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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Colorectal Cancer Glossary of Terms

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Abdominoperineal resection: the surgical removal of the anus, rectum, and sigmoid colon, resulting in the need for a permanent colostomy.

Abscess: a localized formation of pus caused by a bacterial infection.

Recommended Related to Colorectal Cancer

Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines

Getting regular checkups and colon cancer screening is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. Finding and removing colon polyps helps prevent colon cancer. In addition, colon cancer screening helps find cancer early, making a cure more likely.

Read the Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines 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.

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.

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