There are several treatments for anal cancer. Your doctor will recommend specific therapies based on:
The standard treatments are radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, often in combination.
The most effective therapies now include a both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Avoiding surgery that causes the loss of the anal sphincter is better in terms of quality of life. Surgery can be avoided and hence quality of life issues in terms of avoiding the loss of the anal sphincter can be achieved.
Patients with anal cancer and HIV disease already have weakened immune systems, so they may receive less intensive chemotherapy and radiation.
When you talk to your doctor about the treatment options, ask him or her about the expected benefits and risks. How will this treatment affect your prognosis? What will your quality of life be during and after treatment?
Follow-up tests during treatment will show how well the therapy is working. You should continue to have regular follow-up tests after your treatment is over to show if your condition has changed.
Page 6 of 9 Next Page: anal cancer When to Call A Doctor
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.
You can find more great health information on the Harvard Health Publications website.