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What’s The Difference Between Colon Cancer And Prostate Cancer

When To Get Medical Advice

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia vs Prostate Cancer

See a GP If you have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for 3 weeks or more.

The GP may decide to:

  • examine your tummy and bottom to make sure you have no lumps
  • arrange for a simple blood test to check for iron deficiency anaemia this can show whether there’s any bleeding from your bowel that you have not been aware of
  • arrange for you to have a simple test in hospital to make sure there’s no serious cause of your symptoms

Make sure you see a GP if your symptoms persist or keep coming back after stopping treatment, regardless of their severity or your age. You’ll probably be referred to hospital.

How Does Adenocarcinoma Affect My Body

Adenocarcinoma develops in cells located in the glands that line your organs . These cells secrete mucous, digestive juices or other liquids. If your glandular cells begin to change or grow out of control, tumors can form. Some tumors found in glandular cells are not cancerous. These are called adenomas. However, some tumors that form in the glandular cells are cancerous. These are called adenocarcinomas.

Even though adenocarcinomas begin growing in the glands that line your organs, they can eventually spread to other parts of your body. This may include your brain, liver, lungs, lymph nodes, bone and bone marrow.

Colon And Rectal Cancer Symptoms And Signs

Whatever your age, the following symptoms should prompt a visit to the doctor:

  • A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one
  • Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
  • Blood in the stool, which may make it look dark
  • Cramping or abdominal pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

Although people with colorectal cancer may not have rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, these are, for many people, the most identifiable signs of the disease.

These symptoms occur when cancer bleeds into the digestive tract. This may occur very slowly over years, and as such, it may not even be noticeable that there is blood in the stool.

Over a period of time, this continuous blood loss can lead to a low red blood cell count, a condition called anemia.

Blood tests that diagnose anemia may be the first step in the process of getting a colon cancer diagnosis or a rectal cancer diagnosis.

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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

Talking with your healthcare provider can help you understand your situation and make informed decisions. Here are some questions you can ask to learn more about your diagnosis:

  • What type of cancer do I have?
  • Where is the cancer located?
  • Has it spread to other parts of my body?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • How long will my treatment last?
  • What are the possible risks and side effects?
  • Can I work while I undergo treatment?
  • Whats the goal of my treatment?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

If youve been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, you may feel shocked, saddened or frustrated. Learning everything you can about your diagnosis can prepare you for possible treatment options and empower you to take control of your healthcare.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2021.


What About Other Treatments That I Hear About

Cancer of the colon versus. rectal cancer: whats the ...

When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may include vitamins, herbs, diets, and other things. You may wonder if these treatments are safe and whether they could help you.

Some of these treatments are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.

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Questions You May Want To Consider Asking Your Doctor Include:

  • What type of prostate problem do I have?
  • Is more testing needed and what will it tell me?
  • If I decide on watchful waiting, what changes in my symptoms should I look for and how often should I be tested?
  • What type of treatment do you recommend for my prostate problem?
  • For men like me, has this treatment worked?
  • How soon would I need to start treatment and how long would it last?
  • Do I need medicine and how long would I need to take it before seeing improvement in my symptoms?
  • What are the side effects of the medicine?
  • Are there other medicines that could interfere with this medication?
  • If I need surgery, what are the benefits and risks?
  • Would I have any side effects from surgery that could affect my quality of life?
  • Are these side effects temporary or permanent?
  • How long is recovery time after surgery?
  • Will I be able to fully return to normal?
  • How will this affect my sex life?
  • How often should I visit the doctor to monitor my condition?
Related Resources

What Is The Relationship Between Colon Cancer And Prostate Cancer

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

Read Also: Best Prostate Cancer Treatment Centers

List Of Illnesses And Services Covered Under Critical Illness Insurance

While the extent of coverage is pre-determined by the insurance companies, heres a list of critical illnesses that are usually covered by critical illness insurance policies.

Coronary Artery Disease
Endometrial Cancer Fallopian Tube Cancer

This is an indicative list. Please contact your health insurance company to know more about the coverages.

How Colorectal Cancer Spreads

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If cancer forms in a polyp, it can grow into the wall of the colon or rectum over time. The wall of the colon and rectum is made up of many layers. Colorectal cancer starts in the innermost layer and can grow outward through some or all of the other layers .

When cancer cells are in the wall, they can then grow into blood vessels or lymph vessels . From there, they can travel to nearby lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body.

