Anal Cancer

When you come to Winship Cancer Institute for anal cancer treatment, you have a multidisciplinary team of experts dedicated to your well-being.

Your Winship Cancer Institute healthcare team is available to help you find the best treatment plan for anal cancer.

Using a multidisciplinary approach, our experts draw on Emory’s vast resources in surgical oncology, radiation therapy and medical oncology, to provide the newest, most effective practices and treatments for anal cancer.

Our teams include surgical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists and advanced practice nurses with expertise in anal cancer. As specialists, our teams develop groundbreaking surgeries and treatments that produce better outcomes and are adopted by other leading cancer centers.

The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:

  • Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top cancer experts in the world.
  • Weekly review of patient cases by the full team of experts.
  • Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
  • Access to a nurse navigator to assist you throughout the treatment process.
  • Access to support groups and education classes for you and your caregivers.
  • Availability of new treatment options within our clinical trials program.

Anal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissue of the anus.

The skin around the outside of the anus is called the perianal area. Tumors in this area are skin tumors, not anal cancer.

Early detection of anal cancer is important for good outcomes. The following tests and procedures may be used to detect anal cancer:

  • Physical exam and health history
  • Digital rectal exam
  • Anoscopy: an exam of the anus and lower rectum using a short, lighted tube called an anoscope.
  • Proctoscopy: an exam of the anus and lower rectum using a short, lighted tube called an proctoscope.
  • Endo-anal or endorectal ultrasound: an ultrasound probe is inserted into the anus or rectum and used to bounce high-energy sound waves off internal tissues or organs. The echoes form a sonogram.
  • Biopsy: removal of cells or tissues to check for signs of cancer.

For reliable, in-depth information about cancer symptoms, staging and diagnosis, visit CancerQuest, an educational and outreach program at Emory University. 

Visit CancerQuest

Your individualized treatment plan will take into account the stage of your disease, your overall health, the side effects of the treatment, and relieving anal cancer symptoms.

One or more of the following types of treatment will be used.

Surgery: There are two types of surgery used to treat anal cancer: local resection and abdominoperineal resection.

  • Local resection is the removal of the tumor along with some surrounding healthy tissue. This procedure may allow patients to retain control of their bowels and is used if the cancer is small and has not spread.
  • Abdominoperineal resection is used for more advanced anal cancers and is the removal of the anus, the rectum and part of the colon. This type of surgery requires the patient to use a colostomy bag because they can no longer control their bowels. Lymph nodes may also be removed during this procedure. Here at Winship, our doctors have pioneered a groin dissection technique for the removal of lymph nodes that improves recovery and lowers the risk of infection.

Radiation: Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Physicians may use radiation by itself to treat anal tumors or to shrink tumors before surgery. Radiation therapy is given based on the stage of the tumor. Learn more about radiation therapy treatments and services.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery to treat cancer.

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselors, nurse navigators, dietitians and social service professionals.

 Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship. Through these trials, you may have access to treatments that are not widely available.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

If you have been diagnosed with anal cancer, we are ready to help you. Call us at 1 (888) 946-7447 or (404) 778-1900 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. Winship experts are available for a second opinion.

We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Learn what to expect on your first visit.

Cascade Link

Wendy Baer MD

  • Oncology Psychiatrist
Photo of 
                                 Wendy Baer MD
Wendy Baer MD

Wendy Baer MD

  • Dr. Baer helps patients and their families deal with the stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Medical Director of Psychiatric Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
Photo of 
                                 Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD
Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
Photo of 
                                 Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD
Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

  • Nurse Practitioner
Photo of 
                                 Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP
Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

  • A chemotherapy infusion specialist and adult nurse practitioner, Ms. Brutcher's clinical specialties include gastrointestinal and aerodigestive cancers.
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner, Department of Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Supportive Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Kimberly A. Curseen MD
Kimberly A. Curseen MD

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Dr. Curseen is the primary provider for the Supportive Oncology Clinic at Winship.
  • Director of Supportive and Palliative Care Outpatient Services , Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-6448

Bassel El-Rayes MD

  • Medical Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Bassel El-Rayes MD
Bassel El-Rayes MD

Bassel El-Rayes MD

  • Dr. El-Rayes is head of the clinical trials program at the Winship. He also serves as Director of the Winship Gastrointestinal Oncology Program.
  • Associate Director for Clinical Research, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Martha Giardina BSW

  • Social Worker
Photo of 
                                 Martha  Giardina BSW
Martha Giardina BSW

Martha Giardina BSW

Joan Giblin NP

  • Survivorship Program
Photo of 
                                 Joan  Giblin NP
Joan Giblin NP

Joan Giblin NP

  • An experienced nurse practitioner specialist with extensive patient care involvement, Ms. Giblin facilitates continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors.
  • Survivorship Program Director, Winship Cancer Institute
  • (404) 778-1900

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
Photo of 
                                 Bonnie  Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN
Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Ms. Josaphs practices within gastrointestinal oncology including assisting colorectal, liver and pancreatic cancer patients.
  • Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Navigator, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

  • Radiation Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA
Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

  • Dr. Landry specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal tumors and soft tissue sarcomas.
  • Chief of Service, Edward Loughlin Oncology Center, Grady Memorial Hospital
  • (404) 778-3473

Colleen Lewis NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
Photo of 
                                 Colleen Lewis NP
Colleen Lewis NP

Colleen Lewis NP

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • Social Worker
Photo of 
                                 Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • At Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, Ms. Perlmutter works with patients of all cancer types providing resource referrals and counseling services.
  • Social Worker, Outpatient Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-7826

Pamela Randall MDiv

  • Chaplain
Photo of 
                                 Pamela Randall MDiv
Pamela Randall MDiv

Pamela Randall MDiv

Carol Rivera ACBSW

  • Social Worker
Photo of 
                                 Carol Rivera ACBSW
Carol Rivera ACBSW

Carol Rivera ACBSW

Virginia O. Shaffer MD

  • Surgeon
Photo of 
                                 Virginia O. Shaffer MD
Virginia O. Shaffer MD

Virginia O. Shaffer MD

  • Dr. Shaffer is a surgeon based at Emory University Hospital treating patients with colorectal cancer, anal cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases, and specializing in laparoscopy surgery.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of General and GI Surgery, Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3648

Vinita Singh MD

  • Pain Management Specialist
Photo of 
                                 Vinita Singh MD
Vinita Singh MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Dr. Singh collaborates with medical oncologists to provide state-of-the-art therapies to cancer patients suffering from pain symptoms.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-2410

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Charles A. Staley MD
Charles A. Staley MD

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Dr. Staley leads the surgical oncology team and as Chief Quality Officer works collaboratively with leadership on tracking and improving patient services and satisfaction as well as focusing on cancer outcomes at Winship.
  • Chief Quality Officer, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0210

Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

  • Social Worker
Photo of 
                                 Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW
Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

  • Ms. Tinsley works with the genitourinary and gastrointestinal patients at Winship Cancer Institute and the breast, gynecological and sarcoma patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown.
  • Social Worker, Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-5976

Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD
Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

  • Dr. Vainshtein treats patients with head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal malignancies, thoracic malignancies and sarcomas at both Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital and Emory University Hospital.
  • Instructor, Clinical Track, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

  • Nurse Practitioner
Photo of 
                                 Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN
Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

  • Located at Winship Cancer Institute, Ms. Woodstock is a nurse practitioner serving the inpatient population with gastrointestinal cancers and outpatient population in medical oncology.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner, Department of Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900