Anal Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about anal cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

Radiosensitizers. Drugs that make tumor cells more susceptible to radiation therapy are being explored as a way to enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy.

HPV vaccines. Because anal cancer is likely caused by HPV, an HPV vaccine (see Risk Factors and Prevention) could potentially prevent many cases of anal cancer from occurring. Learn more about HPV and cancer.

Anal cytology. Similar to a Pap test, anal cytology looks for abnormal cells in the anal lining. This test may help find anal cancer at the earliest, most treatable stages.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current anal cancer treatments, in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.