The growth and migration of cancer cells in the colon. No wise cracks in this caption: sorry.
Welcome to the fourth and final installment of our animated series on the digestive system.
Fittingly, this episode will be focussing on the end of the digestive system – the colon. We will look at the genesis of colon cancer, as well as a little molecule scientists like to call ‘butyrate’, and the influence it has on colon health.
The colon, otherwise known as the large intestine, is one and a half metres long. It primarily extracts water and micronutrients (such as salts) from our faeces. The first half of the following video describes the colon, its structure and function in glorious, animated detail.
Colon cancer (colorectal or bowel cancer) is the third most common cancer, accounting for around 10% of cancer cases. After the colon, the second half of the video describes the anatomy and mechanisms of colon cancer.
The second video describes the formation of colon cancer (known as colon carcinogenesis):
Butyrate is a small molecule created by the bacteria in our guts. Butyrate is formed when these bacteria breakdown resistant starch and is involved with up-keeping colon health. Recent research suggests that butyrate might be important in staving off the formation of colon cancer.
That’s it for our series on the microbiome.
Just like your breakfast from yesterday, our journey through the digestive system had to come to an end. We have come a long way through the alimentary canal, there has been lots of information to digest, lots to ruminate upon. There were simmering facts about the stomach, ups and downs through the tortuous mess of intestines, and sobering descriptions of colon cancer. And also like yesterday’s breakfast, we too emerged on the other side of the journey, changed. Over the last 4 weeks, we hope you learned as much about the alimentary canal as we did.
Butt – it’s not over. For the back catalogue of microbial madness, here are our previous blogs on the (faecal) matter. And for more anatomical animations, check out the writer, animator, and narrator’s YouTube channel.