November 30, 2021

What causes anal cancer?

Known risk factors for anal cancer include chronic infection with HPV, gender and age. HPV infection spreads primarily through vaginal, oral or anal sex. The HPV vaccine provides protection against many strains of the virus.

Other common risk factors for anal cancer include:

  • A compromised immune system, often caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection, immunosuppressant’s or an organ transplant
  • Anal intercourse
  • Other gynecologic cancers, such as cervical cancer, vulvar cancer or vaginal cancer
  • Chronic local inflammation, such as anal fistulas or long-lasting open wounds

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