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Anal cancer is fairly rare – much less common than cancer of the colon or rectum. The American Cancer Society estimates for anal cancer in the United States for 2016 are:

  • About 8,080 new cases (5,160 in women and 2,2920 in men)
  • About 1,080 deaths (640 in women and 440 in men)

The number of new anal cancer cases has been rising for many years. Anal cancer is rare in people younger than 35 and is found mainly in older adults, with an average age being in the early 60s.

The risk of being diagnosed with anal cancer during one’s lifetime is about 1 in 500. The risk is slightly higher in women than in men. The risk is also higher in people with certain risk factors for anal cancer.

Treatment for anal cancer is often very effective, and many patients with this cancer can be cured. But anal cancer can be a serious condition. For information on survival, see the section, “Survival rates by stage of anal cancer.”

Last Medical Review: 04/09/2014
Last Revised: 01/20/2016