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Colorectal Cancer

Cancer of the colon or rectum is also called colorectal cancer. It is the fourth most common cancer in men and women in the United States. Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in either the colon or the rectum.

The Colon and the Rectum

The colon and rectum are parts of the digestive system. They 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, and the rectum is the last several inches.

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 and then out of the body through the anus.

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