Yup, this is butt cancer. Anal carcinoma at the cellular level, in fact.
This is the same disease Farrah Fawcett, the golden poster girl of the 70s, contracted in 2006. It killed her in 2009. We’d rather remember the way she looked in her iconic 1976 red swimsuit poster.
Since this famous picture was taken, the number of anal cancer cases in the U.S. has tripled, according to a new study of National Cancer Institute data. The study analyzed the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database and found that approximately one person per 100,000 contracted anal cancer between 1973 and 1996 – but the number rose to three per 100,000 between 1997 and 2009.
In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 7,060 Americans will be diagnosed with anal cancer (4,430 women, 2,630 men). Around 880 of those people will die.
But – and it’s a big but – no one wants to talk about it.
After all, it’s butt cancer. It’s embarrassing. And no one wants to admit they have a disease that’s primarily caused by the HPV virus, which is transmitted through unprotected anal sex.(According to the American Cancer Society, eight out of ten anal squamous cell carcinomas are caused by HPV.)
However – since anal cancer could kill you – it’s a good idea to know what the risks are, and take preventative steps, if necessary.
Women – who are at a slightly higher risk than men – should get the Gardasil vaccine before age 27, and should make sure to talk to their gynecologist (and request a Pap smear) if they’ve had anal sex.
And if you have any of these risk factors,you should visit your doctor and get screened. People with the following conditions or lifestyle factors may be more likely to contract anal cancer:
· Older age.You’re more likely to be diagnosed with anal cancer if you’re over 50. But younger people can get it, too.
· A large number of sexual partners.The more you have, the higher the risk.
· Anal sex.Had it? Having it? You need to get tested.
· Smoking.Sadly, lung cancer is not the only disease tobacco can cause.
· Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.This sexually transmitted disease can cause not only anal cancer, but cervical cancer and genital warts.
· Immunosuppressants.That means drugs (like the immunosuppressants you take after an organ transplant) or conditions (like HIV) that suppress your immune system.
If any of those risk factors sound like you, head to the doctor. Hopefully, that way, you won’t ever have to find out what butt cancer REALLY looks like.
For more information about anal cancer, visit CancerInsurance.com