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A tumour or polyp which is benign but can change over time to become cancerous

Autosomal Dominant

Is one of several ways that a trait or disorder can be passed down (inherited) through families. In an autosomal dominant disease, if you inherit the abnormal gene from only one parent, you can get the disease.


Another name for the intestines – the small bowel (duodenum, jejunum and ileum) and the large bowel (colon and rectum)


A substance normally found in certain fetal tissues. If found in the blood of an adult, it may suggest that a cancer, especially one starting in the digestive system, may be present. Blood tests for this substance may help doctors find out if a colorectal cancer has come back after treatment.


Removal of the colon by surgery. Partial colectomy is the removal of a portion of the colon


Part of the large bowel which has the role of absorbing water and salts from digesting food. It is the final pathway for the removal of waste products from the body


A colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look inside your large bowel. It is carried out using a long, narrow and flexible telescopic camera called a colonoscope. Your doctor will pass the colonoscope into your bowel through your anus (back passage). See more at:!colonoscopy/iz6vw

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in either the colon or the rectum.- See more at:!colon-cancer/zbfkd


This is a type of blood test most commonly used to monitor patients with ovarian cancer. – See more at:


This is a type of blood test most commonly used to monitor patients with bowel cancer. – See more at:


Term used to describe giving medicine or drugs to treat an illness. Chemotherapy most often refers to anticancer drugs. – See more at:


A physician specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastro intestinal tract

Gene (genetic makeup)

The inherited characteristics of an individual; the blueprint of life


The study of inherited genes. See more at:!ls-genetics/v57z4

Genetic Counselling

The process of counselling people who might have a gene that makes them more likely to develop cancer or another disease. The purpose of counseling is to explore what the genetic test results might mean, help people decide whether they wish to be tested, and support them before and after the test.


The word commonly used for the digestive tract


Surgical removal of about half of the (generally) right side of the colon with subsequent joining of the remaining colon


An operation to remove the uterus (womb). This can be done through a cut (incision) in the belly (abdomen), through a few small cuts in the lower belly (called laparoscopic hysterectomy), or through the vagina. The ovaries may be removed (oophorectomy) at the same time, as may the fallopian tubes (salpingectomy).


An opening into the ileum, part of the small intestine, from the outside of the body. An ileostomy provides a new exit for waste material

Laparoscopic Surgery

Commonly called ‘keyhole surgery’. Several small incisions are made in the abdomen allowing a laparoscope (a small viewing camera) and specialised surgical instruments to view and operate on the tumour

Large Intestine

The lower part of the intestine, running from the small intestine to the anus, which absorbs most of the fluid from the stool. It’s wider (but not longer) than the small intestine. The large intestine contains the cecum, colon, and rectum


An area of abnormal body tissue. May be used to describe a lump, mass, or tumor; also a spot or change in the way the skin looks or feels.

Lynch Syndrome

Lymph nodes

A network of vessels which transport fluid from body tissue to the blood stream, acting as the body’s drainage system

Lymphatic system

The tissues and organs (including lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, and bone marrow) that produce and store lymphocytes (white blood cells that fight infection) and the channels or vessels that carry the lymph fluid. This is an important part of the body’s immune system. Invasive cancers sometimes get into the lymphatic vessels and spread (metastasize) to lymph nodes.


A physician who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer

PICC line

Peripherally inserted central catheter – A thin tube inserted into a vein in your arm that is guided all the way to a vein near your heart, called the vena cava. PICC lines are left in place for weeks or months and can be used to take blood samples and administer drugs and fluids.- See more at:


The treatment of cancer by deep X-rays. Often given for rectal cancer before or after surgery


The process of assessing the size of a tumour and whether or not it has spread from it’s original site. – See more at:


An excessive growth of cells resulting in an abnormal mass. A tumour may be either benign or cancerous. – See more at:

Tumor marker

A substance sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues and which may suggest the presence of some types of cancer. Also called biomarkers. – See more at:

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