What is anal cancer?

Anal cancer is a rare cancer that starts in the anus. This is the opening at the very end of the large bowel. 


Symptoms of anal cancer can include bleeding, bowel changes and severe itching (pruritus). These can also be symptoms for other conditions, but it's important to see your doctor.

Risks and causes of anal cancer

Many anal cancers are linked to lifestyle or other risk factors. Having these risk factors does not mean that you will definitely develop cancer.

Getting diagnosed

Your GP will ask you about your symptoms. Find out about referral to a specialist, and the tests you might have.

Stages and types

Find out about the different types of anal cancer, and the number and TNM staging systems.


Find out about survival for anal cancer.


Your treatment depends on where your cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread anywhere else in your body. 

Living with anal cancer

Getting practical and emotional support can help you cope with a diagnosis of cancer, life during treatment and life after cancer.

Research and clinical trials

Find out about the latest UK research, clinical trials and how you can take part.

Last reviewed: 
28 Mar 2019

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