Treatment overview

Your treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer. The results of your tests help your doctor plan your treatment.

It’s important to fully talk over your treatment options with your doctor. This helps you understand why they’re advising a certain treatment. You and your doctor can decide on the best treatment for your situation.

The main treatment for anal cancer is a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This is called chemoradiation. The treatments are given at the same time. Chemoradiation is usually very successful and most people don’t need surgery.

Surgery may be used in the following situations:

  • If chemoradiation doesn’t completely get rid of the cancer, surgery may be used afterwards.
  • If you have an early-stage anal cancer that’s under 2cm, it can sometimes be removed with surgery alone.
  • Some people may have surgery to relieve symptoms before they start chemoradiation.
  • Surgery may be used if the cancer comes back after treatment.

Radiotherapy is occasionally used on its own if you aren’t well enough to have chemoradiation

Chemotherapy may be used on its own if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

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Just been diagnosed?

Just been diagnosed with cancer? We're here for you every step of the way. There are many ways we can help.

The cancer registry

In the UK, each country has a cancer registry. It is used to plan and improve health and care services.