Anal Cancer is a type of cancer that affects the anal canal. Cancer is uncontrolled cell growth due to genetic changes. Cancer cells can invade surrounding tissues. The anus is a passage that connects the rectum, the end of the large intestines, to the outside part of the body. Symptoms include anal/rectal bleeding, lumps around the anal opening, recurring anal pain, anal itching, change in bowel habits, narrowing of the stools, anal discharge, and swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the anal or groin areas. Twenty percent (20%) of anal cancer cases show no symptoms. Although anal cancer most commonly affects individuals over the age 55, it is possible for anal cancer to occur at younger ages. People who are diagnosed with HPV (see also human papilloma virus) have an increased risk of developing this cancer. Other risk factors include unprotected sex, anal sex, smoking, weakened immune systems, open anal wounds, and pelvic radiation. Treatment of anal cancers includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, all which are very effective in curing the cancer. Diagnosis is usually done through an anal canal examination, stool tests, or colonoscopies, and can usually be found during a yearly physical check-up. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with anal cancer, talk with your doctor to learn about the most up to date treatment options.