Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Cancer Colorectal Anatomy

To better understand colorectal cancer, it helps to understand the anatomy of the colon, rectum and anus.

The intestine is a long, continuous, tube inside the body. It lets the body absorb nutrients from food and liquids. The intestine is about 22 feet long in an adult. It includes the large intestine (colon) and the small intestine.

The large intestine is also known as the colon. It is the last portion of the intestine. The colon has several parts, including:

  • Ascending colon: the first section after the small intestine, located on the right side
  • Transverse colon: sits horizontally across the upper abdomen
  • Descending colon: located on the left side of the abdomen
  • Sigmoid: a short, S-shaped section above the rectum
  • Rectum: the lowest internal part of the colon that connects to the anus

Intestinal anatomy:
  • Entire gastrointestinal tract
  • Intestines and other abdominal organs
  • Blood vessels of the intestines

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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