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Anal cancer is not exactly the easiest subject matter to discuss, which is probably why we rarely hear anything about it in the media. (One exception being in 2009, when actress Farrah Fawcett’s death from anal cancer briefly made headlines.)
Both its taboo location and being considerably less common than its more well-known counterparts of colon cancer and cancer of the rectum has kept anal cancer on the fringes of the national conversation about cancer.
Anal cancer, also known as cancer of the anus, is a somewhat rare condition that afflicts roughly 8,000 new people in the United States every year. Though not nearly as prevalent as cancers of the colon and rectum, anal cancer is on the rise. The American Cancer Society now warns that 1 in 500 people will be diagnosed with it at some point throughout their lives.
This translates to more than half a million Americans who at some point will face this serious disease. Though highly treatable, what makes anal cancer a tougher nut to crack than other forms of cancer seems to be its anatomical locale. Adding to the problem is the tendency of potential sufferers to avoid talking about it with their healthcare practitioners out of embarrassment.
Talking about anal cancer might make some people blush, but failure to address it early on can mean a death sentence, which is no laughing matter. This is why advocacy groups have designated March 22 as Anal Cancer Awareness Day. This day is specially set aside to spread the word about anal cancer symptoms, as well as available treatment options and prevention tips.
Anal Cancer Symptoms: Early Detection is Key
Since the anus is technically part of the intestines, cancers that form there are complex and come in many varieties. The most common type of anal cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which typically forms in the outer lining of the anal canal. But there’s also cloacogenic carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, as well as basal cell carcinoma and melanoma, both of which are cancers of the skin.
Anal cancer symptoms range from general pain and pressure in the anal region during the earlier stages of the disease, as well as itching, unusual discharge from the anus, lumps, swelling, and erratic bowel movements. In more severe cases, anal bleeding is common. Unusual growths such as polyps and warts may also be an indication of anal cancer, though this is not always the case.
Risk factors for anal cancer include frequent anal irritation, cigarette smoking, and compromised immunity. Concerning the latter two, this is one of the many reasons why I’m constantly urging people to quit the tobacco habit and boost their immune systems through healthy diet and appropriate exercise. Doing so could, quite literally, save your life!
Obviously the goal is to lower the risk factors to avoid ever developing these anal cancer symptoms in the first place. But if you do happen to see worrying signs that could indicate the presence of anal cancer, it’s important to get checked out. This will either rule out a diagnosis or get you on track to eradicating the cancer as quickly as possible.
Don’t Be Afraid of Getting Tested for Anal Cancer
If you’re worried that you might have cancer of the anus, there are several cancer diagnostic approaches you can take. One is to opt for a digital rectal exam, or DRE, which involves a doctor carefully scoping out the anal cavity for lumps or other abnormalities. If any suspicious finds occur during this DRE, the doctor may decide to perform an anoscopy, which involves inserting a small anoscope into the anus to gain clearer visuals of what might be lurking.
Biopsies, ultrasounds, x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans are also routinely used to identify the presence of anal cancer. However, biopsies can spread cancer, so that’s not a very good option, while both PET scans, CT scans, and x-rays can also cause cancer, so perhaps you’ll want to opt for an MRI or ultrasound. Don’t be ashamed to ask your doctor for testing or a referral if you’re concerned about the health of this sensitive area of your body.
In the unfortunate event that a diagnosis is made, the stage of that cancer diagnosis will also be determined. At this point the patient has some important decisions to make. If the cancer is in an early stage, it may be possible to simply remove it with surgery, assuming it’s just a small tumor that hasn’t yet metastasized.
However, if the cancer has already progressed to severe or late-stage, the doctor may recommend more invasive treatments with radiation and chemotherapy. If you’ve been following The Truth About Cancer for any length of time, you’ll know that these are high-risk treatments.
Anal Cancer Treatment Options: Chemo & Radiation Are NOT the Answer
The truth of the matter, just like with most other forms of cancer, is that cancer of the anus is entirely treatable without chemicals and radiation.
Some better options include more natural and progressive cancer treatments such as:
- Rife-Beck Protocol – a highly effective treatment regimen that uses special radio frequencies to take out the microbes that fuel cancer cells and supercharge the immune system so it can rid the body of cancer cells naturally.
- Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy – a treatment method that utilizes the natural healing power of both light and sound to destroy cancer cells, and prevent them from developing resistance and coming back with a vengeance (as they often do following chemotherapy and radiation).
- Biomagnetic Therapy – a technique that uses magnets to help bring the body back into balance so it can naturally recover from illness, including cancer.
There are many other options as well, including IV therapies such as DMSO and hydrogen peroxide, oxygen therapies, and various vitamin and mineral supplementation programs. I touch on many of these therapies and more in The Truth About Cancer docu-series.
If you haven’t seen the series, I hope you’ll take the time to look into these treatments on your own, as well as consider the signs, symptoms, and risk factors associated with anal cancer as we approach Anal Cancer Awareness Day. After all, awareness is about education… and education is what ultimately saves lives.
Anal cancer’s taboo location and being less common than its counterparts of colon and rectal cancer has kept awareness of cancer of the anus very low.
There are approximately 8,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. alone each year and 1 in 500 Americans will be diagnosed at some point in their lives, so it is important to know the signs of anal cancer
Symptoms of anal cancer range from general pain and pressure in the anal region, itching, unusual discharge, swelling, and erratic bowel movements. In more severe cases, anal bleeding is common. Unusual growths such as polyps and warts may also be an indication of anal cancer.
There are a number of diagnostic tools that doctors use to detect cancer of the anus including a digital rectal exam (DRE). If the doctor finds suspicious lumps during the DRE, they may perform an anoscopy. Biopsies, ultrasounds, x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans are also routinely used to identify the presence of anal cancer.
Just like with most other forms of cancer, anal cancer is often entirely treatable without chemotherapy and radiation. Some possible natural cancer treatments include:
- Rife-Beck Protocol
- Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy
- Biomagnetic Therapy
Many other natural treatment options for anal cancer and other cancers are discussed in our Truth About Cancer docu-series.