3. How Is Anal Cancer Diagnosed?
One way early-stage anal cancer can be found by a doctor is through a digital rectal exam (DRE). In this test, a doctor feels inside the anus with a gloved and lubricated finger, detecting changes in the skin.
This type of anal testing is usually conducted by a general physician or a gynecologist. Women can have this testing done along with their routine pelvic exams. If HPV is discovered during a pelvic exam, an anal pap test will likely follow where cells from the lining of the anus are swabbed and sent to a lab for further analysis.
2. Common Treatments
Treatment options for anal cancer depend on the stage the cancer is in when diagnosed. Common treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery. Newer treatments still being tested include immunotherapy (suppressing the immune system for a stronger immune response) and radiosensitizers (drugs used to enhance radiation therapy results).
Diet and lifestyle changes are also important for the treatment of anal cancer, as is getting consistent restorative sleep and stress relief. Vitamins and herbal supplements might also be beneficial as part of a personalized healing plan. Nutritionists and health coaches could help provide extra guidance and support.
1. How to Prevent Anal Cancer
Taking steps now to prevent developing anal cancer calls for an assessment of your diet, general lifestyle practices, and safe sex practices. Adopting a whole foods diet and eliminating as many processed foods as possible will help keep your immune system strong to fight off cancerous cells. Getting regular exercise and great sleep, maintaining a healthy weight and enjoying stress-relieving activities all work together for a healthier life.
Practicing safe sex, including the use of condoms to avoid contracting HPV and other STDs, is essential to avoiding most anal cancers. If you’re sexually active, be sure to get STD testing regularly.