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.

 

More information

The earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat it and the more likely the treatment is to be successful. So it is important that you go to your GP as soon as possible if you notice worrying symptoms.

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Updated: 7 February 2014