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HomeLifestyleWorld Cancer Day 2024: Understanding the difference between colon and rectal cancer

World Cancer Day 2024: Understanding the difference between colon and rectal cancer

Image source: GOOGLE World Cancer Day 2024: Understanding the difference between colon and rectal cancer

As today, February 4, 2024, we celebrate World Cancer Day, we must understand that each person and each cancer is unique. This is true even in the large intestine, where colon and rectal cancers differ significantly. Dr. Ashish Gupta, Chief of Medical Oncology at Unique Hospital Cancer Center, emphasizes understanding these distinctions, as they can dramatically affect treatment options. Join us on this World Cancer Day journey, demystifying the differences and equipping you with knowledge.

Affected area

Colon cancer: It occurs in the colon, which is the longest part of the large intestine.

Rectal cancer: It develops in the rectum, the last few centimeters of the large intestine that lead to the anus.


Colon cancer: It often presents with changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, abdominal discomfort, and unexplained weight loss.

Rectal cancer: Common symptoms include rectal bleeding, a feeling of incomplete bowel movement, and changes in stool consistency.


Both cancers are diagnosed using similar methods, including colonoscopies and imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, and PET/CT. However, its exact location may influence the type of diagnostic procedures used.


This will depend on the stage of the cancer.

Colon cancer: Treatment may involve surgery to remove the affected part of the colon, possibly followed by chemotherapy.

Rectal cancer: It often requires a multidisciplinary approach, including combinations of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Understanding these differences is vital for effective treatment and patient education. Regular screening, especially for people over age 45 or even younger with a family history, is key to early detection and successful treatment outcomes. Early recognition of symptoms is also very important.

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