ANAL cancer – a disease which starts in the anus – can be linked to lifestyle factors.

Anal cancer affects more than 1,000 people in the UK every year.

The risk factors for anal cancer include smoking, a history of vulval, cervical or vaginal cancer, and age.

Cancer Research UK said around 65 out of 100 will survive their cancer for five years or more after they are diagnosed.

However the charity has said rates of anal cancer are rising and it could be as a result of HPV.

Carl Alexander, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, has explained why this could be the case.

“Anal cancer is far less common than many other types of cancer but rates are rising and hundreds of cases could be prevented,” he told

“The majority of anal cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that is usually passed between people during sexual activity.

“Practising safe sex, using barrier contraception such as condoms, is one way to lower the risk of infection and HPV-related cancers including anal, cervical and mouth and throat cancers.

“HPV vaccination, which is offered to girls aged 12-13, can also reduce the risk of anal cancer.”

There are hundreds of different types of HPV – most are harmless, but around 12 types of HPV can cause cancer and genital warts.

Adolescent girls currently receive the HPV vaccination to protect against cervical cancer – and reduce the risk of developing other types of cancer.

However an organisation called HPV Action has been calling for boys to also receive the jab, arguing the vaccine could protect from from several HPV-related cancers, oral, anal and penile – as well as genital warts.

Speaking last week, Peter Baker, HPV Action’s campaign director, said: “HPV affects men and women equally and both sexes therefore deserve equal protection through a national vaccination programme.”


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