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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017

primary tumor

The first mass of cancer cells in the body.


The pattern and outcome of a disease.


The growth or spread of cancer after being tested or treated.

radiation therapy

The use of high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells.


A doctor who specializes in reading imaging tests.


An organ in the digestive system that holds stool until

expelled from the body.


The return of cancer after a cancer-free period.


The outer covering, in some places, of the rectal wall; also

called the visceral peritoneum.

sessile polyp

A polyp that is flat.

side effect

An unplanned physical or emotional response to treatment.

small intestine

The digestive organ that absorbs nutrients from eaten food.

stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)

Radiation therapy that uses precise, high-dose beams.


Unused food passed out of the body; also called feces.


The second layer of the rectal wall made mostly of

connective tissue.


A thin layer of connective tissue that makes fluid.

supportive care

Treatment for the symptoms or health conditions caused by

cancer or cancer treatment.

surface receptor

A protein found in the membrane of cells.

surgical margin

The normal tissue around the edge of a tumor that is

removed during surgery.

targeted therapy

Drugs that stop the action of molecules that start the growth

of cancer cells.

three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy


Radiation therapy that uses beams that match the shape of

the tumor.

total colonoscopy

Insertion of a thin tool into the colon to view the entire colon

and, if needed, remove tissue.

total mesorectal excision

An operation that removes your rectum and nearby tissue in

one piece.

transabdominal excision

An operation that removes tissue through cuts into the


transanal excision

An operation that removes tissue through the anus.

tumor budding

A group of 5 or fewer cancer cells separate from the main


tumor deposit

The presence of tiny tumors where the lymph drains from

the tumor.


A test that uses sound waves to take pictures of the insides

of the body.

vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)

A molecule that binds to cells that form blood vessels.

villous polyp

A polyp with a ruffled structure.