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A 40-year-old member asked:

Are colorectal cancer and colon cancer the same thing with different locations?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Hoepfner
General Surgery 39 years experience
Can be: Colon cancer and colon-rectal cancer are usually an adenocarcinoma, requiring surgery and sometimes chemotherapy. Colon cancer would occur somewhere in the large intestine, and rectal cancer in the lower anatomic location. Rectal cancers may be treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery due to its location and research sowing the benefits of treatments before surgery.
Dr. Scott Browning
Colon and Rectal Surgery 30 years experience
Yes and no: Both are adenocarcinomas of the 'large intestine' broadly speaking. However, due to several anatomic differences, colon and rectal cancer behave differently. For that reason the preoperative staging is different and the treatment can be different (surgery +/-chemotherapy for colon cancer, surgery +/- chemoradiation therapy for rectal cancer). The functional outcomes are different as well.

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Last updated Sep 28, 2016
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