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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017


A clear fluid containing white blood cells.

lymph node

Small groups of special disease-fighting cells located

throughout the body.

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

A test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to make

pictures of the insides of the body.

medical history

All health events and medications taken to date.


Surgery to remove cancer that has spread far from the first



The spread of cancer cells from the first (primary) tumor to a

distant site.

microsatellite instability (MSI)

Errors in a small DNA part that happen when DNA is making

a copy of itself.

microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H)

The presence of 2 or more MSI markers.

mismatch repair (MMR) proteins

Proteins that correct DNA errors that occur when copies of

DNA are being made.


The first, inner layer of the rectal wall.


A sticky, thick liquid that moisturizes or lubricates.

muscularis mucosae

A thin layer of muscle within the mucosa of the rectal wall.

muscularis propria

The third layer of the rectal wall made mostly of muscle.


An abnormal change in the instructions within cells for

making and controlling cells.

needle biopsy

Removal of tissue or fluid samples from the body with a


neoadjuvant treatment

Treatment given before the main treatment used to cure

disease. Also called preoperative treatment.

noninvasive cancer

Cancer cells have not grown into the second layer of the

rectal wall.


A period of testing for cancer growth.

parietal peritoneum

The outer layer of tissue lining around the abdomen.

pathologic stage

A rating of the extent of cancer based on tests given after



A doctor who’s an expert in testing cells and tissue to find


pedunculated polyp

A polyp shaped like a mushroom with a stalk.


The area between the hip bones.

perineural invasion

Spread of cancer into nearby nerves.

physical exam

A review of the body by a health expert for signs of disease.

polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

A process in which copies of a DNA part are made.


An extra growth of tissue from the epithelium of the rectal


portal vein embolization

The blood vessel to the liver tumor is blocked causing the

healthy part of the liver to grow larger.

positron emission tomography (PET)

Use of radioactive material to see the shape and function of

body parts.

positron emission tomography/computed

tomography (PET/CT)

A test that uses radioactive material and x-rays to view the

shape and function of organs and tissues.