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    Colorectal Cancer Glossary of Terms

    Abdominoperineal resection: usually performed for a lower rectal or anal cancer. Involves the surgical removal of the anus, rectum, and sigmoid colon, along with associated lymph nodes, resulting in the need for a permanent colostomy.

    Accidental Bowel Leakage: also called fecal incontinence. The inability to retain stool, resulting in bowel accidents.

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    Acetaminophen: a drug that reduces pain and fever, but not inflammation. It is sold under the brand name Tylenol.

    Acute: abrupt onset that usually is severe; happens for a short period of time.

    Adenoma: benign (non-cancerous) polyps, or growths, that are considered the first step toward colon and rectal cancer.

    Adhesion: a band of scar tissue that connects two surfaces of the body that are normally separate. Usually due to inflammation or injury, including surgery.

    Adjuvant therapy: additional treatment, or add-on treatment, provided with the primary treatment to prevent cancer recurrence.

    Adverse effect: a negative or harmful effect.

    Analgesic: medicine to relieve pain.

    Anemia: a condition in which a person has a low red blood cell count. It occurs when there is not enough hemoglobin in a person's blood. Hemoglobin is the substance in the red blood cells that enables the blood to transport oxygen throughout the body.

    Antibiotic: medication used to treat bacterial infections.

    Antibodies: proteins produced by the body to protect itself from foreign substances, such as bacteria or viruses.

    Antigens: substances that provoke an immune response in the body. The body produces antibodies to fight antigens, or harmful substances, to try to eliminate them.

    Anti-inflammatory: medication used to reduce pain, swelling, or other irritation caused by inflammation.

    Air contrast barium enema: also called double contrast barium enema -- an X-ray examination of the entire large intestine (colon) and rectum in which barium and air are introduced gradually into the colon by a rectal tube.

    Anal fissure: a split or crack in the lining of the anal opening, usually caused by the passage of very hard or watery stools.

    Anastomosis: a surgical joining of two ducts, blood vessels, or bowel segments to allow flow from one to the other.

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