Dictionary

  • ABCDE rule
    A memory device for characteristics of moles that may be cancer. A =  Asymmetry; B = Border; C = Color; D = Diameter; E = Evolving.

    Abdomen
    The belly area between the chest and pelvis.

    Ablation

    1. Treatment that destroys very small tumors.
    2. Treatment using radiofrequency to destroy cancer cells.

    Abrams needle biopsy
    Tissue removal with a needle that limits the amount of air that enters the tissue.

    Accelerated phase
    The second phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia during which the number of blast cells is increased.

    Access port
    A small device implanted under the skin that allows access to veins; sometimes called a port-a-cath.

    Acral lentiginous melanoma
    An uncommon type of melanoma that looks like a bruise on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet or like a dark stripe in a nail.

    Active myeloma
    Myeloma that has spread throughout the bone marrow and is causing symptoms.

    Active surveillance
    Delay of treatment with ongoing testing to watch for cancer growth.

    Acute leukemia
    A fast-growing cancer that starts in blood-forming cells in the bone marrow.

    Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    A fast-growing cancer that causes too many immature white blood cells called lymphoblasts to be made in the bone marrow.

    Adenocarcinoma
    Cancer that starts in cells that line organs and make fluids or hormones.

    Adenoma
    A type of small growth in the gut's lining that is the most common and the most likely to become cancer. Also called adenomatous polyp.

    Adipose tissue
    Loose connective tissue that stores fat cells.

    Adjunctive treatment
    Medicine that is given with cancer treatment but is for symptoms caused by the cancer.

    Adjuvant chemotherapy
    A type of cancer drug that is given after the main treatment used to cure the cancer.

    Adjuvant treatment
    Treatment that is given after the main treatment used to cure the cancer.

    Adrenal gland
    A small organ on top of each kidney that makes hormones.

    Advance directive
    Written statements about your wishes for health care should you become unable to make these wishes known at a later time.

    Adventitia
    The fourth layer of the wall of the esophagus.

    Aggressive cancer
    A cancer that spreads quickly.

    Albumin
    The main protein in the yellowish part of the blood.

    Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
    A protein found in most tissues of the body.

    Alkylating agent
    A cancer drug that damages coded instructions in cells by adding a chemical to them.

    Allergic reaction
    Symptoms that are caused when the body is trying to rid itself of outside agents.

    Allogeneic stem cell transplant

    1. A cancer treatment that transfers blood-forming cells.
    2. A treatment in which the patient receives blood-forming cells (blood stem cells) from another person.

    Alternative medicine
    Treatments used in place of ones usually given by doctors.

    Alveoli
    Tiny sacs in the lungs where gases are transferred in and out of the blood.

    Amosite asbestos
    Straight, brittle, needle-like asbestos fibers.

    Amphibole asbestos
    A group of asbestos fibers that are straight, needle-like, and brittle.

    Amyloid
    An abnormal protein formed by clumps of excess light chains.

    Amyloidosis
    A health condition in which a protein called amyloid builds up in and damages organs.

    Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)
    A protein on the edge of a cell that send signals for the cell to grow.

    Androgen
    A hormone that is found in high levels in males and is involved in sexual development and functioning.

    Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)
    Treatment that stops the making or action of androgen hormones in the body. Also called hormone therapy.

    Anemia
    A health condition in which the number of red blood cells is low.

    Anesthesia
    Loss of feeling with or without loss of wakefulness caused by drugs.

    Anesthetic
    A drug or other substance that causes a controlled loss of feeling or awareness with or without loss of wakefulness.

    Angiogenesis
    The growth of new blood vessels.

    Angiogram
    A test that uses x-rays to make pictures of blood flow within an artery.

    Angiolymphatic invasion
    Cancer that has spread into the lymph vessels or bloodstream.

    Anterior lobe
    The part of the prostate that is above the urethra.

    Anterior zone
    The top of the prostate.

    Anthracycline
    A cancer drug that damages and disrupts the making of the genetic code in cells.

    Antiandrogen
    A drug used to stop the action of the hormone testosterone.

    Antiandrogen withdrawal response
    A decrease in prostate-specific antigens (PSA) when an antiandrogen drug is stopped.

    Antibiotic
    A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria.

    Antibody

    1. A protein that helps the body fight off infections. Also called immunoglobulins.
    2. A protein made by plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) that helps the body fight infections. Also called immunoglobulin.

    Anticoagulant
    A drug that thins the blood to reduce the risk of blood clots.

    Antiestrogen
    A drug that stops estrogen, a hormone, from attaching to cells.

    Antifungal
    A drug that treats infections caused by fungus.

    Antimetabolite
    A cancer drug that prevents the "building blocks" of the genetic code from being used.

    Anus
    The opening between the legs that allows stool to pass out of the body.

    Aortic lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are near the heart and aorta.

    Apheresis
    A procedure in which stem cells are removed from blood.

    Apoptosis
    The natural death of cells. Also called programmed cell death.

    Appendix
    A small, pouch-like organ that sticks out from the first part of the large intestine.

    Areola
    A darker, circular area of skin on the breast surrounding the nipple.

    Aromatase inhibitor
    A drug that lowers the level of estrogen, a hormone, in the body.

    Arsenic
    A very toxic metallic chemical.

    Arterial radioembolization
    Treatment with radiation that is given through an artery to treat liver tumors.

    Artery
    A tube-shaped vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

    Arthralgias
    Joint pain.

    Arthritis
    Swelling of the bone joints.

    Asbestos

    1. A mineral fiber used in housing and commercial materials.
    2. A group of minerals made of tiny fibers that are strong, flexible, and resistant to heat.

    Ascending colon
    The first part of the colon along the right side of the body.

    Ascites
    Abnormal buildup of fluid in the belly area (abdomen) or pelvis.

    Asymmetry
    One half or side of the mole does not match the other half or side.

    Asymptomatic
    Having no signs or symptoms of disease.

    Atelectasis
    Collapse of a lung.

    Atypical mole
    A mole that looks different from a normal or common mole.

    Autoimmune disorder
    A disease that causes the immune system to attack the body.

    Autologous stem cell transplant
    A cancer treatment that removes, stores, then returns a patient's blood-forming cells (blood stem cells).

    Axillary
    The body area under the armpit.

    Axillary lymph node dissection

    1. Surgery to remove all the lymph nodes near the armpit(s).
    2. Surgery to remove all groups of disease-fighting cells that are near the armpit(s).

    Axillary lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are near the armpit(s).

    Azygos vein
    A large vein on the right side of the spine within the chest.

  • BCR-ABL gene
    An abnormal set of coded instructions found in the Philadelphia chromosome.

    BRAF gene
    A set of coded instructions in a cell needed to make B-Raf protein.

    Bacillus Calmette-Guérin

    1. A form of dead tuberculosis (TB) used to activate the immune system.
    2. A germ similar to the one that causes tuberculosis that is given to activate the immune system.

    Barium enema
    A test that fills the colon with fluid and air and then takes pictures using x-rays.

    Barium swallow
    A test that uses x-rays and a liquid with barium sulfate that is swallowed to make pictures of the organs in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

    Barrett's esophagus
    The presence of stomach cells within the lining of the esophagus.

    Barrier birth control methods
    Devices that prevent sperm from entering the womb (uterus).

    Basal cell skin cancer
    The most common type of skin cancer.

    Baseline test

    1. A starting point to which future tests are compared.
    2. The first test results to which future test results are compared.

    Basophil
    A type of white blood cell that helps the body respond to allergens.

    B-cells
    A type of white blood cell that turns into a plasma cell in response to germs.

    Bence Jones myeloma
    Condition in which myeloma cells make only free light chains and no complete M-proteins. Also called light chain myeloma.

    Benign
    A mass of cells, or tumor, that aren't cancer.

    Benign prostatic hypertrophy
    An overgrowth of tissue in the prostate that isn't caused by cancer. Also sometimes called benign prostatic hyperplasia.

    Beryllium
    A hard, gray metallic chemical.

    Beta-2 microglobulin
    A small protein made by many cells, including white blood cells and myeloma cells.

    Bilateral

    1. Involving both sides of the body.
    2. Involving both parts of an organ.

    Bilateral mastectomy
    Removal of both breasts from the body.

    Bilateral oophorectomy
    Removal of both ovaries from the body.

    Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy
    Surgery that removes both ovaries and both Fallopian tubes from the body.

    Bile
    Yellowish-brown fluid made by the liver that helps to digest food.

    Bile duct
    Small tube-shaped organs that drain digestive fluid (bile) from the liver.

    Biliary bypass
    Surgery to re-route the flow of bile from the common bile duct into the small intestine.

    Biliary stent
    A small plastic or metal tube-shaped device used to unblock a bile duct.

    Biliary tree
    The system of tube-shaped organs that drain digestive fluid from the liver.

    Bilirubin

    1. A substance in the body that causes bodily fluids to be yellow.
    2. A yellow-brown substance that is removed from blood by the liver and is part of bile.

    Biochemical relapse

    1. A rise in the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) after treatment for prostate cancer.
    2. A rise in the level of CA-125 after ovarian cancer treatment, without symptoms or signs on imaging tests that the cancer has come back.

    Biochemotherapy
    Treatment with drugs that boost the body's disease-fighting ability (immunotherapy) and drugs that kill fast-growing cells (chemotherapy).

    Biological therapy
    A treatment used to help the immune system fight disease in the body.

    Biomarker
    A substance found in body fluid or tissues that may be a sign of cancer.

    Biopsy
    Removal of small amounts of tissue or fluid to be tested for disease.

    Biphasic (mixed) subtype
    A subtype of pleural mesothelioma that has both organized, structured cells (epithelioid subtype) and long, spindle-shaped disorganized cells (sarcomatoid subtype).

    Birth Canal
    A hollow, muscular tube in women through which babies are born. Also called vagina.

    Birth defect
    A physical, mental, or chemical abnormality in newborn babies.

    Bisphosphonate
    A drug that helps to improve bone strength and prevent loss of bone mass.

    Bladder
    An organ that holds and expels urine from the body.

    Blast cell
    An immature cell found in blood marrow that develops into a mature cell.

    Blast phase
    The final phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia during which the number of blast cells is very high.

    Blood cell count
    The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a blood sample.

    Blood chemistry profile

    1. A set of tests to see if there are abnormal amounts of chemicals in the body.
    2. Measurement of the amount of chemicals in the blood.

    Blood chemistry test
    A test that measures the amount of certain substances in the blood to check for signs of disease.

    Blood clot
    A mass of blood that forms when blood platelets, proteins, and cells stick together.

    Blood stem cell
    An immature blood cell from which all other types of blood cells are made.

    Blood thinner
    A drug that thins out the blood to treat or reduce the risk of blood clots.

    Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
    A waste product made by the liver and filtered out of blood and into urine by the kidneys.

    Blood vessel
    A hollow tube that circulates blood throughout the body.

    Board-certified
    A status to identify doctors who finished training in a specialized field of medicine.

    Body mass index (BMI)
    A measure of body fat based on height and weight.

    Body plethysmograph
    A test that measures how much air your lungs can hold and how much air is in your lungs after you exhale.

    Bolus
    A fast injection of a drug.

    Bone densitometry
    A test that uses x-rays to make pictures that show how strong or thin bones are.

    Bone fracture
    A crack or break in a bone.

    Bone lesion

    1. An area of bone damage.
    2. Abnormal tissue in the bone.

    Bone marrow
    The soft, sponge-like tissue found in the center of most bones, where blood cells are formed.

    Bone marrow aspirate
    A sample of fluid removed from the bone marrow to test for disease.

    Bone marrow aspiration
    The removal of a small amount of liquid bone marrow to test for disease.

    Bone marrow biopsy
    The removal of a small amount of solid bone and bone marrow to test for disease.

    Bone marrow cytogenetics
    Test of a sample of bone marrow to look for changes in the cells' chromosomes. Also called conventional cytogenetics.

