Colon: The large intestine.


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Colon: The segment of Large Intestine between the Cecum and the Rectum. It includes the Ascending Colon; the Transverse Colon; the Descending Colon; and the Sigmoid Colon.2

Anatomical Information about Colon

The colon is part of the body’s digestive system. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The colon (large bowel) is the first part of the large intestine and is about 5 feet long. Together, the rectum and anal canal make up the last part of the large intestine and are 6-8 inches long. The anal canal ends at the anus (the opening of the large intestine to the outside of the body).

Source: NCI (NIH)3

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What is the colon?

The colon is part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus—a 1-inch-long opening through which stool leaves the body. Organs that make up the GI tract are the

The first part of the GI tract, called the upper GI tract, includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. The last part of the GI tract, called the lower GI tract, consists of the large intestine and anus. The intestines are sometimes called the bowel.

The large intestine is about 5 feet long in adults and includes the colon and rectum. The large intestine changes waste from liquid to a solid matter called stool. Stool passes from the colon to the rectum. The rectum is 6 to 8 inches long in adults and is between the last part of the colon—called the sigmoid colon—and the anus. During a bowel movement, stool moves from the rectum to the anus and out of the body.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)4

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  1. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ cegir/ Learn-More/ Glossary
  2. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  3. Source: NCI (NIH): types/ childhood-cancers/ patient/ unusual-cancers-childhood-pdq
  4. Source: NIDDK (NIH): health-information/ digestive-diseases/ microscopic-colitis
  5. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ cegir/ Learn-More/ Glossary

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