Symptoms of anal cancer

The symptoms of anal cancer are very similar to other problems, including haemorrhoids (piles) or anal fissures (tears). The most common symptom is rectal bleeding or blood in the stools (poo), with almost half of all patients affected in this way.

Other symptoms include:

  • Small lumps seen or felt around the anus which could be confused with piles
  • An increase in the number or size of piles
  • Pain in the anal area – affects about 30% of people
  • Difficulty in passing stools and extreme constipation are common symptoms
  • Feeling a continuous urge to pass a motion, with no production, possibly with increased mucus
  • Discharge from the back passage, or swelling, itching and persistent redness or soreness around the anal area
  • Difficulty controlling your bowels (faecal incontinence)
  • One or more lumps in the groin area.


For details of the diagnosis and treatment of anal cancer, please download our Anal Cancer factsheet.