Duke’s colorectal specialists in Raleigh and Durham use the latest medical and surgical advances to detect and treat anal cancer at the earliest possible stage. We give you the personalized care you need to maximize your quality of life and your colorectal health.
The Best Care for Anal Cancer
If you or someone you know is concerned about anal cancer, you need an experienced and skilled health care team. The colorectal physicians and surgeons in our nationally-ranked cancer center work closely with anal cancer patients every day.
Our researchers are skilled in advanced diagnostic techniques that are available in only a handful of major medical centers. We continue to test new therapies, including new ways to deliver targeted radiation therapy that spares healthy tissue, and explore genomics, which studies genes, how they function, and their impact on health. Our goal is to provide you with more personalized colorectal treatment options.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Finding anal cancer early and obtaining an accurate diagnosis is key to your health. Several methods are used to detect and diagnose anal cancers.
Digital Rectal Exam
A physical exam during which your physician checks for abnormal growths.
Anal Pap Test
For people who are at high risk for anal cancer, a swab of tissue is taken and studied to detect cancer at early stages.
Blood and Stool Tests
Detecting anal cancer requires a combination of stool tests, which look for blood in the stool, and blood tests to look for certain antigens.
Internal Visual Exams
An internal exam of the anus and lower rectum will be performed using either an anoscope or proctoscope. Both are short, lighted tubes, in varying lengths, that are inserted into the rectum to view inside the body and assist in diagnosis. A biopsy may be performed during the exam to remove suspicious growth or obtain tissue that is analyzed for the presence of cancer.
We are leaders in the use of this sophisticated technology that produces high-definition images inside the rectum and surrounding structures. Images are generated via a long tube inserted into the rectum, combined with high-frequency ultrasound waves. The technology is used to detect, remove, and sometimes biopsy polyps, tissue and suspicious lesions, and cancerous masses.
Noninvasive imaging tools, including MRI, PET, and CT colonography -- also known as virtual colonoscopy -- may be used to look inside the rectum to identify tumors and polyps.
Minimally Invasive Anal Biopsy
Fine-needle aspiration biopsy and sentinel node biopsy may be performed to determine if cancer has spread to lymph nodes and beyond. A fine-needle aspiration removes a small sample of fluid and tissue from the lymph node with a thin needle. If the cancer has been found in the lymph nodes, a sentinel node biopsy may be performed to determine how far the cancer may have spread.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.
Medical Advances in Anal Cancer
Choose Duke for your anal cancer treatment because we offer:
As a first-time patient here, you will undergo a thorough, day-long evaluation and consultation, and you'll leave with a comprehensive treatment plan that meets your needs. We can expedite the process even further if you bring the results of scans and/or blood work that were performed prior to your visit. If you need additional imaging or testing, those services are conveniently located within our facilities.
Targeted Radiation Treatments
Sophisticated technology allows us to better target the maximum dose of radiation directly to your cancer, while minimizing exposure and possible damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Because radiation is delivered more precisely, fewer treatments are needed.
A Nationally Ranked Program
We are a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and are part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving care for our patients.
Access to Our Clinical Trials
You may be eligible to participate in our ongoing clinical trials, which give you access to new anti-cancer targeted therapies, new surgical approaches, and ways to minimize common cancer-related symptoms, all before they become widely available at other hospitals.
We routinely use high-resolution imaging scopes to create clearer images that better detect, and allow for removal of, polyps and cancer not seen with standard colonoscopy.
More Minimally Invasive Procedures
Nearly 80% of surgeries are performed via minimally invasive techniques that may include laparoscopic and robotic platforms. This less-invasive method is used to identify, and sometimes remove, tumors. As a result, you’ll experience smaller wounds, less pain and scarring, and lower incidence of infection. It is also likely you'll leave the hospital sooner and recover faster.
A Team of Experienced Specialists
Our anal cancer specialists includes medical and radiation providers, colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists, radiologists, and pathologists. They work with geneticists, specially-trained nurses, nutritionists, and social workers to regularly discuss your care, collect opinions, and offer coordinated surgical, medical, and follow-up care.
Support for You and Your Loved Ones
Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.