There is no absolute way to prevent anal dysplasia and cancer. However, there are things you can do to lower the risk. These include:
- Getting the HPV vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children—boys and girls—who are 11 or 12 years old receive two HPV vaccine injections six to 12 months apart. A third dose will be needed if adolescents get the two shots closer than five months apart. In addition, if a child is over 14 years of age, three shots over six months should be given. If you did not receive the vaccine when you were younger, you should get it now. It is recommended that women through age 26 and men through age 21 get the vaccine. This is also recommended for men up to age 26 who have sex with men; transgender adults through age 26; and adults up to age 26 who have compromised immune systems, including those people with HIV. There are three types of HPV vaccines: Cervarix®, Gardisil®, and Gardasil® 9.
- Using a condom. It is very important to use a condom for any type of sexual activity and with sex toys. HPV can be passed by skin-to-skin contact, so a condom is very effective, but not foolproof.
- Continuing with your treatment if you are HIV-positive.
- Quitting smoking.
- Getting regular anal Pap smears and anal exams. This is important for people who engage in receptive anal sex.
Anal cancer treatment can be very effective. Many people with anal cancer are cured. The outlook depends on many things, such as how healthy you are in general, and how soon the cancer is found.