The cecum (sometimes spelled caecum) is a part of the digestive system that is located where the small intestine meets the large intestine. It is a pouch-like structure that is considered to be the beginning of the large intestine.
The primary function of the cecum is to absorb fluids and salts that remain after digestion and absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. It also helps to absorb vitamins and other nutrients that are produced by the bacteria that inhabit the large intestine.
The cecum is also the site of the appendix, a small, finger-shaped projection that extends off of the cecum. The function of the appendix is not fully understood, but it is believed to play a role in the immune system.
Diseases and conditions that can affect the cecum include appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix), cecal volvulus (twisting of the cecum), and colon cancer that originates in the cecum.
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