Cancer rates and anal deaths are climbing in the United States

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Researchers examined trends in anal cancer cases over 15 years, and approximately 69,000 cases of anal cancer and over 12,000 deaths were identified during this time.

"Our views on the rise in incidence among black and white millennials, increasing rates of distant diseases, and increases in anal cancer mortality rates, are very worrying," the author of the study, Ashish A. Deshmukh, assistant professor at UTHealth Health School, said in a statement. "Due to the historical understanding that anal cancer is rare, it is often neglected."

Disease is a long way when the cancer is spread to other parts of the body.

From 2001 to 2015, the most common cases of anal cancer increased by 2.7% per year, while cancer cancer death rates increased by 3.1% per annum from 2001 to 2016.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, provides "numbers for a trend that appears to have been happening in the last decade," said Dr. Virginia Shaffer, colorectal surgeon and associate professor at the University of Emory Winship Cancer Institute. "In that sense it gives us numbers for what we already expect." Shaffer was not involved in the study.

Cancer linked to HPV

Anal cancer occurs when the digestive tract ends. It is different from colon or rectal cancer and is similar to cervical cancer.

The most common subtype of anal cancer is cloudy cell carcinoma, caused by human papilloma virus, called HPV.

Over 90% of anal cancer cases relate to HPV, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Screening for anal cancer was applied to a number of high risk groups, but the authors state that their findings suggest that wider screening efforts should be considered. But they also believe that the increase in diagnoses is unlikely to be due to an increase in screening practices.
Since the 1950s, there have been significant changes in anal cancer risk factors, including changes in sexual behaviors and increased numbers of sexual partners, according to the study, which increase the likelihood of contracting HPV.
The emergence of the HIV epidemic, particularly among men with sex with men, may have an impact on cancer trends as HIV is a risk factor.
There are also other risk factors, such as cervical cancer or vulvar, after organ transplantation or being a current smoker.

Who is under the influence of anal cancer?

The study found that anal cancer cases have increased dramatically in people aged 50 years and older.

It could be because HPV vaccine guidelines are "very narrow," said Shaffer, which limited protection for older adults. When the first HPV vaccine was introduced in 2006, it was approved for people aged 9 to 26 years of age, "so the older adults were past who put an end to the vaccine," Shaffer said. "That's a huge number of people who haven't missed the vaccine."
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Anal cancer rates are also rising among young black men.

HIV has a disproportionate impact on young black men, authors of the study, and HIV is a risk factor for anal cancer.

The study also found an increase in the number of advanced cases. This may be because treatment for HIV has improved, said Shaffer, which means patients are living longer with immune systems that are in danger, and cancer may have gone t more advanced by the time it was diagnosed.

Stopping stigma

Stigma still exists for anal cancer.

The star "Desperate Housewives" Marcia Cross said about his anal cancer diagnosis earlier this year to help him distort the disease, she said.

"I know people are ashamed," Cross said "This CBS Morning" in June. "You have cancer. Do you want to be there." embarrassed as you did something bad because it took a place in your anus? "

“Many cancer is pretty” has come on anal cancer, ”said Shaffer,“ I think because some of the risk factors he had historically known were connected with them.

"If people have signs they should see a doctor as I think that many people think, 'Oh, well, there's only hemorrhoids,' and don't check things and that could mean it so you don't get a diagnosis until much later. "

Anal cancer is prevented by HPV vaccination. The CDC recommends two doses of a year-specific vaccine for children aged 11 to 12 years in the United States. Young adults can also vaccinate up to 26. Older adults should talk to their doctor as the vaccine is very beneficial when administered at a younger age, before a person is exposed to HPV.

In order to strengthen preventative efforts in the future, Shaffer said that everyone who qualifies for vaccinations should do so, and that the current guidelines on vaccines should be examined to see if they can be extended to other patients.

Michael Nedelman, CNN France and Sandee LaMotte contributed to CNN with this report.

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