Will having anal sex cause anal cancer?
Nothing makes us happier than healthy bottoms… So here’s what you need to know about anal sex and what might cause it.
Anal cancer, although rare, is still a killer disease if it’s not caught in time, but the act of anal sex will not cause cancer, Dr Rick Viney, consultant urological surgeon at BMI The Priory and BMI Edgbaston hospitals in Birmingham told us.
In fact, less than 1200 people are diagnosed with anal cancer in the UK every year.
Apparently what you need to look out for is for the transmission of HPV, the virus responsible for genital warts. “The virus responsible for genital warts (HPV) can ultimately lead to the development of a type of anal, penile, cervical and oral cancers called squamous cancer, Rick warns.
HPV is the name for a group of viruses that affect the skin and moist membranes lining the body such as the cervix, anus, mouth and throat. HPV infections are highly contagious when transmitted sexually.
Some strains of the HPV virus can cause genital warts, and cancers of the anus, penis, mouth and throat. In some cases, it can also cause head and neck cancer.
In the UK, teenage girls are offered the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. There is no plan to vaccinate teenage boys. However, in 2016, 40,000 gay and bisexual men were offered the HPV vaccine to ward against contracting HPV.
What else can cause anal cancer? Well the NHS website suggests that smoking can be a cause and having a weakened immune system, for example, if you have HIV could also be a cause. For women, cancer history also plays a part. If you’ve had cervical, vaginal or vulval cancer could be cause for concern.
What are the symptoms of anal cancer?
Anal cancer can be symptomless and the symptoms that can occur can be similar to less serious conditions like piles and anal fissures.
According to the NHS website, these include: bleeding from the anus, an itchy or painful bottom, small lumps around the anus, a mucus discharge or loss of bowel control.
If you have any concerns, as always, we suggest you consult your doctor.