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 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.
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.