Help us to stop bowel cancer

The bowel

The bowel is part of the digestive system. It is made up of the small bowel (small intestine) and the large bowel (colon and rectum). The small bowel is longer than the large bowel but it gets its name from the fact it is much narrower than the large bowel.

Cancer is more likely to develop in the large bowel. Small bowel cancer is much less common.

Cancer in the large bowel is called bowel cancer or colorectal cancer. Two out of three bowel cancers develop in the colon and one out of three develop in the rectum.

The digestive system

The large bowel

This 3D model lets you look more closely at the parts of the body that make up the large bowel. Click on the numbers to find out more about each part of the large bowel. Click and hold to move the picture 360°. 

Thanks to for the use of this image.

View this information about the bowel in British Sign Language

More information

Read our booklet, Simple steps for good bowel health, for information on keeping your bowel healthy.


Updated March 2016. Due for review March 2019