Colorectal cancer

Glossary and abbreviations

From Cancer Guidelines Wiki

Term Definition
5-fluorouracil A chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat patients with cancer.
Abdomen The part of the body between the chest and hips, which contains the stomach, spleen, pancreas, liver, gall bladder, bowel, bladder and kidneys.
Abdominoperineal resection An operation for rectal cancer. This involves removing part of the colon, and the rectum and anus, and creating a permanent colostomy.
Absolute risk The risk a subject has for developing the tested disease over a stated time period.
Adenocarcinoma A type of cancerous tumour that forms from glandular structures in epithelial tissue.
Adjuvant therapy A treatment given with or shortly after another treatment to make it more effective. This usually refers to surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Analgesic A type of drug used to achieve pain relief.
Anaemia A reduction in the oxygen-carrying component of the blood (haemoglobin or red blood cells).
Anterior resection A surgical procedure to remove cancer in the rectum with the bowel being re-joined to leave a functioning anus.
Antibiotic A medicine that destroys or kills microorganisms.
Anus The opening between the buttocks at the end of the bowel, through which solid waste (poo, stool) leaves the body.
Aspirin A common medication used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. Also known as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA).
Biopsy The removal of a small sample of tissue from the body for examination under a microscope to help diagnose a disease.
Bisphosphonates Medication used to slow down or prevent bone loss.
Bowel cancer Cancer of the large bowel; also known as colorectal cancer, colon cancer or rectal cancer.
Bowel obstruction Partial or complete blocking of the bowel, which prevents waste matter passing (bowel movements).
Bowel preparation The process of cleaning out the bowel before a test, scan or operation to allow the doctor to see the bowel more clearly.
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) A protein that may be found in the blood of a person with colorectal cancer.
Close margin When cancer cells are close to the edge of the removed tissue.
Chemoprevention The use of drugs or natural substances to prevent or delay the development of cancer.
Colectomy The surgical removal of all or part of the colon. The affected areas of the colon are cut out and the two ends are joined back together. Colectomies are named for the part removed. They include: right and left hemicolectomies, and transverse, sigmoid, subtotal and total colectomies.
Colon The main part of the large bowel, which absorbs water and electrolytes from undigested food (solid waste). Its four parts are the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon and sigmoid colon.
Colonoscopy An examination of the large bowel using a camera on a flexible tube, which is passed through the anus.
Colorectal Referring to the large bowel, comprising the colon and rectum.
Confidence interval A measure that quantifies the uncertainty in measurement. When reported as 95% CI, it is the range of values within which we can be 95% sure that the true value for the whole population lies.
Consensus-based recommendation A recommendation formulated in the absence of quality evidence, after a systematic review of the evidence was conducted and failed to identify admissible evidence on the clinical question.
Cost-effectiveness analysis A form of economic analysis comparing the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of different courses of action.
CT colonography Also known as virtual colonoscopy, a medical imaging procedure that uses low dose radiation CT scanning to obtain an interior view of the colon (the large bowel) that is otherwise only seen with a more invasive procedure where an endoscope is inserted into the rectum and passed through the entire colon.
CT scan A computerised tomography (CT) scan, which x-ray equipment to create detailed digital images, or scans, of areas inside the body.
Cytoreductive surgery A surgery to remove as much cancerous growth as possible from multiple sites in the abdomen.
Dehiscence A surgical complication where a wound ruptures along a surgical incision.
Distant metastasis Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumour to distant organs or distant lymph nodes.
Distant recurrence When the cancer has spread (metastasised) to organs or tissues far from the place of the original cancer.
Dyspepsia Indigestion.
Endorectal ultrasound (ERUS) An imaging procedure where a probe is inserted into the rectum and high frequency sound waves (ultrasound waves) are generated to look for abnormalities in the rectum and nearby structures.
Evidence-based recommendation A recommendation formulated after a systematic review of the evidence, indicating supporting references.
Faecal immunochemical test (FiT) See FOBT.
Faecal occult blood test (FOBT) A test that can detect microscopic amounts of blood in stools. Types of FOBT include immunochemical FOBTs (iFOBTs), which directly detect haemoglobin using antibodies specific for the globin moiety of human haemoglobin, and guaiac FOBTs (gFOBTs), which detect peroxidase activity, an indirect method for identification of haemoglobin.
Familial syndromes Genetic disorders in which inherited genetic mutations in one or more genes predispose a person to developing cancer, particularly at an early age.
First presentation In this guideline, first presentation is defined as a positive screening iFOBT.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy A procedure used by physicians to examine the inner lining of the rectum, particularly the lower portion of the colon (unlike the colonoscopy that examines the entirety of the colon). It consists of a flexible tube that is approximately 60 cm long, a small light and a camera attached at the tip of the tube.
FOLFOX Systemic chemotherapy using a combination of the drugs Leucovorin (folinic acid), Fluorouracil, and Oxaliplatin.
General practitoner (GP) A medical professional who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education to a wide range of patients.
Hazard ratio A measure of how often a particular event happens in one group compared to how often it happens in another group, over time. In cancer research, hazard ratios are often used in clinical trials to measure survival at any particular moment in a group of patients who have been given a specific treatment or a placebo. A hazard ratio of one means that there is no difference in survival between the two groups. A hazard ratio of greater than one or less than one means that survival was better in one of the groups.
Helicobacter pylori A type of bacteria that grows in the digestive tract.
