The signs and symptoms of anal cancer 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 (20%) 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.

If you have symptoms that do not improve within a few weeks, or if your symptoms are getting worse, it is important for your GP to refer you to a specialist. The specialist can arrange tests to find out what the problem is.

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