The symptoms of right-sided colon cancer can be different from left-sided colon cancer. They may include bleeding, which can lead to anemia. In some cases, anemia is the first sign of the condition.
This information comes from the
The symptoms of right- and left-sided colon cancer can
This article discusses how symptoms of colon cancer differ between the right and left sides. It also examines the diagnosis, treatment, and outlook of colon cancer, as well as lists conditions with similar symptoms.
The symptoms of right-sided colon cancer can include blood in the stool, anemia, and weight loss. In cases where the cancer is close to the cecum, which joins the small and large intestine together, the first symptom is
In contrast, left-sided colon cancer symptoms include:
- change in bowel habits
- ribbon-shaped, narrow stools when the cancer is low in the rectum
The reason for this difference in symptoms is the location of the cancer.
The right side of the colon is known as the ascending colon. It pushes digesting food up the right side of the abdomen before it travels across the middle and down the left side toward the anus.
The opening in the right side of the colon is
Since the opening of the left side of the colon is narrower, cancer development makes the bowel channel smaller, which can create a partial blockage. This can lead to more obvious symptoms.
Right-sided colon cancer may metastasize to the tissue lining the pelvis and abdomen, but the left-sided type may metastasize to the liver and lungs.
Below are some of the differences between right- and left-sided colon cancer.
Point of origin
The right side of the colon connects to the cecum, which is the pouch that joins the small intestine to the large intestine. Tumors here
Conversely, the left side of the colon connects to the rectum, where waste material exits the body. This cancer tends to develop around the colon wall and encircle it.
Right-sided colon cancer
In contrast, left-sided colon cancer metastasizes to the lungs and liver.
The outlook for colon cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer, whether it has spread, and other factors.
According to a
Because of the difference in symptoms and how long they can take to appear, people with right-sided colon cancer may get a diagnosis later than people with cancer on the left.
Doctors base a colon cancer diagnosis on the
- physical exam
- stool blood test
- colonoscopy, which provides a view of the entire colon and rectum
- biopsy, which is an analysis of tissue from the suspected cancer
- blood tests, such as:
- complete blood count that measures different types of blood cells
- tumor markers, which some colon cancer cells make
- liver enzymes
- imaging tests, such as:
Since colon cancer may not produce symptoms until it has progressed, the
Colon cancer treatment can be local or systemic.
Local treatment affects the area of the colon with the tumor but not the whole body. Doctors use it
Types of surgery include:
- polypectomy, which is the removal of a polyp
- local excision, which is the removal of a small cancer with a small quantity of surrounding healthy tissue
- colectomy, which is the removal of all or part of the colon, along with nearby lymph nodes
Ablation and embolization
Sometimes when cancer metastasizes, doctors may use ablation and embolization to destroy small tumors in other parts of the body. Ablation destroys tissue a doctor targets. The types
- high-energy radio waves
- electromagnetic waves
- alcohol injections
Systemic treatment involves the use of medications that can reach cancer cells that are circulating throughout the body. Options
- chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells
- targeted therapy, which targets specific changes in cells that cause cancer
- immunotherapy, which helps the immune system identify and destroy cancer cells
There are a number of other conditions that can cause symptoms that are similar to right-sided colon cancer. A person should speak with a doctor to get a diagnosis.
Diverticula are small pouches that form and push outward in the colon wall. Diverticulitis develops when they become inflamed. Symptoms include:
- lower abdominal pain
- diarrhea or constipation
When a blood vessel in the diverticula bursts, it
Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to two conditions: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. They both
- bloody stools or rectal bleeding
- weight loss
- abdominal pain
- persistent diarrhea
Hemorrhoids are inflamed, swollen veins around the anus or lower rectum. They can be external or internal. Symptoms of the external type include:
- anal pain
- anal itching
- hard, tender lumps near anus
Polyps are noncancerous growths in the lining of the colon and rectum. They
- black, tarry stools due to bleeding
- observable blood in a bowel movement
- tiredness due to anemia
For colon cancers, the 5-year relative survival rates are:
- 91% for localized tumors
- 72% for regional tumors
- 14% for distant tumors
Localized tumors have not spread outside the colon or rectum, while regional tumors have spread to nearby lymph nodes or other structures. Distant cancer has spread to parts of the body that are distant from the colon, such as the liver or lungs.
Right-sided colon cancer symptoms can be more subtle than those of left-sided colon cancer. They include bleeding and anemia.
Because the lumen of the right side of the colon is wider than that of the left, tumors here can become large in size
If a person is concerned that they might have colon cancer, they should seek a diagnosis from a doctor as soon as possible. There are a number of other conditions that may explain the symptoms. If a person does require cancer treatment, an early diagnosis can make a significant difference to the outlook.