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Colorectal Cancer Glossary of Terms

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Ileocolectomy: surgical removal of a section of the terminal ileum and colon lying close to the ileum (the lowermost part of the small intestine).

Ileorectal anastomosis: the surgical connection of the ileum and the rectum.

Ileostomy: the surgical creation of an opening between the surface of the skin and the ileum, the lowermost section of the small intestine.

Ileum: the lower three fifths of the small intestine from the jejunum to the ileocecal valve.

Immune system: the body's natural defense system against infection or disease.

Immunotherapy: treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease; also called biological therapy.

Incontinence (bowel): loss of bowel control.

Inflammation: one of the body's defense mechanisms. Inflammation results in increased blood flow in response to infection and certain chronic conditions. Symptoms of inflammation include redness, swelling, pain, and heat.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): diseases that cause inflammation of the bowel. IBD includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

IV: see Intravenous.

Intravenous: medication given through a vein or veins using a small tube, or catheter.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS, also irritable bowel disease): a condition in which the colon muscle contracts more readily and causes abdominal pain and cramps, excess gas, bloating, and a change in bowel habits.

Jejunum: the second portion of the small intestine extending from the duodenum to the ileum.

Laparoscopy or laparoscopic surgery: a method of surgery that is much less invasive than traditional surgery. Tiny incisions are made to create a passageway for a special instrument called a laparoscope. This thin telescope-like instrument with a miniature video camera and light source is used to transmit images to a video monitor. The surgeon watches the video screen while performing the procedure with small instruments that pass through small tubes placed in the incisions.

Large intestine: the digestive organ made up of the ascending (right) colon, the transverse (across) colon, the descending (left) colon the sigmoid (end) colon and the rectum. The colon receives the liquid contents from the small intestine and absorbs the water and electrolytes from this liquid to form feces, or waste. Feces are then stored in the rectum until elimination from the body through the anus.

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