Anal Warts and Anal Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later. While anal cancer is fairly uncommon, this cancer is associated with HPV.

We mention genital warts as a result of HPV, but there are also anal warts. Anal warts are called condyloma acuminata and are thought to be caused by the human papillomavirus HPV.

Like other HPV genital warts, these warts are highly contagious.  Studies have shown that 75% of those who engage in sexual activity with someone who has condyloma acuminata will develop these warts within three months.

If not removed, these warts can grow larger, can multiply and spread to the genitals. See pictures of anal warts. There is evidence that if left untreated, these warts can become cancerous.

Risk factors for anal cancer include:

  • Being infected with human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Being over 50
  • Having too many sexual partners
  • Having anal intercourse
  • Frequent anal redness or soreness

Symptoms may include:

  • Bleeding from the anus or rectum
  • Pain or pressure in the area around the anus
  • Itching or discharge from the anus
  • A lump near the anus

Anal cancer screening can be performed in high-risk individuals. This may include an Anal Pap Smear and anoscopy. An anoscopy is using a special scope to examine the lining of the anal canal.

As with most cancers, early detection is key to a positive outcome.