    Bone metastasis
    Cancer that has spread to the bones.

    Bone mineral density
    A test that measures the strength of bones.

    Bone scan
    A test that uses radioactive material to assess for bone damage.

    Bone survey
    A set of X-rays of the entire skeleton to look for broken or damaged bones. Also called skeletal survey.

    Boost
    An extra dose of radiation to a specific area of the body.

    Border irregularity
    The edges of a mole are ragged or notched.

    Borderline ovarian cancer
    An ovarian tumor with abnormal cells that aren't clearly cancer.

    Borderline resectable pancreatic cancer
    Cancer that is confined to the pancreas but that approaches nearby structures or has severe symptoms so that it might not be possible to remove all the cancer with surgery.

    Bowel
    Another name for the intestine. Also called the gut.

    Bowel obstruction
    A health condition in which a tumor is blocking stool from passing through the gut.

    Brachytherapy
    Treatment with radioactive objects placed near or in a tumor. Also called internal radiation.

    BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
    Coded information within cells that help to prevent tumor growth by fixing damaged cells and helping cells grow normally. Abnormal changes within these genes increases the chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

    Breast awareness
    Learning about one's breasts.

    Breast duct
    A hollow tube through which milk travels to the nipple.

    Breast implant
    A small bag filled with salt water, gel, or both that is used to remake breasts.

    Breast lobules
    Glands in the breast that make milk.

    Breast reconstruction
    Surgery to create new breasts.

    Breast-conserving therapy

    1. Cancer treatment that removes a breast lump then kills remaining cancer cells with radiation.
    2. The removal of a whole lump and surrounding tissue in the breast, followed with radiation therapy.

    Breslow thickness
    How deep the melanoma tumor has grown into the skin, measured in millimeters.

    Broad-spectrum sunscreen
    A substance that protects the skin from the sun by blocking two types of harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays—UVA and UVB.

    Bronchi
    The two airways extending from the windpipe into the lungs.

    Bronchioli
    Branches of small airways within the lungs.

    Bronchopulmonary lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are near the main airways of the lungs.

    Bronchoscope
    A thin, long tube through which tools are inserted to do work in the airways.

    Bronchoscopy
    Use of a thin, long tool that is guided into the airways to view or remove tissue.

    Bronchus
    One of the two main airways that extend into the lungs from the windpipe.

    Busulfan
    A chemotherapy drug used for chronic myelogenous leukemia before tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment became standard practice.

    Bypass
    Surgery to re-route the flow of fluid in the body.

  • CA 19-9 (cancer antigen 19-9)
    Proteins made by cancer cells and found in blood.

    CA-125 (cancer antigen 125)
    A protein with sugar molecules made by ovarian cancer cells as well as normal cells.

    Cadmium
    A heavy metallic chemical.

    Calcium

    1. A mineral needed for healthy teeth, bones, and other body tissues.
    2. A mineral found in body tissues.

    Cancer grade
    A measurement tool to describe how closely the cancer cells look like normal cells.

    Cancer screening
    The use of tests to find cancer before signs of cancer appear.

    Cancer stage
    The rating of the growth and spread of cancer.

    Cancerous
    Cells that can grow within any type of tissue and spread to any part of the body. Also called malignant.

    Carbon dioxide (CO2)

    1. A natural chemical gas that has no odor or color.
    2. A gas that is released from the body during breathing.

    Carcinoembryonic antigen
    A protein present in babies growing in the womb or when cancer forms.

    Carcinoma

    1. Cancer that starts in cells that form the lining of structures.
    2. Cancer that starts in cells that form glands.

    Carcinoma in situ
    Abnormal or cancer cells have not grown into the next layer of tissue.

    Carcinoma in situ of the breast
    Breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast ducts or lobules.

    Cardiac stress test
    A test of how well your heart works during exercise.

    Cardiotoxicity
    Having a harmful effect on the heart.

    Carina
    Firm, flexible, supportive tissue at the base of the windpipe.

    Carney-Stratakis syndrome
    A health condition that is passed down from parents and marked by gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

    Castration therapy

    1. Surgery that removes the testicles
    2. Drugs that greatly reduce the level of testosterone in a man's body

    Cataract
    A health condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy.

    Catheter
    A flexible tube inserted in the body to give treatment or drain fluid from the body.

    Cavernous nerves
    Nerves that send signals to start penile erections.

    Celiac plexus
    A group of nerves in the intestine that are toward the back of the upper part of the abdomen.

    Cell subtype
    Different types of cancer cells that are grouped based on how the cells look when viewed with a microscope.

    Cells
    The "building blocks" of tissues in the body.

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
    A federal government agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid.

    Central nervous system
    The brain and spinal cord.

    Central venous catheter
    A thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm, thigh, neck or below the collarbone to deliver medication or collect blood.

    Central zone
    The inner part of the prostate around the urethra.

    Cervical cancer
    Cancer that started in cells within the neck of the womb, which is called the cervix.

    Cervical lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are within the neck.

    Cervical pleura
    The tissue lining around the lungs that extends into the neck area.

    Cervix
    The neck of the womb that is attached to the birth canal.

    Chemoembolization
    Treatment that cuts off blood supply to tumors with beads coated with chemotherapy.

    Chemoradiation
    Treatment with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

    Chemotherapy

    1. Drugs that kill cancer cells by damaging or disrupting the making of the genetic code.
    2. Drugs that stop the growth process of cells in an active growth phase.
    3. Drugs that kill fast-growing cells throughout the body, including normal cells and cancer cells.

    Chemotherapy cycle
    Days of treatment followed by days of rest.

    Chest wall
    The layer of muscles and bones under the skin that covers the chest area.

    Cholangitis
    An infection of the small tube-shaped organs that drain digestive fluid from the liver.

    Chromium
    A hard, semi-gray metallic chemical.

    Chromosome

    1. The part of the cell's nucleus that contains strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
    2. Long strands in cells that contain bundles of coded information for making and controlling cells.

    Chronic granulocytic leukemia
    A type of leukemia that progresses slowly and causes too many white blood cellsto form. Also called chronic myelogenous leukemia.

    Chronic leukemia
    A slow-growing cancer that stars in blood forming cells in the bone marrow.

    Chronic myelogenous leukemia
    A type of leukemia that progresses slowly and causes too many white blood cells to form. Also called chronic myeloid leukemia.

    Chronic myeloid leukemia
    A type of leukemia that progresses slowly and causes too many white blood cells to form. Also called chronic myelogenous leukemia.

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    Trouble with breathing due to lung damage or too much mucus.

    Chronic phase
    The first phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia during which patients do not usually report symptoms.

    Chrysotile asbestos
    Long, curly asbestos fibers.

    Clark level
    A scale of melanoma tumor depth with five scores based on which layer of skin the tumor has invaded.

    Clear cell
    A type of ovarian cancer cell that is likely to grow and spread fast.

    Clear margin
    The absence of cancer within the normal-looking tissue around the tumor.

    Clinical breast exam
    A physical exam of the breasts by a health professional to feel for disease.

    Clinical relapse
    Cancer symptoms or test results that suggest the cancer has returned after treatment.

    Clinical stage
    The rating of the extent of cancer based on tests before treatment.

    Clinical trial
    Research on a test or treatment to assess its safety or how well it works.

    Clonal evolution
    Changes in the coded instructions (genes) that allow cancer cells to survive cancer treatments and the body's attempts to destroy them.

    Colectomy
    Removal of all or part of the colon from the body.

    Colitis
    Swelling of the colon.

    Colon
    An organ that changes eaten food from a liquid into a solid form.

    Colonoscope
    A thin, long tube through which tools are inserted to do work in the colon.

    Colonoscopy
    Use of a thin, long tool that is guided into the colon to view or remove tissue.

    Colorectal cancer
    Cancer that starts in the colon, rectum, or both.

    Colostomy
    Surgery to connect a part of the colon to the outside of the abdomen.

    Combination chemotherapy
    The use of two or more chemotherapy drugs for treatment.

    Combination regimen
    The use of two or more drugs for treatment.

    Combined androgen blockade
    Castration therapy combined with an antiandrogen drug.

    Common bile duct
    A tube-shaped organ that transports digestive fluid from the liver into the gut.

    Complementary medicine
    Treatment given along with standard treatment.

    Complete blood count (CBC)
    A test that measures the parts of blood.

    Complete blood count (CBC) with differential
    A test of the number of blood cells as well as the different types of white blood cells in a sample.

    Complete response
    The absence of all signs of cancer after treatment.

    Completion surgery
    A follow-up surgery to remove a woman's reproductive organs and possibly the omentum, nearby supporting tissue, and any remaining cancer that can be seen.

    Compression fracture

    1. The collapse of bones in the spine.
    2. A break (fracture) in a bone caused by the collapse of bones in the spine.

    Computed tomography (CT) scan
    A test that combines many x-rays taken from different angles to make a picture of the insides of the body.

    Concurrent chemoradiation
    Chemotherapy given at the same time as radiation therapy.

    Conformal external beam radiation
    Treatment with radiation that uses beams that match the shape of the tumor.

    Connective tissue
    Supporting and binding tissue that surrounds other tissues and organs.

    Continuation maintenance
    One or more first-line drugs is continued.

    Contralateral

    1. On the other side of the body than the symptom or disease.
    2. On the other side of an organ than the symptom or disease.

    Contrast
    A dye that is put into the body to make clearer pictures during imaging tests.

    Control group
    Patients in research who don't receive a new treatment.

    Conventional cytogenetics
    Test of a sample of bone marrow to look for changes in the cells' chromosomes. Also called bone marrow cytogenetics.

    Conventional radiation therapy
    Radiation that is given in small doses for weeks and targets both the tumor and some normal tissue.

    Conversion treatment
    Treatments given to qualify a person for surgery.

    Core needle biopsy
    Removal of a large tissue sample with a wide, hollow needle to test for disease.

    Costal pleura
    The lining of the lungs that has contact with the ribs and nearby muscles.

    Creatinine
    A waste product of muscles that is filtered out of blood and into urine by the kidneys.

    Criteria
    Standards for making a decision

    Criterion
    A standard for making a decision.

    Crocidolite asbestos
    Straight, brittle, needle-like asbestos fibers.

    Crohn's disease
    An inflammatory disease of the bowel.

    Cryoablation
    Treatment that kills cancer cells by freezing them.

    Cryopreservation
    The process of cooling and storing cells, tissues, or organs at very cold temperatures.

    Cryosurgery
    Treatment that freezes tissue to kill cancer cells.

    CT-guided biopsy
    Use of pictures from a CT scan to find and remove tissue or fluid samples to test for disease.

    Curative treatment
    Treatment used to fully rid the body of a disease.

    Cyst
    A closed sac in the body filled with air or fluid.

    Cytochemistry
    A test that uses special chemical dyes to identify the specific type of leukemia cell present in a blood or bone marrow sample.

    Cytochemistry test
    An assessment of the chemical parts of cells.

    Cytogenetics

    1. The study of the structure and function of chromosomes.
    2. A test that analyzes chromosomes (long strands of bundles of coded instructions in cells for making and controlling cells) to check for abnormal changes.

    Cytokeratin
    A type of protein found on cells that line the surfaces of the body.

    Cytokines

    1. Proteins made by the immune system.
    2. Substances made in the body that boost or activate the body's disease-fighting ability; cytokines can also be made in a lab.

    Cytopenia
    A health condition in which the number of blood cells in general is low.

  • Debulking surgery
    Surgery that removes as much of the cancer as possible.

    Deep margin
    Normal-looking tissue beneath a tumor.

    Deep margin status
    The presence or absence of cancer cells in the normal-looking tissue under a tumor that is removed by surgery.

    Defecation
    The release of stool from the body.

    Dehydration
    Low amounts of fluids in the body.

    Dental abscess
    Pus that is trapped in the tissues near the jaw.

    Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
    A chain of chemicals inside cells that contains coded instructions for making and controlling cells.

