The colon and the rectum (large bowel)

  • The bowel is part of our digestive system and is divided into two parts, the small bowel and the large bowel. The large bowel is made up of the colon and the rectum.

  • After digested food has passed through the small bowel (where essential nutrients are taken into the body), it enters the large bowel (where salt, water and some remaining nutrients are absorbed).

  • Muscles line the wall of the colon, pushing along the digested food. Bacteria in the colon help to aid digestion and ensure a healthy environment.

  • The resulting waste matter, (in the form of stools), is passed on to the rectum for temporary storage until it’s ready to be expelled from the body as a bowel motion.

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in Hong Kong. It usually occurs in people over the age of 50 and in the majority of cases is found in the large bowel. Most cases of colorectal cancer (also known as bowel or colon cancer) develop from tiny growths known as ‘polyps’. Over a period of 10 to 15 years, some polyps can become cancerous. Almost all polyps can be removed without an operation, through a colonoscopy procedure.

Early detection of colorectal cancer means there’s a better chance of recovery. You should be checked regularly if:

  • You are a man or woman over the age of 50

  • Your family has a history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps

For more information, visit our colorectal cancer awareness website here.

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