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Anal cancer

Anal cancer develops from squamous epithelial cells similar to cancer in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. Treatment of anal cancer differs from colorectal cancer.

Anal cancer also includes:

  • perianal cancer or anal margin – develops from basal epithelial cells in the skin approximately 5 cm around the anal verge
  • giant condyloma acuminatum (Buschke Löwenstein tumor) – occurs as large tumors in the perineum  

The anal canal is 3-4  cm long and approximately 1 cm shorter in women than in men. It stretches from the anal verge to about 1 cm above the dentate line, which is the transition from cylindrical epithelial cells in the rectum to squamous epithelial cells in the anal canal.


In Norway 64 new cases of anal cancer were registered in 2013, 13 men and 51 women (16). This cancer type is more common in people over 60.

Giant condyloma acuminatum is very rare; there are less than 100 cases reported in the literature. This type of tumor occurs most commonly around the age of 40 and is two to three times more common in men than in women.


Age-specific incidence of cancer in the anal canal, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway



Incidence of cancer in the anal canal, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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