Anal cancer is a rare type of cancer, that affects the very end of the large bowel.
Fewer than 1,200 people are diagnosed a year, according to the NHS, but it can prove deadly if not spotted early enough.
This can be difficult since some sufferers don’t have any symptoms.
Even more concerning, is that some signs could be confused with other less serious conditions, like piles or haemorrhoids, and anal fissures, which are small tears or sores.
The five symptoms of anal cancer to be aware of, note the NHS, are:
– Bleeding from the bottom or rectal bleeding
– Itching and pain around the anus
– Small lumps around the anus
– A discharge of mucus from the anus
– Loss of bowel control, also known as bowel incontinence. This can feel like a sudden urge to go to the toilet, and not making it to the toilet in time.
While the exact cause of anal cancer is unknown, there are certain factors thought to increase your risk.
These include being infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can be spread through sex.
Having anal sex or lots of sexual partners can also increase your risk.
Additionally, a weakened immune system and smoking can raise your likelihood of suffering further.
The sooner anal cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of survival.
Currently around 66 per cent of sufferers will live at least five years after diagnosis.
The main treatment options are chemoradiation – a combination of chemotherapy and radiation – and surgery.
According to the NHS, there are approximately 300 deaths a year from the condition in the UK.