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The Colon


The colon and rectum are parts of the digestive tract. The digestive tract includes organs that turn food into products that the body can use to stay healthy. Waste products the body cannot use leave the body via bowel movements.

The colon and rectum form a long, muscular tube called the large intestine (also called the large bowel.)

  • The colon is the first 4 to 5 feet of the large intestine.
  • The rectum is the last 6-8 inches which leads into the anal canal.
  • The anal canal ends at the anus -- the end of the digestive tract opening to the outside of the body.

Partly digested food enters the colon from the small intestine. The colon removes water and nutrients from the food and turns the rest into waste (stool). The waste passes from the colon into the rectum where it is stored and further concentrated, It then passes out of the body through the anus.

The anus is part of the digestive tract but is NOT part of the large intestine.

The following drawing of the colon and rectum is from the National Cancer Institute:


The Colon and Rectum






































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