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What is Anal Cancer?

Anal cancer occurs in the anus, the area at the end of the digestive tract below the rectum. Anal cancer is rare, accounting for 1 to 2 percent of gastrointestinal cancers. Many cases of anal cancer can be found early because the cancer forms in an area that physicians can see and reach easily.

Symptoms of Anal Cancer

Anal cancer can sometimes be mistaken for hemorrhoids because some symptoms are similar.

Some symptoms of anal cancer include:

  • A lump or mass at the anal opening
  • Bleeding from the rectum or anus
  • Change in bowel movements, or straining during a bowel movement
  • Itching in the anus or discharge
  • Mucous or pus discharge from the anus
  • Narrowing of the stools
  • Pain or pressure in the area of the anus
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin or anus