    Dermal mitotic rate
    A measure of how many melanoma cells are actually growing and dividing.

    Dermatologist
    A doctor who's an expert in diseases of the skin.

    Dermatopathologist
    A doctor who’s an expert in testing skin cells and tissues for disease.

    Dermis
    The second layer of skin that is beneath the top layer (epidermis).

    Descending colon
    The third part of the colon that is on the left side of the body.

    Desmoid tumors
    A mass of fibrous cells that can grow into nearby tissue but can’t spread to distant sites.

    Desmoplasia
    Growth of dense connective tissue.

    Desmoplastic melanoma
    A melanoma tumor with dense connective tissue.

    Diabetes
    A disease that causes high levels of blood sugar.

    Diagnose
    To identify a disease

    Diagnostic bilateral mammography
    A test that combines x-rays to make pictures of the insides of both breasts.

    Diagnostic imaging specialist
    A person trained to read pictures of the body made by imaging tests.

    Diagnostic test
    A test used to help identify disease in a person with symptoms or signs of disease.

    Diaphragm
    A sheet of muscles below the ribs that helps a person to breathe.

    Diaphragmatic pleura
    The tissue lining around the lungs that is near the diaphragm.

    Diesel fumes
    Gases from thick, heavy fuel made from crude oil.

    Digestive system
    A set of organs that breaks down food for the body to use.

    Digital rectal exam
    A medical exam of the prostate by feeling it through the wall of the rectum.

    Dissection
    Cutting tissue away or apart in order to study.

    Disseminated metastases
    Cancer that has spread to many sites distant from the first tumor.

    Distal pancreatectomy
    Surgery that removes the middle part (body) and narrow end (tail) of the pancreas and other nearby organs.

    Distant metastasis
    The spread of cancer cells from the first tumor to a far site.

    Diversion
    Surgery to attach the colon to the surface of the abdomen.

    Donor
    A person who gives their organs, tissues, or cells to another.

    Donor lymphocyte infusion
    Transfer of white blood cells to a patient from a person who gave the patient blood-forming cells.

    Doublet chemotherapy
    Treatment with two chemotherapy drugs. Also known as combination chemotherapy.

    Drug interaction
    A change in the way a drug acts or works in the body when it is taken with another drug or substance.

    Drug intolerant
    A strong, negative response of the body to a drug.

    Drug potency
    A strong drug effect.

    Drug resistance
    A failed treatment response to a drug.

    Drug transporters
    Proteins in the body that are involved in the removal of drugs.

    Dry orgasm
    Having an orgasm without ejaculation.

    Dual energy X-ray (DEXA)
    A test that measures bone calcium content.

    Duct
    A small tube or vessel in the body that fluids pass through.

    Ductal adenocarcinoma
    Cancer that starts in cells that line the pancreatic ducts and make proteins that digest food.

    Ductal carcinoma
    Cancer that started in cells that line breast ducts.

    Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
    Cancer that started within and has not grown beyond the breast ducts.

    Ductal lavage
    A test that is used to collect cells from breast ducts.

    Duodenal bypass
    Surgery to re-route the path that eaten food takes from the stomach to the small intestine.

    Duodenum
    The first part of the small intestine, which absorbs nutrients from eaten food.

    Dysorgasmia
    Pain during orgasm.

    Dysphagia
    Difficult or painful swallowing.

    Dysplastic nevus

    1. Abnormal mole
    2. A mole that is large or has abnormal borders or more than one color

  • Early-stage cancer
    Cancer that has had little or no growth into nearby tissues.

    Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Scale
    A rating scale of one's ability to do daily activities.

    Edema
    Swelling around tissues due to the build-up of fluid.

    Egg/Eggs
    A sex cell from a woman that needs to be invaded by a man's sperm to make a baby. Also called ovum/ova.

    Ejaculate
    A mix of sperm and fluids. Also called semen.

    Ejaculation
    The ejection of semen from the male body.

    Electrocardiogram (ECG)
    A test that shows the activity of the heart with a line graph.

    Electrocardiography (ECG) machine
    A machine that measures the electrical activity of the heart during exercise.

    Electrodes
    Small devices that transmit electricity.

    Electrolytes
    Minerals in blood that carry an electric charge and control some body functions.

    Electromagnetic
    A force that attracts or repels and is produced by an electric current.

    Embryo
    A fertilized egg that has been growing for up to eight weeks.

    Endobronchial ultrasound–guided fine-needle aspiration (EBUS-FNA)
    Removal of tissue with a thin needle at the end of a long tube that is guided down the main airway using imaging tests.

    Endobronchial ultrasound–guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA)
    Removal of fluid from the lung with a needle that is guided with an imaging test into the main airway of the lung.

    Endocrine cells
    Cells that make chemicals that activate cells or organs.

    Endometrial cancer
    Cancer in the lining of the womb (uterus).

    Endometrioid ovarian cancer
    One of five subtypes of cancer, which starts in the tissue lining around the ovaries.

    Endometrium
    The inner lining of the womb.

    Endorectal coil
    A thin wire covered with latex balloon.

    Endorectal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    A type of MRI that takes pictures through the rectum.

    Endoscope
    A thin, long tube through which tools are inserted to do work in the digestive tract.

    Endoscopic biopsy
    Use of a thin tool that is guided down the esophagus to remove tissue samples.

    Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)
    Treatment that removes small tumors with tools guided down the esophagus.

    Endoscopic polypectomy
    Removal of a small growth from the gut's lining with small tools guided into the colon.

    Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
    A test that uses a thin, lighted tube and x-rays to see the pancreatic ducts and bile ducts.

    Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
    A tool that is guided down the esophagus and makes pictures using sound waves.

    Endoscopic ultrasound–guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA)
    Removal of fluid with a needle that is guided with an imaging test down the esophagus.

    Endothoracic fascia
    The tissue lining of the chest wall.

    Enema
    Injection of liquid into the rectum to clear the gut.

    Engraftment
    When transplanted stem cells begin to make blood cells in a patient's bone marrow.

    Enzymes

    1. Proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the body.
    2. Proteins that help to digest food.

    Eosinophil
    A type of white blood cell.

    Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)
    A protein on the edge of a cell that send signals for the cell to grow.

    Epidermis
    The outer layer of skin.

    Epididymis
    The hollow tube behind each testicle in which sperm mature.

    Epididymitis
    The swelling of the tube in which sperm mature after leaving the testicles.

    Epidural anesthesia
    A loss of feeling in the lower half of the body from an ongoing injection of drugs into the outermost part of the spinal canal.

    Epithelial cell
    A type of cell that forms the lining of structures or that form glands.

    Epithelial ovarian cancer
    Cancer that starts in cells that form the outer layer of tissue that lines the ovaries.

    Epithelial tissue
    Thin, dense tissue that covers most surfaces inside the body.

    Epithelioid subtype
    The most common cell subtype of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Cells of the epithelioid subtype are uniform and in organized patterns

    Epithelium
    Tissue that forms the lining of organs or that forms glands.

    Erectile dysfunction
    The inability to achieve erections sufficient for intercourse.

    Erionite
    A mineral fiber similar to a type of straight, brittle, needle-like asbestos fiber.

    Erythropoietin
    A drug used to treat low red blood cell counts.

    Esophagectomy
    Removal of all or part of the esophagus from the body.

    Esophagogastrectomy
    Removal of the esophagus and some of the stomach from the body.

    Esophagogastric junction
    The area where the esophagus and stomach join.

    Esophagus
    The tube-shaped organ between the throat and stomach.

    Estrogen

    1. A hormone that develops female body traits.
    2. A drug used in men to stop cells from making testosterone.

    Excision (excise)
    Removal by surgery.

    Excisional biopsy
    Removal of an entire tumor to test for disease.

    Excisional lymph node biopsy
    Removal of the entire, enlarged lymph node(s) to test for disease.

    Excisional skin biopsy
    Surgery that removes the entire skin tumor to test for cancer cells.

    Exocrine cell
    A type of cell that makes proteins that help digest food.

    External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)
    Treatment with radiation received from a machine outside the body.

    External sphincter
    A muscle that controls the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra.

    Extracapsular extension

    1. Cancer growth through the prostatic capsule.
    2. The tumor has grown beyond the edge of the organ into nearby tissue.

    Extraosseous
    Occurring outside the bone.

    Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)
    Surgery that removes the affected lung and all its tissue lining, the sheet of muscles below, and sometimes the tissue lining around the heart.

  • Fair complexion
    Light-colored hair, eyes, and/or skin.

    Fallopian tube
    The female organ through which an egg travels from an ovary to the womb.

    Familial adenomatous polyposis
    A health condition that is passed down from parents and increases the chance of getting colon cancer.

    Fascia
    A deep layer of soft tissue.

    Fat pad
    The fat that is just under the skin of the abdomen.

    Fatigue
    Severe tiredness despite getting enough sleep that limits one's ability to function.

    Feces
    Unused food passed out of the body. Also called stool.

    Fertility
    The ability to have babies.

    Fertility specialist
    An expert who helps women to get pregnant and have babies.

    Fertility-sparing surgery
    Removal of only one ovary and one Fallopian tube so that a woman can still have babies.

    Fibrosis
    The scarring of supportive fibers in tissue.

    Fine-needle aspiration (FNA)
    Use of a thin needle to remove fluid or tissue from the body to test for disease.

    First-line treatment
    The first set of treatments given to treat a disease.

    Fistula
    A passage between two organs that are not normally connected.

    Flap
    Tissue taken from one area of the body and used in another area.

    Flexible sigmoidoscopy
    Use of a thin tool with tools that is guided into the sigmoid colon to view or remove tissue.

    Flow cytometry
    A test that assesses substances on the surface of cells to identify the specific type of cells present.

    Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)

    1. A test used to identify the presence or absence of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) segments.
    2. A lab test that assesses genes (coded instructions for making and controlling cells) or chromosomes (long strands containing bundles of genes) in cells to check for abnormal changes in genes.

    Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)
    A mix of fluoride and glucose used to see cancer on certain imaging tests.

    Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
    A hormone made by the ovaries.

    Follow-up testing

    1. A close watch by your doctors for cancer using tests.
    2. Tests done after treatment to check for signs that the cancer has come back.

    Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    A federal government agency that regulates drugs and food in the United States.

    Forceps
    A tool that is shaped like tongs used to grab and cut tissue.

    Four-dimensional computed tomography (4D-CT)
    A CT scan that can show the movement of organs.

    Fracture
    A crack or break in a bone

    Fragmented specimen
    A tumor that was removed from the body in pieces.

    Free light chain
    Fragments of M-proteins that are made by myeloma cells.

    Fusion gene
    A gene that is made from parts of two separate genes.

  • Gallbladder
    A small organ that holds digestive fluid (bile) from the liver.

    Gardner's syndrome
    A health condition that is passed down from parents and increases the chance of getting sarcoma.

    Gas diffusion
    A test that uses harmless gas to measure how much a person can breathe out.

    Gastroenterologist
    A doctor who is an expert in digestive diseases.

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
    Frequent back wash of stomach contents into the esophagus.

    Gastrointestinal (GI) tract
    The group of organs through which food passes after being eaten.

    Gene
    A set of coded instructions in cells needed to make new cells and control how cells behave.

    General anesthesia
    A controlled loss of wakefulness from drugs.

    Genetic condition
    A health problem caused by abnormal changes in the coded instructions within cells (genes).

    Genetic counseling
    Discussion with a health expert about a disease that is caused by abnormal information in cells that is passed down from parents.

    Genetic defect
    An abnormal set of coded instructions within cells that are needed for making new cells and controlling how cells behave (genes).

    Genetic marker

    1. A specific set of coded instructions within cells that are needed for making new cells and controlling how cells behave (genes).
    2. An abnormal set of coded instructions within cells that are needed for making new cells and controlling how cells behave (genes).

