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Stage 1

Stage 1 anal cancer means that the cancer is less than 2cm in size and hasn't spread to any nearby tissue, lymph nodes or other organs. 

Diagram showing stage 1 anal cancer

TNM staging

Doctors also use another staging system for anal cancer called the TNM staging system. It stands for tumour, node and metastasis: 

  • T describes the size of the tumour
  • N describes whether there are any cancer cells in the lymph nodes
  • M describes whether the cancer has spread to a different part of the body

Stage 1 is the same as T1, N0 and M0 in the TNM staging system.

Treatment for stage 1 anal cancer

The stage of your cancer helps your doctor to decide which treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:

  • your type of cancer (the type of cells the cancer started in)
  • where the cancer is in your anus
  • other health conditions


You might have surgery if your cancer is near the anal margin and is less than 2cm in size. This operation is called a local resection.

You might also have surgery if the cancer comes back or hasn't gone completely after chemoradiotherapy. 


You might have a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemoradiotherapy) for stage 1 anal cancer if your cancer:

  • is larger than 2cm 
  • involves the anal sphincter 
  • involves the anal canal 

About other stages

Last reviewed: 
24 Apr 2019
  • AJCC Cancer Staging Manual (8th Edition)
    M Amin and S Edge.
    Springer, 2017.

  • Anal cancer: ESMO-ESSO-ESTRO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up
    R. Glynne-Jones and others
    Annals of Oncology 2014. Volume 25, iii10-iii20