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What is anal cancer?
Anal cancer is a change in the cells in the anal canal. As the cancer grows it forms a collection of cells (tumour). This tumour can cause a blockage and cause symptoms. It is a rare cancer - around 50-60 people are diagnosed with anal cancer in Ireland every year.
Anal cancer is different from bowel cancer (also known as colon or rectal cancer). If you're not sure what the difference is or how it affects you, you can call our Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700.
What is the anus and what does it do?
Your anus or anal canal is found at the end of your large bowel, which opens to the outside of your body. When you pass a bowel motion (poo), it passes through your anus.
Your anus is controlled by a ring of muscle called the sphincter. This opens and closes to allow poo to pass from your body.
(Image courtesy of CRUK / Wikimedia commons)
Medical content updated from our 'Understanding bowel (colorectal) and anal cancer' booklet (2022), reviewed by Mr Saqib Zeeshan, Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon and Mary Sweeney, Colorectal Nurse Specialist.
For more information
1800 200 700