Surgery is not always a primary treatment for anal cancer. However, some individuals may be able to have surgery depending on the size and location of the cancerous tumor.
Anal cancer is
This article examines the different types of surgery for anal cancer. We also cover what to expect from these surgical procedures and their risks and side effects.
Learn more about cancer
A combination of chemotherapy and targeted radiation treatment is the
However, sometimes a person with this disease can have surgery, which can remove small tumors that have not spread to nearby organs or the sphincter muscles.
There are two different types of surgery available for individuals with anal cancer.
A local resection is where a surgeon removes the cancerous tumor from the anus. They will also remove some of the healthy tissue surrounding it.
Surgeons use this type of surgery when the cancer is small and has not yet spread to other body areas. Local resection is
A local resection procedure
Due to the removal of the anus, surgeons need to allow another way for stool to leave the body. They do this by attaching the end of the colon to a small hole called a stoma. A colostomy bag attaches over the opening, which collects a person’s stool.
Before arranging the surgery, a doctor will go through the treatment options with the person. They will also discuss any risks and side effects of the surgical procedure.
Doctors may instruct someone to
- limiting their food and drink intake
- preparing the bodily area that surgeons will operate on
- giving blood tests, X-rays, and other medical tests
- giving an individual an enema the night before the surgery
During the procedure, the individual will be under the effects of a general anesthetic and be unconscious. Following the surgery, a healthcare professional will take them into a recovery room. A person should expect to stay in the hospital for several days after the surgery.
The following are
- internal scar tissue
- erectile dysfunction and other sexual performance changes
- wound infection
- reactions to anesthesia
- organ damage
- blood clots
Following the surgery, a person will likely receive aftercare, which may involve different tests to monitor the cancer.
Additionally, those with a colostomy bag may take some time to adapt. A colostomy bag needs changing every 1–3 days, and a doctor or nurse will show a person how to manage this before they leave the hospital.
A doctor will also advise on any necessary diet changes. A person should ensure they have a balanced diet following anal cancer surgery.
Additionally, individuals who now have a colostomy bag may need to avoid foods that cause gas. This may include:
Researchers from a 2022 study found a 5-year survival rate of 73% in individuals who had treatment for anal cancer.
Learn more about foods to include and limit in a colostomy diet.
The Anal Cancer Foundation offers a Peer-to-Peer Support Program. This allows individuals to connect with others in their area who also have experience with anal cancer.
Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about anal cancer surgery.
What is the survival rate for anal cancer?
Research from 2022 suggests that anal cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 73%.
Can surgery cure anal cancer?
Surgery may help remove cancerous tumors from the body. However, the disease can return even after tumor removal.
Surgery is not usually the first line of treatment for anal cancer. However, doctors may recommend this approach depending on the size and location of the tumor. Additionally, a person may receive this treatment when other treatments have not worked.
An individual can seek various support groups to receive help and support following anal cancer surgery.