Anal Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2015

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 in this guide, 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.

  • Palliative 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.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding anal cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Side Effects and it offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.