Surgery is not a common treatment for anal cancer, because chemoradiation is often the only treatment needed.
Surgery may be your main treatment if you have a very small tumour outside the anus (anal margin). This is only if the surgeon can remove it without affecting how you have a bowel motion.
Surgery may also be used:
- if chemoradiation doesn’t completely get rid of the cancer
- if there are signs the cancer has come back
- if you can’t have radiotherapy, for example because you’ve had radiotherapy to the pelvis before
- to relieve a blockage in the bowel before you have treatment with chemoradiation
- if you are a woman and want to have children in the future.
If you need surgery, your doctor will talk it over with you. They will advise you about the type of operation and how it will help.
If you smoke, try to stop or cut down before your operation. This will help reduce your risk of chest problems, such as a chest infection. It will also help your wound heal after the operation. Your hospital team or GP can give you advice and support to help you give up smoking.