What are the symptoms of anal cancer? Disease is on the rise in the U.S.

By A. Pawlowski
The United States is experiencing a “dramatic and concerning” rise in the rate of new anal cancer cases and deaths from the disease, particularly among young black men and elderly women, researchers reported Tuesday.

The incidence of squamous cell carcinoma of the anus — the most common type of anal cancer — rose 2.7 percent per year over a recent 15-year period, while anal cancer mortality rates increased 3.1 percent per year during that time.

At this rate, the disease can be considered as one of the fastest accelerating causes of cancer incidence and mortality in the U.S., said the study’s lead author Ashish Deshmukh, an assistant professor at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston.

“The rates are increasing very rapidly,” Deshmukh told the “Today” show. “It’s concerning. Traditionally, our perception of anal cancer has been that it’s one of the rarest forms of cancer and because of that, it’s neglected.”

Actress Farrah Fawcett, who died of the disease in 2009, was one of the first high-profile patients to talk about her diagnosis publicly

Among some of the startling statistics: The risk of developing anal cancer was five times higher for black men born in the mid-1980s compared to those born in the mid-1940s. That may be because young black men are disproportionately affected by HIV, which raises the risk for developing the cancer, Deshmukh said.

The risk doubled among white men and white women born after 1960. The disease may surpass cervical cancer to become the leading human papillomavirus-linked cancer in elderly women, the study noted. One possible reason: Older people have weaker immune systems, impairing their ability to clear HPV from their bodies, and elderly women outnumber elderly men.

The proportion of cases diagnosed when the cancer had already spread to other parts of the body doubled, which suggests the rise in cases isn’t driven by more intense screening that would catch early-stage tumors, Deshmukh noted.

“It’s really hard to understand what might be causing the rise in incidence and mortality,” he added. Possible reasons include more risky sexual behavior in recent decades and the rise in obesity rates, which could be a factor, he said.

For the study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers analyzed data in U.S. cancer registries from 2001 through 2015. They also looked at causes of death from a database compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics over that time.

They found 68,809 cases of anal cancer and 12,111 deaths from the disease.

The vast majority of these cases are associated with the human papillomavirus, but about three-quarters of American adults don’t know HPV causes the disease, a recent study, also led by Deshmukh, found.

He called the findings “shocking.” Read More….https://www.nbcnews.com/health/mens-health/what-are-symptoms-anal-cancer-disease-rise-u-s-n1086151?sfns=mo

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