If you find yourself itching your bottom, it might be indicative of a growing tumour.
Itching or pain around the anus is a symptom of anal cancer, but it could also be a sign of other health conditions, according to Dr Vitek.
He said: “Symptoms can often be mistaken for more common and less serious illnesses, such as piles and haemorrhoids, but it should not be taken lightly.”
There are certain “red flags” that should prompt GP visitation, regardless of how embarrassed you may feel.
Dr Vitek stated: “Common red flags include needing to visit the toilet more often with looser, runnier stools and finding blood, itching or pain around the anus.”
Four red flag symptoms of anal cancer:
- Needing to go to the toilet more frequently
- Looser, runnier stools
- Bleeding from the anus
- Itching or pain around the anus
Dr Vitek added: “It’s important not to let embarrassment prevent you from seeking treatment as earlier detection often leads to a better health outcome.”
The NHS lists additional symptoms of anal cancer, such as:
- Small lumps around and inside the bottom
- A discharge of mucus from the bottom
- Bowel incontinence.
Dr Vitek has treated hundreds of British patients who had anal cancer at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic.
“Anal cancer is one of the rarer types in the UK, with around 1,500 new cases each year,” said Dr Vitek.
In his research, Dr Vitek took 39 patients and gave them up to five weeks of proton chemoradiotherapy.
For 92 percent of patients treated with proton chemoradiotherapy, they achieved complete regression of the tumour with a favourably low rate of colostomy.
Dr Vitek said: “This new study gives us cause to be optimistic that proton beam therapy can be considered a kinder and effective treatment option to sufferers of anal cancer compared to some more traditional plans.
“Proton beam therapy allows us to target tumours and leave healthy tissue unaffected, and this often leads to better health outcomes for patients.”
Dr Vitek added: “The study has also indicated that it can help reduce acute toxicity and the need for a colostomy, in turn improving patients’ quality of life post-treatment.
“While further research is needed, proton beam therapy’s potential to give patients better health outcomes than traditional methods continues to give us cause for optimism.”
If you suspect you might be suffering from anal cancer symptoms, do seek the support and advice of your doctor.
Any tumour that is identified earlier has a better likelihood of responding well to treatment.