The colon (also known as the large intestine) is about 5 to 6 feet long. It begins at the cecum and ends with the anus. The last 5 to 10 inches of the colon is known as the rectum.
Cancer located in the rectum is called rectal cancer. Cancer located in the rest of the colon is called colon cancer.
After diagnosis, treatment of stage I, II and III colon cancer usually consists of:
- Surgery to remove the tumor, along with lymph nodes
- Study of the surgical specimen and lymph nodes to determine stage
- Possible chemotherapy (stage 3 and some stage 2)
- Follow-up physical exams and tests to watch for recurrence.
Image courtesy of Johns Hopkins Digestive Disease Library
Where Can You Go for More Information
Expert recommendations for colon cancer treatment based on current evidence are the basis for Colon and Rectal Cancer: Treatment Guidelines for Patients which includes options for treatment at each stage and decision trees to help patients and their doctors decide on which option to pursue.
The Johns Hopkins Digestive Disease Library has detailed information about the anatomy of the lower intestinal tract.