Anal cancer is a malignancy born in the anal canal, which should not be confused with rectal
cancer or mistakenly taken for hemorrhoids, a benign (non-cancerous) inflammation in the terminal orifice of the
digestive tract. Depending on the group of cells affected by the primary tumor, there are 3 types of anal cancer
(three types of epithelia, cells that cells that line
the anal canal), of which the most common is the squamous cell
carcinoma. The tumor can appear as a more or less ulcerated external budding. Some cases look like a fissure,
leading some patients to confuse the disease with hemorrhoids.
Anatomically, the anus is the terminal orifice of the
digestive tract. Its main function is to periodically remove residues of digestion. In humans, it is located in the
perineum, behind the lower part of the external genitalia; that is, in the base of the penis in men, and the vulva
in women. The anus is the external opening of the anal canal and its wall consists of skin.
The anus control the expulsion of feces and gas produced
from the bolus (mass of chewed food) during the digestion process. This control is possible thanks to
In adults, the anal sphincter is closed
most of the time, allowing the accumulation and retention of feces in the rectum. During defecation, the
sphincter opens and passes the contents of the rectum through the anus (bowel
movement). At birth, however, the anal
sphincter opens independently of the will. Control is acquired later in infancy.
In addition to cancer and hemorrhoids, the anus can be affected by
other pathologies such as:
Incontinence – this is a disease which is
characterized by impromptu leakage of stools from the
rectum due to the loss of muscle tone
of the anal sphincter. The conditions affects mostly elderly, and can be controlled.
Abscess - this condition is characterized by
a collection of pus in the anal or
rectal region, and it is often called
anorectal abscess the fact that the causes and characteristics are often similar in the entire anal and
rectal area, the difference being the location. Anal abscess is a festering and painful infection of the
exodermic anal wall.
Anal Fissure - this is the
appearance of an opening (due to infection) between the anal canal and the skin, following the introduction of a
blunt object (colonoscopic tool, anal sexual practices: sodomy, fisting...). In some cases, the fissure can
cause bleeding (hemorrhagic) if it affects the hemorrhoidal system, thus causing serious pain.
Conditions - congenital malformations, such as
anorectal malformation, are other possible medical conditions of the anus. Certain congenital defects can cause
absence or lack of communication between the anus and the colon. The problem can be partial or complete, lack or
total absence of communication.
Anal Cancer Incidence