Cancers of the anal canal represent a diverse group of pathology and require a multidisciplinary approach for treatment. For the most common anal canal cancer, anal SCC, the primary therapy is CMT with systemic chemotherapy and radiation. The surgeon plays a key role in the diagnosis and follow-up after treatment, with surgical intervention reserved for residual or recurrent disease. The overall prognosis for this disease is favorable. For anal adenocarcinoma, aggressive surgical resection remains the mainstay of therapy, with radiation therapy and chemotherapy used to aid in local disease control and for treatment of metastatic disease. A high rate of distant failure in this disease is responsible for the poor long-term prognosis. Anorectal melanoma has a high rate of distant failure and a poor overall survival rate. Surgical intervention is focused on local disease control with preservation of sphincter function. The biggest improvements in survival for this disease will come with more effective systemic therapy.
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