Anal Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
At Cancer Care of North Florida, once cancer has been diagnosed, our specialists will order diagnostic testing and imaging to help determine the stage and extent of the disease. It is very important to do a comprehensive anal cancer work-up to carefully evaluate the extent of the cancer.
- Medical history and physical exam
- Testing for blood in the stool
- Routine blood tests
- Blood tests for tumor markers
- Rigid proctosigmoidoscopy
- MRI scan
- CT scan
- Chest x-ray
- PET imaging
- Biopsy and molecular assessment
Depending on the type and stage (severity) of the colorectal cancer, the following treatments may be necessary. At Cancer Care of North Florida, we use the most advanced therapies available to treat anal cancer. An individualized plan of care may include multiple types of treatments.
Types of surgical procedures for anal cancer include:
Local resection – removes the tumor plus a small amount of normal tissue
Abdominoperineal resection (APR) – Removal of anus, rectum, and colon. This procedure is rare as chemo and radiation help to avoid this major operation.
Other forms of non-surgical interventions for anal cancer include:
Radiation – Any remaining cancer cells left after surgery are destroyed with high-energy radiation beams. For some anal cancer, treating with chemotherapy at the same time can make radiation therapy work better. It is possible to receive radiation therapy before, during or after surgical intervention. Also, when surgery is not possible, radiation can be used to help slow the growth of the tumor. We work closely with Cancer Care of North Florida Radiation Oncology located on campus.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy (chemo) are anti-cancer drugs that may be given intravenously (injected into your vein) or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Chemotherapy can sometimes be given before, during or after surgery. At Cancer Care of North Florida, our team provide extensive education and supportive care through your therapy.
Targeted Treatments – Targeted drugs work differently from chemo drugs. They sometimes work when chemo drugs don’t, and they often have different side effects. They can be used either along with chemotherapy or by themselves if chemotherapy is no longer working. Targeted treatment options are determined by further genetic testing of the tumor cells. This type of testing is usually done on the biopsied tissue of the tumor cells.
Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is the use of medicines to help a person’s own immune system better recognize and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be used to treat some people with advanced anal cancer.