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What Is Anal Cancer?

What is anal cancer?

Anal cancer (also known as carcinoma of the anal canal) develops in your anus’ tissues or the lining of your anal canal. Your anal canal connects your anus (the opening) to your rectum (the lower part of your digestive system). Your anus is where poop leaves your body. Healthcare providers can cure anal cancer if they detect and treat it early on.

Types of anal cancer

There are two types of anal cancer — squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common anal cancer type. Squamous cell carcinoma in anal cancer is different from skin cancer that starts in the top layer of your skin.

Is anal cancer common?

No, it’s not. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 9,000 people in the United States will receive an anal cancer diagnosis in 2023. (The ACS estimates include anal cancer, anorectal cancer and anal canal cancer.) In comparison, an estimated 153,000 people will learn they have colon cancer in 2023.