If anal cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the anus to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If anal cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • lymph nodes around the rectum (called the perirectal lymph nodes)
  • lymph nodes in the groin (called the inguinal lymph nodes)
  • lymph nodes in the pelvis (called the internal iliac lymph nodes)
  • rectum
  • bladder
  • urethra
  • vagina or prostate
  • liver
  • lungs
  • bone

Expert review and references

  • American Joint Committee on Cancer. AJCC Cancer Staging Handbook. 7th ed. Chicago: Springer; 2010.
  • Czito BG, Ahmed S, Kalady M, Eng C . Cancer of the Anal Region. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 61:842-856.
  • Eng C, Ajani J . Anal canal cancer. Kelsen DP, Daly JM, Kern SE, Levin B, Tepper JE, Van Cutsem E (eds). Principles and Practice of Gastrointestinal Oncology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008: 47:641-652.