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The area of the body between the chest and the pelvis.

abdominoperineal resection (APR)

(ab-dom-in-oh-pare-IN-ee-al) Surgical procedure in which some of the organs of the abdomen and pelvis are removed to prevent further spreading of the cancer; sometimes performed for rectal cancer.


In medicine, the removal or destruction of a body part or tissue or its function.Ablation may be performed by surgery, hormones, drugs, radiofrequency, heat, or other methods.


An enclosed collection of pus in tissues, organs, or confined spaces in the body. An abscess is a sign of an infection.

adenocarcinoma (ah-DEE-no-car-sin-NO-ma)

Cancer that begins in the cells that line certain internal organs and that have glandular properties and secrete mucus; 90% of all colorectal cancers are adenocarcinoma.


A usually benign (non-cancerous) tumor of glandular tissue that should be treated as precancerous.


Scar tissue that binds connecting surfaces to each other inside the body. Sometimes occurs after surgery and may cause complications such as pain, constipation, or an obstruction.

adjuvant therapy (a-joo-vunt)

Cancer treatment that is given after the primary cancer treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will return. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or biologic therapy.

advanced directive

A legal document that states your wishes about health care choices, or names someone else to make those choices if you become unable to do so. An advanced directive can be very general about your care, or it can be very specific, detailing your wishes regarding your acceptance or refusal of certain life-sustaining treatments. The advance directive may also include a statement about organ and tissue donation.

alopecia (al-o-PEE-schuh)

Loss of hair or baldness, sometimes caused by certain cancer treatments; hair will usually grow back after treatment has finished.

alternative medicine

Treatments used in place of standard mainstream treatments, which are more widely used and are based on the results of scientific research. Less research has been done for most alternative medicine. Alternative medicine may include special diets, vitamins, herbs, teas, and magnet therapy.

anal cancer

Cancer that forms in the cells of the anus. The anus is a short tube at the end of your rectum (the last part of the large intestine) where stool leaves your body.

anastomosis (ah-nass-ta-MOH-sis)

Surgically connecting two ends of bowel after a diseased segment is removed (resection).


A condition in which there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells; may occur with chemotherapy or after surgery. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin, feeling faint or lightheaded, heart palpitations, or fatigue.

angiogenesis (an-jee-o-JEN-uh-sis)

Development of new blood vessels that feed a tumor; anti-angiogenesis drugs attempt to block the formation of these blood vessels.


A protein component of the immune system that circulates in the blood and fights off diseases.

antiemetic (anti-eh-MET-ick)

Medication intended to control or reduce nausea and vomiting.


A substance in the body that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it.


Feelings of intense fear, dread, and uneasiness that may occur as a reaction to stress. A person with anxiety may sweat, feel restless, and have a rapid heartbeat.

apoptosis (a-pop-TOE-sis)

Self-destruction of cells; may be used to force cancer cells to die in certain cancer treatments.

arms (clinical trials)

Clinical trials can include multiple "arms." Each arm is a study group of patients receiving a specific treatment or combination of treatments that is being compared to other treatment arms as well as to the control arm. The "control arm" is the standard of care treatment.

ascites (ah-SI-tees)

Abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen that may cause swelling or bloating. In late-stage cancer, tumor cells may be found in the fluid in the abdomen. Ascites also occurs in patients with liver disease.


BRAT diet

Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast diet; this combination of foods can sometimes be used to stop or slow down diarrhea.

barium x-ray

A test to examine the inside of the intestines. X-rays of the abdomen are taken after a patient drinks a liquid containing barium to coat the inner lining of the intestines.

benign (be-NINE)

Not cancerous. Benign tumors do not spread to tissues around them or to other parts of the body.

bile duct

The tube through which bile passes in and out of the liver and is stored in the gallbladder.

biologic medication

A medicine that is made in a living system, such as yeast, bacteria, or animal cells (as opposed to a chemically manufactured medication) to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer and other diseases.


A biological molecule found in blood, body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. A biomarker test may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Also called molecular marker and signature molecule.


