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Symptoms of anal cancer

Main symptoms of anal cancer

Symptoms of anal cancer can include:

  • bleeding from your bottom
  • itching and pain around your anus
  • small lumps around and inside your bottom
  • a discharge of mucus from your bottom
  • having problems controlling when you poo (bowel incontinence)
  • needing to poo often with looser, runnier poos

Anal cancer may have no symptoms at all, or they might be hard to spot.

Anal cancer symptoms are often similar to piles (haemorrhoids) and anal fissures, which are common and less serious conditions.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have symptoms of anal cancer
  • you notice a change around your anus that is not normal for you


These symptoms are very common and can be caused by many different conditions.

Having them does not definitely mean you have anal cancer. But it's important to get them checked by a GP.

This is because if they're caused by cancer, finding it early means treatment is more likely to be successful.

What happens at the GP appointment

The GP will ask you some questions about your health and your symptoms.

They may feel your tummy and insert a gloved finger into your bottom to feel for lumps or anything wrong.

Referral to a specialist

You may get an urgent referral for more tests or to see a specialist in hospital if the GP thinks you have symptoms that could be cancer. This does not definitely mean you have cancer.

Page last reviewed: 11 March 2024
Next review due: 11 March 2027