Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, Dr. Nwamaka Lasebikan has cautioned Nigerians against engaging in anal sex, noting that indulging in the act put them at risk of anal cancer.

 Nwamaka also warned that both men and women engaging in anal sex have an increased risk of developing anal cancer.

She stated that most anal cancers are related to human papillomavirus infection, adding that the transmission rate is higher in individuals who have numerous sexual partners.

Anal cancer is an uncommon type of cancer as it mainly occurs in the anal canal, experts say.

According to the National Cancer Institute, anal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the anus.

Speaking further in an interview with PUNCH Healthwise, Nwamaka who is also the director of oncology at UNTH added that other factors could put an individual at risk for anal cancers.

The oncologist said, “HPV is a risk factor for anal cancer and the transmission rate is higher in people with multiple sexual partners.”

“There are other risk factors for anal cancer such as men having sex with men, having a disease that causes a weakened immune system eg human immunodeficiency virus, having many sexual partners and having receptive anal sex.”

According to the expert, men are at a higher risk of developing anal cancer from anal sex because gay and bisexual men often engage in anal intercourse.

She added, “Although the occurrence is not common, however, with the increasing number of men having sex with men the trend may start to increase.”

Nwamaka said when an individual has anal cancer, “They would experience symptoms such as pain in the area around the anus, anal discharge, a change in bowel habits, bleeding and or discharge from the anus or rectum, etc.”

When asked about the treatment methods for anal cancer, the oncologist said, “Surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy are the treatment options.”

The oncologist warned that “Having multiple sexual partners is a risk factor as is having anal sex. Using barrier methods would be protective as well as reducing the number of sexual partners. Screening for premalignant lesions and HPV is advised.”

A recent study posted online by the National Library of Medicine confirmed anal sex as a risk factor for anal cancer in both men and women.

The researchers conducted in-person interviews with 102 males and 106 females with squamous or transitional cell carcinoma of the anus and 208 individually matched controls.

Results from the findings of the study revealed that “Compared with persons who had never experienced receptive anal intercourse, those who had experienced it more than 130 times were 18 times as likely to develop anal cancer.

@ Punch Newspaper

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