The removal of cells or tissues for examination in a laboratory; used to determine whether or not the cells or tissue are cancerous.


A drug that is very similar to another biological drug that has already been approved for use by the FDA. A biosimilar drug acts in the same way and has the same benefit as the biological drug.

bolus infusion

A single dose of drug, usually injected into a blood vessel over a short period of time. Also called a bolus.

bowel obstruction

The blockage or clogging of the intestines.


A type of internal radiation cancer treatment that places seeds, beads, or similar capsules that contain radiation into the body, in or near the tumor. Brachytherapy is a local treatment and treats only a specific part of your body.


CAT scan

A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called computed tomography (CT scan), computerized axial tomography, or computerized tomography.

Crohn’s disease

A chronic disease that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It primarily affects the lower intestine but can affect any part of the large or small intestine, stomach, or esophagus. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and weight loss. Having Crohn’s disease increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

cachexia (ka-KEK-see-uh)

Weight loss and muscle wasting that may occur during the course of a chronic illness such as cancer.


A unit of measure that reflects how much energy is present in a food.


A unit of measure that reflects how much energy is present in a food.

carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) (car-sin-o-em-bre-ON-ic AN-tuh-jin)

A protein marker in the blood that may be present with some cancers and other diseases; may be used in some cases of colorectal cancer to monitor response to treatment or disease recurrence.


A flexible tube used to deliver fluids into or from the body.

cecum (SEEK-um)

The first part of the large intestines, located on the right side of the abdomen. The appendix is attached to the cecum.


The smallest unit that makes up all living organisms. Humans are made up of billions and billions of cells.

chemoembolization (key-mo-em-bo-li-ZAY-shun)

A procedure in which the blood supply to a tumor is blocked surgically or mechanically, and anticancer agents are administered directly into the tumor.


Treatment that uses certain medications to stop the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given as pills, injections, infusion, or topically on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.


A disease or condition that lasts for three months or longer; it also may get worse over time. Chronic diseases can usually be controlled but not cured.


A surgery that removes part or all of the colon.

colitis (ko-LIE-tiss)

Inflammation of the colon.


The part of the large intestine that extends from the end of the small intestine (cecum) to the rectum.


Flexible, elongated tube that can be inserted through the anus and passed through the colon allowing visualization of the inside.


Visual examination of the inner surface of the colon and rectum by means of a colonoscope.


A surgical procedure that creates an artificial opening of the colon through the skin of the abdomen to allow for the passage of stool; also, the opening itself.

complementary therapy

Treatment that is used along with standard treatment. Complementary therapy examples are nutrition, acupuncture, vitamins, massage, and meditation. Also called complementary medicine.

continuous infusion

The administration of a fluid or medication into a blood vessel, usually over a prolonged period of time.


A procedure in which an extremely cold liquid or surgical instrument is used to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue such as cancer cells.



A condition caused by the loss of too much fluid from the body; it can occur when a person is losing more fluids than they are taking in.


A mental condition with symptoms such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of pleasure in activities, lack of energy, change in sleeping or eating habits, difficulty completing daily tasks, and thoughts of death or suicide. Depression can affect anyone and can be successfully treated.


Refers to how specialized a cell is to perform a specific function; in cancer, the more specialized or differentiated the cancer cell is, the closer to normal it is.

digital rectal examination (DRE)

An exam in which the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for anything abnormal. This simple, painless test can detect many rectal cancers and some prostate cancers.

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.

driver mutation

Genetic mutations that promote cancer development.

dysplasia (dis-PLAY-zhuh)

The presence of abnormal cells within an or tissues that may lead to cancer.


EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor)

A protein on the surface of some tumor cells, which may increase the growth and spread of cancer.


The minerals in the blood and other body fluids which carry an electric charge. Electrolytes affect how the body functions in many ways, such as balancing the amount of water in the body, the acidity of the blood (pH), muscle function, heart rhythm, and other important processes. Examples of electrolytes are potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and magnesium.


