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. To request an appointment, call (404) 778-0032.

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.

Request an Appointment

If you have been diagnosed with anal cancer, we are ready to help you. Call us at (404) 778-0032 to make an appointment. 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.

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. 

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.
Winship 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.

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

Clinical Trials

In addition to standard therapy, participating in clinical trials may be an option in certain cases. Clinical trials provide patients access to new medications that are being developed to treat anal cancer. Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship.

Supportive Oncology Care

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.
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Mehmet Akce MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Mehmet Akce MD
Mehmet Akce MD

Mehmet Akce MD

Rebecca Arnold LCSW, OSW-C

  • Social Worker
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                                 Rebecca Arnold LCSW, OSW-C
Rebecca Arnold LCSW, OSW-C

Rebecca Arnold LCSW, OSW-C

Wendy Baer MD

  • Psychiatric Oncologist
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                                 Wendy Baer MD
Wendy Baer MD

Wendy Baer MD

Glen Charles Balch MD

  • Colorectal Surgeon
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                                 Glen Charles Balch MD
Glen Charles Balch MD

Glen Charles Balch MD

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

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

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Ms. Barrett leads the nutritional services team at all Winship locations providing personalized nutrition advice to patients who are undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Manager of Winship Dietitians, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-5646

Anna Bausum ND

  • Integrative Oncology Specialist
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                                 Anna Bausum ND
Anna Bausum ND

Anna Bausum ND

  • Dr. Bausum supports patients with cancer by incorporating a variety of integrative medicine tools alongside patients' conventional oncology care regimens.
  • Integrative Oncology Specialist, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0600

Laura Brachman MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Laura Brachman MD
Laura Brachman MD

Laura Brachman MD

  • Dr. Brachman provides patients with cancer with relief from their symptoms and helps improve their quality of life throughout their journey.
  • Assistant Medical Director, Outpatient Palliative and Supportive Care, Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-6448

Russell Brown LCSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Russell Brown LCSW
Russell Brown LCSW

Russell Brown LCSW

  • Mr. Brown works with gastrointestinal, genitourinary, breast cancer, brain cancer, gynecological, aerodigestive, and sarcoma patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown.
  • Social Worker, Medical Oncology, Emory University Hospital Midtown
  • (404) 686-5191

Valerie Buckley MS, CSO, RD, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Valerie Buckley MS, CSO, RD, LD
Valerie Buckley MS, CSO, RD, LD

Valerie Buckley MS, CSO, RD, LD

  • A Registered Dietitian, Ms. Buckley provides cancer patients who are undergoing treatment at Winship Cancer Institute with personalized nutrition advice.
  • Clinical Dietitian, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0296

Catherine Caprara Braga MSN, AGACNP-BC

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Catherine Caprara Braga MSN, AGACNP-BC
Catherine Caprara Braga MSN, AGACNP-BC

Catherine Caprara Braga MSN, AGACNP-BC

  • Ms. Caprara serves as lead nurse practitioner and co-investigator on early drug development trials in the Phase 1 Clinical Trials Unit at Winship.
  • Lead Nurse Practitioner, Phase I Unit, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Hannah H. Collins NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Hannah H. Collins NP
Hannah H. Collins NP

Hannah H. Collins NP

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Supportive Oncologist
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                                 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

Sunil W. Dutta MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Sunil W. Dutta MD
Sunil W. Dutta MD

Sunil W. Dutta MD

Frank Eady LMSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Frank Eady LMSW
Frank Eady LMSW

Frank Eady LMSW

  • Mr. Eady assists genitourinary, gastrointestinal and surgical oncology patients treated at Winship.
  • Social Worker, GI/GU Cancer and Surgical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-5976

Heather G. Gatcombe MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Heather G. Gatcombe MD
Heather G. Gatcombe MD

Heather G. Gatcombe MD

Elise Hitron MSN, FNP-C

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Elise Hitron MSN, FNP-C
Elise Hitron MSN, FNP-C

Elise Hitron MSN, FNP-C

Jennifer L. Jones MD

  • Colorectal Surgeon
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                                 Jennifer L. Jones MD
Jennifer L. Jones MD

Jennifer L. Jones MD

  • Dr. Jones specializes in complex laparoscopic and robotic surgery for the treatment of cancer of the colon and rectum, and hereditary colorectal cancer.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-2656

Sandra J. Karem LCSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Sandra J. Karem LCSW
Sandra J. Karem LCSW

Sandra J. Karem LCSW

Rachel Keller RD, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Rachel Keller RD, LD
Rachel Keller RD, LD

Rachel Keller RD, LD

Ashish Khanna MD

  • Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist
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                                 Ashish Khanna MD
Ashish Khanna MD

Ashish Khanna MD

  • Dr. Khanna focuses on the identification and treatment of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal and other issues resulting from cancer and related treatments.
  • Director of Cancer Rehabilitation, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Susan K. Kunihiro MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Susan K. Kunihiro MD
Susan K. Kunihiro MD

