Anal Cancer Screening in High Risk Patients

Anal cancer incidence, including in situ and invasive carcinoma is on the rise in North America, with a sharp increase over the past several decades. Oncogenic types of human papilloma virus (HPV) have been shown to be the principle cause of both cervical and anal cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and anal intercourse is a major risk factor for acquiring the infection. Anal cancer affects both men and women; women having the highest overall likelihood of developing carcinomas of the anorectal region. At risk populations for developing anal carcinoma include men who have sex with men, HIV positive individuals (including those without a history of anal intercourse), immunocompromised patients including a history of organ transplant, those with a history of genital warts, and women with abnormal vulvar, vaginal or cervical Pap results.

The Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory Cytology Department offers anal rectal cytology Pap test screening with step by step collection instructions available in the Laboratory Catalog by searching “medical cytology” or “anal rectal cytology”. HPV testing on anorectal cytology Pap tests is available at request when ordering or as an add-on order. Anorectal cytology kits containing polyester tipped swabs, ThinPrep CytoLyt solution, and ordering and collection instructions, are available by contacting the Cytology Department at 616-267-2610.

The anal Pap test is an uncomplicated and quick procedure. Physicians and other health care providers may want to consider potential benefits of anal cancer screening in high risk patients.

More information on anal cancer including symptoms and suggested follow-up post screening is available at:

TEST INFORMATION: Medical Cytology (Epic #LAB2111297, SH #46; Specimen Type = Anal Rectal Cytology)

Questions may be directed to the Cytology department via the “Contact Us” link.

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