The appendix is a small hollow tube attached to the large
colon (the large colon is also called large bowel or large intestine). The
appendix is approximately 4 inches long and shaped like a worm. The
appendix serves no known purpose, although it is thought to possibly play a role
in the immune system. Very rarely, the appendix may become cancerous.
Since the appendix is attached to the colon, appendix cancer is considered
a type of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancers are also part of a larger
group of cancers of gastrointestinal tract, or GI cancers.
Cancer of the appendix may cause appendicitis or cause the appendix to rupture.
Sometimes this is the first symptom of appendix cancer. A ruptured
appendix may cause a very serious condition called peritonitis, which is
an infection of the lining of the abdomen and pelvis. A cancerous tumor of the
appendix may also "seed" the abdomen with cancer cells. This may cause
more cancerous tumors to develop in the abdomen before it is discovered.
Carcinomatosis. Many times there are no
symptoms of appendix cancer until it has progressed and is advanced.
Abdominal discomfort and bloating of the abdomen can be signs of advanced
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