It can seem awkward to discuss, but info on the risks and symptoms &mdash; and most importantly, the prevention &mdash; of anal cancer can be life-saving knowledge. With approximately 7200 new cases in the U.S. each year, anal cancer is rare, and is often overlooked due to the nature of its symptoms. &ldquo;Pain, bleeding &mdash; a lot of times these symptoms are ignored, which often leads to delayed diagnosis,&rdquo; Syed Husain, MBBS, says. Anal cancer is closely linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV), with around nine in 10 cases occurring in patients who also have HPV. Partly because of that link &mdash; and despite the relatively low number of annual cases &mdash; doctors know a lot about anal cancer prevention, and can work with patients at high and low risk to help them avoid the development of the disease. HPV vaccination is one of the first and most important prevention steps that should be taken, not only for anal cancer, but for others that affect the cervix, head, neck and more. American Cancer Society experts recommend that children begin receiving the vaccine between the ages of nine and 12. While vaccination is an important tool for anal cancer prevention, screening for early indicators is also available and encouraged, and can lead to life-saving intervention. Husain is among the experts at Ohio State who are helping to identify at-risk patients through the OSUCCC &ndash; James&rsquo; anal cancer screening clinic. &ldquo;It's the first-of-its-kind program in the state of Ohio &mdash; and really one of the few across the nation,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The services we render range from simple counseling sessions to more complex on-site procedures like detection and the eradication of precancerous cells.&rdquo; Learn more about gastrointestinal cancer, including symptoms, risks and treatment options at The Ohio State University.