While anal warts themselves are unlikely to develop into anal cancer, people who have had anal warts are more likely to get anal cancer. This is because people who are infected with HPV subtypes that cause anal and genital warts are also more likely to be infected with HPV subtypes that cause anal cancer.
Infection with HPV is common, and in most cases the body can clear the infection on its own, but in some people the infection doesn't go away and becomes chronic. Chronic infection, especially with high-risk HPV types, can cause certain cancers over time, including anal cancer.
There are currently no national recommendations to screen for anal cancer. If you are living with HIV, then there is a higher risk of anal cancer and an anal pap smear could be considered. You should talk with your healthcare provider to determine whether an anal pap or other screening test might be useful for you.
There is also an excellent vaccine that protects against 9 of the most common strains of HPV -including 4 high-risk strains and 5 strains that can cause warts. Its recommended that all men and women <26 receive this vaccine. Since you may not have been infected with all 9 strains, the vaccine could still provide some benefit to you. If you have not already been vaccinated, you should talk to your provider about getting vaccinated.