The stage of a colorectal cancer depends on how deeply it grows into the wall and if it has spread outside the colon or rectum. For more on staging, see Colorectal Cancer Stages.

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Cancer Screening Is Paramount

Regardless of whether cancer is found in the colon or the rectum, the best chance at successful treatment is finding it early, before symptoms develop.

Colonoscopy, the gold standard of colorectal screening, is highly effective at early detection of cancer anywhere in the large bowel. Colonoscopy can find suspicious polyps and guide their removal, preventing 90 percent of colorectal cancers.

Its so important to get the word out about screening, Hardiman says.

What Do Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines Say About Who Should Have Colorectal Cancer Screening

Expert medical groups, including the US Preventive Services Task Force , strongly recommend screening for colorectal cancer. Although some details of the recommendations vary, most groups now generally recommend that people at average risk of colorectal cancer get screened at regular intervals beginning at age 45 or 50 .

The expert medical groups generally recommend that screening continue to age 75 for those aged 76 to 85 years, the decision to screen is based on the individuals life expectancy, health conditions, and prior screening results.

People who are at increased risk of colorectal cancer because of a family history of colorectal cancer or documented advanced polyps or because they have inflammatory bowel disease or certain inherited conditions may be advised to start screening earlier and/or have more frequent screening.

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What Is The Difference Between Prostate And Colon Cancer

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

Types Of Cancer In The Colon And Rectum

Differences Between a Malignant and Benign Tumor

Most colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers start in cells that make mucus to lubricate the inside of the colon and rectum. When doctors talk about colorectal cancer, they’re almost always talking about this type. Some sub-types of adenocarcinoma, such as signet ring and mucinous, may have a worse prognosis than other subtypes of adenocarcinoma.

Other, much less common types of tumors can also start in the colon and rectum. These include:

  • Carcinoid tumors. These start from special hormone-making cells in the intestine. See Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors start from special cells in the wall of the colon called the interstitial cells of Cajal. Some are benign . These tumors can be found anywhere in the digestive tract, but are not common in the colon. See Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor .
  • Lymphomas are cancers of immune system cells. They mostly start in lymph nodes, but they can also start in the colon, rectum, or other organs. Information on lymphomas of the digestive system can be found in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
  • Sarcomas can start in blood vessels, muscle layers, or other connective tissues in the wall of the colon and rectum. Sarcomas of the colon or rectum are rare. See Soft Tissue Sarcoma.

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When They Do A Colonoscopy Do They Check Your Prostate

A colonoscopy presents an ideal opportunity for physicians to use a digital rectal examination to assess for prostate cancer. Physicians performing colonoscopies in men 50 to 70 years of age should pay special attention to the prostate while performing a digital rectal examination before colonoscopy.

How Do The Colon And Rectum Work

The colon absorbs water and salt from the remaining food matter after it goes through the small intestine . The waste matter that’s left after going through the colon goes into the rectum, the final 6 inches of the digestive system. It’s stored there until it passes through the anus. Ring-shaped muscles around the anus keep stool from coming out until they relax during a bowel movement.

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Link Between Testicular And Prostate Cancer

Recently, studies have shown that there may be a link between the two cancers. Men who have had testicular cancer may have a higher risk to develop prostate cancer later in life.

Although both cancers are highly treatable, detection remains the key to survival.

Call Northwest Medical Specialties at 428-8700 to schedule an appointment for annual screening tests.

Discussing Symptoms With Your Doctor

Cancer: Differences between benign and malignant tumor Part 3

Once you describe symptoms to your doctor, they will likely give you a medical exam to ascertain the cause.

The doctor will likely question you about your medical history and ask if any of your family members have colorectal cancer, especially parents, siblings, or children.

While most people who develop colorectal cancer have no family history of the disease, 1 in 5 do.

In rare cases, genetic mutations passed down through families, such as Lynch syndrome, can make a person extremely vulnerable to colorectal cancer.

Your doctor will want to know whether you have any other health conditions, particularly those concerning the colon and rectum, that can increase colorectal cancer risk.

This can include a history of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps or an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis.

Theres also an association between type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.

Other risk factors include obesity or excess weight, a low level of physical activity, heavy alcohol use, and smoking.

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What Is Cancer Recurrence

If cancer is found after treatment, and after a period of time when the cancer couldnt be detected, its called a cancer recurrence.

