Anal cancer treatment

Because anal cancer is rare, it is recommended that you are treated in a specialised centre with a multidisciplinary team (MDT) who regularly manage this cancer. They will recommend the best treatment for you, depending on the type and location of the cancer; whether the cancer has spread (its stage); your age and fitness; and your preferences.

Understanding the disease, the available treatments, possible side effects and any extra costs can help you weigh up the treatment options and make a well-informed decision. Most anal cancers are treated with a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, which is known as chemoradiation or chemoradiotherapy. Surgery may also be used in some cases.

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Making treatment decisions

Sometimes it is difficult to decide on the type of treatment to have. You may feel that everything is happening too fast. Check with your doctor how soon your treatment should start, and take as much time as you can before making a decision.

You have the right to accept or refuse any treatment offered, to ask for more information, or to get a second opinion. In some cases, you may be able to take part in a clinical trial that is testing new or modified treatments.

To find out more about decision-making steps, consent and second opinions, read Making cancer treatment decisions.


This information was last reviewed in June 2018
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