ANAL cancer – a different disease to bowel cancer – is a disease few known about and even fewer want to talk about. It affects more than 1,000 people in the UK every year alone.
Experts said one in 5 people don’t experience any symptoms of the cancer, which can make it even more lethal.
Women are more likely to get it than men, but over the last ten years, Cancer Research UK said the number of people suffering with the disease has increased.
Figures reveal the incidence of anal cancer have increased by 130 per cent since the late 1970s.
The anus is the part of the bowel that opens to the outside of the body from the rectum and measures about about 3 cm
Around nine in ten cases of anal cancer are linked to the HPV infection – human papillomavirus – the same virus that causes the majority of cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis and oropharynx.
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Different types of HPV are classed as either high risk or low risk, depending on the conditions they can cause.
HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and people can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus.
This is why typical risk factors of the disease can include having multiple sex partners, having anal intercourse but can also include being HIV-positive.
Cancer Research UK said one in three people have a sensation of a lump around the anus.
It said: “Some people also experience severe itching – which is called pruritus, while others have a discharge of mucus from the anus.”
But it is still important to report them to your doctor.
“Depending on your symptoms, you may need to see a bowel specialist doctor.”
Other risk factors of the disease include a history of cervical, vaginal or vulval cancer, age, lowered immunity, and people who have received organ transplants.
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