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Chemotherapy is one of the primary treatment options for anal cancer. This form of treatment uses a combination of medications to target and destroy cancer cells by preventing them from multiplying. It can be administered intravenously (as an injection) or orally (as a pill that’s swallowed).

Will I need chemotherapy to treat anal cancer?

At Moffitt Cancer Center, the multispecialty team that makes up our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program collaborates in regular tumor board meetings to give each patient’s case individualized attention. Our cancer experts consider the many complex factors involved in your condition, including the stage of cancer, location of the tumor and your general health, to determine a treatment plan best suited for your needs. Chemotherapy may be recommended as a standalone treatment for anal cancer or in conjunction with another treatment, such as surgery or radiation therapy. Some examples in which chemotherapy may be recommended include:

  • Chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy as a first line of treatment to help avoid the need for surgery
  • Chemotherapy along with radiation therapy after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy for cases in which the cancer has spread to other areas of the body

Chemotherapy can cause a variety of side effects, such as nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting. These symptoms typically subside once treatment is complete. While receiving chemotherapy, your physician may recommend additional medications to help minimize your side effects.

Receiving treatment at Moffitt

Many patients seeking treatment for anal cancer choose Moffitt because of our commitment to providing comprehensive services. In addition to our multispecialty team that provides individualized treatment plans, we also offer a wide range of supportive care services all under the same roof. If you receive chemotherapy or any other cancer treatment at Moffitt, you can meet with a social worker, dietitian, pain management specialist or another supportive care professional who can help you with the physical, emotional and mental challenges involved in recovering from anal cancer.

If you would like to learn more about chemotherapy and other anal cancer treatment options we provide at Moffitt, fill out a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488. No referral is necessary to schedule an appointment at Moffitt.