CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — Researchers have found in a study looking at cancer cases over about a 15 year period that instances of anal cancer are on the rise.
The findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Between 2001 and 2016, anal cancer death rates went up more than 3 percent per year. The most common form of anal cancer also increased, up nearly 3 percent per year.
The study notes young black men and older people saw the largest increase.
Unity Point St. Luke’s Hospital Oncology doctor Bobby Koneru says there are steps people can take to reduce their anal cancer risk.
“Using a condom for protection during sexual practices and also cigarette smoking,” said Koneru. “Cigarette smoking is also a known potential cause for various different cancers, not just lung cancer, actually anal cancer tends to be one of those.”
HIV is also a risk factor for anal cancer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 90 percent of anal cancers are linked to the HPV virus. There is a vaccine for HPV.
Dr. Koneru predicts as more people get the HPV vaccine the number of deaths associated with anal cancer will start to decline.