In this section

Anal Cancer

Easy Read Information

Anal Cancer is the cancer in your bottom. This page gives you information of the treatment you will get with this disease.

Who we are

We are the regional centre for anal cancer care in Merseyside and Cheshire. This means that our patients benefit from expert diagnosis and treatment. If you come to the hospital you can expect:

Specialists from different medical areas meet weekly. This is called a multi-disciplinary team meeting (MDT) and is central to the way we work. The MDT advise, support and create treatment plans that are personalised for every patient.

What we do

From when we first meet you, you’ll be assigned a nurse who will be with you throughout your treatment journey, from your first appointment to aftercare. The nurse is your key-worker and will help you with any problems or questions. See key worker page for more details

As a university hospital, we lead research into cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention. We regularly publish new research that helps in the fight against anal cancer.

The specialist nurses at the hospital are trained in complex techniques – like using small cameras to look for cancer (endoscopy). This makes cancer identification quicker for patients.

Making life after cancer more comfortable

By using the latest surgical techniques we have the lowest post-operation stoma rate in the region. This means that fewer patients need colostomy bags after treatment

Anal cancer treatment types

  • Radiation therapy: this uses x-rays (or other radiation types) to kill cancer cells. Two types of radiation therapy are given, depending on the type of cancer: external therapy and internal therapy.
  • Chemotherapy: this is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells.
  • Surgery: we perform two different types of surgery at the hospital. This depends on the type and size of the cancer: 1. The lump is cut out along with some of the healthy tissue around it. This is called local resection. It is used when the cancer is small and has not spread. 2. The anus, the rectum, and part of the colon are removed. This is called abdominoperineal resection.

Being referred to us

You will be referred to the hospital for further investigation if your GP spots any symptoms that are unusual. We will see you for a clinic appointment within two weeks of this referral.

You'll be sent details of your clinic appointment in the post.

What happens when you see us

Anal cancer rapid diagnosis clinic

At the clinic, we aim to identify cancer as quickly as possible. We use a number of different tests to see if there are any unusual lumps:

  • Physical examination and history: we will examine your body to check general signs of health. We’ll also take a full history of your health habits, past illnesses and treatments.
  • Digital rectal examination: an examination of the anus and rectum to feel for lumps or anything else unusual.
  • Anoscopy: examining the anus and lower rectum using a short tube called an anoscope.
  • Proctoscopy: examining the rectum using a short tube called a proctoscope.
  • Ultrasound: this uses sound waves to make a picture of inside the body. Any unusual lumps and bumps can be identified this way.
  • Biopsy: tissue samples are removed, sent to a tissue expert (pathologist) and examined under a microscope. This is the only way to 100% confirm the presence of cancer.

What happens next

Anal Cancer treatment

Your test results are discussed by the multi-disciplinary team (MDT). This is a group of cancer experts including:

  • consultants (leading bowel cancer experts)
  • specialist nurses
  • clinical oncologists (specialists in the treatment of cancer using radiotherapy and chemotherapy)
  • pathologists (tissue specialists).
  • The MDT provide support, advice and help you decide the best treatment plan if cancer is discovered.

How long before treatment starts?

Treatment starts as soon as possible after the cancer has been discovered. You will be assigned a specialist nurse who stays with you every step of your treatment journey. The nurse is your key-worker and is available to answer any questions you may have.

More information

Clinical Trials

You may be asked to take part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials help us learn more about the best way to treat specific conditions. You can find out more by visiting the Clinical Research Unit website here.

Related links