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The Digestive System and the Colon

Clip Number: 1 of 7
Presentation: Colon Cancer Tests
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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The colon, also known as the large intestine, is part of the digestive system or food pathway.
When you eat, food travels from the mouth into the stomach through a hollow tube called the esophagus. From the stomach, food enters the small intestine, another hollow organ where digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs. The food particles or debris that are not absorbed leave the small intestine and enter the colon or large intestine.
The colon is another tube that is divided into many sections. The first section is called the cecum. The second section is the ascending colon. It is located on the right side of the abdomen and extends upward. The third section is called the transverse colon since it goes across the body from the right side to the left side, where it joins the next section, the descending or downward colon, which continues down the left side until it reaches the sigmoid colon, named for its S-shape. The sigmoid colon joins the rectum, which in turn joins the anus, or the opening where waste matter, bowel movements or stool pass out of the body.
The colon's main functions are to remove water from your body's waste matter, recycle this water back to your body and then clear the remaining waste or stool from your body in the form of bowel movements.

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