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.
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.
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.
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.
Your Treatment Team
- Physician Diagnosticians
- Nurse Navigators
- Adv Practice
- Support Services
- Clinical Trials
- Dr. El-Rayes is the chief clinical research scientist responsible for coordinating and providing high-level direction to the clinical cancer research programs and clinical cancer trials across the Emory campuses.
- Associate Director for Clinical Research, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
- (404) 778-1900
- Dr. Patel specializes in the treatment of genitourinary and gastrointestinal malignancies as well as the use of high-dose rate brachytherapy and stereotactic body radiation therapy.
- Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine; Director, Residency Program, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-3473
- 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) 778-3307
- 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
- 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
- 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