Anal Cancer

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Norton Cancer Institute, the leading provider of cancer care in Louisville and Southern Indiana, offers same-day appointments for newly diagnosed anal cancer patients. If you’ve been diagnosed with anal cancer, you want to start getting better right away.

Our board-certified and fellowship-trained oncologists are leaders in their field. They’re at the forefront of developing innovative approaches to getting patients back to living their lives.

You’ll have a one-on-one relationship with your oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist or other specialist at Norton Cancer Institute.

Anal cancer is relatively uncommon. The National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be about 8,590 new anal cancer diagnoses and about 1,350 deaths in 2020.

Anal cancer affects the short tube (anal canal) at the end of the intestines where stool leaves the body.

Anal Cancer Treatment Customized for You

The specialists at Norton Cancer Institute use the latest equipment and procedures to make a precise diagnosis of your cancer. Our multidisciplinary approach with multiple specialists in one setting means we offer a full range of anal cancer treatments.

Our advanced testing options will help your specialist determine a care plan that’s tailored for you based on the stage of your cancer and your treatment goals. Your comprehensive care team of physicians and other health care providers meets regularly to review your case and plan the next steps.

At Norton Cancer Institute, you’ll have access to a multidisciplinary team of specialists. That includes oncologists, gastroenterologists and others to provide comprehensive care.

In addition to our current leading-edge treatments, we offer our patients the opportunity to participate in innovative National Cancer Institute- and industry-sponsored clinical research studies. These trials help to improve current cancer treatments in addition to finding new and promising solutions.

If radiation therapy part of the treatment plan, we map the exact shape and location of your tumor, then direct cancer-killing radiation at just the tumor, minimizing the impact on healthy tissue and reducing side effects. Chemotherapy and surgery are also possible treatments.

Depending on your cancer, just the tumor and some surrounding tissue may be removed surgically. Called a local resection, the sphincter muscles may be unaffected so you can still control bowel movements.

Anal cancer that comes back after radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be treated with an abdominoperineal resection that removes the anus, rectum and part of the colon through an abdominal incision. After this procedure, the patient’s body waste is collected in an external bag through an opening the surgeon creates in the surface of the abdomen.

Signs of Anal Cancer

Some signs and symptoms of anal cancer are similar to other diseases or conditions, such as hemorrhoids. If you have any of the following, check with your health care provider:

  • Bleeding from the anus or rectum, with or without a bowel movement
  • Pain, pressure or itching near the anus
  • A lump near the anus
  • Unusual discharge from the anus
  • Changes in bowel movements

Many people assume itching in the anal area is caused by hemorrhoids (itchy, painful or bleeding masses of tissue in the anus). This can delay diagnosis and treatment of anal cancer.

What Causes Anal Cancer?

Like other cancers, there are multiple factors that can put you at risk.

Risk factors include:

  • HPV status – The human papillomavirus has a strong link to anal cancer.
  • Age – Most cases of anal cancer happen in adults age 50 and older.
  • Sexual activity – Those who have had many sexual partners or who engage in receptive anal sex are more likely to develop anal cancer.
  • Drugs or conditions – If you are taking drugs or have a condition that weakens your immune system, you are at a higher risk.
  • Smoking

Anal Cancer Care for the Whole Person

  • Norton Cancer Institute has nine outpatient locations and multiple infusion centers in Louisville and surrounding counties and Southern Indiana. We have three radiation centers located just off major interstates, with free, self-service parking and valet parking.
  • Our gastrointestinal cancer patient navigator guides you through the treatment process. The navigator is a registered nurse and advocate for patients and families who can help coordinate scheduling to minimize your visits. The navigator provides information and support throughout your diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
  • The Norton Cancer Institute multidisciplinary approach to cancer care means you’ll have access to multiple specialists, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, interventional radiologists, interventional gastroenterologists, researchers, geneticists and dietitians.
  • We pull together providers from various disciplines to help identify the best treatment for you. At Norton Cancer Institute review boards, you will be considered for innovative clinical trials, immunotherapy, minimally invasive procedures, state-of-the-art radiation and advanced diagnostics.
Gastrointestinal Cancer Team

Why Choose Norton Cancer Institute

More patients in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Cancer Institute than any other provider in the area. We provide compassionate care for the whole person, not just the cancer.

Our Norton Cancer Institute oncologists are also researchers and principal investigators, offering patients sophisticated experience in the latest treatments and access to more than 200 clinical trials.

  • Access to more than 100 specialists, including board-certified and fellowship-trained oncologists
  • Multidisciplinary setting, meaning you get the benefit of opinions from multiple specialists across Norton Healthcare and often can schedule appointments for the same day in the same location
  • Immunotherapies such as CAR-T cell therapy, genetic therapies tailored to combat the unique genetic makeup of your cancer and the latest in surgical treatments, chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • State-of-the-art Norton Cancer Institute Genomics Lab offering highly specialized testing that makes it possible to tailor advanced treatments based on a tumor’s specific genetic composition
  • Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy for minimally invasive lung biopsies that can reach more parts of the lung without major surgery
  • Medicare, Medicaid and most major commercial insurance accepted
  • At Norton Specialty Pharmacy, patients receive regular consultations on their medications and treatment plan, making sure they get their prescriptions quickly and accurately. Our specialty pharmacists collaborate closely with your oncology team.
  • Use your free Norton MyChart account to communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions, get on the wait list for an earlier appointment and more anytime from a mobile device or computer

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