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Hemorrhoids and anal cancer. Is there any correlation between them?

Anal cancer is not related to hemorrhoidopathy.

Hemorrhoids (also called as piles) are essentially dilated rectal veins which bleed spontaneously. These swollen blood vessels inside the anus are usually irritated when defecating. On the other hand, anal cancer (or even rectal cancer) is an abnormal growth of cancerous cells in the anus. These cells may spread to other parts of the body, a situation called metastasis. The symptoms of hemorrhoids and anal cancer can be quite similar but do not have the same fatal results.

The importance of a successful diagnosis

The clinical examination by a proctologist-surgeon will mostly be enough to diagnose the condition. Both anal cancer and hemorrhoids have several common symptoms. At the same time, a possible misdiagnosis may endanger the patient’s health in case of cancer. For this reason, a direct and careful check of the patient’s background is crucial through detailed clinical examination.

Different and common symptoms

The most common symptom of hemorrhoids is blood in the stool or blood on the toilet paper (bright red in color) after wiping. Straining and chronic constipation are major factors of hemorrhoids. On the other hand, anal cancer patients present with bleeding and change in stool consistency. Nevertheless, patients with anal cancer may suffer from diarrhea or constipation whereas persons with hemorrhoids mainly from constipation. Also, bleeding may be dark or bright red colored in anal cancer while it tends to be bright red in hemorrhoids.

A big mistake that is usually made is that the patient suffering from hemorrhoids thinks that whenever he sees blood, it is solely due to them. However, the likelihood of both diseases coexisting should not be ruled out. That is why the patient should visit a doctor immediately, especially if the symptoms do not recede for several weeks. He also often underestimates that along with bleeding, he begins to show other signs he did not have before.

Hemorrhoids cannot cause anal cancer, but their presence may confuse both patients and doctors. For this reason, we need to treat them effectively and we always have to look for the origin of rectal bleeding.

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