The recurrent cancer might come back in the same place it first started, or it might come back somewhere else in the body. When cancer spreads to a new part of the body, its still named after the part of the body where it started. For instance, prostate cancer might come back in the area of the prostate gland , or it might come back in the bones. In either case its a prostate cancer recurrence. It may be called recurrent prostate cancer. The cancer in the bones is treated like prostate cancer.

If cancer is found after you have been treated for one type of cancer, tests will be done to see if the cancer is the same type you had before or a new type.

Its not possible to predict how likely a cancer is to recur, but cancer is harder to treat and more likely to come back if its:

  • Fast growing
  • More advanced or widespread

Most types of cancer recur in a typical pattern your cancer care team can tell you more about this if its something youd like to know.

Diagnosis And Treatment Options

Diagnosing either cancer may involve imaging tests to investigate tissues and tissue biopsies to confirm the diagnosis. Additionally, a doctor may perform tests for certain markers, such as carcinoembryonic antigen or prostate-specific antigen , to help with the diagnosis.

Some treatment options for both cancers may also be similar, such as using chemotherapy or radiation therapy. In some cases, both cancer types may require surgery to remove sections of the prostate or colon that contain cancer.

While the two cancers do share common elements, there are distinct differences between them, including:

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Ethics Approval And Consent To Participate

The Womens Health Initiative was overseen by ethics committee at all 40 clinical centers , by the coordinating center , and an independent data and safety monitoring board for the clinical trials. Each institution obtained human subjects committee approval. Each participant provided written informed consent.

Treatment For Bowel Cancer

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Bowel cancer can be treated using a combination of different treatments, depending on where the cancer is in your bowel and how far it has spread.

The main treatments are:

  • surgery the cancerous section of bowel is removed it’s the most effective way of curing bowel cancer and in many cases is all you need
  • chemotherapy where medicine is used to kill cancer cells
  • radiotherapy where radiation is used to kill cancer cells
  • targeted therapies a newer group of medicines that increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy and prevents the cancer spreading

As with most types of cancer, the chance of a complete cure depends on how far it’s spread by the time it’s diagnosed. If the cancer is confined to the bowel, surgery is usually able to completely remove it.

Keyhole or robotic surgery is being used more often, which allows surgery to be performed with less pain and a quicker recovery.

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What Is The Difference Between Colon Cancer And Rectal Cancer

The colon and rectum are both part of the large intestine, which is sometimes called the bowel. Cancers of both organs are often grouped together as colorectal cancer.

  • The colon is the first five feet of the large intestine. It absorbs water from stool. Surgery is generally simpler for colon cancer, which is in a large area of the body.
  • The rectum is the last six inches of the large intestine. It is where the body stores stool until you have a bowel movement. The rectum is a tighter space and close to the bladder, as well as the vagina for women and the prostate for men. That may affect the kind of treatment that doctors can do.

Can Prostate Cancer Increase The Risk Of Other Cancers

Men who have survived prostate cancer, like all other cancer survivors, have a common concern what is the possibility of facing cancer again, especially second cancer? This is an understandable and normal concern for any cancer survivor to question. Second cancers are not uncommon. While the risk is small, one to three percent of survivors will develop second cancer different from the originally treated cancer, such as men whove had prostate cancer.

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What Is Metastatic Cancer

Metastatic cancer is a cancer that has spread from the part of the body where it started to other parts of the body. When cancer cells break away from a tumor, they can travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or the lymph system.

This image shows some parts of the lymph system, like lymph nodes and lymph vessels, as well as organs and tissues that contain many lymphocytes .

If the cells travel through the lymph system, they could end up in nearby lymph nodes or they could spread to other organs. More often, cancer cells that break off from the main tumor travel through the bloodstream. Once in the blood, they can go to any part of the body. Many of these cells die, but some may settle in a new area and start to grow.

Cancer cells must go through several steps to spread to new parts of the body:

  • They must find ways to break away from the original tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymph system.
  • They need to attach to the wall of a blood or lymph vessel and move into a new body part.
  • They need to find ways to grow and thrive in their new location.
  • They must be able to avoid attacks from the bodys immune system.

Sometimes the metastatic tumors have already begun to grow when the cancer is first found. And sometimes, a metastasis may be found before the original tumor is found. If a cancer has already spread to other parts of the body before its first diagnosed, it may be hard to figure out where it started.


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