Anal cancer and HPV infection

Dr Linda Calabresi

writer

Dr Linda Calabresi

GP; Medical Editor, Healthed

Dr Linda Calabresi

Anal cancer is a neglected disease.

Whether through shame and embarrassment, or self-diagnosis of a haemorrhoid, late presentations are not uncommon and have an overall five-year survival of only 65%. It is an important disease which is potentially preventable but, whether the measure is research time and money, media coverage or the allocation of a coloured ribbon, anal cancer has not received the attention it deserves.

Before discussing who gets anal cancer, why they get it, how we might prevent it and the efforts being taken to do so, the anatomy and terminology need to be established and understood.

  • Gentle traction placed on the buttocks will reveal perianal lesions (those falling within 5 cm of the anal opening) however anal canal lesions will be visualised incompletely or not at all by means of this manoeuvre. This is vitally important to appreciate because accurate description of location has direct clinical relevance. Anal canal cancers are more aggressive and require chemoradiation, while perianal cancers behave more like skin cancers and wide excision is usually appropriate.
  • The anal canal has three zones – colorectal, transformation and lower canal. The transformation zone, centred on the dentate line, is where the glandular epithelium of the rectum meets the squamous epithelium of the lower canal, and is analogous to that in the cervix. It may encompass several centimetres, have poorly demarcated margins and is characterised by ongoing squamous metaplasia and constant replacement of glandular epithelium.

The transformation zone is where most anal canal cancers arise.

PASSWORD RESET

Forgot your password or password not working? Please enter your email address. You will receive an email with the link to set a new password.

Icon 2

NEXT LIVE Webcast

:
Days
:
Hours
:
Minutes
Seconds
Dr Nomvuyo Mothobi

Dr Nomvuyo Mothobi

Cervical Cancer Screening Update

Prof Andrew Sindone

Prof Andrew Sindone

Heart Failure – Non-Pharmacological Management

Prof Finlay Macrae AO

Prof Finlay Macrae AO

Gluten-Free Diet – A Practical Guide

Prof Andrew Sindone

Prof Andrew Sindone

Heart Failure – Multi-Disciplinary Cardiac Rehabilitation

Join us for the next free webcast for GPs and healthcare professionals

High quality lectures delivered by leading independent experts

Share this

Share this

Dr Linda Calabresi

writer

Dr Linda Calabresi

GP; Medical Editor, Healthed

Recent Posts

Latest GP poll

We asked GPs "To what extent do you support or oppose legislation to allow nurse practitioners and endorsed midwives to prescribe PBS medicines and provide Medicare services without an arrangement with a doctor?"

Strongly support

0%

Somewhat support

0%

Neither support nor oppose

0%

Somewhat oppose

0%

Strongly oppose

0%

Recent podcasts

Listen to expert interviews.
Click to open in a new tab

You have completed the Educational Activities component of this resource. 

Select ‘Confirm & claim CPD‘ to confirm you have engaged with this resource in its entirety and claim your CPD.

You will be taken to explore further CPD learning available to you.