What Is The Difference Between Anal Cancer And Colon Cancer
When it comes to simple anatomy, the colon, rectum and anus all seem to be part of the same gastrointestinal highway, so wouldnt the cancers that develop in these different…stretches, be the same? Actually, no.
While colon and rectal cancers can be similar and are often referred to collectively as colorectal cancer, anal cancer is completely different in significant ways, including the cell type where cancer begins, the cause of the cancer, who gets this cancer, and how we treat it.
Anal cancer is more similar to cervical cancer because the tissue that lines the anus is like the tissue that lines a womans cervix, explains gastrointestinal surgical oncologist Steven Nurkin, MD, MS, FACS. Most anal cancers are related to human papillomavirus infection like cervical cancer, and the precancerous and cancerous changes that we see in the anal canal are also similar to cervical cancer.
Colorectal cancers, on the other hand, generally develop as a result of a sporadic mutation in the cells of the colon or rectal lining that causes a polyp, a small abnormal growth of tissue, to form. Left alone, these polyps can become cancerous.
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Los Angeles Colon And Rectal Surgical Associates
The surgeons at Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are board certified and available to answer your questions and help you through your fears or concerns. The only thing standing between you and an evaluation and screening isyou. You must take the first step.
The screening is safe, relatively quick and life saving.
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When Do I Need To See A Doctor About Rectal Bleeding
Its usually a good idea to reach out to your healthcare provider whenever you have rectal bleeding. It can be a sign of another health condition that might need treatment. If you have heavy bleeding or are seeing blood in multiple bowel movements, its urgent that you see your provider. Rectal bleeding can have serious causes that need to be treated.
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Bleeding In Colon Cancer Vs Hemorrhoids
Bleeding is a common symptom of colon cancer and hemorrhoids. When people find blood in their stool, they often immediately assume its one or the other since this is a commonly seen symptom.
While true, there are slight differences in the bleeding caused by colon cancer compared to what is caused by hemorrhoids.
It is important to understand that colon cancer and hemorrhoids occur on two different areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Hemorrhoids, both internal and external, grow at the lower part of the tract, just a few inches away from the anus. Colon cancer, on the other hand, is caused by polyps found in the ascending colon or descending colon , in the upper part of the tract.
Some anatomical knowledge makes it easier to understand the difference between bleeding caused by either abnormalities.
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How Do You Stop Internal Hemorrhoids From Bleeding
Bleeding from internal hemorrhoids can cause pain, distress and embarrassment, but the condition is surprisingly common. Occasionally, hemorrhoids are serious and require medical procedures, but often, the patient is able to stop internal hemorrhoids from bleeding with simple measures, such a change of diet. Over-the-counter medication might also provide relief and help to stop the bleeding.
Internal hemorrhoids form as bulbous cushions on the upper wall of the rectal canal. The cause of hemorrhoids is not fully understood, but constipation, sitting for prolonged periods and pregnancy are generally recognized as contributory factors. Symptoms include itching, pain and bleeding.
Constipation and the straining associated with passing hard stools is widely believed to cause hemorrhoids to swell and to aggravate existing hemorrhoids. As the stool passes, pressure and friction can rupture the hemorrhoid and cause pain and bleeding. By treating constipation, the patient can keep the internal hemorrhoids from bleeding.
Increasing dietary fiber can reduce constipation. Many people, especially in the developed world, do not eat enough fiber-rich foods, and including more fiber in the diet can have dramatic results. Dietary fiber supplements and stool softeners might also help to manage constipation.
Unexplained Weight Loss Loss Of Appetite And Feeling Weak
Losing weight, losing your appetite or feeling weak are all possible signs of colon or rectal cancer along with many other unrelated conditions. In patients with colon or rectal cancer, these symptoms are usually related. Persistent diarrhea can cause weight loss. Stomach pain and nausea can reduce your appetite so that you dont consume enough food to maintain your weight. All these issues, as well as anemia, can lead to weakness.
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Diagnosing Colon Cancer Is More Difficult
Colorectal cancers are most often diagnosed in individuals over the age of 50, but young onset colorectal cancer incidence is rapidly increasing. Blood in the stool can be alarming, particularly if you have never experienced it earlier. Hemorrhoids are more common than cancer and are the most likely explanation for bleeding or rectal pain.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Rectal Cancer
Rectal cancer can cause many symptoms and signs that require a person to seek medical care. However, rectal cancer may also be present without any symptoms, underscoring the importance of routine health screening. Symptoms and signs to be aware of include the following:
- Seeing blood mixed with stool is a sign to seek immediate medical care. Although many people bleed due to hemorrhoids, a doctor should still be notified in the event of rectal bleeding.
- Change in bowel habits
- Prolonged rectal bleeding may lead to anemia, causing fatigue, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or a fast heartbeat.
