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.

How we can help

Macmillan Cancer Support Line
The Macmillan Support Line offers confidential support to people living with cancer and their loved ones. If you need to talk, we'll listen.
0808 808 00 00
Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm
Email us
Get in touch via this form
Chat online
Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm
Online Community
An anonymous network of people affected by cancer which is free to join. Share experiences, ask questions and talk to people who understand.
Help in your area
What's going on near you? Find out about support groups, where to get information and how to get involved with Macmillan where you live.