nursing care for anal cancer

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anal cancer definition

Content is medically reviewed by:

Dr. Udaya Kumar Maiya (MBBS, MD, DNB(RT), DCCF (Paris), Medical Director, Portea.

Anal cancer is the cancer of the anus, which is last part of the large intestine and opening of the rectum. Anal cancer is a rare form of cancer and is often linked to the HPV virus. Anal cancer is typically a squamous cell carcinoma and is accompanied by rectal bleeding and anal pain. Some of the noncancerous forms of anal cancer can also turn malignant or cancerous over time.

anal cancer types

Anal cancer is classified into various sub groups based on the type of tumour that develops. Accordingly the varied anal cancer types are;

  • Benign tumours:  These are non cancerous tumours in the anus and can include polyps, skin tags, granular cell tumours and genital warts or condylomas
  • Precancerous conditions: It is the benign tumours that have turned malignant over time.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: Squamous cell cancer is malignant tumours in the anus are caused by abnormal squamous cells.
  • Bowen’s disease:  In this condition the cancer cells stay limited to the anal surface tissue and haven’t penetrated into the deeper section.
  • Basal cell carcinoma: It is an extremely rare form of anal cancer caused due to exposure to the sun.
  • Adenocarcinoma: It is also a rare form of cancer that develops from the glands located near the anus.

anal cancer stages

Anal cancer staging is done only after the patient has undergone certain anal cancer diagnostic tests, which would help the doctor in determining the growth and extent of the cancer, after which the staging of the cancer is done. Accordingly, the doctors then put the cancer in a sub division of five stages from stage 0 to stage IV. The various anal cancer stages are;

  1. Stage 0 – At this stage abnormal cells affect only the first layer of the lining of the anus and are limited to the anus only.
  2. Stage I: In this stage the tumour is to be small and has yet to spread to the lymph nodes and other organs.
  3. Stage II: At this stage the tumour grows in size but, is yet to spread into the lymph nodes and other sections of the body.
  4. Stage III :
    1. Stage III(A): During this stage the cancer begins to spread into the lymph nodes or the urethra, bladder or vagina in women.
    2. Stage III(B): At this stage anal cancer takes a severe form and has spread to other organs and limited parts of the lymph nodes.
  5. Stage IV: This is the advanced stage of anal cancer and at this stage the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body

anal cancer diagnosis

The varied anal cancer tests and diagnostic tools used in anal cancer diagnosis are as follows;

  • The first anal cancer test involves examining the anal canal and rectum for any abnormalities and cancerous growth.
  • The doctors would also visually check the anal canal and rectum by means of an anascope for any unusual growth on the rectum and anus walls.
  • The other anal cancer diagnostic tests involve taking sound wave pictures or ultrasound of the anal canal and rectum.
  • Doctors can even take a sample of tissue for laboratory testing as part of the anal cancer screening test.

After the confirmation of anal cancer through the use of varied anal cancer diagnostic tests, the doctor then might ask for other anal cancer screening tests to ascertain the extent of the spread of the cancer.  The anal cancer tests used to ascertain the extent of cancer are CT scan, MRI scan and PET scan

anal cancer causes

The prime anal cancer causes have been identified to be a sexually transmitted infection known as human papillomavirus (HPV). The presence of HPV has been found in a majority of anal cancer cases and as such anal cancer cause is primarily attributed to HPV. Some of the risk factors associated with anal cancer are as follows;

  • People over 60 years of age are more prone to anal cancer
  • Having numerous sexual partners also puts one at the risk of anal cancer
  • Cigarette Smoking also puts one at the risk of anal cancer.
  • Those who have had cervical or vaginal cancer are also at a greater risk of anal cancer.

anal cancer home treatment

There are a variety of anal cancer home treatment remedies that can be adapted for better anal cancer care as there is no natural cure for anal cancer. Some of the steps that can be undertaken for anal cancer care are;

  • Having coffee, coffee acts as a diuretic and can help in softening the stool for easier bowel movement.
  • Applying or consuming grapeseed oil can provide some relief in anal cancer.
  • Turmeric with its anti inflammatory properties is an important anal cancer home treatment remedy.
  • Massage and meditation to relieve stress and relax the muscles and alleviate pain to some extent
  • Regular exercising helps in fighting fatigue and also keeps the mind fresh.

anal cancer treatment

Detection of the anal cancer at an early stage is crucial to anal cancer treatment as it boosts the effectiveness of anal cancer treatments. Anal cancer treatments depend upon the stage of the cancer, a person’s preference and their over health condition. The various anal cancer treatments include;

  • Chemotherapy – It involves taking chemotherapy drugs as pills or via injections.
  • Radiation therapy – It is the use   high energy proton beams to eliminate cancer cells.
  • Surgery – Surgical procedures are administered to remove tumours in their early stage and for late-stage anal cancers or anal cancers that haven’t responded to other treatments.

how can we help?

The option to get anal cancer treatment at home can prove to be very comforting and morally uplifting for cancer patients as they seek support from their family members. Helping them stay close to their families is Portea with its quality anal cancer treatment at home. Renowned for its at home healthcare services, portea offers well trained nurses for anal cancer care and palliative care. So if you need anal cancer treatment at home, do give us a call and we would take care of all the patient needs from nurses for anal care to rehabilitative care post surgery and palliative care.

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