Differences Between Colorectal And Colon Cancer

Differences Between Colorectal And Colon Cancer
29 Mar 2023
7 mins
Table Of Content
Differences Between Colorectal And Colon Cancer

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    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is cancer that affects the large intestine. It is a condition in which cells in the colon or rectum proliferate uncontrollably. The colon is also referred to as the large intestine or large gut. The rectum is the way that connects the colon to the anus. Polyps, or abnormal growths, can form in the colon or rectum. Some polyps may develop into cancer over time.


    Role Of Large Intestine


    Overall, colon cancer falls under the umbrella term of colorectal cancer. You should first learn a little about the large intestine to understand this better.


    The large intestine's role is to absorb water and electrolytes from the food you ingest. What remains is excreted from the body as stool. The colon, which is around 5 feet long, is the main section of the large intestine. This is the section of your large intestine responsible for absorbing water and electrolytes from your food. The rectum is the last 6 inches or so of your large intestine. Residual feces are stored in the anus until it is evacuated during a bowel movement. 


    Colorectal cancer and colon cancer are frequently used interchangeably. There is, however, a difference between colon cancer and colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer includes large intestine cancers, such as colon and rectal cancer. Especially in early colorectal cancer, symptoms are not usually present. Cancers of the colon and rectal begin in different parts of the large intestine. Cancers of the colon begin in the first (and longest) section of the large intestine. Rectal cancer, on the other hand, develops in the last few inches of the large intestine.


    Prevalence Of Colorectal And Colon Cancer


    Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most prevalent cancer in the world. It is the third-most prevalent type of cancer in men and the second-most common type in women. Around 1 in 23 men and 1 in 26 women will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetimes. Colon cancer cases are among India's top five most often reported cases. Colorectal cancer is most prevalent in Asia, accounting for more than half of all cases and fatalities. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the global burden of colorectal cancer will rise by 56% between 2020 and 2040, reaching more than 3 million new cases annually. The predicted rise in disease-related deaths is 69%, to reach approximately 1.6 million deaths worldwide in 2040.


    Similarities In Colorectal And Colon Cancer


    Other than the fact that they both originate in the large intestine, colon and colorectal cancer have specific traits:


    Symptoms: While bloody stools are common in colorectal and colon cancer, red or dark-colored spots in bowel movements may be visible. Colon and colorectal cancer symptoms are constipation, gas pain, bloating, and stomach pain. 


    Risk Factors: Obesity, smoking, alcohol usage, a low-fiber diet, polyps, increased age, type 2 diabetes, and family history are all risk factors for colon and colorectal cancer.


    Genetics: Both colon and colorectal cancers are caused by genetic mutations, including familial adenomatous polyposis. 


    Screening: Colon and colorectal cancer detection are critical for early diagnosis and treatment. Stool-based testing, visual inspections (colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy), and polyp removal are all part of colon and colorectal cancer screening.


    Differences Between Colon And Colorectal Cancer Treatment




    Colorectal cancer therapy requires surgery to remove the malignancy. Surgery for colon cancer may be advised at any stage; however surgery without chemotherapy or radiation therapy is usually recommended for stage I and II colon cancer. Colorectal cancer surgery, on the other hand, is often reserved for stages I-III. 


    Difficulty In Surgery


    Colorectal cancer surgery is more challenging than colon cancer surgery because the rectal tumor can be difficult to approach without causing damage to nearby structures. As a result, surgical problems are more common when colorectal cancer is removed.


    Radiation Therapy


    While radiation is not widely utilized in the treatment of colon cancer, most rectal cancers are treated with radiation therapy before surgery to reduce the tumor before removal.




    Depending on the stage, chemotherapy is administered for both colon and colorectal cancer. Each disease, however, requires a different type of chemotherapy drug.


    Targeted Therapy


    If the colon or colorectal cancer is caused by a genetic mutation, drugs that target the precise mutation may be accessible for treatment in both disorders.




    It refers to medications that eliminate cancer cells by enhancing immune system response. Both colon and rectal cancers can benefit from these treatments.




    The term colorectal cancer refers to both colon and rectal cancer. These tumors are found in the large intestine. Cancer cells that grow in the colon are referred to as colon cancer, while cancer cells that grow in the rectum are referred to as rectal cancer. Even though both colon and rectal cancer starts in the large intestine and have comparable symptoms, the diseases are treated differently and this makes a huge difference between colon cancer and colorectal cancer. Rectal and colon cancer screening is critical for early detection and treatment.

    Written by
    Dr.Karpagam AnandMedical Content Writer
    AboutPharm D
    Tags :Colon cancerColorectal cancerRectal cancerColorectal cancer screeningColon cancer differences