Anal cancer

At the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre we know that a cancer diagnosis is a life changing event. We also know that every cancer is different, just like every person is different. We are dedicated to supporting and guiding you throughout your care. On this page you can learn about symptoms of anal cancer and the potential treatment pathway.

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What is anal cancer?

Anal cancer is abnormal growth of the cells that make up the anus, which is the last part of the large bowel. Most anal cancers start in the cells that line the surface of the anus. It is usually diagnosed through a physical examination or a proctoscopy. This is when a thin tube is inserted into a person’s anus, allowing their doctor to inspect it and take a tissue sample. This sample is called a biopsy and it is tested for signs of cancer.


What are the symptoms of anal cancer?

If you have any of the following symptoms please see your doctor. These symptoms may also occur for ailments other than cancer. Your doctor will advise if you need tests and where you should go to have these tests. 


  • Blood on the toilet paper or in the bowel motion
  • Lumps near the anus
  • A feeling of itching, discomfort, pain or fullness in the anal area
  • Mucus discharge from the anus
  • Difficulty controlling bowel motions
  • Ulcers around the anus
This information should not be used to replace medical advice.

Can I be treated at the ONJ Centre?

Once you have been diagnosed with cancer, your doctor or specialist can make a referral to the ONJ Centre for your cancer treatment. You can ask to be referred here, regardless of your insurance status or the stage of your treatment. The ONJ Centre is part of Austin Health, a leading Australian public hospital.

how to get a referral