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INFOGRAPHIC: Left vs. Right Colorectal Cancer

Posted on September 9, 2016

As we’ve blogged about before, a review of colon cancer research published in the European Journal of Surgical Oncology found the location of cancer in the colon is an important factor in diagnosing and managing colon cancer. And while research on this is still up and coming, we want to keep you up to date on the latest trends.

That’s why we’ve created a helpful infographic to help you remember the differences between right sided colon cancer (RCC) and left sided colorectal cancer (LCRC).

Left vs. right sided colorectal cancer

What are the top differences between RCC and LCRC?

  • After reviewing over 80 studies and research papers, the authors found that historically, LCRC occurs at a higher incidence than RCC. In 2014, the American Cancer Society reported an incidence of 51 percent of LCRC, compared to 42 percent of RCC.
  • Another difference is related to stage at diagnosis. Patients with RCC tend to be diagnosed at more advanced stages than patients with LCRC.

  • The difference in tumor stage at diagnosis can be related to symptoms. RCC patients tend to experience more subtle symptoms, such as anemia or weight loss, which may be attributed to other issues and lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. On the other hand, LCRC patients present with more frank symptoms, such as rectal bleeding or changes in bowel habits.

  • Lastly, after adjusting for tumor stage, survival rates were lower among RCC patients compared to LCRC patients. After looking at over 70,000 patients, the authors found a 5 percent lower survival rate in RCC compared to LCRC.

What does this mean for me?

In response to this article, Patient Advocate Medical Consultant and young survivor Dr. Laura Porter said, “I find this information very intriguing and it was discussed at a big meeting (ASCO) this year. While there are differences between LCRC and RCC, the impact on treatment is still not clear.  Hopefully, in the next few years we will have LCRC and RCC as biomarkers to guide treatment decisions and aid in deciding when aggressive treatments would be beneficial.”

Want to learn more about colon cancer symptoms? Check out our website for a detailed list of common symptoms. Are you experiencing symptoms but can’t afford a colonoscopy? Through our Blue Hope Financial Assistance Program, we are able to offer no-cost colonoscopies to qualified individuals. 

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