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Digestive System

Lower Gastrointestinal Tract

Is the large intestine essential for life?

Since the role of the large intestine is mainly as a storage site for fecal material and the elimination of it from the body, it is not essential for life. Individuals who suffer from colon cancer or other diseases will often have their colon removed. The end of the ileum is brought to the abdominal wall. Food residues are eliminated directly from the ileum into a sac attached to the abdominal wall on the outside of the body. Alternatively, the ileum may be connected directly to the anal canal.



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