You have been invited to come in for a screening at AIN (Anal Intraepithelial Neoplasia).
What is AIN?
Anal Intraepithelial Neoplasia (also known as AIN) is a change in the mucus membrane in and around the anus. People with AIN have disturbances in the cells surrounding the anus. This condition can develop into anal cancer.
AIN is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). You usually won’t notice any symptoms if you have an HPV infection. HPV is transferred through physical (sexual) contact. You can even get infected from fingers or towels. This virus can also cause cervical cancer in women.
AIN and anal cancer are more common in people who have been previously diagnosed with an HPV-related abnormality or an immune disorder like HIV. Your practicing physician may refer you to the AIN clinic as a preventative measure.
AIN consultation hour, what is High-Resolution Anoscopy (HRA):
HRA is a technique that can diagnose and treat abnormalities that could turn into cancer, as well as anal cancer itself. You will be asked to lie down on an examination table while your doctor or clinical nurse specialist inspects the skin surrounding the anus using a camera that can enlarge the images. They will also use a proctoscope, which is a hollow tube that can inspect the anus up to 6cm in. We will take tissue biopsies from all areas that look suspicious (a "bite" of the membrane) for further analysis.
The analysis can lead to three different results:
- No abnormal cells are found;
- Low-grade AIN, abnormal cells are found in the surface layer;
- High-grade AIN, abnormal cells are found in the lower thickness or throughout the entire layer.
If you have low-grade AIN, we will not recommend treatment, but will instead invite you to come for a second screening after one year. If you have high-grade AIN, we will recommend treatment by removing all abnormal cells. You will have several options. Depending on your personal situation, we will recommend electrocoagulation (burning) and/or cream.