Along with pain in the anal area, anal cancer has other symptoms. These signs of anal cancer can also be symptoms of other medical conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.
Symptoms can include:
- anal bleeding
- itching around the anus
- lump in or around the anus
- swelling around the anus
- pain in lymph nodes around the anus
- feces appearing irregular
Sometimes, people with anal cancer do not show any noticeable symptoms.
If you believe you may have anal cancer, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. When you visit your doctor, you will be asked about your family history.
If you have any history of cancer or anal cancer in your family, discuss that background information with your doctor.
It is likely that your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam. This entails your doctor putting on a glove and examining your rectum for any anomalies with a lubricated finger.
Other methods your doctor may use for diagnosing anal cancer include:
- Endoscopy. A small video camera on a tube is inserted to look for anal cancer symptoms or to get tissue samples.
- Anoscopy. A short tube with a light on the end of it is inserted, which allows doctors to have a view of the rectum lining.
- Proctosigmoidoscopy. A longer tube is used to view the sigmoid colon.
- Biopsy. If a growth is seen during an exam, a small sample tissue will be taken to see if it is cancerous.
- Imaging. An X-ray, MRI, ultrasound or PET scan may be used to check for cancer or spreading of cancer.
Certain traits or lifestyle habits can increase your risk for anal cancer, including:
- Older age. Most anal cancers occur in people over age 50.
- Smoking. Cigarettes can increase your risk of most types of cancer.
- Anal sex. If you engage in receptive anal sex, you may have an increased risk of anal cancer.
- HPV. Human papillomavirus can increase your likelihood of developing anal cancer.
- Immunosuppressants. If you often take immunosuppressants or have other conditions that cause the immune system to be affected, you may have increased risk of anal cancer.
Your buttock pain is most likely not cancer. There are many conditions that can cause buttock area pain including:
If you are experiencing buttock pain and believe you may be at risk for cancer, consult with your doctor and mention your concerns. Your doctor will examine you for signs of anal cancer via endoscopy or other forms of testing.