The Digestive System

Select a cancer type below to learn more:

The Digestive System
Esophagus
Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube that moves food and liquids from the throat to the stomach.
Stomach
Gastric (stomach) cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach. The stomach is in the upper abdomen and helps digest food.
Liver
The liver has many important functions in the body. For example, it cleans toxins from the blood, makes bile that helps digest fat, makes substances that help blood clot, and makes, stores, and releases sugar for energy.
Bile Duct
The liver has many important functions in the body. For example, it cleans toxins from the blood, makes bile that helps digest fat, makes substances that help blood clot, and makes, stores, and releases sugar for energy.
Gallbladder
The gallbladder lies just under the liver in the upper abdomen. The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid made by the liver that helps digest fat.
Pancreas
The pancreas lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine. There are two kinds of cells in the pancreas. Exocrine pancreas cells make enzymes that are released into the small intestine to help the body digest food. Neuroendocrine pancreas cells (such as islet cells) make several hormones, including insulin and glucagon, that help control sugar levels in the blood.
Large Intestine (Colon)
Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine, which is the lower part of the body’s digestive system. During digestion, food moves through the stomach and small intestine into the colon. The colon absorbs water and nutrients from the food and stores waste matter (stool). Stool moves from the colon into the rectum before it leaves the body.
Small Intestine
The small intestine (also called small bowel) is part of the body’s digestive system. It is a long, coiled tube that connects the stomach to the large intestine. The small intestine receives food from the stomach, helps break it down, and absorbs nutrients that are used by the body. The three parts of the small intestine are the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The duodenum connects to the stomach, and the ileum connects to the colon.
Appendix
A gastrointestinal (GI) carcinoid tumor is a slow-growing tumor that forms in the neuroendocrine cells in the GI tract. The GI tract includes the stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, appendix, and other organs. Most GI carcinoid tumors form in the rectum, small intestine, or appendix.
Rectum
Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine, which is the lower part of the body’s digestive system. During digestion, food moves through the stomach and small intestine into the colon. The colon absorbs water and nutrients from the food and stores waste matter (stool). Stool moves from the colon into the rectum before it leaves the body.
Anus
The anus is part of the body’s digestive system and is the last part of the large intestine. Stool (solid waste) leaves the body through the anus.