What are the risk factors for anal cancer?
Several risk factors for anal cancer exist. These include:
- Being over 50 years old
- Having had multiple sexual partners
- Practicing anal sex
- Using tobacco products
- A history of cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer
- Being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Having HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus
- Using immunosuppressive medications
What can you do to prevent anal cancer?
Anal cancer is preventable through HPV vaccination. The CDC recommends two doses of the vaccine one year apart for children ages 11 to 12 in the U.S. Young adults up to age 26 can be vaccinated as well; three doses are recommended for people 15 and older.
The HPV vaccine is most effective when given at younger ages, before a person is exposed to HPV. But the CDC says adults ages 27 through 45, who have not been adequately vaccinated, can make make a decision with their doctors about HPV vaccination.