    Genetic mutation

    1. An abnormal set of coded instructions within cells that are needed for making new cells and controlling how cells behave (genes).
    2. An abnormal change in the coded instructions within cells that are needed for making new cells and controlling how cells behave (genes).

    Genetic risk
    The chance of getting a disease due to cell information that is passed on from parents.

    Genetic tests

    1. Tests that assess the chance for a disease caused by coded instructions in cells.
    2. Tests of the coded instructions in cells that are needed to make and control cells.

    Germ cells
    Cells that become sperm in men and eggs in women.

    Gilbert's disease
    High bilirubin levels caused by abnormal coded instructions in cells that are passed down from parents.

    Glabrous skin
    Skin that naturally does not have hair.

    Gland
    A small organ that makes fluids or hormones.

    Glandular cell
    A type of cell, located in a gland, that make fluids or hormones.

    Glandular tissue
    Groups of cells, located in a gland, that are able to make fluid.

    Gleason grade
    A score from 1 (best) to 5 (worst) made by a pathologist based the ability of prostate cells to form glands. The primary grade is the most common pattern, and the secondary grade is the second most common pattern. The two grades are summed to give a Gleason score.

    Gleason score
    The grading system for prostate cancer based the ability of prostate cells to form glands.

    Glucose
    A natural sugar in the body that is used by cells for energy.

    Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)
    A disease that occurs when transplanted stem cells attack a patient's normal cells.

    Graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect
    An attack on cancer cells by transplanted stem cells. Also called graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect.

    Granulocyte
    A type of white blood cell named for its small granules (particles).

    Gray units (Gy)
    A measure of radiation dose.

    Groin
    The area of the body where the thighs join the pelvis.

    Ground glass opacity
    A small mass of lung cells with low density.

    Guaiac stool test
    A test that finds hidden blood in stool.

    Gut
    Another name for the intestine, which is the organ food passes through after leaving the stomach. Also called the bowel.

    Gynecologic oncologist
    A doctor who is an expert in cancer that starts in women's organs that help to make babies.

  • H2 blocker
    A drug that reduce acid.

    Hadron therapy
    Treatment with radiation that uses proton beams.

    Hair follicles
    Tube-like openings in the skin where hairs grow.

    Hairy skin
    Skin that naturally has hair.

    Heavy chain
    The longer protein chain that is part of an antibody.

    Hematologist
    A doctor who is an expert in diseases of the blood.

    Hematopoietic stem cell
    A nonspecialized cell that can change into any blood or marrow cell. Immature blood-forming cell located in the bone marrow (the soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones where blood cells are made).

    Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT)
    A treatment that replaces damaged or diseased bone marrow with healthy blood-forming cells (blood stem cells).

    Hematospermia
    Blood in semen.

    Hematuria
    Blood in urine.

    Hemoptysis
    Coughing up blood.

    HER2 overexpression
    High levels of activity of the HER2 gene that causes too much protein to be made.

    Hereditary
    A trait that is passed down from parent to child through coded instructions in cells (genes).

    Hereditary cancer
    Cancer that is caused by abnormal coded instructions in cells that are passed from parent to child.

    High-dose chemotherapy
    An intensive drug treatment to kill cancer and disease-fighting cells so transplanted stem cells are not rejected by the body.

    High-dose rate brachytherapy
    Treatment with radioactive objects that are removed from the tumor after the radiation dose has been given.

    High-grade dysplasia (HGD)
    A pre-cancerous change in cells.

    Hilar lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells where the main airways enter the lungs.

    Histologic grade
    A rating of how much cancer cells look like normal cells.

    Histologic subtype
    The type of cancer based on the traits of the cells.

    Histologic typing
    The study of cells to classify disease.

    Hives
    Itchy, swollen, and red skin caused by the body trying to rid itself of an outside agent.

    Hodgkin lymphoma
    A cancer that starts in white blood cells.

    Hormone
    A chemical in the body that activates cells or organs.

    Hormone receptor
    A protein on the edge of cells to which hormones attach.

    Hormone receptor–negative
    Cancer cells that do not use hormones to grow.

    Hormone receptor–positive
    Cancer cells that use hormones to grow.

    Hormone replacement therapy
    Drugs used to increase hormone levels.

    Hormone therapy
    Treatment that stops the making or action of hormones in the body.

    Hormone therapy–refractory
    A lack of response to three hormone regimens given one right after the other.

    Hospice care
    Physical and emotional care for people who are close to the end of life.

    Hot flashes
    A health condition of feeling intense heat and body sweat for short periods of time.

    Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)
    A protein on the edge of a cell that send signals for the cell to grow.

    Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type
    The unique set of proteins on the surface of white blood cells that help the body to identify its own cells from foreign cells.

    Human leukocyte antigens (HLA) typing
    A blood test that helps to identify a person's unique set of proteins on white blood cells.

    Human organic cation transporter-1 (hOCT1)
    A drug transporter.

    Hydroxyurea
    A chemotherapy drug used for chronic myelogenous leukemia before tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment became standard treatment.

    Hypercalcemia
    High levels of calcium in the blood.

    Hyperplastic polyp
    A type of growth in the gut's lining, often found in the rectum, that grows fast

    Hyperviscosity
    A condition in which the blood becomes very thick because of too many proteins in the blood.

    Hypnotherapy
    Treatment that puts people into a trance-like state of deep relaxation.

    Hypodermis
    The layer of fat and supporting tissues under the second layer of the skin (dermis).

    Hypofractionated regimen
    Treatment with radiation that isn't given every day.

    Hypokalemia
    Low levels of potassium in the blood.

    Hypomagnesemia
    Low levels of magnesium in the blood.

    Hypophosphatemia
    Low levels of phosphorus in the blood.

    Hysterectomy
    Surgery that removes the womb (uterus).

  • In situ
    In its original place— describing cancer cells have not spread from where they first formed.

    In situ hybridization (ISH)
    A test that counts the number of copies of a specific set of coded instructions in cells.

    In situ lentigo maligna
    A slow-growing skin tumor caused by cancer cells that have not grown beyond the first layer of skin.

    Iliac lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells in the pelvic area.

    Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
    Treatment with radiation that uses imaging tests to better target the tumor.

    Imaging test
    A test that makes pictures of the insides of the body.

    Imatinib mesylate
    A drug that blocks the activity of a protein called tyrosine kinase.

    Imiquimod cream
    A drug made as a cream that boosts or activates the body's disease-fighting ability.

    Immune cells
    Cells that are part of the body's natural defense against infection and disease.

    Immune response
    The action of the body’s natural defense against infection and disease in response to a foreign substance.

    Immune suppression
    The condition in which the body's natural defense against infection and disease (immune system) is weakened.

    Immune system

    1. The body's natural defense against disease.
    2. The group of organs and cells that defends the body against diseases.

    Immune therapy
    Treatment that uses the body's natural defense against disease. Also called immunotherapy.

    Immunoglobulin
    A protein made by plasma cells that helps fight off infection. Also called an antibody.

    Immunohistochemistry (IHC)
    A test of cancer cells to find specific cell traits involved in abnormal cell growth.

    Immunotherapy
    Treatment that uses the body's natural defense against disease. Also called immune therapy.

    Implant

    1. Ovarian cancer cells that have spread from the first tumor to the surface of nearby organs and structures in the belly area. Also called seeds.
    2. Small bags filled with saline liquid, silicone gel, or both that are use to rebuild breasts.

    In situ polyp
    A cancerous growth that has not grown beyond the first layer of the colon wall.

    In vitro fertilization (IVF)
    The fusion of sperm into an egg outside the body.

    Incidental finding
    An unplanned finding of a disease.

    Incision
    A surgical cut into the body.

    Incisional biopsy
    A surgery that removes a tissue sample from a tumor to test for cancer cells.

    Indigestion
    Feeling of discomfort, such as heat, burning, or pain, in the upper belly area.

    Induction chemotherapy
    A type of cancer drug that is given as the first treatment for cancer.

    Infectious disease
    An illness caused by germs.

    Inferior pulmonary vein
    A vein that returns blood from the lungs back to the heart.

    Infertility
    A physical inability to have babies.

    Inflammation
    Redness, heat, pain, and/or swelling from injury or infection.

    Inflammatory bowel disease
    A health condition that causes the gut to swell.

    Informed consent form
    A document that must be read, understood, and signed by a person wanting to take part in a research study.

    Infraclavicular
    The area right below the collarbone.

    Infusion

    1. A method of giving drugs slowly through a needle into a vein.
    2. A medical procedure that slowly injects substances into the bloodstream.

    Inguinal lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are in the groin area.

    Inguinal region
    The area of the body where the thighs join the pelvis. Also called the groin.

    Inorgasmia
    The inability to have an orgasm.

    Insulin
    A chemical that controls the amount of sugar in the blood.

    Integrative medicine
    Use of standard treatment with complementary therapies that are safe and work together.

    Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
    Treatment with radiation that uses small beams of different strengths based on the thickness of the tissue.

    Interferon
    A drug used to activate the body's disease-fighting ability (immune system).

    Interferon alfa
    A drug used to activate the body's disease-fighting ability (immune system) to fight cancer cells.

    Interleukin-2
    A drug used to activate the body's disease-fighting ability (immune system) to fight cancer cells.

    Intermittent therapy
    Alternating periods of time on- and off-treatment.

    Internal mammary
    The body area along the breastbone.

    Internal radiation therapy
    Treatment with radiation received from a radioactive object  placed near or in the tumor.

    Interoperative radiation therapy (IORT)
    Radiation therapy given during surgery.

    Interstitial radiation
    A type of internal radiation therapy that places radioactive objects in the tumor.

    Intestine

    1. The tube-like digestive organ between the stomach and anus.
    2. The organs that food travels through after leaving the stomach.

    In-transit metastases
    Melanoma tumors that have spread into lymph vessels more than 2 centimeters away from the first tumor, but not into lymph nodes (groups of disease-fighting cells).

    In-transit recurrence
    Melanoma that has come back after treatment in lymph vessels more than 2 centimeters away from the first tumor but not in lymph nodes (groups of disease-fighting cells).

    Intraoperative
    During the course of surgery.

    Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT)
    Treatment with radiation that is given during surgery.

    Intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy
    Drugs given by a small tube surgically placed in the abdomen (belly area).

    Intrapulmonary nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are in the lungs near the small airways.

    Intrauterine birth control devices
    Objects that are placed in the womb and release drugs to prevent pregnancy.

    Intravenous
    Receipt of a substance by a needle inserted into a vein.

    Intravenous (IV) chemotherapy
    Drugs given by a needle or tube inserted into a vein.

    Invasive breast cancer
    Cancer cells that have grown into the supporting tissue of the breast.

    Invasive colon cancer
    Cancer cells that have grown through the first layer of the colon wall.

    Invasive disease
    Cancer cells that have grown into supporting tissues of organs or structures.

    Invasive implant
    Ovarian cancer cells that have spread from the first tumor and invaded the supporting tissues of another structure.

    Invasive tumor
    A mass of cancer cells that has grown into supporting tissue of organs or structures.

    Ipilimumab
    A drug used to activate the body's disease-fighting ability (immune system) to fight cancer cells.

    Ipsilateral

    1. On the same side of the body as the symptom.
    2. On the same side of the body as the disease.

    Isolated limb infusion/perfusion
    Anticancer drugs are given directly into an arm or leg in a way that they do not reach or affect the rest of the body.

  • Jaundice
    Yellowing of the skin and eyes.

    Jejunostomy tube (J-tube)
    A feeding tube that is inserted through a cut made into the intestine.

  • KRAS gene
    A set of coded instructions in a cell for making K-RAS protein.

    Karnofsky scale of Performance Status (KPS)

    1. A rating scale of one's ability to do daily activities.
    2. A rating scale of one's general health.

    Karyotype
    A map of chromosomes according to their size and shape.

    Karyotyping
    A process that examines a map (karyotype) of a cell's chromosomes—long strands of bundles of coded instructions for controlling cells.

