Health and Fitness

Rectal Cancer and Colon Cancer: What is the Difference?


Rectal cancer and colon cancer treatment are two different things. It is important to understand what you and your loved ones have in common.

It is important to identify which one you have. This will impact your treatment options, and what you can expect. Doctors also say that it will impact your prognosis.

Two parts of the same organ

The large intestine is the lowest portion of the digestive system and is affected by both rectal and colon cancer. They start at different locations within the digestive system.

Colon cancer can develop anywhere in the colon. It is approximately 5 feet long, and absorbs water through stool. Giandliverconsultants are providing the gastrointestinal consultant and colonoscopy consultancy services.

The rectum is the 12th (nearly 5 inch) section of the colon that’s responsible for rectal cancer. This is where your body stores stool until you have bowel movements.

Because of the proximity to other things, location is also important. The colon is located in the space between your pelvis and your ribcage.

Your rectum is located in a less populated area. Your bladder is also nearby. The uterus, vagina and prostate are also nearby for women. Tight spaces can limit the types of surgery that doctors are able to perform to remove tumors.

  • Diagnostics and symptoms that are similar
  • Stomach or gas pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Feeling tired or weak

A doctor will use a flexible, long tube to view the inside of your colon and rectum. The doctor may take small biopsies of the area to check for cancer. Although they aren’t usually cancerous, many people have small colon growths called polyps. 


Surgery to remove a portion of the colon is often the first treatment for colon cancer. This is known as a partial colectomy.


Doctors can usually reattach the affected sections of the colon and you will be able to have normal bowel movements once again. Sometimes, however, this is not possible. A colostomy is an operation that involves removing the colon. The surgeon will attach the colon to an opening in your abdomen called an ostomy. To collect your bowel movements, you will need a bag attached to the ostomy.

Your doctor may recommend chemotherapy to eliminate colon cancer cells that have spread to lymph nodes and thickened the colon.

Colon cancer is when cancer cells form in the colon. Rectal cancer is when cancer cells form in the rectum. This article will discuss the similarities and differences between colon and rectal cancer.

Rectal cancer can treated with surgery. If the tumor can  removed completely. To shrink or kill cancer cells, you may be offered chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Your surgeon will attempt to remove any cancerous tissue during rectal surgery without removing the anal-sphincter muscle. This controls the opening and closing the anus during bowel movements. Sometimes, however, the rectal tumor may be too close to the muscle for it to be saved. A colostomy is required in these cases.

After colon cancer surgery, it requires a colostomy. According to the National Cancer Institute, about one in eight people with rectal cancer requires an ostomy.

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