|Anal Sex and Colorectal Cancer
Jul 25, 2000
I heard from someone that if you engage in anal sex then you are at risk to develop colorectal cancer. Is this true?
| Response from Mr. Kull
Anal sex in and of itself probably does not cause anal cancer. What might lead to rectal cancer is an HPV/genital wart infection in the rectum/anus. Certain strains of HPV are more closely linked to cancers than others. HPV in the rectum/anus is more likely to lead to anal cancer if the warts go untreated.
There is a higher incidence of rectal warts among gay men who have unprotected receptive anal sex than the general population. Gay men who have had unprotected receptive anal sex or anal-penile contact should be screened for HPV. Screening can be conducted with an anal pap smear (swab) and/or anoscopy. HIV-positive persons with rectal warts are probably more prone to anal cancer than HIV-negative persons.
There is no evidence that semen in the anus/rectum causes cancer.
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