We compared the characteristics between the 281 cases with right colon cancer (RCC) and 438 cases with left colon cancer (LCC) who underwent a resection for the disease at our hospital between 1972 and 1995. The mean patient age was significantly higher for RCC than for LCC (62.5 years vs 60.4 years). The mean tumor size was also significantly larger in RCC than in LCC (6.1 cm vs 4.8 cm). The type of recurrence or survival was similar between RCC and LCC. Elderly patients were also found to be more likely to develop RCC than younger patients. This cancer often grows to a large size before being diagnosed. These findings, therefore, suggest the need for targeted examinations for the early detection of RCC, especially in the elderly.