NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Colon Cancer - page 9

NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Colon Cancer
Version 1.2012
Part 2:
About colon cancer
Figure 3.
The colon
Illustration Copyright © 2011
Nucleus Medical Media,
All rights reserved.
The opening that
allows stool to pass out of
the body
Connective tissue:
Supportive and binding fibers
To identify a
The tube-
shaped digestive organ
between the mouth and
Large intestine:
digestive organ that
prepares unused food for
leaving the body
A clear fluid
containing white blood cells
The opening in the
head that allows food to be
A sticky, thick liquid
that moisturizes or lubricates
Small intestine:
digestive organ that absorbs
nutrients from eaten food
The digestive
organ that turns solid food
into a liquid form
The wall of the colon has five main layers. The inner layer that has contact with
stool is called the mucosa. The mucosa has three types of tissue. The epithelium is
tissue that absorbs water from stool. It also makes mucus to help move stool along.
The lamina propria is connective tissue just below the epithelium. The muscularis
mucosae is a thin strip of muscle tissue.
The second layer of the colon wall is called the submucosa. It consists of connective
tissue and blood and lymph vessels. The third layer, called the muscularis propria, is
mostly made of muscle fibers. These muscles help move stool through the colon. The
fourth layer is mostly made of connective tissue and is called the subserosa. The fifth
layer is called the serosa. It is the outer most part of the colon wall. It is a tissue lining
that makes fluid to allow the colon to move smoothly against other organs.
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