A procedure that injects substances directly into an artery to block or reduce the blood flow to a tumor.

endoscopy (en-DAHS-kuh-pee)

A visual inspection of body organs or cavities using a flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope. This method is referred to by different names, depending on the area of examination. An upper endoscopy (also called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD)examines the inner lining of the upper digestive tract (the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine). A colonoscopy is also a type of endoscopy; it examines the lining of the colon and rectum.


The introduction of fluid into the rectum and colon. An enema may be used to clean out the bowel or to inject radiographic substances (such as barium) for certain x-ray tests.

enterostomal nurse (en-ter-es-STO-mal)

A nurse who specializes in the care and maintenance of a stoma or an ostomy. Also known as an ostomy nurse.

erythema (ear-uh-THEE-mah)

Redness of the skin.

external beam radiation therapy (EBRT)

A form of cancer treatment that uses a machine to aim high-energy rays from outside the body into the tumor.


Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The U.S. federal government agency that protects public health by ensuring that food, ensuring cosmetics, and nutritional supplements are safe to use and truthfully labeled. The FDA also ensures that drugs, medical devices, and equipment are safe and effective, and that blood for transfusions and transplant tissue are safe.

familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) (fuh-MIH-lee-al a-dh-NOH-mah-tuss PAH-lee-POH-sis)

An inherited disorder in which hundreds to thousands of pre-cancerous polyps form on the inner walls of the colon and rectum. People with FAP have a very high risk of developing colorectal cancer at an early age and are also at risk of developing cancers in other organs. FAP is due to mutations in the APC gene.

fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

An at-home screening test that looks for hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of colorectal cancer. FIT does not require dietary restrictions.

fecal incontinence

Accidental bowel leakage of solid or liquid stools.


The matter discharged from the bowel during bowel movements. Also known as stool or waste.


A doctor who has completed their residency (general training), but is specializing in a field such as medical oncology or radiation oncology. A fellow is under the supervision of a senior physician.

femoral artery

The major artery that supplies blood to the lower extremities.

fiber optic

Thin fibers of glass or plastic inside an instrument that allow the inside of the body to be seen.

flexible sigmoidoscopy (sig-moyd-AH-skop-ee)

A screening test that examines the lining of the lower large intestine (called the sigmoid colon) During the procedure, a physician inserts a sigmoidoscope through the anus. There is usually no bowel prep or sedation required.


gFOBT (Guaiac-based Fecal Occult Blood Test)

An at-home screening test that looks for hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of colorectal cancer. A gFOBT test requires you to avoid certain foods for a period before the test.

general anesthesia

A temporary loss of feeling and a complete loss of awareness that feels like a very deep sleep. It is caused by special drugs or other substances called anesthetics. General anesthesia keeps patients from feeling pain during surgery or other procedures.

genetic mutation

An abnormality in the structure of a gene. A mutation may be hereditary (something a person is born with) or acquired (a change that develops on its own).

genetic testing

Blood or tissue tests that may be ordered to detect the presence of genetic abnormalities that place a person at risk for getting certain diseases, such as cancer. For patients and families suspected of having an inherited disease it may be possible to find the mutation causing the disease through genetic testing of blood.


Changes (mutations) in the DNA that are inherited during conception.


A protein found in foods that contain wheat, rye, barley, and other whole grains. It is also found in other products such as medicines, vitamins, and supplements.


The unit of measure used by radiation oncologists to calculate the amount of radiation used in cancer treatments.


A thin wire used to guide the insertion of a catheter during a minimally invasive procedure.


hepatic arterial infusion (HAI)

The delivery of chemotherapy agents to the liver through a catheter placed in the hepatic artery. Usually performed in an operating room under general anesthesia.

hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)

See Lynch Syndrome.

histologic grade

A description of a tumor based on how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the cancer cells are likely to spread. Low-grade cancer cells look more like normal cells and tend to grow and spread more slowly than high-grade cancer cells. Sometimes called tumor grade.


