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Surgery for anal cancer

surgical oncology

Surgery for anal cancer

Surgery is a treatment option for early-stage anal cancer, particularly stage 0, as well as some stage I and II anal cancers. You and your medical oncologist would discuss the pros and cons of surgery before deciding if it’s an appropriate option for you. There are two surgical procedures for anal cancer, depending on the type and location of the tumor:

Local resection

Local resection treats cancers of the anal margin. Local resection may be an option for early stage anal cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes or surrounding tissue. It is mainly used to remove small tumors not involving the sphincter. During the procedure, your surgeon would remove the tumor and a small amount of surrounding normal tissue. The sphincter is left intact to allow for normal bowel movements after surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may follow the surgery.

Abdominoperineal resection

Abdominaoperineal resection removes the anus and anal sphincter. This type of procedure may be an option if the cancer does not respond to other treatments or if the cancer recurs. Your surgeon would make incisions into the abdomen and around the anus to remove the anus and rectum. Then, your surgeon would create a new opening to allow for the passage of stool from the body. It’s possible that your surgeon may perform a lymph node dissection to remove some lymph nodes in the groins, though this procedure may be done later.

What is surgery?

Surgery is used to diagnose, stage and treat cancer, and certain cancer-related symptoms. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss appropriate surgical options that meet your individual needs.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery depends on factors such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as general health factors such as age, physical fitness and other medical comorbidities. For many patients, surgery will be combined with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy. These may be administered before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant) to help prevent cancer growth, spread or recurrence.

Early in the treatment planning process, we plan for and proactively manage any side effects from surgery. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists and naturopathic clinicians are available to work with your surgical oncologist to support your healing and quality of life. Our reconstructive surgeons perform procedures to restore the body's appearance and function, often at the time of surgery or following surgery.