Anal Cancer Surgery

  • Steven Hochwald, MD, FACS, is part of the surgical team treating anal cancer at RPCI.

At Roswell Park, every patient’s treatment plan is created according to the individual patient. Most patients — 80 percent — will not need surgery. Anal cancer treatment combines the best possible curative therapies while aiming to avoid surgery and colostomy. The patients who may need surgery and colostomy include those who:

  • Had prior prostate radiation
  • Had prior cervical radiation
  • Are unable to tolerate chemotherapy
  • Have tumors that don’t respond to chemoradiation treatment

If your cancer requires a surgical treatment, our surgeons perform the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques to remove anal tumors, while optimizing patients’ function and quality of life, including:

  • Abdominoperineal resection (APR): A type of surgery, which removes the anus, rectum and part of the lower colon. The end of the intestine is then formed into a stoma, a new opening created in the abdomen. A colostomy bag collects body wastes. Our surgeons perform this technique using either open or minimally invasive, laparoscopic methods.
  • Robot-assisted surgery: Using the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System, our surgeons perform the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques to remove anal tumors and any cancer that may have spread to lymph nodes, the pelvis and/or abdominal areas.

What If I Need a Colostomy?

Learning to live with your colostomy may seem difficult at first. Many people have colostomies and your surgery can mark the beginning of a healthier life for you, and a return to most, if not all the activities you enjoyed before. The staff of Roswell Park can help. We offer the following:

  • Enterostomal therapist: A nursing professional specially trained to provide ostomy patients with education and counseling before and after surgery, and help the patient learn to care for their stoma.
  • Ostomy support group: A facilitated support group to offer information and support to patients and their caregivers adjusting to an ostomy.