High anterior resection A type of surgical procedure sometimes referred to as sigmoid colectomy or sigmoidectomy, where the sigmoid colon is removed, along with the upper rectum and a portion of the left colon.
Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy A highly concentrated, heated chemotherapy treatment that is delivered directly to the abdomen during surgery.
Imaging Using scans, including nuclear medicine, to create images of the interior of a body for clinical analysis and medical intervention.
Incidence An epidemiological term reporting number of new cases in a population within a specified period of time.
Incisional hernia A type of hernia caused by an incompletely healed surgical wound.
Intention-to-treat analysis This analysis includes all subjects originally enrolled and allocated to treatment irrespective of whether treatment was adhered to, treatment changed or even if they were lost to follow-up.
Laparoscopic surgery A procedure where small multiple incisions are made to perform an operation, rather than making a large open incision.
Laparotomy A surgical procedure involving a large incision through the abdominal wall to gain access into the abdominal cavity.
Local recurrence The reappearance of cancer at a site that was previously treated and responded to therapy.
Local transanal resection The local resection of tumour through the anus.
Lymphorrhea The leakage of the lymph node which can be through cutting, tearing or the bursting of blood vessels.
Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) A listing of Medicare services subsidised by the Australian Government.
Metastasis The spread of cancer cells to new areas of the body (often by way of the lymph system or bloodstream).
Metastatic Cancer that has spread from the primary site of origin (where it started) into different area(s) of the body.
Metformin A medication used to control blood sugar levels.
MRI scan Magnetic resonance imaging scan. A procedure in which radio waves and a magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed digital images of areas inside the body.
Narcotic Drugs used to treat severe pain.
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) An Australian screening program that aims to reduce illness and death from bowel cancer through early detection or prevention of the disease.
Negative margin When cancer cells are not at the edge of the tissue.
Neoadjuvant therapy A type of treatment given as a first step to shrink a tumour before main treatment (usually surgery) is given.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Medications commonly used to manage the pain and inflammation.
Normothermia Normal body temperature.
Odds ratio A comparison of the odds (probability) of something happening in 1 group with the odds of it happening in another.
Pathology A medical specialty that determines the cause and nature of diseases by examining and testing body tissues, for instance from laboratory examination of samples of body tissue.
Peri-operative optimisation Measures and interventions used at or around the time of surgery to improve patient outcomes.
Peritoneal involvement A tumour that occurs in the peritoneal cavity.
Peritonectomy A surgical procedure to remove the cancerous part of the lining of the abdominal cavity.
Polyp A small growth protruding from a mucous membrane, such as the lining of the bowel.
Polypectomy The removal of polyps from the bowel.
Positive margin When cancer cells are located all the way to the edge of the removed tissue.
Positive predictive value A measure for the likelihood (probability) that the subject with a positive screening result has the disease being tested for.
Positron emission tomography (PET) A scan in which a person is injected with a small amount of radioactive glucose solution to find cancerous areas.
Practice point A recommendation on a subject that is outside the scope of the search strategy for the systematic review, based on expert opinion and formulated by a consensus process.
Primary care The first point of contact people have with the health system, generally through a general practitioner.
Primary prevention Measures to prevent the onset of disease. This may include prevention strategies to modify cancer risk factors, such as dietary and lifestyle interventions, and medical interventions to enhance resistance to the effects of exposure to a disease agent, such as chemoprevention and vaccines.
Prophylaxis Treatment given or action taken to prevent disease.
Quality-adjusted life year A generic measure of disease burden, including both the quality and the quantity of life lived. It is used in economic evaluation to assess the value for money of medical interventions.
Randomised controlled trial (RCT) A study in which people are allocated at random (by chance alone) to receive one of several clinical interventions. One of these interventions is the standard of comparison or control.
Rectum The final section of the large bowel, ending at the anus.
Regional recurrence Tumour growth in the lymph nodes or tissues near the place of the original cancer.
Robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery A method to perform laparoscopic surgery using small tools attached to a robotic arm. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer.
Screening Performing tests to identify disease in people before any symptoms appear.
Secondary prevention Strategies such as screening and early detection programs to identify a disease or condition early in its development, to reduce the morbidity and mortality by improving the outcome of disease that has already developed.
Sigmoid colon The last section of the colon before it connects to the rectum.
Statins Drugs used to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Systemic chemotherapy Anti-cancer drugs that are injected into a vein or given by mouth. These drugs travel through the bloodstream to all parts of the body.
Thromboembolism The obstruction of a blood vessel by a blood clot that has become dislodged from another site.
Total mesorectal excision A procedure used in the treatment of colorectal cancer in which a significant length of the bowel around the tumour is removed.
Transanal excision A local excision of rectal cancer performed through the anus.
Transanal minimally invasive surgery A surgical approach to remove benign polyps and some cancerous tumours within the rectum and lower sigmoid colon without making an excision.
Transverse colectomy Surgical removal of the middle part of the colon.
TNM staging system A system that describes the amount and spread of cancer in a patient’s body. T describes the size of the tumour and its spread into nearby tissue; N describes the spread to nearby lymph nodes and M describes metastasis (spread of cancer to other parts of the body).
Venous thromboembolism The formation of blood clots in the vein.