Anal cancer: an essay on etiology, risk conditions, vulnerability, and care of carriers


  • William Pereira Santos Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Hospital Universitário, Unidade de Anatomia Patológica
  • Nathália Barbosa do Espírito Santo Mendes Centro Universitário Academia de Juiz de Fora
  • Alcindo Antônio Ferla Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul



Primary health care, Primary prevention, Integrality in health, Health policy, Anus neoplasms


 Introduction: The incidence of anal cancer is influenced by individual factors and socially determined conditions of vulnerability. In Brazil, it has increased in recent decades. A probable explanation for the growing incidence is the low coverage of screening and prevention programs. Objective: The aim of this study was to reflect on risk factors, the need for early diagnosis, and care of people with anal cancer and to associate social vulnerability in the understanding of illness and care in the Unified Health System (SUS). Methods: This is a systematic literature review with consultations carried out in open electronic databases: SciELO, Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, and CAPES Publications Portal. The descriptors used were “anal cancer,” “anal cytology,” “anal cancer precursor lesions,” “primary prevention,” “integrality in health,” and “public health policies.” Results: Ensuring access to services is a common guideline in the literature. Based on the recovered references, two axes of analysis were built: in the first, ideas to reflect on care with collective health approaches were systematized, mainly on the etiology, biological risk factors, and conditions of vulnerability for cancer development to which the subjects are exposed. In the second, ideas to propose care technologies are put forward, with evidence from similar protocols and policies, especially the “Cervical Cancer Control Program,” which deals with a pathology with cytohistological and etiological similarities, risk factors, diagnostic techniques, and skilled health professionals. Conclusion: The reviewed sources point to the possibility of incorporating, as a SUS policy, large-scale actions of prevention, screening, and early diagnosis, to qualify and expand the initiatives of promotion and care. The professional cytotechnologist can be a decisive factor in the implementation of the care policy, expanding assistance to the population and qualifying the services.


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How to Cite

Santos WP, Mendes NB do ES, Ferla AA. Anal cancer: an essay on etiology, risk conditions, vulnerability, and care of carriers. DST [Internet]. 2022 Jul. 4 [cited 2024 Feb. 21];34. Available from:



Original Article