The ascending colon (or right colon) is the beginning part of the colon. It is usually located on the right side of the body, extending from the cecum upward. Although the colon is a continuous structure, the piece that is considered the ascending colon ends where the colon bends, just below the liver and gallbladder.
The colon, also called the large intestine, removes water, some nutrients, and electrolytes from partially digested food. It is in the colon that food waste is changed from liquid to solid form and transported to the rectum.
At bottom of the ascending colon is the colic valve, also referred to as the ileocecal valve. This valve separates the small intestine from the cecum and prevents material from flowing back into the small intestine.
At the top of the ascending colon, the colon abruptly bends to the left, forming the right colic flexure (also called the hepatic flexure). The transverse colon begins after this flexure.
Thirty percent of all tumors that develop in the colon or rectum (colorectal tumors) are located in the ascending colon. Because the ascending colon has a wide diameter, tumors that occur here tend to be relatively large before they are discovered. The primary treatment for colon cancer is surgery and removal of the affected section of the bowel.