Location and appearance of two example colorectal tumors
Scheme of digestive tract, with rectum marked
Longitudinally opened freshly resected colon segment showing a cancer and four polyps. Plus a schematic diagram indicating a likely field defect (a region of tissue that precedes and predisposes to the development of cancer) in this colon segment. The diagram indicates sub-clones and sub-sub-clones that were precursors to the tumors.
The inside of a normal human rectum in a 70-year-old, seen during colonoscopy
Colon cancer with extensive metastases to the liver
Retroflexed view of the human rectum seen at colonoscopy showing anal verge
Relative incidence of various histopathological types of colorectal cancer. The vast majority of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas.
A digital rectal exam is conducted to investigate or diagnose conditions including of the prostate.
Micrograph of colorectal adenocarcinoma, showing "dirty necrosis".
Arteries of the pelvis
A diagram of a local resection of early stage colon cancer
Blood vessels of the rectum and anus
A diagram of local surgery for rectal cancer
Cross-section microscopic shot of the rectal wall
Colon and rectum cancer deaths per million persons in 2012
Dog rectum cross-section (40×)
Microscopic cross-section of the rectum of a dog (400×), showing a high concentration of goblet cells in amongst the column-shaped lining. Goblet cells can be seen as the circular cells with a clear inner material (cytoplasm).

Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer, is the development of cancer from the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine).

- Colorectal cancer

Rectal cancer, a subgroup of colorectal cancer specific to the rectum.

- Rectum
Location and appearance of two example colorectal tumors

5 related topics

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Front of abdomen, showing the large intestine, with the stomach and small intestine in gray.

Large intestine

Last part of the gastrointestinal tract and of the digestive system in vertebrates.

Last part of the gastrointestinal tract and of the digestive system in vertebrates.

Front of abdomen, showing the large intestine, with the stomach and small intestine in gray.
Illustration of the large intestine.
Inner diameters of colon sections
Colonic crypts (intestinal glands) within four tissue sections. The cells have been stained to show a brown-orange color if the cells produce the mitochondrial protein cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (CCOI), and the nuclei of the cells (located at the outer edges of the cells lining the walls of the crypts) are stained blue-gray with haematoxylin. Panels A, B were cut across the long axes of the crypts and panels C, D were cut parallel to the long axes of the crypts. In panel A the bar shows 100 µm and allows an estimate of the frequency of crypts in the colonic epithelium. Panel B includes three crypts in cross-section, each with one segment deficient for CCOI expression and at least one crypt, on the right side, undergoing fission into two crypts. Panel C shows, on the left side, a crypt fissioning into two crypts. Panel D shows typical small clusters of two and three CCOI deficient crypts (the bar shows 50 µm). The images were made from original photomicrographs, but panels A, B and D were also included in an article and illustrations were published with Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License allowing re-use.
Histological section.
Colonoscopy image, splenic flexure,
normal mucosa. You can see spleen through it : the black part
Micrograph of normal large instestinal crypts.
Anatomy of normal large intestinal crypts
Intestines
Colon. Deep dissection. Anterior view.

Water is absorbed here and the remaining waste material is stored in the rectum as feces before being removed by defecation.

Bacteroides are implicated in the initiation of colitis and colon cancer.

Colonoscopy being performed

Colonoscopy

Endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus.

Endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus.

Colonoscopy being performed
A container of PEG (polyethylene glycol or macrogol) with electrolyte used to clean out the intestines before certain bowel exam procedures such as a colonoscopy.
Schematic overview of colonoscopy procedure
Polyp is identified.
A sterile solution is injected under the polyp to lift it away from deeper tissues.
A portion of the polyp is now removed.
The polyp is fully removed.

It can provide a visual diagnosis (e.g., ulceration, polyps) and grants the opportunity for biopsy or removal of suspected colorectal cancer lesions.

The endoscope is then passed through the anus up the rectum, the colon (sigmoid, descending, transverse and ascending colon, the cecum), and ultimately the terminal ileum.

Sigmoidoscopy

Sigmoidoscopy (from the Greek term for letter "s/ς" + "eidos" + "scopy": namely, to look inside an "s"/"ς"-like object) is the minimally invasive medical examination of the large intestine from the rectum through the nearest part of the colon, the sigmoid colon.

However, although in absolute terms only a relatively small section of the large intestine can be examined using sigmoidoscopy, the sites which can be observed represent areas which are most frequently affected by diseases such as colorectal cancer, for example the rectum.

Diagram of stomach, intestines and rectum in the average human

Gastrointestinal tract

Tract or passageway of the digestive system that leads from the mouth to the anus.

Tract or passageway of the digestive system that leads from the mouth to the anus.

Diagram of stomach, intestines and rectum in the average human
Illustration of the small intestine

In humans, the small intestine is further subdivided into the duodenum, jejunum and ileum while the large intestine is subdivided into the cecum, ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colon, rectum, and anal canal.

Gastrointestinal cancer may occur at any point in the gastrointestinal tract, and includes mouth cancer, tongue cancer, oesophageal cancer, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Endoscopic image of a colon affected by ulcerative colitis. The internal surface of the colon is blotchy and broken in places. Mild-moderate disease.

Ulcerative colitis

Endoscopic image of a colon affected by ulcerative colitis. The internal surface of the colon is blotchy and broken in places. Mild-moderate disease.
Classification of colitis, often used in defining the extent of involvement of ulcerative colitis, with proctitis (blue), proctosigmoiditis (yellow), left sided colitis (orange) and pancolitis (red). All classes extend distally to the end of the rectum.
Gross pathology of normal colon (left) and severe ulcerative colitis (right), forming pseudopolyps (smaller than the cobblestoning typically seen in Crohn's disease), over a continuous area (rather than skip lesions of Crohn's disease), and with a relatively gradual transition from normal colon (while Crohn's is typically more abrupt).
Aphthous ulcers involving the tongue, lips, palate, and pharynx.
Pyoderma gangrenosum with large ulcerations affecting the back.
Endoscopic image of ulcerative colitis affecting the left side of the colon. The image shows confluent superficial ulceration and loss of mucosal architecture. Crohn's disease may be similar in appearance, a fact that can make diagnosing UC a challenge.
H&E stain of a colonic biopsy showing a crypt abscess, a classic finding in ulcerative colitis
Colonic pseudopolyps of a person with intractable UC, colectomy specimen
Biopsy sample (H&E stain) that demonstrates marked lymphocytic infiltration (blue/purple) of the intestinal mucosa and architectural distortion of the crypts.

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a long-term condition that results in inflammation and ulcers of the colon and rectum.

Complications may include abnormal dilation of the colon (megacolon), inflammation of the eye, joints, or liver, and colon cancer.