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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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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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What Is Adenocarcinoma?

If your doctor tells you that you have adenocarcinoma, it means you have a type of cancer that starts in the glands that line the inside of one of your organs. Adenocarcinoma can happen in many places, like your colon, breasts, esophagus, lungs, pancreas, or prostate. It's natural to feel worried when you find out you have cancer, but remember that treatments can slow or stop the disease. You might need chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. You and your doctor will decide on the best approach, based...

Read the What Is Adenocarcinoma? article > >

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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