Anal Cancer Treatment


The type of treatment you receive for anal cancer depends on the size, location, and stage of the tumor. Our experts realize that one size does not fit all, and we will work with you to create a treatment plan specifically designed for your unique needs.

MSK’s team of anal cancer experts includes radiation oncologists, colorectal surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, and radiologists. We work together to diagnose, stage, and treat each person we care for in a carefully coordinated way.

Radiation Therapy for Anal Cancer

If the cancer is found before it has spread, the best treatment option may be radiation therapy. Radiation is often combined with chemotherapy. This is called chemoradiation. The chemotherapy helps make the cancer more vulnerable to the radiation. Our radiation oncologists are experts at targeting radiation to a tumor while avoiding damage to healthy tissue. We are pioneers in using special techniques to help protect important bodily functions, like bowel and sexual functions.

Surgery for Anal Cancer

Surgery is usually not the main treatment option for anal cancer. Your doctor may discuss it with you in addition to chemotherapy or radiation depending on the stage of the tumor. If you do need surgery, you are in good hands at MSK. Our anal cancer surgeons are highly experienced in removing tumors without damaging nearby organs. Our team members are experts in using minimally invasive, robot-assisted techniques. With these methods, you may have a quicker recovery time.

Surgery may be an option if anal cancer comes back (recurs) after radiation or chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy for Anal Cancer

Chemotherapy is usually given in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. It may also be used if the cancer is advanced and has spread to other parts of your body. Your care team will customize your chemotherapy treatment based on genetic information about the tumor. With this information, we can refine your care plan to help minimize side effects.