Many people confuse anal cancer with colorectal cancer. Although these two cancers share a few of the same symptoms, they start in different areas of the large intestine. Anal cancer is rare and more likely to affect women than men. About 25 percent of people diagnosed with anal cancer never experience any symptoms, while others experience a variety. In some cases, symptoms do not appear until the cancer has spread.


1. Risk Factors for Anal Cancer

Before evaluating symptoms, doctors usually assess risk factors associated with anal cancer. People who have a human papillomavirus infection (HPV) or genital warts are at a higher risk, though the majority of people with HPV never develop anal cancer. The risk increases for people who are over 50 and those who smoke. Other risk factors include:

  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Engagement in anal sex (receptive anal sex )
  • A history of cervical, vulvar, or vaginal cancer
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • HIV, an illness that suppresses the immune system
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