Specialized care for patients in which medical, psychological, and spiritual support are given to cancer patients and their loved ones when the prognosis is limited, and therapies are no longer effective. Hospice care may take place in the patient’s home or in a homelike facility.


Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Under FDA regulations, an Institutional Review Board is a group that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects. An IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove research. The board also reviews the consent information to make sure that it is written in clear, understandable language.

ileostomy (ill-ee-OSS-tuh-me)

A surgical procedure that creates an artificial opening of the small intestine (ileum) through the skin to allow for passage of stool; also, the opening itself.

immune system

The network of cells, tissues, organs, and the substances they make which help the body fight infections and other diseases.


A class of drugs that works with the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.


Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses a person's own immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy can boost or change how the immune system works so it can locate and destroy cancer cells.

inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

A group of diseases that cause inflammation of the bowel. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both forms of IBD.

informed consent

The process in which patients are given important information, including possible risks and benefits, about a medical procedure, treatment, genetic testing, or a clinical trial. Also called the consent process.


A method of putting fluids or medication (such as chemotherapy) into the bloodstream. Also called intravenous infusion. May be given over several hours or days.


Describes a condition that cannot be treated by surgery.


A doctor in their first year of training after graduating from medical school; an intern is under the supervision of other doctors.

internal radiation

A type of treatment in which a source of radiation is put inside the body. The radiation source may be solid or liquid. Internal radiation therapy with a solid source is called brachytherapy. Internal radiation therapy with a liquid source is called systemic therapy.

interventional radiologist

A doctor who uses imaging such as ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, and x-ray to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures that diagnose and treat many kinds of conditions.

intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT)

A doctor who uses imaging such as ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, and x-ray to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures that diagnose and treat many kinds of conditions.


Kegel exercises

Exercises that consist of alternately contracting and relaxing the perineal muscles in order to gain more control over their movement. These exercises can be used to counteract urinary incontinence, decrease painful intercourse, or gain active control of the perineum.


Lynch Syndrome

An inherited disorder in which affected individuals have a higher-than-average risk of developing colorectal cancer and certain other types of cancer, often before the age of 50. Also called hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer and HNPCC.

laparoscopic surgery

Surgery that is done with a laparoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a very small camera on the end. The laparoscope is inserted into the abdominal wall through a small incision. A second or third incision may also be made in other areas of the abdomen to insert other instruments. Also called minimally invasive surgery.


A medication or substance that promotes bowel movements.

lesion (lee-zhun)

An area of abnormal body tissue; sometimes used as another word for tumor. May also be used to describe a change in the appearance or texture of skin, such as an open sore, scab, or discolored area.

liver directed therapy

Treatments that use chemotherapy, ablation, radiation, cryotherapy, heat, or other approaches to reduce or remove colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver.

local anesthesia

A temporary loss of feeling in one small area of the body caused by special medications called anesthetics. The patient stays awake but has no feeling in the area of the body that is treated with the anesthetic.

local excision

A procedure that removes a diseased part by surgical means; local excision is the removal of the diseased tissue close to the affected organ.

local therapy

Treatment that is directed to a specific organ or limited area of the body.

low anterior resection (LAR)

A surgery during which the lower part of the large intestine, including the rectum, is removed.

lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are small bean-like structures that contain immune cells. They act as filters for foreign substances, such as cancer cells and infections. There are hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the body; they are located in many parts of the body, including the neck, armpit, chest, abdomen, and groin.


MRI - magnetic resonance imaging

An imaging procedure that uses radio waves, powerful magnets, and a computer to make a series of very detailed pictures of areas inside the body. A contrast dye may be injected into a vein to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly in the picture.



medical oncologist

A medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

metastasis (meh-TAS-tah-sis)

The spread of cancer from the part of the body where it started to another part of the body.

metastasize (meh-TAS-tah-size)

To pass into or invade the body by metastasis. See metastasis.


