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Cancer is called recurrent when it come backs after treatment. It can come back in or near the same place it started (local) or spread to organs such as the lungs or bone (distant). If your cancer returns in the anus or nearby lymph nodes after treatment, your treatment depends on what treatment you had the first time. For instance, if you had surgery alone, you may now get radiation and chemotherapy (chemo). If you first had chemoradiation, then you can be treated with surgery and/or chemo. Treating cancer that comes back in or near the anus often involves an abdominoperineal resection (APR). Again, clinical trials may be an option for people with recurrent anal cancer.

In some people, the cancer will come back in distant sites or organs in the body. The most common places are the liver and the lungs. The main treatment for this is chemo, but in rare cases surgery to remove the cancer might be an option. Chemo may not cure the cancer, but it may help to reduce any symptoms from the disease.

Last Medical Review: 06/10/2014
Last Revised: 01/20/2016