Colon Cancer

The Colon

The colon (the large bowel or large intestine is the tube-like part of your digestive tract that stores stool and pushes it out from your body. It is five to six feet long. Food you have eaten arrives at the colon after passing through the stomach and small intestine. Fluids and nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream, stool is consolidated, and then moved down to the anus for elimination. A healthy colon has a smooth, protective lining. Colon tissue can undergo changes, however, and growths or other problems can occur that may require surgery.

Colon Cancer

Polyps: A benign polyp is a non-cancerous growth, ranging in size from a pea to a golf ball. The larger the polyp, the greater the chance of developing cancer. Early removal of polyps may prevent them from progressing to cancer.

Cancers: A cancer is made up of abnormal cells that are growing out of control. Cancers are usually the size of a mushroom or larger. They can grow into the colon lining and spread to other parts of the body. The earlier cancers are removed, the greater the chance of preventing cancer spread.

Colon cancer usually spreads first to nearby lymph nodes, and then to the liver, lungs, or other organs, establishing new cancers. This spread is called metastasis.