    Keratinocyte
    A type of cell in the outer layer of the skin.

    Ketoconazole
    An anti-fungal drug that is used to stop cells from making testosterone.

    Kidney
    One of a pair of organs that removes waste from blood, helps control blood pressure, and helps to make red blood cells.

    KIT
    A molecule within a chemical pathway that starts cell growth.

    Kyphoplasty
    Surgery to support the spine with a balloon device and a type of cement.

  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
    A protein that helps to make energy in cells.

    Lamina propria

    1. Supportive tissue within the first layer of the colon wall.
    2. Supportive tissue within the first layer of the esophageal wall.

    Langerhans cell
    A type of cell in the outer layer of skin.

    Laparoscope
    A thin, long tube through which tools are inserted to do work in the belly area.

    Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
    Removal of the prostate using a thin, long cutting tool that is inserted through a small cut in the pelvis.

    Laparoscopy

    1. Use of a thin, long tool that is inserted through a small cut made in the abdomen.
    2. Surgery that uses a thin, long tube with a light and camera, and possibly tools, to remove tissue, inserted through a small cut made in the belly area.

    Laparotomy
    Removal of tissue through long, up-and-down cut made in the abdomen.

    Large intestine
    The digestive organ that prepares unused food to leave the body.

    Large-cell lung carcinoma
    A type of lung cancer that lacks features to classify it as any other carcinoma.

    Laser therapy
    Use of intense, narrow beams of light or carbon dioxide to cut into the surface of the skin and kill cancer cells.

    Lateral lobe
    The largest part of the prostate that is on the left and right sides of the organ.

    Laxative
    A drug that is used to clean out the intestines.

    Lentigo maligna melanoma
    The slowest growing type of melanoma; it starts in sun-exposed skin and is commonly mistaken for a sunspot.

    Lesion
    Tissue that has been damaged by disease or injury.

    Leucovorin calcium
    A drug that improves how well 5-FU, a type of chemotherapy, works.

    Leukemia

    1. A cancer of the bone marrow or blood.
    2. Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue (bone marrow).

    Leukocyte
    Another name for a white blood cell.

    Levator muscles
    Muscles that support the prostate and control the flow of urine.

    Libido
    Sexual desire or emotions related to sex.

    Li-Fraumeni syndrome
    A health condition that is passed down from parents and increases the chance of getting sarcoma.

    Light chain myeloma
    Myeloma cells that make only free light chains and no complete M-proteins. Also called Bence Jones myeloma.

    Light chains
    The shorter protein chain that is part of an antibody.

    Limb infusion
    A method of giving drugs slowly through a needle directly into a leg or arm.

    Limb perfusion
    A method of giving drugs through a needle directly into a leg or arm.

    Limited metastases
    Cancer that has spread to one or a few distant sites.

    Liquid nitrogen
    Cooling of the chemical, nitrogen, to a liquid state.

    Liver
    An organ that removes waste from the blood.

    Liver function test
    A test that measures chemicals made or processed by the liver.

    Lobe

    1. A clearly seen division in an organ.
    2. A clearly seen division in a part of the body.

    Lobectomy
    The removal of an entire lobe of the lung.

    Lobular carcinoma
    Cancer that started in the lobular cells of the breast.

    Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
    Abnormal cells that have not spread beyond the breast lobules.

    Lobule
    A gland in the breast that makes breast milk.

    Local anesthesia

    1. A loss of feeling in a small area of the body caused by drugs.
    2. A controlled loss of feeling in a small area of the body due to drugs being administered to that area.

    Local cancer
    A tumor that has not spread far.

    Local melanoma
    Cancer cells have not spread beyond the skin near the first (primary) tumor.

    Local metastasis
    The spread of cancer cells from the first tumor to a nearby site.

    Local recurrence
    Cancer that has come back after treatment in or near the same place as the first (primary) tumor.

    Local therapy
    Treatment that affects cells in one small, specific part of the body only. Also called local treatment.

    Local treatment
    Treatment that affects cells in one small, specific part of the body only. Also called local therapy.

    Localized perforation
    Holes made in the colon from a tumor.

    Locally advanced cancer
    Growth of cancer outside of the first (primary) tumor into nearby tissues.

    Long-term side effect
    An unhealthy or unpleasant physical or emotional response to treatment that continues for months or years after finishing treatment.

    Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)
    A test that uses little amounts of radiation to make pictures of inside the body.

    Low-dose rate brachytherapy
    Treatment with radioactive objects that are inserted into a tumor and left to decay.

    Lumbar puncture
    Insertion of a thin needle into the spinal columntoremove fluid or to give drugs. Also called a spinal tap.

    Lumpectomy
    Surgery to remove the whole breast lump and some normal breast tissue.

    Lung
    One of a pair of organs that is made of airways and air sacs.

    Lung capacity
    The amount of air the lungs can hold.

    Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH)
    A hormone made in the brain that helps regulate estrogen production by the ovaries in women.

    Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist

    1. A type of drug that acts on the brain to stop the testicles from making testosterone..
    2. A type of drug that acts on the brain to stop the ovaries from making estrogen and progesterone.

    Lymph
    A clear fluid that contains disease-fighting white blood cells.

    Lymph node
    A small group of disease-fighting cells.

    Lymph node dissection

    1. Removal of all groups of disease-fighting cells from a cluster.
    2. Removal of some or all nearby groups of disease-fighting cells.

    Lymph node recurrence
    Cancer that has come back after treatment and has spread to lymph nodes (groups of special disease fighting cells).

    Lymph node sampling
    Removal of one group of disease-fighting cells from a cluster for testing.

    Lymph vessel
    Tube-shaped ducts that carry lymph throughout the body.

    Lymphadenectomy
    Surgery to remove lymph nodes.

    Lymphatic
    Relating to the system made up of lymph, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels.

    Lymphedema
    Swelling due to buildup of a clear liquid that has white blood cells (lymph).

    Lymphoblast
    Immature blood cell that develops into a white blood cell called a lymphocyte.

    Lymphocyte
    A type of white blood cell that helps to protect the body from infection.

    Lymphoid
    Referring to a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte.

    Lymphomas
    Cancer that starts in the cells of the immune system.

    Lymphovascular invasion
    Spread of cancer into lymph or blood vessels.

    Lynch syndrome
    A health condition that is passed down from parents and increases the chance of getting colorectal.

  • MDR1
    A drug transporter gene.

    Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
    A test that uses radio waves and powerful magnets to make pictures of the pancreas and bile ducts.

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    A test that uses radio waves and powerful magnets to make pictures of the insides of the body.

    Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
    A test that measures chemicals in cells without removing tissue from the body.

    Main pancreatic duct
    A tube-shaped vessel that drains digestive fluids from the pancreas into the gut.

    Maintenance treatment

    1. Treatment given to continue good treatment results.
    2. Treatment given in a lower dose or less frequently to “maintain” good treatment results.

    Malignant
    Cancerous; growing out of control.

    Mammogram
    A picture of the insides of a breast that is made by a test that uses x-rays.

    Mammography
    A test that uses x-rays to make pictures of the insides of the breast.

    Margin status
    The presence or absence of cancer cells in the normal-looking tissue around a tumor.

    Marrow
    Soft tissue found in the center of bones.

    Mastectomy
    Surgery to remove the whole breast.

    Median lobe
    A part of the prostate that can enlarge and grow into the bladder to cause difficulties urinating.

    Mediastinal lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are in the center of the chest.

    Mediastinal pleura
    The tissue lining around the lungs that is near the center of the chest.

    Mediastinoscope
    A thin, long tube through which tools are inserted to do work in the center of the chest.

    Mediastinoscopy
    Use of a thin, long tool that is inserted through a cut near the breastbone to view or remove tissue.

    Mediastinum
    The chest area between the lungs where the heart is.

    Medical history
    All health events and medications taken to date.

    Medical oncologist
    A doctor who is an expert in cancer drugs.

    Medical skin exam
    A careful examination of your skin by a doctor to check for any areas that look abnormal.

    Medication adherence
    The extent to which you take your medication as prescribed and directed by your doctor.

    Medullary carcinoma
    Cancer that looks like the lower half of the brainstem.

    Megakaryocyte
    A type of blood cell that makes platelets.

    Melanin

    1. Pigment in the skin.
    2. A substance that gives color to the skin.

    Melanocyte
    Cells that give skin its color and are located in the lower part of the top layer of the skin (epidermis).

    Melanoma
    A cancer that starts in the cells that give color to the skin (melanocytes).

    Melanoma in situ
    Melanoma cancer cells that are only in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis).

    Melphalan
    A chemotherapy drug.

    Menopause
    The point in time when a woman will experience no more menstrual periods.

    Menstrual cycle
    Changes in the womb and ovaries that prepare a woman's body for pregnancy.

    Menstrual period
    The flow of blood and tissue from the womb to outside the body. Also called menstruation.

    Menstruation
    The flow of blood and tissue from the womb to outside the body. Also called menstrual period.

    Merkel cell
    A type of cell in the outer layer of skin.

    Mesentery
    A double layer of the tissue lining around the abdomen that is attached to digestive organs.

    Mesothelioma
    A rare cancer that starts in the tissue that covers most organs inside the body.

    Mesothelium
    A single layer of cells that makes lubricating fluid and that lines most organs inside the body.

    Messenger RNA (mRNA)
    A molecule that carries genetic information to sites where protein is made.

    Metabolic
    Having to do with chemical changes that take place in a cell.

    Metachronous metastases
    The spread of cancer after treatment to sites far from the first tumor.

    Metaplastic carcinoma
    Cancer that changed from one cell type to another.

    Metastasectomy
    Surgery to remove tumors that formed far from the first site of cancer.

    Metastasis
    The spread of cancer cells from the first (primary) tumor to a distant site.

    Metastatic
    Containing cancer cells that have spread from the first tumor.

    Metastatic recurrence
    Cancer that has come back after treatment in tissues nearby or far from where the cancer started.

    Micropapillary carcinoma
    Cancer with cells in a fern-like pattern.

    Microsatellite instability
    Abnormal changes in genetic information that happen when the genetic information is being copied.

    Microsatellitosis
    Tiny tumors near the main tumor that can only be seen with a microscope.

    Microscope
    A tool that uses lenses to see things the eyes cannot.

    Microscopic
    Something so small that it cannot be seen by the naked eye.

    Microscopic metastases
    Cancer cells that have spread from the first tumor and cannot be seen by the naked eye.

    Microtubule inhibitor
    A type of drug that stops a cell from dividing into two cells.

    Mini transplant
    A cancer treatment that uses low doses of chemotherapy before blood-forming cells are transferred from another person (donor) to a patient.

    Minimally invasive surgery
    The use of small tools inserted through small cuts to do surgery.

    Mitotic rate
    The time it takes for melanoma cells to grow and divide.

    Mixed carcinoma
    Cancer that has more than one cell type.

    Mole

    1. A dense area of melanin.
    2. A spot on the skin formed by a cluster of cells that make melanin (substance that gives skin its color).

    Molecular test
    A test of abnormal coded instructions in cells or the proteins that help cancer cells grow.

    Monitoring tests
    Tests done during treatment to check if treatment is working.

    Monoclonal antibody
    A type of immune system protein made in a lab that can attach to substances in the body such as cancer cells.

    Monocyte
    A type of white blood cell.

    Monotherapy
    The use of one type of therapy to treat a disease.

    M-protein
    An antibody made by myeloma cells that does not fight germs. Also called a monoclonal protein.

    Mucinous breast cancer
    A type of breast cancer that has a lot of mucus around the cells. Also called colloid breast cancer.

    Mucinous ovarian cancer
    One of five types of cancer that starts in the tissue lining around the ovaries.

    Mucosa

    1. The first, inner layer of the colon wall.
    2. The first, inner layer of the esophageal wall.

    Mucus
    A sticky, thick liquid that moisturizes or lubricates.