Tiny, hollow, round particles used to deliver substances that may kill cancer cells. May also be used to attack tumors by obstructing the blood vessels that lead to them.

minimally invasive

A type of surgery that involves smaller incisions and usually a shorter recovery time.

monoclonal antibodies (ma-no-KLO-null)

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made immune system proteins that are designed to attach to a specific target on cancer cells. These drugs can help your immune system react to and destroy cancer cells.



No evidence of disease.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

NCI is a federal agency that oversees the nation’s cancer research programs. Many clinical trials are funded by and/or conducted with NCI.

nasogastric tube (NG)

A small, flexible tube that is passed through the nose and down through the esophagus into the stomach. It can be used to remove the contents of the stomach, including air, or to decompress the stomach.


A symptom resulting from the inclination to vomit.

neutropenia (new-trow-PEEN-ee-uh)

The presence of abnormally low numbers of white blood cells (neutrophils) in the bloodstream, which lowers the body’s ability to fight off infection.

nurse practitioner (NP)

A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease.



The use of a drug for a disease or condition other than the indication for which it was approved by the FDA.

open surgical procedure

An operation that is performed through a large incision in the abdomen.


An artificial stoma, or opening, from the urinary or digestive system to the skin, that allows for the passage of urine or stool. May be permanent or temporary. See anastomosis.


PET scan

A positron emission tomography scan (PET) is an imaging procedure in which a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where glucose (sugar) is taken up. Because cancer cells often take up more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.

palliative care

Specialized care that is meant to improve the quality of life of patients who have serious illnesses, such as cancer. Anyone can receive palliative care regardless of the stage of disease.

palliative care

Specialized care that is meant to improve the quality of life of patients who have serious illnesses, such as cancer. Anyone can receive palliative care regardless of the stage of disease.


Ulcerative colitis that involves the whole colon.

parametrium (pair-uh-mee-tree-um)

The area around the uterus.

partial response

A result of cancer treatment that did not rid the body of the cancer completely but did result in either stopping or shrinking the cancer.


A doctor who examines and identifies cells and tissues that have been removed from the body.

pelvic exenteration

Surgical removal of all of the organs of the pelvis; performed to treat cancers of the rectum or other pelvic organs.


The area of the body below the abdomen that contains the hip bones, bladder, and rectum. Inwomen, it also contains the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In men, it also contains the prostate and seminal vesicles.

percutaneous (perk-yoo-TAY-nee-us)

Passing through the skin, as an injection or a topical medicine.


A hole or tear that develops through the wall of a body organ.


The tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.

peritonitis (pair-uh-tone-ITE-iss)

Inflammation of the peritoneum.

phases (clinical trials)

Specific points in clinical trials. Clinical trials for anti-cancer drugs are conducted in three phases. The phase of the trial is not necessarily related to the stage of the cancer being studied.

physician assistant (PA)

A person licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a doctor.


An inactive substance that looks the same as, and is given the same way as, an active drug or treatment that is being tested in a clinical research trial.

polyp (pah-lupp)

A growth from a mucous membrane commonly found in organs such as the rectum, the uterus, and the nose. Certain types of polyps, such as adenomas, may develop into cancer. Colorectal screening is important to detect polyps and early cancer.


The surgical removal of a polyp.


The development of numerous polyps.


A small, implanted device with a thin silicone tube that attaches to a vein in the chest. This allows chemotherapy medications and other drugs to be delivered directly into the port rather than a vein, eliminating the need for needle sticks. Blood draws can also be taken from a port.


A surgery to remove all or part of the rectum.


In cancer, an estimate of how your cancer will progress and your chance of recovery.


The course of a disease, such as cancer, as it becomes worse or spreads in the body.

protocol (clinical trials)

An outline that describes how a clinical trial will proceed, what types of patients will be eligible, the number of patients required, the type of care they will receive, and other details.


radiation frequency ablation (RFA)

A procedure that uses radio waves to heat and destroy abnormal cells. A CT scan or ultrasound is used to guide a tiny probe into the tumor. Often used to treat colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver.

radiation oncologist

A doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer using radiation.

radiation simulation

The process before radiation therapy in which the radiation oncologist and therapists measure the patient and decide how to direct the radiation beams.

radiation therapist

A health professional who delivers radiation treatments to patients.

radiation therapy

A form of cancer treatment that uses high-energy waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons, to destroy or shrink tumors.


