Anal Cancer Treatment

Your Treatment Options

Your individualized treatment plan will take into account the stage of your disease, your overall health, the side effects of the treatment, and relieving anal cancer symptoms.

One or more of the following types of treatment will be used.

Surgery: There are two types of surgery used to treat anal cancer: local resection and abdominoperineal resection.

  • Local resection is the removal of the tumor along with some surrounding healthy tissue. This procedure may allow patients to retain control of their bowels and is used if the cancer is small and has not spread.
  • Abdominoperineal resection is used for more advanced anal cancers and is the removal of the anus, the rectum and part of the colon. This type of surgery requires the patient to use a colostomy bag because they can no longer control their bowels. Lymph nodes may also be removed during this procedure. Here at Winship, our doctors have pioneered a groin dissection technique for the removal of lymph nodes that improves recovery and lowers the risk of infection.

Radiation: Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Physicians may use radiation by itself to treat anal tumors or to shrink tumors before surgery. Radiation therapy is given based on the stage of the tumor. Learn more about radiation therapy treatments and services.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery to treat cancer.

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselors, nurse navigators, dietitians and social service professionals.