Susan K. Kunihiro MD

  • Dr. Kunihiro works to improve quality of life for patients with cancer, no matter the stage of illness - from initial diagnosis, during treatment, in remission or closer to end of life.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

Colleen Lewis NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Colleen Lewis NP
Colleen Lewis NP

Colleen Lewis NP

  • Ms. Lewis is Director of Clinical Operations for the Phase I Clinical Trials Program at Winship Cancer Institute.
  • Director of Clinical Operations, Phase I Clinical Trials Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Meredith Maxwell MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Meredith Maxwell MD
Meredith Maxwell MD

Meredith Maxwell MD

  • Dr. Maxwell collaborates with the multidisciplinary care team at Winship to help patients address symptoms and improve their quality of life during their journey with cancer.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Palliative Medicine, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

Mark McDonald MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Mark McDonald MD
Mark McDonald MD

Mark McDonald MD

Michelle Park MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Michelle Park MD
Michelle Park MD

Michelle Park MD

  • Dr. Park helps improve quality of life for patients with cancer at any stage of their illness by addressing symptoms and collaborating with the multidisciplinary care team at Winship.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Palliative Medicine, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

Pretesh Patel MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Pretesh Patel MD
Pretesh Patel MD

Pretesh Patel MD

  • Dr. Patel specializes in the treatment of genitourinary and gastrointestinal malignancies as well as the use of high-dose rate brachytherapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy and proton therapy.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Terrah Paul Olson MD

  • Colorectal Surgeon
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                                 Terrah Paul Olson MD
Terrah Paul Olson MD

Terrah Paul Olson MD

  • Dr. Paul Olson specializes in laparoscopic surgery and treats patients with colorectal cancer, anal cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases. She also performs colorectal cancer screenings.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-8394

Caroline Peacock LCSW, MDiv

  • Spiritual Health Provider
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                                 Caroline Peacock LCSW, MDiv
Caroline Peacock LCSW, MDiv

Caroline Peacock LCSW, MDiv

  • Caroline leads the Winship Spiritual Health Team in the work of offering compassionate, inclusive, supportive, evidence based care to patients, families and staff.
  • Director of Spiritual Health, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (470) 446-7844

Natalie Brooke Peeples MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Natalie Brooke Peeples MD
Natalie Brooke Peeples MD

Natalie Brooke Peeples MD

  • A palliative care specialist, Dr. Peeples, provides care and treatments to improve quality of life for patients in any stage of their cancer journey.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Palliative Medicine, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

M. Yawar J. Qadri MD, PhD

  • Pain Management Specialist
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                                 M. Yawar J. Qadri MD, PhD
M. Yawar J. Qadri MD, PhD

M. Yawar J. Qadri MD, PhD

  • A cancer pain management expert, Dr. Qadri collaborates with oncologists at Winship to treat patients with cancer suffering from chronic pain symptoms.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-2410

Margaret A. Riso MD

  • Pain Management Specialist
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                                 Margaret A. Riso MD
Margaret A. Riso MD

Margaret A. Riso MD

Brian S. Robinson MD, PhD

  • Pathologist
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                                 Brian S. Robinson MD, PhD
Brian S. Robinson MD, PhD

Brian S. Robinson MD, PhD

  • A gastrointestinal pathologist, Dr. Robinson's clinical focus is in gastrointestinal and hepatic pathology.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • 404-727-0988

Seth A. Rosen MD

  • Colorectal Surgeon
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                                 Seth A. Rosen MD
Seth A. Rosen MD

Seth A. Rosen MD

  • Specializing in robotic and laparoscopic surgery, Dr. Rosen treats colorectal patients at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.
  • Associate Professor, Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-7283

Virginia O. Shaffer MD

  • Colorectal Surgeon
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                                 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.
  • Associate Professor, Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3648

Vinita Singh MD

  • Pain Management Specialist
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                                 Vinita Singh MD
Vinita Singh MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Dr. Singh collaborates with 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

Jesse A. Soodalter MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Jesse A. Soodalter MD
Jesse A. Soodalter MD

Jesse A. Soodalter MD

  • A palliative care specialist, Dr. Soodalter provides specialized outpatient medical care with a focus on relief from the symptoms and stress of cancer and other illnesses.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 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

Patrick Sullivan MD, FACS

  • Colorectal Surgeon
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                                 Patrick Sullivan MD, FACS
Patrick Sullivan MD, FACS

Patrick Sullivan MD, FACS

  • Dr. Sullivan specializes in diseases of the colon and rectum with expertise in the surgical management of primary and recurrent malignancy of the colon and rectum, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease, and anorectal disorders.
  • Associate Professor, Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-2163

Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

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

Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

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

Nan Xiang MD

  • Pain Management Specialist
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                                 Nan Xiang MD
Nan Xiang MD

Nan Xiang MD

Ali J. Zarrabi MD

  • Palliative Oncologist
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                                 Ali J. Zarrabi MD
Ali J. Zarrabi MD

Ali J. Zarrabi MD

  • Dr. Zarrabi provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care for patients living with serious illness.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448
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