Understanding Anal Cancer: Surgery

If your doctor recommends surgery, there are 2 main possibilities:

Local Resection

The surgeon removes the tumor and a small area of tissue around it. Usually, the sphincter muscle is spared. This is the muscle that opens and closes the anus and enables you to have a bowel movement.

A local resection is needed if the cancer has not spread to tissues or lymph nodes that are nearby.

Abdominoperineal resection (APR)

This surgical approach is used for cancer that has spread. In this surgery, your surgeon will make a cut through your abdomen (belly) and in the area between the anus and the genitalia. Then the anus and part of the rectum are removed.

After an APR, you will need a colostomy. This is an opening in your lower abdomen. This is the way you will pass your stool (feces). The stool passes through this opening into a bag attached outside your body.

All other treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, will be tried before an APR.

Back to “Understanding Anal Cancer: An Introduction”

Return to list of treatment options.