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Welcome to the Anal Cancer Information website! This website is designed to provide patients and their doctors with some of the latest information on anal cancer, its likely precursor, anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN), and the virus that we believe to be responsible for AIN and anal cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is also the cause of warts.

Anal cancer is a growing problem in the United States and many other developed countries. Like cancer of the cervix, it is caused by HPV. As you will learn by going to different links, HPV infection of the anal canal is surprisingly common. Anal HPV infection is most commonly acquired through anal intercourse, but it can also be acquired from other genital areas that are infected, particularly from the vulva in women, or from the penis in men. Fingers, toys, etc, can probably lead to anal HPV infection as well. Our research tells us that sexually active individuals, both men and women, may be at risk. The good news is that only a fraction of people with anal HPV infection will develop a lasting case of AIN, and even fewer will develop anal cancer. Men and women who are immunocompromised by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, organ transplant or other reasons are at especially high risk. So who should be interested in this website?

  • Men and women with a history of anal intercourse
  • Men and women with a history of perianal (outside the anus) or vulvar warts
  • Men and women who are immunocompromised, such as those who are HIV positive, or have received organ transplants

This website was made possible by the generous support of the American Cancer Society. It is designed to tell patients and their doctors about:

  • Who is at risk for anal HPV infection, AIN and anal cancer
  • Who should be screened for AIN and anal cancer
  • How screening should be performed
  • How AIN and anal cancer can be treated
  • Names and contact information of clinicians around the United States and Canada with experience treating AIN

Artistic representation of anal neoplasia by artist Danny Tague

Who Are We?

This website is the creation of a team of highly dedicated clinicians and scientists at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center. The group, led by Dr. Joel Palefsky, Professor of Medicine at UCSF, is devoted to performing research to promote awareness of and screening for AIN and anal cancer, identify the causes of AIN and anal cancer, and develop new and better therapies for these diseases. Through their activities at the Anal Neoplasia Clinic of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, they provide state of the art care for men and women with AIN and anal cancer. Through this website and other tools the group works to educate patients and their doctors about AIN and anal cancer. As you navigate through this website, we welcome your comments and feedback.

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