Glossary

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cancer
Is the growth of cells that is no longer within the normal control of healthy cells, where growth is unregulated. Malignant is a synonymous term.

cirrhosis
Often the end result of chronic liver disease (e.g. viral hepatitis, excessive alcohol use), leading to extensive replacement of normal liver tissue or parenchyma with scar tissue or fibrosis that encases multiple tiny nodules of normal liver tissue, with the potential for progressive loss of liver function. There are grades of cirrhotic liver disease, with compensated (no significant complications of liver disease) or decompensated (presence of complications, including encephalopathy, variceal bleeding and or ascites) cirrhosis.

colon
or large bowel, is generally 70cm in length, and is responsible for most of the water and electrolyte absorption, and acts as a repository for stool which is then excreted.

colonoscopy
An endoscopic procedure performed with a flexible camera (1.7m in length), aimed to visualize the entire length of the large bowel from the anal opening to the cecum. Bowel preparation is necessary prior to the procedure.

colorectal cancer
Cancer or malignancy that originates in the colon (large bowel) or rectum. Risk of colorectal cancer increases with age and with a family history (e.g. a primary relative having colorectal cancer). The primary treatment for colorectal cancer is surgical resection.

constipation
Although individual definitions may vary, generally understood as either difficulty with defecation or infrequent defecation. Bowel habit is highly variable amongst individuals, but based on large numbers of patient's patterns, less than 3 bowel movements per week would be considered constipation. Additional concerns include incomplete emptying and excessive straining.

crohn's disease
(CD) A chronic inflammatory condition of the small or large bowel, often diagnosed early in life, characterized by transmural inflammation (affects all 5 layers of the bowel), skip lesion distribution (can occur anywhere from the mouth to anus), and symptoms often include diarrhea and belly pain. If untreated, Crohn's disease can lead to complications, resulting in surgery.

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