Anal cancer

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Non-cancerous tumours of the anus

A non-cancerous, or benign, tumour of the anus is a growth that does not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Non-cancerous tumours are not usually life-threatening.

The following are some non-cancerous tumours that can develop in or around the anus.

Anal warts

Anal warts are growths that can develop on the skin around the anus (called perianal skin) and on the lining of the anal canal. They are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. If they aren’t treated, anal warts may increase the risk of developing anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN) and anal cancer. Anal warts are also called condylomata acuminata or condylomas.

Anal warts may be treated with:

  • freezing with liquid nitrogen (called cryosurgery)
  • a topical cream such as trichloroacetic acid (Tri-Chlor)
  • an electrical current to burn them off (called electrocautery)
  • surgery to cut them off

Polyp

A polyp is a small, mushroom-like growth that grows out from the lining of the anus. There are different types of polyps that may be caused by injury, infection or an overgrowth of normal cells.

Doctors usually do a polypectomy to treat a polyp. This is surgery to remove the polyp along with a margin of healthy tissue around it. A polypectomy can be done during endoscopy. After it is removed, doctors examine the polyp under a microscope to see whether or not there are any cancer cells.

Skin tag

A skin tag is a growth of connective tissue. Skin tags on the perianal skin may look like hemorrhoids (swollen veins around the anus). Doctors may remove skin tags with surgery, electrocautery or cryosurgery.

connective tissue

A specialized type of tissue that surrounds and supports various organs, structures and other tissues in the body.

Connective tissue includes blood, bone, cartilage and fat.

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