Colorectal cancer, also called large bowel cancer, is the term used to describe malignant tumors found in the colon and rectum. The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine of the digestive system, usually referred to as the gastrointestinal tract. Typically, the colon is the upper 5 or 6 feet of the large intestine, and the rectum is the lower 5 to 7 inches located above the anal canal.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer. However, the number of deaths from the disease has decreased as a result of improved tests that allow early detection of the cancer, when it can be more easily treated. Physical activity and a good diet are associated with a decreased incidence of colorectal cancer.