Diagnosis and Diagnostic Imaging of Anal Canal Cancer

Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2017 Jan;26(1):45-55. doi: 10.1016/j.soc.2016.07.002.


Anal canal cancer is an uncommon malignancy but one that is often curable with optimal therapy. Owing to its unique location, histology, risk factors, and usual presentation, a careful diagnostic approach is warranted. This approach includes an excellent history and physical examination, including digital rectal examination, laboratory data, and comprehensive imaging. Anal cancer staging and formulation of a treatment plan depends on accurate imaging data. Modern radiographic techniques have improved staging quality and accuracy, and a thorough knowledge of anal anatomy is paramount to the optimal multidisciplinary treatment of this disease.

Keywords: 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography; Anal canal cancer; Anoscopy; Endoanal ultrasound; Magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anal Canal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Anal Canal / pathology
  • Anus Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Anus Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Endosonography / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity