Anal Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with anal cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

This year, an estimated 9,440 adults (3,150 men and 6,290 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with anal cancer. Worldwide, an estimated 50,685 people were diagnosed with anal cancer in 2020.

In the United States,the number of new cases has been increasing the past several years. The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes most squamous cell anal cancers. See the Risk Factors and Prevention section for more information on HPV. The average age of diagnosis for anal cancer is in the early 60s. Anal cancer is rare in people younger than 35.

It is estimated that 1,670 deaths (740 men and 930 women) from this disease will occur in the United States this year. Worldwide, an estimated 19,293 people died from anal cancer in 2020.

Although the number of deaths from anal cancer has been increasing, the disease is often curable. The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. In the United States, the 5-year survival rate for people with anal cancer is almost 69%.

However, survival rates depend on many factors, including the type of anal cancer (see Introduction) and the extent or stage of cancer at the time it is found. If the cancer is diagnosed only in the anal area, the 5-year survival rate is about 82%. Approximately 47% of people are diagnosed at this stage. If anal cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is about 66%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is about 35%.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with anal cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how anal cancer is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.   

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2022; the ACS website; the International Agency for Research on Cancer website; and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. (All sources accessed January 2022.)

The next section in this guide is Risk Factors and Prevention. It describes the factors that may increase the chance of developing anal cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.