Anal cancer

Cancer of the anus is rare. Around 1,000 people are diagnosed with anal cancer each year in the UK.

The most common type of anal cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Other rarer types are basal cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma (see skin cancer for more information).

Symptoms of anal cancer

The most common symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma anal cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the anus
  • Inability to control bowel movements
  • Ulcers around the anus area which can in some cases also appear on the buttocks
  • Small lumps around the anus area, commonly confused with piles
  • A mucus discharge from the anus
  • Itching around the anus which can be accompanied by pain and discomfort

Basal cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma anal cancers may have different symptoms.

*Information provided by Macmillan cancer support

At The Christie, the colorectal and peritoneal oncology centre treats anal cancer.

Last updated: March 2023