3 cm from the anal margin;

Clear margins rectal cancer

Glossary of Terms

The following excerpt is taken from Colon & Rectal Cancer: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients & Families by Lorraine Johnston, copyright 2000 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. For book orders/information, call (800) 998-9938. Permission is granted to print and distribute this excerpt for noncommercial use as long as the above source is included. The information in this article is meant to educate and should not be used as an alternative for professional medical care.

This glossary lists only terms specific to colorectal cancers. For a comprehensive glossary of cancer medical terminology, see Roberta Altman's and Michael Sarg's The Cancer Dictionary. For more general medical terms, any one of several inexpensive medical dictionaries available in bookstores and libraries should suffice.

Guides to pronunciation are included.

But first-unusual phrases

Before we list terms you may find when reading about colorectal cancers, we must point out that there are a few specific words and phrases that may be jarring because they mean something other in medicine than they do in everyday usage: Anecdotal When used in a medical context does not mean a funny story. It means a single case report not yet substantiated by studies using large numbers of people. Impressive or not impressive When used in a medical context does not mean anything derogatory. It means that, when the patient was examined, a particular feature did not strike the examiner as overwhelmingly unusual. For instance, after palpating your abdomen, the doctor may note in your medical record that your spleen was "not impressive." This means it did not feel enlarged, and that you did not report pain when she pressed on it. Morbid or morbidity Does not mean that you have a neurotic outlook. These words simply mean illness, and are somewhat the opposite of mortality. You might read, for example, that a treatment resulted in 20 percent low-level morbidity but only 2 percent mortality. Likewise, comorbidity means the illnesses a person has in addition to cancer, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. "The patient denies… " Does not mean that the doctor thinks you're lying. It's just used as the opposite of "the patient reports… " For instance, your medical record might read, "The patient reports frequent morning cough, but denies the presence of phlegm." Pathological In the context of tissue studies means the study of the appearance of healthy cells, cancerous cells, and affected organs. It does not mean mental or emotional illness, such as would be...

Popular Q&A

As a cancer patient what does it mean to have clear margins but precancerous cells presents?

I was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in December 2011. After two surgeries my oncology Dr told me the tumors were gone with clear margins but they found precancerous cells. Should I be concerned?

With surgery for cancer, the malgnancy tends to return at the edges of where the surgery ended - the margins. It sounds like there are some abnormal cells there. Has he recommended a course of treatment?

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