Signs and Symptoms
Patients with invasive anal cancer experience a wide variety of symptoms, but at the earliest stage of cancer, patients often have no symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness in the area around the anus, which can be constant or occur only with bowel movements or receptive sex
- Bleeding with bowel movements or following sex that is different from normal
- Lump or hard area on the outside of the anal area that appears to be increasing in size
- Itching or discharge from the anus
- Pain or a sense of fullness and constant need to go to the bathroom, or both, which may occur as tumors grow and begin to invade the sphincter muscle
If you are at risk of anal cancer or are experiencing symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor and be examined promptly. If cancer is detected, an early diagnosis will help improve outcomes and smaller tumors can be treated more effectively with fewer side effects.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.