Did you know that an estimated 80% of sexually active adults have been in contact with the HPV virus - the virus that causes anal dysplasia, which can lead to anal cancer? Most of those with the virus will never show symptoms. In many cases, the virus will go away on its own, but for some, it can lead to anal dysplasia or cancer.
Conversation is key
Prevention starts with a conversation. We know anal dysplasia is difficult, but we are here to discuss it and, more importantly, take action. For some people with HPV the virus can cause abnormal cells to develop in the lining of the anus which is called dysplasia. When the abnormal cells form a lesion, it may progress to cancer, so starting treatment as soon as possible is important.
Regular screening for anal dysplasia and cancer should be considered if you have:
- A suppressed immune system such as those living with HIV or AIDS or had a solid organ transplant
- A history of anal intercourse
- A woman or assigned female at birth (AFAB) with a history of cervical, vaginal or vulvar dysplasia or cancer
- A man or person assigned male at birth (AMAB) who has sex with men or AMAB
- A history of HPV infection or previous anal cancer
- Genital warts
- Chronic anal irritation, growths or lesions that bleed
We perform a physical exam, including an anal pap smear. If screening shows that you may have dysplasia, we will do a simple diagnostic procedure to determine the extent and location of the lesions. This procedure takes less than an hour, using high-resolution anoscopy to identify precancerous lesions and take biopsies of abnormal areas.
If the lesions have developed into cancer, we will bring in our team of specialists to guide you through your treatment.
Tufts Medicine is the leader in the emerging field of anal dysplasia associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Once anal dysplasia has been identified, we use an advanced procedure, high-resolution anoscopy. This procedure has no advanced preparation, is painless and will have you home on the same day.
Anal cancer can be cured depending on where it is located in the anus, how large it is when you are diagnosed, and whether it has spread. Treatment options may include:
- Radiation therapy
- Local resection
- Lymph node dissection
We understand that the process can be overwhelming, but rest assured that we're here to help every step of the way. If you need any extra support, just let us know and we'll be happy to assist you in any way we can.