To arrange or be chosen by chance; usually associated with clinical trials.


The last several inches of the large intestine closest to the anus.


Cancer that has returned after treatment.

red blood cells (RBC)

The cells that deliver oxygen to the tissues in your body. Also known as erythrocytes.


The absence of signs or symptoms of cancer in the body.


A surgery that removes all or part of an organ.


A doctor who has completed their first year of training (internship) after graduating medical school but is still in the process of general training; residents are supervised by other doctors.



Tests that look for diseases before symptoms are present.


The use of medications to help a patient relax and not feel pain or discomfort during a medical procedure; usually used for short procedures such as colonoscopies.

sexual dysfunction

Abnormal functioning of the sexual organs, or difficulty engaging in sexual activity.


An examination with a thin, tube-like instrument (sigmoidoscope) of the inside of the sigmoid colon, which is the part of the large intestine that empties into the rectum.


Changes (mutations) in DNA that happen after conception; not inherited.


In cancer, a description of how much cancer is in parts of the body. See also TNM.


A surgically created opening from the inside of the body to the outside. Also called an ostomy.

stomatitis (sto-ma-TIE-tuss)

Painful inflammation and redness of the inside of the mouth; sores, ulcers, or tiny cuts and cracks may be present.


The digestive waste matter that is discharged in a bowel movement; also called feces.

stool DNA test (sDNA)

An at-home screening test that looks for certain abnormal sections of DNA from cancer or polyp cells as well as blood in the stool, which can be a sign of colorectal cancer.

support network

A person’s group of friends, family, coworkers, and others who provide emotional and practical help, particularly during a difficult time.


A person who has been diagnosed with cancer no matter where they are in the course of their disease.



Trans-arterial chemoembolization is a procedure that injects substances directly into an artery in the liver to block or reduce the blood flow to a tumor in the liver. See also embolization.

TNM (Tumor Node Metastasis)

A widely used cancer staging system that classifies the extent of the tumor size (T), number of cancerous lymph nodes involved (N), and whether the cancer has metastasized (M).

targeted therapy

A type of treatment that uses medication or other substances to identify and attack cancer cells and spares harm to normal cells.

total parenteral nutrition (TPN)

A method of providing nutrition that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. A special formula given through a vein supplies most of the nutrients the body needs. TPN is used when someone can't or shouldn't receive feedings or fluids by mouth.


An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumors may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called neoplasm.

tumor marker

A substance found in tissue, blood, bone marrow, or other body fluids that may be a sign of cancer. Tumor markers are sometimes used to help diagnose and treat cancer.


ulcerative colitis (UC)

A chronic disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the large intestine. It primarily affects the lower intestine and rectum but may affect the entire colon. UC rarely affects the small intestine except for the lower section (the ileum). It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Having UC increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

ultrasound (US)

An ultrasound is a type of imaging test that uses sound waves to create pictures of organs, tissues, and other structures inside the body. Unlike x-rays, ultrasounds don’t use any radiation. Also known as a sonogram.


A doctor who specializes in urinary or urogenital tract diseases and disorders.


venous access device

An implanted device that allows access to a blood vessel without having to insert an IV needle every time an infusion treatment is given. Examples include ports and PICC lines.

virtual colonoscopy

A procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to create images of the rectum and colon. No sedation is usually required. Also called computerized tomography colonography (CTC).


wild type

The typical from of a gene that does not have a mutation.



A type of radiation imaging called electromagnetic waves. X-ray imaging creates pictures of the inside of the body and shows the parts of the body in different shades of black and white.


Y-90 (Yttrium-90)

A procedure that combines embolization and radiation therapy to treat tumors in the liver. Tiny beads filled with radioactive material are placed inside the blood vessels that feed a tumor. This blocks the supply of blood to the cancer cells and delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor while sparing normal tissue.