Anal cancer is an uncommon cancer that develops in the anal opening or in the anal canal, which is about 1.5 inches long and connects between the last part of the intestines to the outside of the body. The inner lining of the anal canal, known as the mucosa, is made up of different types of cells. With anal cancer, normal cells in this area begin to grow out of control and invade surrounding tissue. Most anal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which are tumors that develop from the squamous cells that line the anal canal.
About 20 percent of anal cancers have no symptoms, but most with the disease will notice signs such as bleeding from the anus, a lump or mass at the anal opening, persistent pain and itching, narrowing stools, or a draining or discharge from the anus. Most of these symptoms also can also be caused by less serious conditions such as hemorrhoids. Anal cancer is fairly uncommon, but there are risk factors. It is most often discovered in patients who are infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV), but it can develop in patients without the virus. Men and women who engage in anal sex also are at increased risk.
The clinic is part of the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, where cutting-edge cancer research is being conducted, so patients may be eligible for medications and treatments through clinical trials that aren’t available at most other medical centers. We understand that a anal cancer diagnosis can be stressful for patients, so we provide a nurse navigator to help organize your visit. Our highly trained nurse navigators streamline your care at UAB Medicine by arranging for your medical records, setting your appointments, and guiding you throughout the process, which helps give you peace of mind and allows your treatment team to deliver more efficient care.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
- Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic
Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic
The Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic takes an interdisciplinary approach to caring for patients with serious illnesses, whether they are in active treatment or have completed treatment. Our goal is to help patients fulfill their maximum physical, emotional, spiritual, vocational, and social potential.
The health professionals at the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic help patients manage the side effects associated with cancer. Referrals to the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic can be made by any treating physician or nurse or by patient self-referral. A broad range of insurance is accepted.
Patient appointment scheduling is flexible and based on patient needs and other concurrent treatments. Clinic sessions are held Wednesday and Friday mornings with palliative care physicians and fellows. A physician assistant is available Monday through Friday.
Physicians and physician assistants have special expertise in complex symptom management including depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain syndromes, and others.
Nurses support patients by facilitating the clinic sessions as well as managing communication with patients. They are the front line of patient care.
Physical therapists develop individualized programs for each patient to help with coordination, balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, or range of motion. Counselors are experienced in structuring counseling sessions to meet the specific needs of each person. Individual, couple, and family sessions are available.
Nutritionists have expertise in nutrition for patients with serious illnesses.
Massage therapists are trained in all types of massage, including oncology massage, which is a specialized approach that supports the body's health before, during, and after treatment for cancer.
Our clinic is an active teaching environment with fellows, residents, and students in both medicine and nursing participating in patient care.
The UAB Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic is located on the 3rd floor of The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital.
Patients can request an appointment online or by calling UAB Healthfinder at 205.934.9999 or 800.822.8816.