What increases my risk of anal cancer?

Graphic of HPV - the Human papilloma virus

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These risk factors can increase your chance of getting anal cancer:

Human papilloma virus (HPV): HPV is a viral infection that is passed from person to person during sexual contact. Your risk of getting the virus increases if you have many sexual partners. Most people are exposed to HPV and usually it clears up on its own and doesn’t cause any problems.  Learn more about HPV.

Sexual activity: Men and women who have anal sex are more at risk of developing anal cancer. This may also be due to the presence of the HPV virus.

Smoking: Cigarette smoking can also increase your risk of anal cancer. It can delay a HPV infection from clearing up.

Lowered immunity: If you are taking medication to reduce your immunity, you have a higher risk of developing anal cancer. For example, after an organ transplant.

HIV: If you are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), your risk of developing anal cancer is higher because your immune system may not work as well to clear an HPV infection.

Having a risk factor doesn’t mean you will definitely get cancer. Sometimes people with no risk factors get the disease.

If you’re worried, talk to your GP or talk to one of our cancer nurses. Call our Support Line on 1800 200 700 or visit a Daffodil Centre. 

Reducing your risk of anal cancer

Things you can do to reduce your risk of anus cancer include:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Have the HPV vaccine injection if you are under the age of 26.

Read more about these and other cancer risk-reduction tips

For more information

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1800 200 700

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