By Darci Picoult
It began with a bump. The size of a pinhead. Innocuous. An innocuous little pinhead of a bump on my vulva. Given that my gynecologist said the bump was probably nothing, I laughed it off. Which, in turn, made my bump mad. Very mad. It wanted my attention. And so it grew. I smeared it in medicine. It grew more. More medicine. More growth. Hanukkah came. Then Christmas. A war raged between us. I went to battle in the middle of the night with salt baths and creams. Prayed for its departure...
Anal cancer is usually curable. The three major prognostic factors are site (anal canal vs. perianal skin), size (primary tumors <2 cm in size have better prognoses), and nodal status.
Anal cancer is an uncommon malignancy and accounts for only a small percentage (4%) of all cancers of the lower alimentary tract. Clinical trials such as EST-7283R, for example, have evaluated the roles of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery in the treatment of this disease.[2,3] Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
Overall, the risk of anal cancer is rising, with data suggesting that persons engaging in certain sexual practices, such as receptive anal intercourse, or persons with a high lifetime number of sexual partners are at increased risk of anal cancer. These practices may have led to an increase in the number of individuals at risk for infection with human papillomavirus (HPV); HPV infection is strongly associated with anal cancer development and may be a necessary step in its carcinogenesis.[4,5,6,7]
American Cancer Society.: Cancer Facts and Figures 2013. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2013. Available online. Last accessed September 5, 2013.
Martenson JA, Lipsitz SR, Lefkopoulou M, et al.: Results of combined modality therapy for patients with anal cancer (E7283). An Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group study. Cancer 76 (10): 1731-6, 1995.
Fuchshuber PR, Rodriguez-Bigas M, Weber T, et al.: Anal canal and perianal epidermoid cancers. J Am Coll Surg 185 (5): 494-505, 1997.
Johnson LG, Madeleine MM, Newcomer LM, et al.: Anal cancer incidence and survival: the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results experience, 1973-2000. Cancer 101 (2): 281-8, 2004.
Daling JR, Weiss NS, Hislop TG, et al.: Sexual practices, sexually transmitted diseases, and the incidence of anal cancer. N Engl J Med 317 (16): 973-7, 1987.
Palefsky JM, Holly EA, Gonzales J, et al.: Detection of human papillomavirus DNA in anal intraepithelial neoplasia and anal cancer. Cancer Res 51 (3): 1014-9, 1991.
Ryan DP, Compton CC, Mayer RJ: Carcinoma of the anal canal. N Engl J Med 342 (11): 792-800, 2000.
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September 04, 2014
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