Symptoms of anal cancer

The most common symptoms of anal cancer include bleeding from the anus and small lumps around the anus. Learn about other symptoms and when to see your GP.

The most common symptoms of anal cancer include:

  • bleeding from the anus
  • pain, discomfort and itching around the anus
  • small lumps around the anus – these may be confused with piles (haemorrhoids)
  • discharge of mucus from the anus
  • ulcers around the anus
  • difficulty controlling your bowels (leakage).

About 1 in 5 people with anal cancer have no symptoms.

These symptoms can be caused by conditions other than anal cancer. But it is very important to get them checked by your GP. Many people are embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing this part of their body. But doctors are used to talking about and examining private areas of the body. They will help put you at ease.

It is important that your GP refers you to a specialist if:

  • your symptoms do not improve within a few weeks
  • your symptoms get worse.

Your specialist doctor can do tests to find out what might be causing the symptoms.

We understand that showing any symptoms of what could be cancer is worrying. The most important thing is to speak to your GP as soon as possible. We're also here if you need someone to talk to. You can: