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What is The Treatment of Anal Cancer?

Explore the spectrum of anal cancer treatment, encompassing chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and palliative care. Empower yourself with knowledge for informed decision-making.

  • 08 Feb 2024
  • 3 min read
  • 14 views

While we rarely think of what health issues could potentially impact us, cancer remains one of the scariest diagnoses one could receive. In particular, anal cancer is a disease that affects many each year, yet it seldom receives the awareness and discussion that other common cancers do. Though the topic may seem uncomfortable or taboo to some, bringing awareness can hopefully help lessen the stigma and empower those undergoing anal cancer treatment to feel less alone in their journey. So, let's dive into a brief overview of the various approaches to treatment.

 

Treatment For Anal Cancer 

 

Some of the main anal cancer treatment options are as follows: 

  • Chemotherapy. 

Chemotherapy treats cancer with the help of strong medications. Some are injected in a vein, and others come in the form of pills. These drugs help destroy the rapidly growing cancer cells in the body.

 

  • Radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy uses powerful energy beams- X-rays, protons, or other sources- to destroy the cancer cells. The beams are projected to specific points in the body to kill the cells.

 

  • Surgery

Surgery might be used to treat anal cancer in certain situations, especially if radiation or chemotherapy don’t work. These surgical procedures might include:

 

  • Surgery for very small anal cancers. 

Some very small anal cancers are treated with surgery alone. The surgeon removes the tumor and some of the healthy tissue around it to ensure that all the cancer cells are removed from the body. It is uncommon and can only be done when the cancer is very small. Depending on the cancer, chemotherapy and radiation after surgery also may be recommended.

 

  • Surgery for cancer that hasn't responded to other treatments. 

If the cancer remains after chemotherapy and radiation, your doctor may recommend abdominoperineal resection, also called APR. During APR, the surgeon removes the anal canal, rectum, and part of the colon. The surgeon then attaches the remaining portion of your colon to an opening in your abdomen called a stoma. A colostomy bag is placed for the rest of the patient's life, and the waste is collected. 

 

Treatments For Cancer That Has Spread

Other kinds of treatments are required if the anal cancer moves to the other part of the body. Such treatments may include.

 

  • Chemotherapy alone. Chemotherapy medicines can control the growth of cancer cells throughout the body.

 

  • Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses medicine to help the immune system destroy cancer cells. It assists the immune system cells in identifying and destroying cancer cells. It might be used only under very specific conditions. 

 

  • Palliative care

Palliative care is an exceptional form of medical service that assists you with feeling improved. When you have a disease, palliative consideration can help with easing stress and different side effects. The group will likely work on personal satisfaction for yourself and your loved ones.

 

Also read:

Conclusion 

Anal cancer treatment is a very serious procedure and usually involves surgeries, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Despite the costs associated with these treatments, everyone should be aware that health insurance can help reduce the amount of money spent since anal cancer treatment is likely to leave big medical bills. Therefore, it is important for everyone to be informed of their options when it comes to receiving the medical coverage they need. We urge you to research more about your healthcare options and even look into assistance programs if necessary. 

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