Specific Symptoms of Right Colon Cancer You Shouldn’t Miss

Symptoms of right colon cancer may differ from those of left colon cancer. They can include bleeding, which can lead to anemia. In some cases, anemia is the first sign of the disease

Symptoms of right-sided and left-sided colon cancer can differ by where the cancer is located and where it can metastasize. Because the right side of the colon is larger than the left side, tumors can take longer to cause noticeable symptoms. This article discusses how the symptoms of colon cancer differ between the right and left side. It also assesses the diagnosis, treatment and outlook for colon cancer and lists diseases with similar symptoms.

Colon Cancer Symptoms on the Right

Symptoms of right colon cancer can include blood in the stool, anemia, and weight loss. In cases where the cancer is close to the cecum, which connects the small and large intestines, the first symptom is often anemia due to chronic blood loss.

On the other hand, the symptoms of colon cancer on the left are as follows:

– a change in bowel movements
– constipation
– narrow, ribbon-like stools when the cancer is at the bottom of the rectum.

This difference in symptoms is explained by the location of the cancer.

The right side of the colon is known as the ascending colon. It pushes the digesting food to the right side of the abdomen before crossing the middle and left side to the anus.
The opening on the right side of the colon is wider than the one on the left. This means that tumors on the right side can enlarge before the person experiences any symptoms. Tumor growth on the right side is also usually flat, making the tumors even less noticeable until they grow larger.

Because the opening on the left side of the colon is narrower, cancer development makes the intestinal tract smaller, which can cause a partial blockage. This can lead to more obvious symptoms.
Cancer in the right colon can metastasize to the tissues lining the pelvis and abdomen, but the left type can metastasize to the liver and lungs.

Right or left colon cancer

Here are some of the differences between right-sided and left-sided colon cancer.

point of origin

The right side of the large intestine is connected to the cecum, the sac that connects the small intestine to the large intestine. Tumors usually grow in the space of the colon. Conversely, the left side of the colon is connected to the rectum, where waste leaves the body. This cancer tends to grow around and surround the wall of the colon.


Right colon cancer can metastasize to the peritoneal area, the tissue that lines the pelvic and abdominal areas. Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells spread from a primary tumor and form secondary tumors in another part of the body. In contrast, left colon cancer has spread 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 2018 study, if right-sided colon cancer is stage 1 or 2, the outlook is better than early-stage left-sided cancers. But if the colon cancer on the right is in stage 3 or 4, the outlook in these stages gets worse than the left.
Because of the difference in symptoms and the time it takes for them to appear, people with right-sided colon cancer may be diagnosed later than those with left-sided cancer. Older research, conducted in 2008, looked at the prospects of 77,978 people with colon cancer. The median survival time for people with colon cancer on the right was 78 months, while that for people with colon cancer on the left was 89 months.

Diagnosis of colon cancer on the right

Doctors base the diagnosis of colon cancer on the following tests:

– physical examination
– stool blood test
– colonoscopy, which allows you to visualize the entire colon and rectum
– biopsy, which consists of an analysis of the tissues of the area suspected of cancer

– blood tests, such as:
complete blood count, which measures different types of blood cells
tumor markers, which make some colon cancer cells
liver enzymes

– imaging tests, such as:
computed tomography
chest x-ray

Since colon cancer may not cause symptoms until it is advanced, it is recommended that you begin regular screenings from the age of 45.

Correct treatment of colon cancer

The treatment of colon cancer can be local or systemic.

Local treatment

Topical treatment affects the area of ​​the colon where the tumor is located, but not the entire body. Doctors use it more often for early-stage cancer. These are the possible options:


Types of surgery include:

– polypectomy, where a polyp is removed
– local excision, where a small cancer is removed with a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue
– colectomy, in which all or part of the colon is removed, as well as nearby lymph nodes.

Ablation and Embolization

Sometimes, when cancer has metastasized, doctors may use ablation and embolization to destroy small tumors in other parts of the body. The ablation destroys the tissues the doctor targets. The types of ablation are:

– high energy radio waves
– electromagnetic waves
– to freeze
– Radiotherapy

This includes using high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. For some colon cancers, concurrent chemotherapy makes radiation therapy more effective.

Systemic treatment

Systemic treatment involves the use of drugs that can reach cancer cells circulating in the body. Options include:

Chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells
– targeted therapy, targeting specific changes in cells that cause cancer
– immunotherapy, which helps the immune system identify and destroy cancer cells.

Other Conditions That Cause These Symptoms

There are a number of other diseases that can cause symptoms similar to right colon cancer. A person should see a doctor for a diagnosis.


Diverticula are small sacs that form and push out in the wall of the colon. Diverticulitis develops when they become inflamed. Symptoms include:

– pain in the lower abdomen
– bloated feeling
– diarrhea or constipation
When a blood vessel in the diverticula bursts, it can lead to bleeding from the trusted source, which can be serious.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes two diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. They both cause visible damage to the intestinal tract. Symptoms include:

– bloody stools or rectal bleeding
– weight loss
– stomach ache
– persistent diarrhea
– fatigue


Hemorrhoids are inflamed, swollen veins around the anus or lower rectum. They can be external or internal. Symptoms of the external type are as follows:

– anal pain
– anal itching
– hard, sensitive bumps at the anus
Internal hemorrhoids can cause bleeding, resulting in the appearance of bright red blood in the stool. They may also extend or fall through the anal opening.

Colon polyps

Polyps are benign growths in the lining of the colon and rectum. Often they don’t cause any symptoms, but if they do, the symptoms may include:

– black, tarry stools due to bleeding
– detectable blood in the stool
– fatigue due to anemia


Symptoms of right colon cancer may be more subtle than those of left colon cancer. They include bleeding and anemia. According to a reliable source, anemia is the first symptom and is caused by continuous blood loss. Because the lumen on the right side of the colon is larger than the lumen on the left, tumors there can grow large without causing symptoms. Therefore, regular screening is recommended for adults over 45 years of age. If a person is concerned that they have colon cancer, they should see a doctor as soon as possible. There are a number of other conditions that can explain the symptoms. If a person needs cancer treatment, early diagnosis can make a significant difference in the outlook.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to everyone. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE INFORMATION PROVIDE NOT REPLACE THE ADVICE OF A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

Do you like our content?

Receive our latest publications in your mailbox for free every day

Leave a Comment