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Anal cancer

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Treatments for stage II anal cancer

The following are treatment options for stage II anal cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.


Chemoradiation is the main treatment for stage II anal cancer. It combines chemotherapy with radiation therapy. The 2 treatments are given during the same time period. Some types of chemotherapy make radiation therapy more effective.

Chemoradiation is usually given as daily treatments of external beam radiation therapy for 5–6 weeks. The drugs most commonly given during this time period are 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil) and mitomycin (Mutamycin). Sometimes capecitabine (Xeloda) is used instead of 5-fluorouracil.

Sometimes more treatment is given if chemoradiation didn’t destroy all the cancer cells. This may be called salvage therapy. It is usually chemotherapy alone or with radiation therapy. The chemotherapy drugs used most often in salvage therapy are 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin (Platinol AQ). When more radiation therapy is given, it’s called a radiation boost.


You may be offered surgery for stage II anal cancer. An abdominoperineal resection may be done if chemoradiation didn’t destroy all the cancer cells. This surgery removes the rectum, anus, anal sphincter and muscles around the anus.

Clinical trials

You may be asked if you want to join a clinical trial for anal cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.


Dr Marc Therrien Dr Marc Therrien is working toward blocking a cancer-driving protein.

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Support from someone who has ‘been there’

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The Canadian Cancer Society’s peer support program is a telephone support service that matches cancer patients and their caregivers with specially trained volunteers.

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