- Bowel obstruction
- A rectal mass may grow so large that it prevents the normal passage of stool. This blockage may lead to the feeling of severe constipation or pain when having a bowel movement. In addition, abdominal pain, discomfort, or cramping may occur due to the blockage.
- The stool size may appear narrow so that it can be passed around the rectal mass. Therefore, pencil-thin or narrow stools may be another sign of an obstruction from rectal cancer.
- A person with rectal cancer may have a sensation that the stool cannot be completely evacuated after a bowel movement.
- Weight loss: Cancer may cause weight loss. Unexplained weight loss requires a medical evaluation.
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Colorectal Cancer Symptoms & Signs
Any rectal bleeding is cause for concern, and you should consult your doctor if you begin to experience these or associated symptoms. But abnormally-heavy rectal bleeding could be a sign of colorectal cancer, not hemorrhoids.
Watch out for these other signs, which are more likely to occur with colon or rectal cancer than with hemorrhoids:
- unexpected weight loss and / or fatigue
- pain in your lower abdomen
- changes in the shape of your bowel movements
- changes in your defecation habits
- excessive gas
In their early stages, colorectal cancers dont usually cause any symptoms. Thats why most governmental agencies suggest that patients begin receiving routine screenings for the disease around the age of 50. If symptoms do begin, specialist medical attention is suggested many patients have had their colorectal cancer symptoms dismissed as the result of a benign disease, or been misdiagnosed with colon cancer.
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How Do You Treat Rectal Bleeding
Home Remedies for Rectal Bleeding Drink eight to 10 glasses of water per day. Bathe or shower daily to cleanse the skin around the anus. Decrease straining with bowel movements. Increase fiber in the diet with supplements such as Metamucil, Benefiber, or foods such as prunes. Avoid sitting on the toilet too long.
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Are Hemorrhoids A Sign Of Cancer
The symptoms for colon cancer and hemorrhoids sometimes overlap, leading patients to believe their hemorrhoid symptoms are actually indicative of polyp growth in the colon.
Hemorrhoids and colon cancer are two separate abnormalities. As explained, hemorrhoids occur when extra pressure is introduced in the rectum area, whereas polyp growth occurs only along the colon lining.
Colon Cancer Screening With Everlywell
Rectal bleeding or the presence of blood in your stool isnât something you should ignore. However, now that youâre more informed about the differences between hemorrhoids and colon cancer, youâre better equipped to monitor your healthâno matter what the cause. Whether itâs a benign case of hemorrhoids or a more serious health issue, be sure to communicate your symptoms to a healthcare professional.
If you want to stay on top of your health, or think you may be at risk for developing colon cancer, start with a simple, convenient, and noninvasive at-home colon cancer test from Everlywell. We help you monitor your wellness with our science-backed tests. All you have to do is collect your sample, mail it to one of our labs, and wait to receive your results within a few days.
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Colon Cancer: Important Symptoms Everyone Should Know
Health Check Certified By: Dr. Gerald Morris
Colon cancer , is one of the most prominent and dangerous forms of cancer. It starts with the buildup of polyps along the wall of the colon. As these polyps reproduce, they can cause serious digestive problems. Should the polyps remain benign , they will present some mild discomfort. However, if they become cancerous and spread, they can become life threatening.
One of the reasons colon cancer is so deadly is that its hard to detect. As this article will show, early signs of colon cancer are easy to confuse with other, far less dangerous health issues, such as the stomach flu or irritable bowel syndrome . So, what are some of the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Alternative And Natural Rectal Cancer Treatment
Rectal cancer treatments include surgery to remove cancerous tissues, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy drugs. Additionally, your oncologists may use an adjuvant to reduce the chances of recurrence. Although these treatments are effective, they come with some negative outcomes and side effects that weaken your immune system.
Alternative and natural treatments, such as Gerson therapy in Mexico, are gentler treatment methods that do not sacrifice effectiveness. Alternative rectal cancer treatment provides various options that avoid invasive surgical resection procedures and chemotherapy drugs to help you fight the disease.
Immunity Therapy Center offers custom treatment plans for patients to leverage different customized combinations of therapies. We base each treatment program on various factors including the initial diagnosis, previous cancer treatments, current condition, the current state of your mental health, and medical history.
Our goal is to support natural healing processes while building positive relationships with all our patients. Contact us today for your alternative rectal cancer treatment.
Dr. Pablo Orozco is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.
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Hemorrhoids Or Cancer: Understanding The Difference
Medically Reviewed by: Dr. BautistaUpdated on: June 15, 2022
Hemorrhoids and colorectal cancer are entirely different medical conditions, yet its sometimes hard to tell the difference between them. The symptoms are almost similar, so they require professional check-ups to determine between hemorrhoids and cancer.
Hemorrhoids are more common than colorectal cancer and are the most likely cause of rectal pain or bleeding. However, its nearly impossible to self-diagnose based on observable symptoms alone, hence the need to talk with a doctor.
