Anal Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu.  

People with anal cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with anal cancer do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be another medical condition that is not cancer.

  • Bleeding from the anal area

  • Pain or pressure in the anal area

  • Itching or discharge from the anus

  • A lump or swelling near the anus

  • A change in bowel habits or change in the diameter of the stool

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.