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Prognosis and survival for anal cancer

If you have anal cancer, you may have questions about your prognosis. A prognosis is the doctor’s best estimate of how cancer will affect a person and how it will respond to treatment. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with your medical history, type of cancer, stage, characteristics of your cancer, treatments chosen and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

A prognostic factor is an aspect of the cancer or a characteristic of the person that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. The following are prognostic factors for anal cancer.

Size of the tumour

Tumours smaller than 2 cm have a better prognosis than larger tumours. Tumours larger than 5 cm tend to have a poor prognosis.

If cancer has spread to lymph nodes

Anal cancer that hasn’t spread to lymph nodes has a better prognosis than cancer that has spread to lymph nodes.

Hemoglobin levels

Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells. It carries oxygen and gives blood its red colour. People with low hemoglobin levels usually have a less favourable prognosis.

Type of tumour

Squamous cell carcinomas have a better prognosis than adenocarcinomas and other rare anal cancers.

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