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Colon Cancer Special Report

Colon Cancer Glossary

Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Colon Cancer Colon Cancer Glossary

Johns Hopkins Colon Cancer Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

abdominoperineal resection
Surgery that involves cutting through the abdomen and the perineum.

adenoma
See adenomatous polyp.

adenocarcinoma
Cancer in the cells that line the inside layer of the wall of the colon and rectum.

adenomatous polyp
Also called adenoma. A growth (polyp), usually benign, that protrudes from the mucous membranes, and may become cancerous over time.

anastomosis
Surgical connection or reconnection between two separated parts of the body..

anemia
Having less than the normal number of red blood cells, which lowers the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and can be a sign of blood loss.

anus
The opening at the end of the digestive tract through which feces are expelled. A set of sphincter muscles allows the anus to remain closed and to open for a bowel movement.

APC I 1307K
An inherited gene mutation (found with noteworthy frequency in descendants of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe but can occur in other individuals) that increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

ascending colon
That portion of colon on the right side of the body that ascends from the small intestine.

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B

barium enema, double-contrast barium enema
An enema with a white, chalky solution that contains barium, given to outline the intestines on a series of x-rays and reveal abnormalities.

biopsy
Removal of a tissue sample to examine for diagnosis.

bowel
Another term for the lower intestinal tract, the large intestine, or the colorectum, These terms are often used interchangeably brachytherapy
A radiation treatment that implants or beams radiation directly into or near a tumor.

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C

carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
A blood chemical that is measured after treatments as a marker for cancer cells.

CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan or CT scan
A computerized imaging method that takes multiple cross-section x-ray images of soft tissues.

cecum
A pouch about 2–3 inches long between the small intestine and the large intestine. The furthest point of a colonoscopy examination.

chemoembolization
Administration of chemotherapy mixed with material to slow blood flow through the liver and allow the drugs to remain longer in the tumor.

colectomy
Surgery to remove part or all of the colon.

colitis
Inflammation of the colon colon
A term for the large intestine, lower intestinal tract, colorectum, or bowel. These terms are often used interchangeably.

colonic stent
An expandable tube that is placed in the colon with an endoscope to open up a compressed or blocked bowel.

colonoscopy
Internal examination of the entire colon with an endoscope that is passed up through the rectum.

colorectum
A term for the large intestine, lower intestinal tract, bowel, or colon. These terms are often used interchangeably.

colostomy
A procedure in which an opening (stoma) is made surgically through the abdomen to allow waste to pass out of the body and into a bag.

complementary medicine
Treatments such as herbs or acupuncture that are not accepted as conventional medical practices but that may help with diseases when used along with Western medicine.

Crohn’s disease
A chronic inflammation of the bowel that may increase the risk of developing colon cancer.

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D

descending colon
That portion of the colon that descends down the left side, ending in the rectum.

DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid, the biochemical polymer that encodes genetic information inside a cell. Some new tests can identify DNA from cancerous cells.

DNA fecal test
A new test that can pinpoint DNA from colon cancer cells in a person’s feces.

dysplasia
A term that refers to cells that are no longer normal but are not yet cancerous.

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E

endorectal ultrasound
An imaging technique that uses sound waves to visualize and to pinpoint rectal tumors.

endoscope
General term for a tube that is inserted into openings in the body to allow an internal examination without performing surgery.

enterostomal therapist
A health care professional, often a nurse, trained to help people with colostomies.

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F

familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
A rare hereditary disease that causes massive overgrowth of color polyps and leads to colon cancer in all who inherit the dominant genes. About 1% of all colorectal cancers are due to FAP.

fecal immunochemical testing (FIT)
A take-home test for hidden intestinal bleeding that is specific for human hemoglobin and does not require diet changes before and during the test.

fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
The most frequently used take-home test for hidden intestinal bleeding. Requires some diet and drug restrictions before and during the test.

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G

guaiac
A product that reacts to hemoglobin and is used in kits to test for fecal blood.

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H

HAI (hepatic arterial infusion)
Delivering chemotherapy drugs directly into the liver through a main artery.

hemicolectomy
Surgical removal of the right or left side of the colon; a partial colectomy.

hepatic
Referring to the liver.

hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)
An inherited genetic predisposition found in 3-6% of people with colorectal cancer. Also called Lynch syndrome.

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I

inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
A chronic inflammation of the colon that may increase colorectal cancer risks. Often confused with the spectrum of symptoms known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which does not appear to increase colorectal cancer risk.

interstitial radiation therapy
A radiation treatment in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called brachytherapy, internal radiation, or implant radiation.

intraoperative ultrasound
Ultrasound imaging used during surgery to help distinguish cancer from healthy tissue.

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J

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K

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L

laparoscopic surgery
Surgery performed through several small incisions rather than one large opening, with the aid of fiberoptic and other viewing devices.

large intestine
A term to describe the entire colon and rectum, from the cecum at the end of the small intestine to the anus at the end of the rectum. Other terms are colon, bowel, and colorectum.

local excision
Operating through a colonoscope or sigmoidoscope to remove small, early-stage cancers.

lymph nodes
Small bodies of tissue that filter bacteria and foreign particles from lymph fluid.

Lynch syndrome
See hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) metastases, metastatic, metastasized
Terms to describe cancer that had spread from its original point and begun to grow in a distant site. The liver is the most common site of metastases in colorectal cancer.

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M

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N

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O

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P

pancolitis
Inflammation that involves the entire colon.

peristalsis
The rhythmic contraction of muscles that propels what you ingest from the esophagus through the intestines and down to the rectum.

polyp
A growth that protrudes from the skin or from a mucous membrane. Usually benign, some colon polyps can become cancerous. See adenomatous polyp.

polypectomy
Removal of polyps in the colon and rectum, usually during a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

proctoscopy
A rectal examination with an endoscope called a proctoscope.

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Q

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R

radiofrequency ablation
A procedure in which a special electrode is placed in a tumor and a radiofrequency current heats the tumor tissue to destroy (ablate) it.

rectum
The final 5 inches of the bowel, in which feces are stored before being expelled in a bowel movement.

resection
Surgery in which cancer is removed (resected) along with healthy tissue around it.

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S

sigmoid colectomy
Surgery to remove part of the sigmoid colon.

sigmoid colon
The lower part of the colon right above the rectum. Is curved somewhat like the letter "S," which in Greek is called sigmoid.

sigmoidoscopy
An examination of the lower 25 inches or so of the colon and rectum with a flexible endoscope that is inserted through the anus.

sphincter
A set of muscles at the end of the anus that allow it to remain closed and to open to eliminate feces.

Posted in Colon Cancer on October 14, 2007

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