What Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal Cancer, also known as bowel cancer, develops in the colon or the rectum (the large bowel or the large intestine).

An ABC of Colorectal Cancer

Are there words that you find difficult to understand?

Here is a dictionary of words we have chosen throughout the site explained!

Anastomosis
A connection made surgically between adjacent blood vessels, parts of the intestine, or other channels of the body.

Angiogenesis
Cancer cells sending out chemical signals that promote the formation of new blood vessels.

Hereditary
Determined by genetic factors and therefore able to be passed on from parents to their
offspring or descendants.

Instability
The state of being unstable; lack of stability.

Familiar/familial context
Inherited from direct family (Mother, father etc.).

Cell
The smallest structural and functional unit of an organism, which is typically microscopic and consists of cytoplasm and a nucleus enclosed in a membrane.

Chromosomes
A thread-like structure of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells, carrying genetic information in the form of genes.

Chromosomal Instability
A change in the number, or breakage, of chromosomes.

DNA
Deoxyribonucleic Acid, a self-replicating material which is present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information.

Endothelial cells
Endothelium refers to cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood or lymph in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. It is a thin layer of simple, or single-layered, squamous cells called endothelial cells.

Genes
A unit of heredity which is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring.

Hypomagnesaemia
A condition in which someone has abnormally low levels of magnesium in their blood.

Laparoscopic surgery
The word “laparoscopy” means to look inside the abdominal cavity with a special camera or scope. To perform laparoscopy, between 3 and 6 small (5-10 mm) incisions are made in the abdomen. The laparoscope and special laparoscopic instruments are inserted through these small incisions. The surgeon is then guided by the laparoscope, which transmits a picture of the intestinal organs on a video monitor.

Lymph node
Each of a number of small swellings in the lymphatic system where lymph is filtered and
lymphocytes are formed.

Malignancies
The state or presence of a very virulent or infectious tumour.

Mesorectum
Mesorectum is the term used to describe all the peri-rectal connective tissue including the posterior sheath of the endopelvic fascia containing the peri-rectal neurovascular structures.

Metastases
The development of secondary malignant growths at a distance from a primary site of cancer.

Metastasectomy
In oncology, metastasectomy is the surgical removal of metastases, which are secondary cancerous growths that have spread from cancer originating in another organ in the body. In many cases, metastases are not treated surgically.

Microsatellite instability
A change in the length of specific repeat sequences in the DNA.

Molecular profile
Very specific information about the molecular and genetic makeup of your tumour.

Multidisciplinary
Combining or involving several academic disciplines or professional specializations in an approach to a topic or problem.

Mutation
A change in the DNA sequence of a gene.

Pathologist
A scientist who studies the causes and effects of diseases, especially one who examines laboratory samples of body tissue for diagnostic or forensic purposes.

Polypectomy
Is a procedure in which polyps — small growths on the inner lining of the colon – are removed during a colonoscopy, a procedure in which a special instrument (the colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum to view the rectum and colon.

Proctosigmoidectomy
In this operation, the diseased section of the rectum and sigmoid colon is removed.

Radiotherapy
Is a treatment where radiation is used to kill cancer cells.

Resection
The surgical removal of part of an organ or structure.

Resectable
Capable of being resected, suitable for resection, resectable cancer

Sporadic disease
Occurring occasionally, singly, or in irregular or random instances.

Thrombosis
The formation or presence of a blood clot within a blood vessel.

Visceral peritoneum
The peritoneum is the serous membrane which forms the lining of the abdominal cavity.

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