    Mucus membrane
    A thin layer of cells that line open spaces of the body and make a sticky, thick liquid (mucus).

    Multidisciplinary team
    A group of health care professionals who are each experts in different areas of treatment related to cancer.

    Multi-modality treatment
    A combination of different types of treatment.

    Multiparameter flow cytometry
    A test that measures myeloma cells in the bone marrow.

    Multiple myeloma
    A cancer of plasma cells that has spread throughout blood marrow.

    Multiple primary tumors
    One or more unrelated masses of cancer cells.

    Multiple-catheter radiation
    Treatment with radioactive seeds that are placed in the body with small tubes.

    Muscularis mucosae

    1. A thin layer of muscle within the first layer of the colon wall.
    2. A thin layer of muscle within the first layer of the esophageal wall.

    Muscularis propria

    1. The third layer of the colon wall made that is mostly of muscle.
    2. The third layer of the esophageal wall that is made mostly of muscle.

    Mutation
    An abnormal change in a cell's coded instructions for making and controlling cells.

    Mutation analysis
    A test that looks for abnormal changes in the coded instructions in cells for making and controlling cells.

    Myeloblast
    An immature blood cell that develops into a white blood cell called a granulocyte.

    Myeloid
    Having to do with bone marrow, or referring to a type of white blood cell called a granulocyte.

    Myeloma cell
    An abnormal plasma cell that grows and divides all the time.

    Myeloma therapy
    Drugs that are used to treat myeloma throughout the body.

    Myeloperoxidase
    A chemical found in a type of white blood cell called a granulocyte or a myeloid cell.

    Myelosuppression
    A condition in which the bone marrow is weakened and makes fewer blood cells.

    MYH-associated polyposis
    A health condition that is passed down from parents and increases the chance of getting colon cancer.

  • Nasogastric tube
    A feeding tube that is inserted down the nose and into the stomach.

    Navigational bronchoscopy
    Use of a thin tool that is guided into the smallest airways of the lung to view or remove tissue.

    Needle biopsy
    Use of a needle to remove tissue from the body for test for disease.

    Negative margin
    The absence of cancer cells in the normal-looking tissue around the tumor that is removed during surgery.

    Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy given to reduce the size of a tumor before surgery to remove it.

    Neoadjuvant treatment
    Treatment that is given before the main treatment used to cure a disease.

    Nerve graft
    The transplant of nerves from one area of the body to another.

    Nerve-sparing prostatectomy
    Surgery that removes the prostate but spares one or both bundles of cavernous nerves.

    Neuroendocrine cell
    A type of cell that sends chemical messages when activated by the nervous system.

    Neuroendocrine prostate cancer
    Cancer that starts in prostate cells that send chemical messages when activated by the nervous system.

    Neuropathy
    A nerve problem that causes pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and feet.

    Neurotropism
    Melanoma cells that are able to invade nerves.

    Neutropenia
    A disorder caused by low levels of a type of white blood cell—neutrophils.

    Neutrophil
    A type of white blood cell.

    Nevus
    The medical term for mole.

    Nickel
    A silvery-white metal.

    Nipple
    The darker, raised part of the breasts.

    Nipple replacement
    The rebuilding of a breast nipple.

    No evidence of disease (NED)
    A period of time when tests show no signs of disease.

    Nodal basin
    A cluster of lymph nodes (groups of disease-fighting cells) that are near to one another.

    Nodal extracapsular extension
    The tumor in the lymph node (group of disease-fighting cells) has grown beyond the edge of the node.

    Node-negative
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that do not have cancer.

    Node-negative recurrence
    Cancer that has come back after treatment but has not spread to lymph nodes (groups of special disease-fighting cells).

    Node-positive
    Cancer cells are found in lymph nodes (groups of special disease-fighting cells).

    Node-positive recurrence
    Cancer that has come back after treatment and has spread to lymph nodes (groups of special disease-fighting cells).

    Nodular melanoma
    A type of melanoma that has a dome shape and may grow more quickly into the second layer of skin (dermis) than other melanomas.

    Nodule
    A small mass of tissue.

    Nomogram
    A tool that uses clinical information to predict an outcome.

    Nonadherence
    Not taking your medication as prescribed or directed by your doctor.

    Noninvasive
    Cancer cells that have not grown into another type of tissue.

    Noninvasive disease
    Cancer cells that have not grown into supporting tissues of organs or structures.

    Noninvasive implant
    Ovarian cancer cells that have spread from the first tumor but have not invaded the supporting tissues of other structures.

    Non-melanoma skin cancer
    Cancer of the skin that starts in cells other than melanocytes (cells that give skin its color).

    Nonmetastatic recurrence
    Cancer that has come back after treatment but has not spread to parts of the body far away from the first (primary) tumor.

    Non-myeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)
    A new approach to HSCT that requires less chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

    Nonperitonealized
    Not connected to the tissue lining that covers the abdomen.

    Non-solid nodule
    A small mass of tissue with low density.

    Normal range
    A set of values that is based on test results of healthy people.

    Nucleus
    The control center of the coded instructions within a cell.

    Nutritionist
    An expert in healthy foods and drinks.

  • Obesity
    A high amount of body fat compared to body height.

    Observation

    1. A period of testing for cancer growth.
    2. Testing on a regular basis so that supportive care can be given if prostate cancer symptoms are likely to start.
    3. A period of scheduled follow-up testing to watch for signs of cancer spread (metastasis) or return (recurrence).

    Occult carcinoma
    The presence of cancer cells although a tumor has not been found.

    Occupational therapist
    An expert in helping people live life unaided or with devices.

    Oligosecretory myeloma
    Myeloma that makes very few or no M-proteins.

    Omentectomy
    Removal of the double layer of fatty tissue that covers the organs in the belly area (omentum).

    Omentum
    The double layer of fatty tissue that covers the organs in the belly area.

    Oncofertility
    Cancer doctors and reproductive experts who work together to help patients keep their ability to have babies.

    Oncology
    A branch of medicine that deals with cancer.

    Oncology surgeon
    A doctor who is an expert in cancer surgery.

    Oophorectomy
    Surgery to remove an ovary.

    Open biopsy
    Removal of samples of tissue or fluid through a small cut.

    Open retropubic prostatectomy
    Removal of the prostate through one long cut in the abdomen and pelvis.

    Open surgery
    Removal of tissue through one large cut.

    Orchiectomy
    Removal of the testicles from the body.

    Organ
    A part of the body that performs a certain function.

    Organ reserve
    How well organs are working.

    Orthopedic surgeon
    A doctor who is an expert in operations of the bones.

    Osseous
    Occurring inside the bone.

    Osteonecrosis
    Death of bone cells.

    Osteopontin
    A type of protein found in bone.

    Osteoporosis
    A disease that causes bones to thin and weaken.

    Ovarian ablation
    Methods used to stop the ovaries from making hormones.

    Ovarian suppression
    Methods used to lower the amount of hormones made by the ovaries.

    Ovary
    One of a pair of organs in females that makes eggs (ova) and hormones.

    Overflow incontinence
    Leakage of urine due to an overly full bladder.

    Ovum/Ova
    A sex cell from a woman that needs to be invaded by a man's sperm to make a baby. Also sometimes called an egg or eggs.

    Oxygen
    A gas in the air that the body needs to live.

  • Pack years
    The number of cigarette packs smoked every day multiplied by the number ofyears of smoking.

    Palliative care
    Treatment for symptoms of a disease. Also sometimes called supportive care.

    Pancreas
    An organ that makes digestive fluids and chemicals to control blood sugar.

    Pancreatic duct
    A small tube in the pancreas that transports digestive fluids.

    Pancreatic protocol computed tomography (CT)
    A CT scan that is done in a certain way so that all of the pictures focus specifically on the pancreas to clearly show the pancreas, nearby blood vessels, and tiny tumors.

    Pancreatic protocol magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    An MRI scan that is done in a certain way so that all of the pictures focus specifically on the pancreas to clearly show the pancreas, nearby blood vessels, and tiny tumors.

    Pancreatoduodenectomy
    Removal of the head of the pancreas and parts of other nearby organs. Also called Whipple procedure.

    Pap test
    A procedure in which cells are removed from the neck of the womb (cervix) to be tested for disease.

    Paracentesis
    Use of a thin tube or needle that is inserted through the belly to remove a fluid sample to be tested for disease.

    Paresthesia
    Sensations of burning, tingling, or pin pricks.

    Parietal pleura
    The outer layer of the lining around the lungs.

    Partial breast irradiation
    Treatment with radiation that is only directed at the surgery site.

    Partial response
    When some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer are gone after treatment.

    Particles
    Small pieces of matter.

    Part-solid nodule
    A small mass of tissue with areas of low and high density.

    Pathologic stage
    A rating of the extent of cancer based on tests given after treatment.

    Pathologist
    A doctor who is an expert in testing cells and tissue to find disease.

    Pathology report

    1. A document listing all the results of laboratory tests.
    2. A document with information about cells and tissue removed from the body and examined with a microscope for disease.

    PDGFRA
    A molecule within a chemical pathway that starts cell growth.

    Pectoralis minor muscle
    A muscle in the upper chest.

    Pedunculated polyp
    A growth in the gut's lining that has a shape like a mushroom.

    Peginterferon OR Peginterferon alfa-2b
    A long-acting type of interferon—a drug used to activate the body's natural defense against cancer.

    Pelvic exam
    A medical exam of the female organs in the pelvis.

    Pelvic lymph node dissection
    Removal of groups of disease-fighting cells within the pelvis.

    Pelvic wall
    A layer of muscles and tissue that helps organs in the pelvis stay in place.

    Pelvis
    The body area between the hipbones.

    Penile curvature
    An abnormal curve of a penis during an erection.

    Penile erection
    The stiffening of the penis from blood filling its sacs.

    Penile shrinkage
    A decrease in the length or girth of a penis.

    Penis
    A male organ used for sex and urination.

    Percent free prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
    The percentage of an unbound form of PSA.

    Percutaneous
    Through the skin.

    Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)
    A feeding tube inserted through a small cut into the stomach.

    Percutaneous needle biopsy
    Insertion of a needle through the skin and into a mass to remove tissue for testing.

    Perforation  
    A hole in body tissue.

    Performance status

    1. A rating of a person's general health.
    2. A rating of a person's ability to do daily activities.

    Perfusion scanning
    A test that assesses blood flow in and out of the lungs.

    Peribronchial nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells around the main airway of the lungs.

    Pericardial effusion
    Excess fluid between the two tissue layers of the heart's lining.

    Pericardiocentesis
    Use of a needle inserted between the ribs to remove fluid around the heart.

    Pericardium
    The tissue lining around the heart.

    Pericolic lymph nodes        
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are near the colon.

    Peridiaphragmatic lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are near the diaphragm.

    Perimenopause
    When menstrual periods occur less often, but before they completely stop (menopause).

    Perineum

    1. The body area in men that is between the scrotum and anus.
    2. The body area in women that is between the vulva and anus.

    Perineural invasion
    The spread of cancer into nearby nerves.

    Periodontal disease
    A disease of the gums in the mouth.

    Peripheral blood
    Blood that is outside the bone.

    Peripheral margin
    The normal-looking tissue around the sides of a tumor that is removed during surgery.

    Peripheral margin status
    The presence or absence of cancer cells in the normal-looking tissue around the sides of a tumor removed during surgery.

    Peripheral zone
    The back of the prostate near the rectum.

    Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line)
    A thin, flexible tube inserted through the skin into a vein then guided to a larger vein to give chemotherapy.

    Perirectal nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are near the rectum.

    Peritoneal cavity

    1. The large space between the two layers of the tissue lining in the belly area (abdomen).
    2. The area inside the belly area (abdomen) that contains the abdominal organs such as the intestines, stomach, and liver.

    Peritoneal washings
    A special liquid that is tested for cancer cells after it is used to "wash" the insides of the belly area called the peritoneal cavity.

    Peritoneum
    The tissue lining around the abdomen.

