Anal Cancer Overview

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

How is anal cancer staged?

Staging is the process of finding out how far the cancer has spread. This is very important because your treatment and the outlook for your recovery depend on the stage of your cancer. If you have anal cancer, ask your doctor to explain staging in a way that you understand. Knowing all you can about staging lets you take a more active role in making informed decisions about your treatment.

The tests described in the section, “How is anal cancer found?” are the ones used to decide the stage of the cancer.

Stages are often labeled using 0 and the Roman numerals 1 through IV (1-4). As a rule, the lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, such as stage IV (4), means a more advanced cancer.

Last Medical Review: 01/14/2013
Last Revised: 04/18/2014