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What are the symptoms of anal cancer?


Updated July 01, 2014

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Question: What are the symptoms of anal cancer?
I have had what looks like a pimple by my anal opening for a month or so. Sometimes it bleeds after I have a bowel movement. I talked with a good friend about it and she said it could be a symptom of anal cancer. Is this a symptom of anal cancer or am I overreacting?
Answer: A lump or bump near the anus could be a symptom of anal cancer, but can be caused by other, less serious diseases and conditions, like hemorrhoids or an anal fissure. However, because it has been there for over a month, it should be looked at by a doctor to rule out more serious conditions.

Anal cancer is relatively easy to diagnose, but the symptoms of the disease are non-specific and related to many other conditions. Many people assume they suffer from hemorrhoids when experiencing swelling or a bump near the anus or rectal bleeding and because these are common conditions, many wait to go to the doctor. The rule of thumb is that if you have had symptoms for more than a week or two or become suddenly worse, then you should see your doctor.

Anal Cancer Symptoms

  • lumps or bumps located near the anus
  • anal bleeding or bleeding during bowel movements
  • anal discharge
  • pain in or around the anus
  • itchy sensation around or inside the anus
  • change in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea and thinning of the stools

What to Do If You Have Anal Cancer Symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, please see your doctor. It is common for some to delay going to the doctor because they feel embarrassed by their symptoms or are fearful of being examined in such an intimate part of their body. Please don't let these emotions prevent you from being getting medical attention. Fortunately, anal cancer can be detected early if the patient seeks medical care at the onset of symptoms.


"Can Anal Cancer Be Found Early?". Detailed Guide: Anal Cancer. American Cancer Society. 25 April 2007. Accessed July 20, 2010.

"What is Anal Cancer?". Detailed Guide: Anal Cancer. American Cancer Society. 25 April 2007. Accessed July 29, 2010.

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