    Persistent cancer
    Cancer that is not completely removed or destroyed by treatment.

    Persistent melanoma
    Cancer that is not completely removed or destroyed by treatment; persistent melanoma is found in or right next to the surgical scar where the first melanoma was removed. Also called true local scar recurrence.

    Phase
    A rating or description of the progression of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in the body.

    Philadelphia chromosome (Ph chromosome)
    A shorter chromosome 22 that is formed after parts of chromosome 9 and 22 switch with each other.

    Photodynamic therapy
    Treatment with a laser that activates a drug inside the tumor.

    Photon beam
    A stream of particles that have no mass or electric charge.

    Phrenic nerve
    A bundle of fibers that sends signals between the spine and the muscles used to breathe.

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

    Pigment
    Substance with color.

    Placebo
    A fake medicine that has no active agents.

    Plain radiograph
    A test that uses x-rays to make a picture of the insides of the body.

    Plasma
    The yellowish liquid part of blood that carries blood cells.

    Plasma cell
    A white blood cell that makes germ-fighting proteins.

    Plasma cell labeling index
    A test that shows how many myeloma cells are dividing and how fast they are doing it.

    Plasmapheresis
    A process that removes M-proteins from the blood.

    Plastic surgeon
    A doctor who's an expert in operations to improve function and appearance.

    Platelet
    A type of blood cell that forms blood clots to control bleeding.

    Platinum chemotherapy
    Treatment with chemotherapy drugs that are made with platinum.

    Platinum doublet
    Treatment with two chemotherapy drugs that are made with platinum.

    Platinum-based chemotherapy
    Treatment with two or more chemotherapy drugs of which the main drug is made with platinum.

    Platinum-resistant
    A lack of treatment response to a chemotherapy drug made with platinum.

    Platinum-sensitive
    A treatment response to a chemotherapy drug made with platinum.

    Pleura
    The two layers of tissue lining around the lungs.

    Pleural biopsy
    Removal of a sample of the tissue lining around the lungs to test for disease.

    Pleural catheter
    A tube that drains fluid from the chest.

    Pleural cavity
    The space between the two layers of tissue lining around the lungs.

    Pleural effusion
    An excess of fluid between the two tissue layers of the lining of the lungs.

    Pleural fluid
    The fluid in the space between the two layers of tissue lining around the lungs.

    Pleural mesothelioma
    Cancer that starts in cells that form the tissue lining around the lungs.

    Pleural mesothelium
    A layer of cells in the tissue lining around the lungs that makes lubricating fluid.

    Pleural plaque
    A concentrated area of scarring in the tissue lining around the lungs.

    Pleural thickening
    Widespread scarring in the tissue lining around the lungs.

    Pleurectomy/decortication (P/D)
    Removal of the tumor and the affected part of the tissue lining around the lung.

    Pneumonectomy
    Surgical removal of the entire lung.

    Pneumonia

    1. A severe inflammation of the lungs.
    2. An infection that causes the lungs to fill up with pus.

    Pneumonitis
    Swelling of the air sacs in a lung.

    Pneumothorax
    A collapsed lung.

    Polyp
    An extra growth of tissue from within the first layer of the colon wall.

    Polypectomy
    Removal of an extra growth of tissue from within the first layer of the colon wall.

    Port
    A surgical opening into the body.

    Portal vein embolization
    Blockage of the blood vessel to the liver tumor which causes the healthy liver to grow.

    Positive lymph nodes
    The presence of cancer within groups of disease-fight cells.

    Positive margin       
    The presence of cancer within the normal-looking tissue around the tumor that is removed during surgery.

    Positron emission tomography (PET)
    A test that uses 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.

    Posterior lobe
    The back of the prostate near the rectum.

    Postmenopause
    The state of having no menstrual periods for 12 months or more.

    Potent
    Degree of strength or intensity.

    Premenopausal
    The state of having regular menstrual periods.

    Primary chemotherapy
    The first-line chemotherapy given to treat cancer.

    Primary resistance
    Failure of the body to respond to a drug taken for the first time.

    Primary treatment
    The main treatment used to rid the body of cancer.

    Primary tumor
    The first mass of cancer cells in the body.

    Progesterone
    A hormone that is found in high levels in women and is involved in sexual development, menstruation, and pregnancy.

    Prognosis
    The expected pattern and outcome of a disease based on tests.

    Prognostic factor
    Something that affects or helps predict the likely outcome of a disease.

    Prognostic scoring system
    A system used to help gauge the likely outcome of a disease based on certain factors.

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

    Promyelocyte
    A type of "precursor" cell that develops into a mature white blood cell.

    Prophylactic
    Describing a medical procedure to prevent disease.

    Prostate
    A male gland that makes fluid for protecting sperm from acid in the vagina.

    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
    A protein made by the prostate.

    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) density
    Comparison of the level of PSA to the size of the prostate.

    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) doubling time
    The time it takes for the level of PSA to double.

    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level
    The number of nanograms per milliliter of PSA.

    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) velocity
    How much the level of PSA changes over time.

    Prostatic capsule
    The tissue that covers the prostate.

    Prostatic fluid
    A whitish, thick liquid made by the prostate.

    Prostatitis
    Swelling of the prostate.

    Proteasome
    A group of proteins in cells that helps control cell growth and division.

    Protein
    A chain of small chemical compounds, called amino acids, that is vital to every cell.

    Protocol
    A detailed plan of a medical study, treatment, or procedure.

    Proton beam
    A stream of positively charged particles that emit energy within a short distance.

    Proton beam therapy
    Treatment with radiation that uses a stream of positively charged particles that emit energy within a short distance.

    Proton pump inhibitor (PPI)
    A drug that reduces acid.

    Puberty
    The time when teens sexually develop.

    Pulmonary fibrosis
    Major scarring of lung tissue.

    Pulmonary functioning tests
    A set of breathing tests to test the strength of the lungs.

    Pulmonary pleura
    The inner layer of the tissue lining around the lungs. Also called visceral pleura.

    Pulmonologist
    A doctor who is an expert in lung diseases.

    Punch biopsy
    Surgery to remove tissue with a round-shaped knife to test it for disease.

    Pure desmoplasia
    The growth of dense connective tissue throughout a melanoma tumor.

    Pus
    A yellowish thick fluid in an area of inflammation.

  • QTc prolongation
    A lengthening in time between two specific electrical cycles (T and Q waves) of the heart.

    Quality of life
    The satisfaction with one's well-being.

    Quantitative immunoglobulins
    A test that measures the amount of different types of antibodies in the blood and urine.

    Quantitative perfusion test
    Test of the blood flow in the lungs.

    Quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (QPCR)
    A test that makes copies of genetic information to look for any abnormalities.

    Quantitative ventilation test
    Test of the air flow in the lungs.

  • Radial growth phase
    Horizontal growth of melanoma within a single layer of skin.

    Radiation boost
    An extra dose of radiation to a specific area.

    Radiation enteritis
    Swelling of the colon wall.

    Radiation field
    The area of the body that receives radiation.

    Radiation oncologist
    A doctor who an expert in treating cancer with radiation.

    Radiation therapy
    The use of radiation to treat cancer.

    Radical perineal prostatectomy
    Removal of the prostate through the skin that is between the scrotum and anus.

    Radical prostatectomy
    Removal of the entire prostate.

    Radical retropubic prostatectomy
    Removal of the prostate through one cut made in the lower abdomen.

    Radioactive
    Containing a powerful energy called radiation.

    Radiofrequency ablation
    Treatment that kills cancer cells with heat.

    Radiographic relapse
    The growth of cancer after treatment that is seen on imaging tests.

    Radiologist
    A doctor who is an expert in reading imaging tests.

    Radionucleides
    Radioactive drugs that enter bones to kill cancer cells.

    Radiopharmaceutical
    A drug that contains a radioactive substance.

    Radiotracer

    1. Radioactive material that is used to make pictures of body parts.
    2. A substance that releases a small amount of radiation.
    3. Matter with energy that is put into the body to make pictures clearer.

    Radon
    A gas without odor, taste, or color that is made from decaying uranium.

    Randomized
    Assigned to a group by chance.

    Rate
    The frequency of an event within a specific time period.

    Receptor
    A protein within cells to which substances can attach.

    Rectum

    1. The last part of the large intestine.
    2. An organ in the digestive system that holds stool until expelled from the body.

    Recurrence
    The return of cancer after a disease-free period.

    Recurrence symptoms
    Physical signs that the cancer has returned after a disease-free period.

    Recurrence treatment
    Treatment of cancer that returned after a disease-free period.

    Recurrent cancer
    Cancer that has returned after a disease-free period.

    Recurrent laryngeal nerve
    A bundle of fibers that sends signals between the spine and voice box.

    Red blood cell
    A type of blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

    Red marrow
    The soft tissue in the center of most bones where blood cells are formed.

    Regimen
    A treatment plan that specifies the dosage, schedule, and duration of treatment.

    Regional anesthesia

    1. A type of drug used for short-term loss of feeling or awareness in a part of the body without loss of wakefulness.
    2. A controlled, temporary loss of feeling or awareness in a part of the body caused by drugs without loss of wakefulness.

    Regional lymph node recurrence
    Cancer that has come back after treatment in lymph nodes (groups of disease-fighting cells) near the first tumor.

    Regional melanoma
    Cancer cells have spread from the first tumor to nearby lymph vessels, lymph nodes (groups of disease-fighting cells), and/or nearby skin.

    Regional treatment
    Treatment with cancer-killing drugs directed to a specific area of the body.

    Relapse
    The worsening or return of cancer after a period of improvement.

    Reproductive system
    The organs and tissues involved in the process of making babies.

    Resectable
    Cancer that can be removed by surgery.

    Resection
    Surgery to remove a tumor.

    Residual tumor
    Cancer that was not removed during surgery.

    Respiration
    The transfer of gases in and out of the body.

    Respiratory system
    The group of organs that transfers gases in and out of the body.

    Retractors
    A tool that holds back the edges of a surgical cut.

    Retrograde ejaculation
    Semen that is not ejaculated but flows back into the bladder.

    Retroperitoneal lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are behind the intestines.

    Retroperitoneum
    The space in front of the spine in the lower trunk.

    Retropubic
    Behind the pubic bone.

    Rheumatoid arthritis
    An autoimmune disorder that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints.

    Ribonucleic acid (RNA)
    A molecule that is chemically similar to DNA and carries the same genetic code.

    Risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS)
    A program to test for and manage serious side effects of cancer treatments.

    Risk factor
    Something that increases the chance of getting a disease.

    Risk reduction
    Something that is done to try to lessen the chance of getting a disease.

    Robot-assisted prostatectomy
    Surgery that removes the prostate with the help of a machine.

  • Salvage therapy

    1. The treatment given after standard treatment fails.
    2. Treatment that is given after the first or previous treatment fails.

    Sarcomas
    Cancer that starts in bones or soft tissue of the body.

    Sarcomatoid subtype
    A cell subtype of malignant pleural mesothelioma that is less common; cells of the sarcomatoid subtype are spindle-shaped and in disorganized patterns.

    Satellite metastases
    Small melanoma tumors (satellites) in the skin within 2 centimeters from the first tumor.

    Satellite recurrence
    Cancer that came back after treatment and formed small melanoma tumors in the skin within 2 centimeters from the first tumor, but outside of the surgical scar.

    Scalene lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are within the neck.

    Scalpel
    A knife used for surgery.

    Scar
    A permanent mark on the skin after an injury or surgery.

    Scintigraphy
    A test that uses radioactive tracers to view body parts.

    Screening
    Testing done on a regular basis to detect a disease in someone without symptoms. Also called screening tests.

    Screening tests
    Testing done on a regular basis to detect a disease in someone without symptoms. Also called screening.

    Secondary cancers
    Cancers that start in cells that were damaged from the treatment of the first cancer.

    Secondary resistance
    A lack of treatment response that starts after taking a drug for a while.

