Anal Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2018

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 8,580 adults (2,960 men and 5,620) women in the United States will be diagnosed with anal cancer. Incidence rates for anal cancer are increasing because of its association with the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV causes more than 90% of anal cancers. See the Risk Factors section for more information on HPV. White women and black men are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. 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 1,160 deaths (480 men and 680 women) from this disease will occur this year.

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.The 5-year survival rate for people with anal cancer is 66%.

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. The 5-year survival rate for the earliest stage (Stage I) of anal cancer is 81%. More than 47% of people are diagnosed at this stage. If there is regional spread, the 5-year survival rate is 62%. If there is distant spread of anal cancer, the 5-year survival rate is almost 30%.

Survival rates may be lower for people who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

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. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. People should talk with their doctor if they have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts and Figures 2017: Special Section – Rare Cancers in Adults, and the ACS website (January 2018) and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program.

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