Is Gastric Cancer The Same As Colorectal Cancer?
Most of us think gastric cancer and colorectal cancer are the same. But the answer is no, even though they fall in the same category of gastrointestinal cancer. Gastric cancer and colorectal cancer are cancers of the digestive tract which spread to the different parts of the body and damage the surrounding organs. Let's know how gastric cancer differs from colorectal cancer in different aspects. They differ in signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment plan, which makes people understand both are not the same.
What Is Gastric Cancer?
The stomach is the major part of the digestive system that connects the food pipe, which is known as the esophagus with the small intestine. Stomach cancer which is also known as gastric cancer which is caused due to the abnormal growth of cells in an uncontrolled manner. It is usually caused due to improper dietary habits like highly smoked food, fast foods, and smoking for longer periods.
Colorectal Cancer Definition
Colorectal cancer occurs when cells of the colon or rectum grow in an uncontrolled manner. It is also called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending upon the location where it begins. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel and the rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. This abnormal growth in the colon or rectum is known as a polyp. This polyp can turn into cancer cells in progressive stages.
Quick View On The Difference Between Gastric And Colorectal Cancer
As we discussed earlier, both types of cancer are not the same. There are differences we need to understand about gastric and colorectal cancer for a better diagnosis and treatment plan.
1. Based On The Location:
Gastric cancer or stomach cancer which begins at the stomach. It usually starts in the upper middle of the belly, which is below the ribs. Still, in the case of colorectal cancer, cancer cells start in either colon or rectum—depending upon the location or the region where it occurs. They are classified into colon cancer and rectal cancer. Colon cancer which occurs in the large intestine and rectal cancer which occurs in the passage which connects the large intestine to the anus. Hence, they occur in different regions and they are not similar types of cancer.
2. Based On Symptoms:
Gastric cancer and colorectal cancer do not show similar types of symptoms. Patients with colorectal cancer show rectal bleeding or blood in the stools. Gastric cancer patients usually report of black stools and bleeding is uncommon in gastric cancer. This is one of the important differences between both types of cancer. Gastric cancer shows the symptoms of an increase in nausea and vomiting soon after consuming a smaller quantity of food. It is most common in patients with gastric cancer, but in colorectal cancer, it is unusual to get nausea and vomiting soon after diet intake. Gastric cancer risk factors include the history of difficulty in swallowing and discomfort to have food. But in colorectal cancer individuals, they won’t have problems with swallowing or eating.
3. Based On Risk Factors:
There are several risk factors associated with colorectal cancer which includes weight gain, lack of physical activity, low fiber diet, high fat diet, and underlying diseases like diabetes, crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, personal or family history of colorectal cancer, genetic or hereditary syndrome. The gastric cancer risk factors include smoking, consumption of alcohol, highly processed food and highly salty foods.
4. Based On Genes:
Genes play an important role in causing any type of hereditary cancers. The common gene that is responsible for causing stomach cancer in several patients is CDH1 gene. Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer is an inherited cancer syndrome that leads to diffuse stomach cancer. In case of colorectal cancer the most common gene identified is APC gene which is Adenomatous polyposis coli.When this gene is defective and unstable it can lead to colon and rectal cancers.
5. Based On Diagnostic Tests:
There are various types of diagnostic tests used to detect both gastric and colorectal cancer which includes computed tomography(CT scan), biomarker, endoscopy, ultrasound, biopsy. The best diagnostic method to detect stomach cancer is upper endoscopy in which a tiny camera is passed down into the throat which reaches the stomach to get a clear cut picture of the cancer cells in the stomach. The gold standard method for diagnostic colorectal cancer is colonoscopy where abnormal growth of tissue in the entire large bowel is identified.
There are plenty of differences between gastric and colorectal cancer. The idea behind this blog is to make individuals understand better about gastric and colorectal cancer and to avoid misassumptions to consider both as the same. To reduce the risk factors of stomach and colorectal cancer, one has to give importance to lifestyle modifications like maintaining an ideal body weight, doing exercise regularly, avoiding smoking and consumption of alcohol which irritates both the stomach and intestines.
“Stay fit and stay healthy to prevent cancer risk"