Anal Cancer: Statistics

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

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with anal cancer each year. You will 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 8,200 adults (2,950 men and 5,250) 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.

It is estimated that 1,100 deaths (450 men and 650 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 diagnosed 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 nearly 61%. If there is distant spread of anal cancer, the 5-year survival rate is 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 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 National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and Ed Results (SEER) program.

The next section in this guide is Risk Factors and Prevention. It explains what factors may increase the chance of developing this disease. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.