Health & Wellness

Anal Fistula Cancer Symptoms: Is a Fistula a Sign of Cancer?

If you need to know anal fistula cancer symptoms, you should read this article. Anal fistula is a condition in which an abnormal connection exists between the interior of the anus and the skin around it. This can result in the formation of tumour tissue as well as symptoms such as discomfort, discharge, and bleeding.

Early detection of these symptoms is critical for successful anal fistula cancer therapy and care. Understanding the signs and symptoms of this condition can help people take action and seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

In This Article

What is an Anal Fistula?

A tiny opening between the skin and the end of the intestine near the anus is known as an anal fistula. Inflammation or an infection in the glands around the anus may cause it.

In the affected region, the condition may result in discomfort, drainage, and oedema. Treatment options for anal fistulas include antibiotics, drainage, or surgery to remove the fistula.

A seton, a loop of surgical thread, may occasionally be inserted into the fistula to keep it open and promote healing. Anal fistulas should be treated right away since they can develop into abscesses or reoccurring infections.

Anal Fistula Cancer Symptoms

Even though an anal fistula by itself is not cancerous, a few indications might point to the presence of anal cancer. Symptoms of rectal cancer fistula include:

1. Pain or Discomfort in the Anal area

Anal cancer is commonly characterized by pain or discomfort in the anal area. It can range from mild discomfort to intense pain and is often exacerbated by bowel motions.

The existence of a tumour or growth in the anal area, which can put pressure on the surrounding tissues and produce discomfort, might cause this pain.

The discomfort can be severe in certain situations, interfering with regular tasks. You should seek medical assistance if you have persistent pain in the anal region.

2. Bleeding from the Anus

Another sign of anal cancer is bleeding from the anus. This bleeding can be seen as blood streaks on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. Other symptoms, such as anal pain or discomfort, may also characterize it.

If you experience anus bleeding, you should seek medical assistance to establish the underlying reason. Anal cancer is one of the possible reasons for this symptom. Thus it is essential to have it examined by a healthcare expert.

3. Swelling or A Lump near the Anus

Anal cancer is commonly indicated by a tumour or swelling around the anus. This lump may be hard or solid to the touch, and it may cause pain or discomfort.

On inspection, the bulge may be seen or felt in certain situations. If you feel a lump or swelling around your anus, get medical assistance immediately to establish the underlying reason.

4. Discharge or Drainage from the anus

Another sign of anal cancer is discharge or leakage from the anus. This discharge may be clear or yellowish, with a strong odour. The discharge may be associated with anal pain or discomfort in rare situations. If you have discharge or drainage from the anus, get medical assistance to establish the underlying reason.

5. Constipation or Difficulty Passing Stool

Constipation or difficulty passing stool is a frequent anal cancer symptom. This can be caused by a tumour or growth in the anal area, which can hinder stool flow.

In certain circumstances, constipation may be linked to additional symptoms, such as pain or discomfort in the anal region. If you have prolonged constipation or trouble passing stool, you should seek medical assistance to establish the root reason.

6. Itching or Burning around the Anus

Another indication of anal cancer is itching or burning around the anus. This can be caused by a tumour or growth in the anal area, which can cause discomfort or inflammation.

Itching or burning may be followed by additional symptoms such as discharge or drainage from the anus in some conditions.

7. A Change in Bowel Habits or Routine

Change in bowel habits or routine, such as having to strain or use the toilet more frequently, might be a sign of anal cancer. A tumour or growth in the anal area, which might hinder stool flow, can induce this alteration. A change in bowel habits may be followed by additional symptoms such as pain or discomfort in certain conditions.

Is a fistula a sign of cancer?

Anal fistula leads to anal cancer. It is not always true. Anal fistulas can increase the risk of developing anal cancer, but it is not a direct cause. Anal cancer is a rare form of cancer that occurs in the tissues of the anus, and it can be caused by various factors, including exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) and immune system suppression.

Anal fistulas can increase the risk of anal cancer by causing chronic inflammation and irritation in the anus, which can lead to the development of abnormal cells that can become cancerous over time.

However, it is essential to note that not all anal fistulas lead to anal cancer. Most individuals with anal fistulas do not develop cancer, and early detection and treatment of anal fistulas can help reduce the risk of developing anal cancer.

If you have an anal fistula or any other symptoms that concern you, you must consult a medical professional for a proper evaluation and treatment.

Anal Fistula Treatment

Anal fistula treatment typically involves addressing the underlying cause of the fistula and repairing the damaged tissue. Some common treatments for anal fistulas include:

1. Surgical procedure

Surgical procedures, such as fistulotomy or seton placement, are often used to repair the damaged tissue and remove the infected area.

2. Use of Antibiotics

Antibiotic therapy may be used to treat any associated infection.

3.  Drainage

A temporary drainage tube may be placed to allow for the drainage of any infected fluid.

 4. Use of Medications

Pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to manage pain and swelling.

 5. Home care

Keeping the area clean and dry, and avoiding activities that may increase pressure on the fistula, such as heavy lifting, can help prevent further complications.


In conclusion, anal fistula cancer is a severe condition that needs immediate medical care. Early detection of signs such as discomfort, discharge, and bleeding can aid in early treatment and improve prognosis. Individuals must be aware of any changes in their health and seek medical attention if they notice any troubling signs.

Regular check-ups and screening can also help in the early detection and prevention of anal fistula cancer. Proactive actions can help persons properly manage this condition and improve their quality of life.

Read Also


  1. Anal fistula: Intraoperative difficulties and unexpected findings
  2. Relapse of Rectal Cancer in an Anal Fistula: A Rare Case
  3. Anal fistula metastasis of rectal cancer after neoadjuvant therapy

Dr Maria

MD. Board Certified physician. Fellowship In Family Medicine UK. 8 years of medical experience in Lifestyle-related health disorders. Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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