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Cancer of the Colon and Rectum
The colon is also called the large bowel or large
intestine. It is the lower 5 to 6 feet of the
digestive system. The last 8 to 10 inches of the
colon is the rectum. Colon cancer, sometimes
called colorectal cancer, is cancer that starts in
the large intestine or rectum.
Cancer cells are abnormal cells. Cancer cells
grow and divide more quickly than healthy cells.
Some cancer cells may form growths called
tumors. All tumors increase in size, but some
tumors grow quickly, others slowly. Some cancer
cells spread to other parts of the body through the
blood and lymph systems.
Signs
Cancer of the colon and rectum often has no
signs. See your doctor if you have any of these
signs:
Dark or bright red blood in or on the stool
Diarrhea or constipation that does not go away or other change in
bowel habits
Pain in the lower abdomen
Loss of weight for no reason
Feel tired or lack energy
Stools are more narrow than usual for more than a few days. This
may be from a tumor in the rectum.
Types of Tumors
Tumors found in the colon or rectum can be benign or malignant.