Incidence and mortality
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common malignant neoplasm worldwide  and the second leading cause of cancer deaths (irrespective of gender) in the United States. It is estimated that there will be 141,210 new cases diagnosed in the United States in 2011 and 49,380 deaths due to this disease. Between 1998 and 2007, CRC incidence rates in the United States declined by 2.2% per year in women, and by 2.9% per year in men. For the...
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.
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.
Aneurysm: the abnormal enlargement or bulging of a blood vessel, caused by damage or weakness in the blood vessel wall.
Angiogram/Angiography: a technique that uses dye to highlight blood vessels.
Anoscopy: an examination of the anus with a short, metal or plastic scope. The anoscopy procedure is used to look for hemorrhoids, anal polyps, or other causes of bright-red rectal bleeding.
Anus: the opening of the rectum positioned in the fold between the buttocks, situated at one end of the digestive tract where waste is expelled.
APC: often referred to as a "tumor suppressor gene," APC is a gene that produces a protein to help slow down the rate at which cells divide and grow.
Asymptomatic: no symptoms; no clear evidence that disease is present.
Banding: a technique, used to study our genes, in which chromosomes are stained with fluorescent or chemical dyes to determine their characteristics.