Rectal Cancer Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Rectal Cancer article.

Abdomen: The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the...

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Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect ...

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Adenocarcinoma: A cancer that develops in the lining or inner surface of an organ and usua...

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Adjuvant: A substance that helps and enhances the effect of a drug, treatment, or biologic...

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Adjuvant therapy: Treatment that is given in addition to the primary (initial) treatment...

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Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic indiv...

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Alpha Omega Alpha: An honor society, the medical school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa of un...

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American Medical Association: The AMA. The AMA's mission statement proclaims:

Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

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Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior. The anterior surface of the heart is tow...

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Antibody: An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introdu...

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Antigen: A substance that the immune system perceives as being foreign or dangerous. The b...

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Anus: The opening of the rectum to the outside of the body.

Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to check for ...

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Bladder: A hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. The kidneys filter waste f...

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Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a t...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Bowel: The small and large intestine.

Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Cancer causes: In most individual cases of cancer, the exact cause of cancer is unknown. T...

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Cancer symptoms: Abnormal sensations or conditions that persons can notice that are a resu...

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Carcinoembryonic antigen: Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a protein found in many types...

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CEA: Carcinoembryonic antigen.

Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Chemotherapy: 1. In the original sense, a chemical that binds to and specifically k...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Clinical trial: A study that is intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medic...

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Clinical trials: Trials to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications or medical...

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Colon: The long, coiled, tubelike organ that removes water from digested food. The remaini...

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Colon cancer: A malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine (the co...

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Colonoscopy: A procedure whereby a physician inserts a viewing tube (colonoscope) into the...

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Colorectal: Related to the colon and/or rectum.

Colorectal cancer: A malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine (t...

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Colostomy: An artificial exit from the colon created to divert waste through a hole in the...

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Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the op...

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CT scan: Computed tomography scan. Detailed images of internal organs are obtained by this...

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Curable: Amenable to a cure, capable of being cured, to being healed and made well. From ...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. ...

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Dissection: The process of cutting apart or separating tissue as, for example, in the stud...

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EGFR: Epidermal growth factor receptor. A protein found on the surface of cells to which e...

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Endoscope: A lighted optical instrument that is used to get a deep look inside the body. A...

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Endoscopic ultrasound: Abbreviated EUS. A procedure that combines endoscopy and ultrasound...

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Endoscopy: Examination of the inside of the body by using a lighted, flexible instrument c...

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Endothelial: Relating to the endothelium.

Epidermal: Pertaining to the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.

Epidermal growth factor: EGF.

Epidermal growth factor receptor: EGFR.

Excision: 1. Surgical removal, as in the excision of a tumor. 2. The remov...

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Family history: The family structure and relationships within the family, including inform...

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Family history of colorectal cancer: See: Colon cancer family history.

Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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Fecal: Relating to the feces, the stool. The excrement discharged from the intestines.

Fecal occult blood test: A test to check for hidden blood in the stool.

Feces: The excrement discharged from the 'intestines.

FOBT: Fecal occult blood test.

Gastroenterologist: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases...

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Gastrointestinal: Adjective referring collectively to the stomach and small and large inte...

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Hemorrhoids: Dilated (enlarged) veins in the walls of the anus and sometimes around the re...

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Incision: A cut through skin or other tissue performed by a health care professional.

Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Insertion: A chromosome abnormality that is due to insertion of a segment from one chromos...

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Internal medicine: The medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and medical treatment ...

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Large bowel: Another name for the large intestine.

Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Lymph: The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system, carrying cell...

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Medical school: A school with a curriculum leading to a medical degree. The mission of eve...

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Microscopic: An object so small it cannot be seen without the aid of microscope (for examp...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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Mucosa: Having to do with a mucous membrane. For example, the oral mucosa.

Mucus: A thick fluid that is produced by the lining of some organs of the body.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.

Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, c...

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Obstruction: Blockage of a passageway. See, for example: Airway obstruction; Intestinal o...

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Occult: Hidden. For example, occult blood in the stool is hidden from the eye but can be d...

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Oncologist: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. After a ...

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Oncology: The field of medicine that is devoted to cancer. Clinical oncology consists of t...

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Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special func...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pathologist: A physician who identifies diseases and conditions by studying abnormal cells...

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Pelvis: The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones. Structures in the fe...

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Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

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Peripheral neuropathy: A problem with the functioning of the nerves outside the spinal cor...

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Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is constantly sup...

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Polyp: A mass of tissue that develops on the inside wall of a hollow organ, such as the co...

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Precancerous: Pertaining to something that is not yet overtly cancerous, but appears to be...

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Preoperative: Before surgery. As opposed to postoperative, after surgery.

Probability: The likelihood that something will happen. For example, a probability of less...

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Probe: 1: In surgery, a probe is a slender flexible rod with a blunt end used to explore, ...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Radiation: 1. Rays of energy. Gamma rays and X-rays are two of the types of energy ...

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Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy rays to damage cancer cells, stopping them from ...

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Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical c...

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Receptor: 1. In cell biology, a structure on the surface of a cell (or inside a cel...

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Rectal bleeding: Blood passed rectally. Blood in the stool can be bright red or maroon in ...

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Rectal cancer: A malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the final part of the larg...

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Rectum: The last 6 to 8 inches of the large intestine. The rectum stores solid waste until...

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Recurrence: The return of a sign, symptom, or disease after a remission. The reappearance ...

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Resection: Surgical removal of part of an organ.

Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Sensitivity: 1. In psychology, the quality of being sensitive. As, for example, sen...

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Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness ...

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Sibling: A brother or sister.

Sigmoidoscopy: A procedure in which a physician inserts a viewing tube (sigmoidoscope) int...

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Stage: As regards cancer, the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spre...

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Stool: The solid matter that is discharged in a bowel movement.

Surgeon: A physician who treats disease, injury, or deformity via operative or manual meth...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be ...

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Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves. Ultra-sound waves can be bounced off tissues by us...

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Vascular: Relating to blood vessels. For example, the vascular system in the body includes...

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VEGF: Vascular endothelial growth factor, a substance made by cells that stimulates the fo...

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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. I...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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