Hemorrhoids or colorectal cancer? How to make the difference?

Hemorrhoids and certain types of cancer, including colon cancer and anal cancer, can cause similar symptoms. This can lead people who have rectal bleeding or lumps in the anus to think they have cancer.

Hemorrhoids are more common than cancer and are the most likely explanation for rectal bleeding or pain. However, it is impossible for a person to self-diagnose based on symptoms alone, so it is important to talk to a doctor.

How to differentiate between hemorrhoids and cancer.

Hemorrhoids refer to swollen veins within the rectum and anus. They may become irritated and bleed, sore, or itch. Cancer develops because cells grow out of control. Anal cancer can cause a growth or lump in the rectum or anus, while colon cancer affects the colon and does not cause lumps or lumps that a person can feel with their hand. It is not always possible to tell the difference between cancer and hemorrhoids.

Symptoms are more likely to be due to hemorrhoids if:

– the person has risk factors for hemorrhoids, such as current pregnancy, constipation, history of straining, or history of hemorrhoids
– symptoms improve with home treatment, a high-fiber diet, sitz baths, or application of hemorrhoid creams
– the person may feel a swollen lump or lump near the anus or see a swollen vein using a mirror
– symptoms come and go, but do not get progressively worse or cause other symptoms, such as weight loss

It’s important to talk to a doctor about any changes in your health, because it’s much easier to treat cancer early.

Factors that increase the risk of cancer include:

– be over 50 years old
– have a family history of cancer
– to smoke

Hemorrhoid symptoms

Some of the symptoms that indicate the presence of hemorrhoids include

– painful itching or burning near the entrance to the rectum
– pain that worsens after passing stool
– rectal irritation
– Blood in the stool

The symptoms of anal cancer are similar, so it is important to see a doctor if there is a growth or bleeding that does not go away.

Anal cancer is very easy to treat, especially if it is diagnosed and treated early.

cancer symptoms

Colon cancer often causes no symptoms in its early stages. This is why regular colon cancer screening tests are so important to your health. Here are some symptoms that a person may notice:

– tarry stools
– Blood in the stool
– bleeding from the rectum
– the feeling of having to go to the bathroom, which does not go away after defecation
– pressure or pain in the stomach
– fatigue or weakness
– a prolonged and unexplained change in bowel habits, such as frequent diarrhea or constipation
– unintentional weight loss
– nausea

The causes of hemorrhoids

Anyone can get hemorrhoids, and the risk tends to increase with age. Hemorrhoids can be internal, meaning the damaged vein is inside the rectum, or external, meaning it’s outside the rectum. Often at the entrance. Internal hemorrhoids tend to be painless, while external hemorrhoids can be painful.

A hemorrhoid occurs when a vein in the rectum becomes irritated and inflamed. It gets bigger, causing feces to rub against it. It can be painful.

Hemorrhoids are natural. Here are some risk factors:

– pregnancy, overweight or obesity, as they put more pressure on the rectum
– have constipation or follow a low-fiber diet
– strain to defecate
– have a sedentary lifestyle

The causes of cancer

Cancer is a complex disease that does not have a single cause. Certain risk factors increase the chance of developing anal cancer, including

– have a history of human papillomavirus
– to smoke
– suffers from chronic lesions in the anus
– be over 55 years old

A person is more likely to develop colon cancer if

– are overweight or obese
– have a family history of colon cancer
– eat a lot of fried foods
– to smoke
– Drink lots of alcohol

Genetics may also play a role. People with a family history of cancer may be more likely to develop this disease. Age also increases cancer risk, and most cancers are rare in young people.

Diagnosis of hemorrhoids and cancer.

A doctor can usually diagnose hemorrhoids by doing a simple rectal exam and taking a medical history. If he finds an unusual growth that isn’t a hemorrhoid, he may recommend a biopsy to check for anal cancer.

Colon cancer is more difficult to diagnose. In fact, cancer markers do not necessarily correlate with the presence or absence of cancer. Therefore, the doctor may also recommend a test depending on the symptoms. For example, you might ask if a person has bleeding but no hemorrhoids or if hemorrhoid treatment doesn’t relieve their symptoms. He may run blood tests to look for cancer markers or recommend a colonoscopy to look for growths. A colonoscopy involves inserting a thin, flexible tube into the rectum while the person is asleep or sedated. If the doctor finds a growth, he or she may examine it in a lab or recommend a biopsy.


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METERounsey, AL, et al. (2011). Hemorrhoids.

Tests to diagnose and stage colorectal cancer. (2020).

Zahed, R. (nd). Are they hemorrhoids or colon cancer?

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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