Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

 

 

 

Abscess

A collection of pus from infection.

 

 

Acini

The parts of a gland where fluid  is produced (singular: acinus).

 

 

Acute

Occurring suddenly or over a short period of time.

 

 

Adenocarcinoma

A form of cancer that involves cells from the lining of the walls of many different organs of the body. Usually they make a gland and secrete some substance or fluid.

 

 

Adjuvant Treatment

Treatment that is added to increase the effectiveness of a primary treatment. In cancer, adjuvant treatment usually refers to chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or radiation therapy after surgery to increase the likelihood of killing all cancer cells.

 

 

Alkylating Agents

Type of chemotherapy drug used in cancer treatment.

 

 

Alopecia

Refers to hair loss as a result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy administered to the head. Hair loss from chemotherapy is temporary. Hair loss from radiation is usually permanent.

 

 

Amenorrhea

The absence or discontinuation of menstrual periods.

 

 

Analgesic

Medicine given to control pain; for example: aspirin or Tylenol."

 

 

Anesthesia

Medication that causes entire or partial loss of feeling or sensation. It can be "general" which is the same as being "asleep" or "local" which is what you might get at the dentist with novocaine.

 

 

Androgen

A male sex hormone. Androgens may be used in patients with breast cancer to treat recurrence of the disease.

 

 

Aneuploid

The characteristic of having either fewer or more than the normal number of chromosomes in a cell. This is an abnormal cell.

 

 

Anorexia

Abnormal, uncontrolled loss of appetite.

 

 

Antiemetic

A medicine that prevents or relieves nausea and vomiting, used during and sometimes after chemotherapy.

 

 

Antimetabolites

Anticancer drugs that interfere with the processes of DNA production, thus preventing cell division.

 

 

Areola

The circular field of dark colored skin surrounding the nipple.

 

 

Aspiration

Removing fluid or cells from tissue by inserting a needle into an area and drawing the fluid into the syringe.

 

 

Asymptomatic

Without obvious signs or symptoms of disease. Cancer may cause symptoms and warning signs; but, especially in its early stages, cancer may develop and grow without producing any symptoms.

 

 

Atypical Cells

Not usual; abnormal. Cancer is the result of atypical cell division.

 

 

Autologous

Coming from the same person.

 

 

Axilla

The armpit.

 

 

Axillary Dissection

Surgical removal of lymph nodes from the armpit. This tissue is then sent to the pathologist to determine if the breast cancer has spread outside of the breast. The number of nodes dissected varies during surgery. Your physician can tell you how many nodes were removed.

 

 

Axillary Nodes

The lymph nodes in the axilla (underarm) that are cut out and examined during surgery to see if the cancer has spread past the breast. The number of nodes in this area varies.

 

 

 B

 

 

 

Benign Tumor

An abnormal growth that is not cancer and does not spread to other parts of the body.

 

 

Bilateral

Pertains to both sides of the body. For example, bilateral breast cancer would be on both sides of the body or in two breasts.

 

 

Biological Response Modifier

Treatment used which alters the body's natural response to stimulate bone marrow to make specific blood cells. Referred to as colony stimulating factors.

 

 

Biopsy

The surgical removal of a small piece of tissue or a small tumor for microscopic examination to determine if cancer cells are present. A biopsy is the most important procedure in diagnosing cancer.

 

 

Biotherapy

Treatments used to stimulate the body's immune system.

 

 

Blood Count

A test to measure the number of red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets in a blood sample.

 

 

Bone Marrow

The soft, fatty substance filling the cavities of the bones. Blood cells are manufactured in the bone marrow. Chemotherapy will affect the bone marrow, resulting in a temporary decrease in the number of cells in the blood.

 

 

Bone Marrow Biopsy and Aspiration

A procedure in which a needle is inserted into the center of a bone, usually the hip, to remove a small amount of bone marrow for microscopic examination.

 

 

Bone Scan

The injection of a trace amount of radioactive substance into the bloodstream to illuminate the bones under a special camera to see if the cancer has spread to the bones.

 

 

Breast Cancer

If not removed from the body, a potentially fatal tumor because of its ability to leave the breast and go to other vital organs and continue to grow. These are uncontrolled breast cells that are abnormal with uncontrolled growth.

 

 

Breast Implant

A round or teardrop shaped sac inserted into the body to restore the shape of the breast. May be filled with saline water or synthetic material.

 

 

Breast Self-Exam (BSE)

A procedure to examine the breasts thoroughly once a month to detect any changes or suspicious lumps. Exams should be practiced at the end of the period or seven days after the start of the period and be performed monthly at the same time.