cancer can be effectively treated with surgery or a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. When diagnosed
early, the cancer can be completely cured. However, all forms of treatment are subject of inconvenient. Surgery
always consists of removing the anal
sphincter; chemotherapy and radiation treatments can lead to complete healing without the removal of the
sphincter; however, they
cause side effects, which may last a lifetime.
can be effectively treated with chemotherapy drugs: mitomycin and fluorouracil for instance. These medications
are most often taken intravenously to kill or slow down the proliferation of cancer cells. Since cancer is
characterized by uncontrolled cell division, these drugs work by acting on DNA, on RNA or the proteins of cells
to block certain stages of their division. However, all chemotherapy drugs always attack health cells that
multiply rapidly which lead to side effects in most patients:
- Lung problems
Radiation therapy involves
exposing the anus to electromagnetic waves to destroy or slow down the multiplication of cancer cells.
Radiotherapy can treat and even eliminate the cancer without surgery. Exposure of ionizing radiation on large
tumor is not only reducing symptoms but also allowing the preservation of the anal sphincter, unlike surgical
treatment. In most cases, the radiation lasts about 4 weeks, 4 or 5 times per week, Monday through Friday.
Your oncologist can
recommend external beam radiotherapy or internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy). Depending on your condition, both
methods can be used.
However, like chemotherapy,
radiation therapy kills both cancer cells and normal cells surrounding the tumor, which can lead
- burn in
the anal area
of certain tissue of the anus
incontinence (involuntary loss of
gas or/and fecl matter)
narrowing of the anus (rare).
Surgery is reserved for
advanced anal cancers or in cases of failure of radio-chemotherapy treatments. Like cancer treatments, surgical
therapy has its inconvenient, the healing of the perineum (the area of the body located between the anus and the
scrotum in men and between the anus and the vulva in women) is always long and arduous.
In early stage of the
cancer, your surgeon can decide to remove the cancerous tissue without removing or damaging the anal sphincter.
In this case, the surgery aims at stopping the progression of the tumor, and increases the effectiveness of the
chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
abdominoperineal excision) – in very advanced form of
anal cancer or in case of
failure of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, removal of the anus, the rectum and part of the
sigmoid colon will be the only
option to get rid of the cancer. However, this surgery has many inconvenient, and is rarely