Berman, MD, and Mark S. In November , Cross was diagnosed with anal cancer after a routine digital rectal examination by her gynecologist. The cancer was caught early, and she underwent 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. Throughout the treatment, which Cross described as "gnarly," she tried to maintain her sense of humor. I've read a lot of cancer-survivor stories, and many people, women especially, were too embarrassed to say what kind of cancer they had.
— Actress discloses her survival story and wants to end the stigma
The anal canal is the terminal segment of the large intestine between the rectum and anus , located below the level of the pelvic diaphragm. It is located within the anal triangle of perineum , between the right and left ischioanal fossa. As the final functional segment of the bowel, it functions to regulate release of excrement by two muscular sphincter complexes. The aperture at the terminal portion of the anal canal is known as the anus.
When cancer cells form into benign or malignant tumors in the tissues of the anus, anal cancer has occurred. The anus is the opening at the bottom of your intestines where stool exits the body. Anal cancer is rare, but when it occurs, it may spread to other parts of the body. Some noncancerous forms of anal cancer can also turn cancerous over time.
Although a rare disease, anal cancer is increasingly being diagnosed in patients with risk factors, mainly anal infection with the human papilloma virus. Magnetic resonance imaging MRI with external phased-array coils is recommended as the imaging modality of choice to grade anal cancers and to evaluate the response assessment after chemoradiotherapy, with a high contrast and good anatomic resolution of the anal canal. MRI provides a performant evaluation of size, extent and signal characteristics of the anal tumor before and after treatment, as well as lymph node involvement and extension to the adjacent organs. MRI is also particularly helpful in the assessment of complications after treatment, and in the diagnosis for relapse of the diseases. Primary neoplastic conditions of the anal canal are uncommon. Although their diagnosis and follow-up are traditionally based on clinical assessment, imaging, particularly MRI, plays an important role in staging and follow-up after treatment. In this article, we discuss and illustrate the current role of MRI in the pre and post-therapeutic management of these patients. The anal canal extends from the anorectal junction to the anal margin, and is usually 3—6 cm in length.