This post discusses the difference between hemorrhoids and cancer, their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. It also looks at the use of alternative cancer therapies, specifically Gerson therapy in Mexico.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anal Cancer
The most common first sign of anal cancer is rectal bleeding, which is why it’s a cause for concern for those with hemorrhoids. Other symptoms that are similar to hemorrhoids include pain around the rectum or anus, anal itching, and a mass or growth in the anal canal.
However, there are other symptoms of anal cancer that are distinct and should be given special attention. They include:
- A feeling of fullness around the anal area
- Abnormal discharge from the anus
- Narrow stools or changes in bowel movements
- Fecal incontinence
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin or anal area
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What Is The Difference Between An Internal External Or Thrombosed Hemmorhoid
- An internal hemorrhoid is a swollen blood vessel that arises from within the rectum above the pectinate line. It causes no symptoms unless there is bleeding with a bowel movement, or if it prolapses and can be felt externally after if protrudes through the anus.
- An external hemorrhoid arises from blood vessels that surround the anus beyond the pectinate line. They do not cause many problems unless they rapidly expand and clot. Usually this clot resolves spontaneously leaving residual skin.
- A thrombosed external hemorrhoid occurs when the blood clot that forms in an external hemorrhoid does not resolve causing increased swelling and pain within the hemorrhoidal tissue.
How Are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed
Hemorrhoids typically resolve with at-home treatment within a week or so. If hemorrhoid symptoms last for more than a week, you should visit your healthcare professional to rule out a more serious condition.
They can confirm that hemorrhoids are the cause of pain by a:
- Visual examination
After diagnosis, there are several treatment options.
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Do I Have Hemorrhoids Or Bowel Cancer
As we get older our bodies change and often we mistake a common symptom for another more deadly disease. The symptoms of hemorrhoids and bowel cancer can be quite similar but do not have the same fatal results. Being able to distinguish between the two can be the difference between uncomfortable bowel motions and something more serious.
In NZ statistics show that most bowel cancer sufferers are aged over 50 yrs old with only around 10% under that age.
Difference Between Anal Cancer And Hemorrhoids
Anal Cancer vs Hemorrhoids
The brunt of fast foods is borne by the intestines and the stomach leading to hemorrhoids and multiple other anal problems. Hemorrhoids, also called as piles, are dilated rectal veins. Anal cancer, also called as rectal cancer, is an abnormal growth of cancerous cells in the anus.
Difference in causes
The cause of anal cancer is most commonly the Human Papilloma Virus and is seen in persons having multiple sexual partners or being passive partners while having anal sex. Hemorrhoids are caused due to excessive straining during stools, chronic constipation and excessively spicy foods which cause dilatation and swelling of the rectal veins. The anal canal is lined by thin squamous cells. An uncontrolled and uncoordinated, abnormal, growth of these cells leads to squamous cell anal cancer. Under normal conditions, the veins act as a cushioning material to the delicate and thin anal tissues. As the person strains repeatedly to pass hard stools, there is an increased pressure in the anus along with the friction produced by the hard stools which causes inflammation and swelling of the veins. These veins become externally visible or internally clotted causing bleeding and pain while moving bowels.
Difference in symptoms
A person with piles will have a normal appetite and the weight will be maintained but in a person with anal cancer, there is frequently loss of appetite, weight loss and profuse weakness associated with the rectal symptoms.
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When Should You See Your Doctor
We spoke with Dr. Lauren R. Wilson, a specialist in colorectal surgery and assistant professor of surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for her input.
“If you’re having any kind of issue with your bottom, go see your primary care doctor and ask them to take a look. Rectal exams used to be part of an annual physical, but a lot of doctors just don’t do them anymore. You need to be open to having an exam and ask them about it.”
Study Population And Comorbidity
From the LHID, we identified adult patients with hemorrhoids that were newly diagnosed from 2000 to 2010 as the hemorrhoid cohort. The first diagnosis date was considered as the index date. In order to delineate the role of a colonoscopy in CRC detection, we established three sets of the comparison cohorts without hemorrhoid histories from the LHID. In the first set, we randomly selected a comparison cohort with a sample size that was fourfold the size of the hemorrhoid cohort and was frequency matched by sex and age. In the second and third sets of cohorts, we established a comparison cohort with a sample size similar to the size of the hemorrhoid cohort, which was frequency matched by propensity score. The propensity score was estimated for each insured resident from a logistic regression with sociodemographic and potential comorbidities that are associated with cancer risk as covariates, including inflammatory bowel disease , hypertension , diabetes , hyperlipidemia , stroke , congestive heart failure , obesity , pyogenic liver abscess , hepatitis B virus , hepatitis C virus , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , alcohol-related illness and chronic pancreatitis . The histories of coloscopy use, colorectal adenomas, and appendectomy were also included in the propensity score estimation for the third set of study cohorts, but not for the second set of cohorts.
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