ZocdocAnswersHow do hemorrhoids and anal cancer differ?

Question

How do hemorrhoids and anal cancer differ?

My father is in his 60's and just got surgery for his hemorrhoids. Are these a type of anal cancer? I know they're not life threatening, but couldn't they just be a benign type of cancer? Does this put me at a greater risk of having them myself?

Answer

Hemorrhoids are one of the most common medical problems and they often require medical evaluation and treatment. The doctors who will be best qualified to discuss this issue with you in greater detail include your primary care doctor. Hemorrhoids are a common problem which consist of dilated veins of the anus and rectum. These veins dilate in part from genetic factors but mostly from constipation and straining with bowel movements over the years. The result is enlarged veins which can sometimes prolapse out of the anus. The symptoms of hemorrhoids are variable. If the veins do not become inflamed there are no symptoms. However, if they become inflamed, there can be quite a bit of itching and even discomfort. Occasionally, one of the hemorrhoids will develop a clot inside which can be exquisitely painful. Irritation by fecal material passing over them sometimes causes them to bleed, leading to blood in the bowel movements. There is absolutely no relationship between hemorrhoids and anal cancer. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concerns will require a physical examination by your personal physician. If you have symptoms consistent with hemorrhoids, setting up a visit with your primary care doctor might be indicated.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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