    Secondary tumor
    A mass of cancer cells made from cancer cells that had spread from the first mass.

    Second-hand smoke
    Inhaled smoke from a lit smoking product or that was exhaled from a smoker.

    Second-line treatment
    The next treatment used against a disease when the first treatment fails.

    Sedative
    A drug that helps a person to relax or go to sleep.

    Segmentectomy
    Surgical removal of a large part of a lobe.

    Selective estrogen receptor down-regulator (SERD)
    A cancer drug that blocks the effect of estrogen.

    Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM)
    A cancer drug that blocks the effect of estrogen.

    Self-exam (skin)
    A careful review of one's own skin for abnormal-looking spots that may be signs of skin cancer.

    Semen
    A mix of fluids and sperm. Also known as ejaculate.

    Seminal vesicles
    A pair of male glands that makes fluid used by sperm for energy.

    Sentinel lymph node
    The first group of disease-fighting cells to which cancer cells spread after leaving the first tumor.

    Sentinel lymph node biopsy

    1. Surgery to remove the first group of disease-fighting cells to which cancer cells spread after leaving the breast. Also called sentinel lymph node dissection.
    2. Surgery to remove the first group of disease-fighting cells to which cancer cells travel after leaving the primary tumor.

    Sentinel lymph node dissection
    Surgery to remove the first group of disease-fighting cells to which cancer cells spread after leaving the breast tumor. Also called sentinel lymph node biopsy.

    Sequential chemoradiation
    Chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy.

    Serosa
    The outer layer of the colon wall that makes lubricating fluid.

    Serous ovarian cancer
    One of five types of cancer that starts in the tissue lining around the ovaries.

    Serpentine asbestos
    A group of asbestos fibers that are long, curly, and unlikely to break.

    Serum free light chain assay
    A blood test that measures the amount of the shorter fragments of the proteins made by myeloma cells.

    Serum immunofixation electrophoresis (SIFE)
    A test used to identify the type of M-proteins in the blood.

    Serum mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP)
    A protein in mesothelial cells that can be measured in the blood.

    Serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP)
    A test that measures the amount of M-proteins in the blood.

    Serum quantitative immunoglobulins
    A test that measures the amount of each class of antibodies in the blood.

    Serum viscosity
    A test that measures the thickness of blood.

    Sessile polyp
    An overgrowth in the lining of the gut that has a flat shape.

    Shave biopsy
    Surgery to remove a thin tissue sample from the top of a tumor to test for cancer cells.

    Short-term side effect
    An unhealthy or unpleasant physical or emotional response to treatment that goes away after treatment ends.

    Side effect
    An unhealthy or unpleasant physical or emotional response to treatment.

    Sigmoid colon
    The last part of the colon on the left side of the body that is shaped like the letter S.

    Silica
    A natural mineral mostly found in sand.

    Simple mastectomy
    Surgery that removes the entire breast but no chest muscles. Also called a total mastectomy.

    Simulation
    The steps needed to prepare for treatment with radiation.

    Single agent
    One drug that is used for treatment.

    Skeletal survey
    A set of X-rays of the entire skeleton to look for broken or damaged bones. Also called bone survey.

    Skin biopsy
    Removal of a sample of tissue from the skin to test for disease.

    Skin-sparing mastectomy
    A surgery that removes all breast tissue but saves as much breast skin as possible.

    Sleeve lobectomy
    Removal of an entire lobe of a lung and part of the bronchus.

    Small bowel obstruction
    A blockage in the first part of the gut (small intestine).

    Small cell lung cancer
    Cancer that started in small, round cells of the lung.

    Small intestine 
    The digestive organ that absorbs nutrients from eaten food.

    Smoldering myeloma
    Myeloma that isn't causing symptoms or damaging organs.

    Snare
    A medical tool that has a wire loop to cut tissue.

    Social worker
    An expert in meeting social and emotional needs.

    Soft tissue sarcoma
    Cancer that starts in tissue that supports, connects, and surrounds parts of your body.

    Solid nodule
    A small mass of tissue with high density.

    Solitary plasmacytoma
    Cancer that is one mass of myeloma cells (abnormal plasma cells that grow and divide all the time).

    Soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP)
    A protein in cells of the mesothelium that can be measured in the blood.

    Sonogram
    A computer picture of areas inside the body created by sound waves bounced off of tissues and organs.

    Sperm
    A sex cell from a man that invades a woman's egg to make a baby.

    Spinal anesthesia
    A shot of drugs into the spongy tissue around the spinal cord that causes a loss of feeling in the lower half of the body.

    Spinal cord compression
    Painful squeezing of the bundle of nerves in the spine.

    Spine
    The group of 33 bones, muscles, and other tissues that extend from the base of the skull to the tailbone. Also called the backbone.

    Spirometry
    A test that uses a tube to measure how fast you breathe.

    Spleen
    An organ that is to the left of the stomach and helps protect the body against disease.

    Splenomegaly
    Enlargement of the spleen, which is an organ that helps protect the body against disease.

    Splint
    A device used to support a broken bone and hold it in place.

    Squamous cell carcinoma
    Cancer that starts in thin and flat cells that line surface of organs.

    Squamous cell skin cancers
    The second most common type of skin cancer.

    Squamous cells
    Thin, flat cells that line many surfaces of the body.

    St. John's wort
    An herbal product that is sometimes used to treat depression and that can affect how well certain cancer drugs work in the body.

    Stable disease
    Cancer that is not getting worse or better in terms of its growth.

    Staging
    The process of rating and describing the extent of cancer in the body.

    Staging procedures (surgical staging procedures)
    Procedures during surgery that are used to find out how far the cancer has spread.

    Standard care
    The process that a health care professional should follow to treat a medical problem.

    Standard open esophagectomy
    Removal of the esophagus through large cuts into the body.

    Stem cell
    An immature cell from which other types of cells develop.

    Stem cell harvest
    The process of removing blood stem cells from a person.

    Stem cell transplant
    A cancer treatment that destroys bone marrow with chemotherapy and then replaces it with healthy blood stem cells.

    Stent
    A tiny tube that is used to unblock a duct.

    Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR)
    Treatment with radiation that is delivered with precise, high-dose beams.

    Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
    Treatment of brain tumors with radiation delivered by precise, high-dose photon beams.

    Stereotactic-guided biopsy
    Use of mammography to guide a needle into a breast tumor to remove samples.

    Sternum
    A flat bone in the center of the chest. Also called the breastbone.

    Steroid

    1. A drug used to reduce swelling and inflammation.
    2. A drug used to kill myeloma cells.
    3. A drug used to stop cells from making testosterone.

    Stomach
    An organ of the digestive system that turns solid food into a liquid form.

    Stool
    Unused food that is passed out of the body. Also called feces.

    Stress incontinence
    Leakage of urine when pressure is exerted on the bladder.

    Strip biopsy
    The use of injections, tongs, and snares to remove small tumors.

    Stroma
    Supportive tissue in the breast.

    Structural tests
    Tests that use machines.

    Subcarinal nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are right below the bottom of the windpipe.

    Subcutaneous
    Below the skin.

    Submucosa
    The second layer of the colon wall that is made mostly of connective tissue.

    Submucosal injection polypectomy
    The use of injections and snares to remove small tumors.

    Subserosa
    The fourth layer of the colon wall that is made mostly of connective tissue.

    Succinate dehydrogenase (SDH)
    A protein within cells.

    Sun protection factor (SPF)
    A rating of the level of protection sunscreen products provide against the UV rays from the sun.

    Superficial
    At, on, or near the top or surface.

    Superficial spreading melanoma
    The most common type of melanoma; it grows slowly and spreads from a mole.

    Superior mesenteric artery
    The large tube-shaped vessel that carries blood from the heart to the gut.

    Superior mesenteric vein
    The large tube-shaped vessel that returns blood from the gut to the heart.

    Superior sulcus tumor
    A mass of cancer cells at the top of the lung that easily grows into the chest wall.

    Supplement
    A product that is added to the diet, such as a vitamin, mineral, or herb.

    Supportive care
    Treatment for symptoms of a disease. Also called palliative care.

    Supraclavicular
    The body area that is right above the collarbone.

    Supraclavicular lymph nodes
    Groups of disease-fighting cells that are above the collarbone.

    Surface receptor
    A protein found in the membrane of cells to which substances attach.

    Surgeon
    A doctor who is an expert in operations to remove or repair a part of the body.

    Surgery
    An operation to remove or repair a part of the body.

    Surgical exploration/evaluation
    Surgery that assesses the extent of the cancer to see if surgical treatment is possible.

    Surgical margin
    The normal-looking tissue around the edge of a tumor that is removed during surgery.

    Surgical menopause
    A sudden end of menstrual periods caused by surgery that removes both ovaries.

    Surgical oncologist
    A doctor who is an expert in operations on cancer.

    Surgical staging
    Procedures done during surgery that are used to find out how far cancer has spread.

    Surveillance
    Follow-up testing that is done after treatment ends to look for new tumors.

    Switch maintenance
    The stopping of all first-line drugs and the start of a new drug.

    Symptom
    A physical sign or patient report of a health condition.

    Synchronous metastases
    Cancer in distant sites that is found at diagnosis.

    Systemic radiation therapy
    The use of radioactive drugs to treat cancer cells throughout the body with radiation.

    Systemic therapy
    Drugs that are used to treat cancer cells throughout the body.

  • Talc pleurodesis
    Use of powder to seal the space that is within the lining of the lung to stop fluid build-up.

    Tamoxifen
    A drug that blocks estrogen from attaching to cells and starting cell growth.

    Tandem stem cell transplant
    A planned, second stem cell transplant that uses a patient's blood-forming cells.

    Targeted therapy

    1. Treatment with drugs that target a specific or unique feature of cancer cells.
    2. Drugs that target a specific or unique feature of cancer cells.

    Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)
    A chemical found in a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte or lymphoid cell.

    Testicles
    Two egg-shaped glands found inside sac between the legs of a man.

    Testosterone
    A hormone that helps the sexual organs in men to work.

    Thoracentesis
    Use of a needle that is inserted between the ribs to remove fluid around the lungs.

    Thoracic inlet
    The center of a ring of bones at the top of the ribcage.

    Thoracic surgeon
    A doctor who is an expert in surgery within the chest.

    Thoracoscope
    A thin, long tube through which tools are inserted to do work inside the chest.

    Thoracoscopic biopsy
    Use of thin tool that is inserted through a small cut in the chest to remove tissue to test for disease. Also called VATS biopsy.

    Thoracoscopy
    Use of thin tools that are inserted into a thin, long tube in the chest to remove tissue.

    Thoracotomy
    Removal of all or part of the lungs through a large cut in the chest.

    Thorax
    The chest area between the head and abdomen.

    Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT)
    Treatment with radiation that uses beams matched to the shape of the tumor.

    Thrombocytopenia
    A health condition in which the number of platelets is below normal levels.

    Thymus
    A gland of the immune system that is located behind the top of the breastbone.

    Thyroid
    A gland located in the throat, just beneath the voice box.

    Tomotherapy
    Treatment with radiation of a tumor slice-by-slice.

    Total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH)
    Surgery that removes the womb (uterus) through a surgical cut in the belly area.

    Total mastectomy
    Removal of the entire breast but no chest muscles. Also called simple mastectomy.

    Total pancreatectomy
    Removal of the entire pancreas and other nearby organs and tissues.

    Total protein (urine)
    A test that measures the amount and type of protein in urine over a 24-hour period.

    Toxin
    A poison made in nature.

    TP53
    An abnormal change in cells that causes Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

    Trachea
    The airway between the throat and bronchi. Also called the windpipe.

    Transabdominal ultrasound
    A test that sends sound waves through the skin to make pictures of the insides of the belly area.

    Transcript levels
    The number of copies of certain genes (instructions for making and controlling cells) in your body found by a very sensitive test.

    Transducer
    A hand-held tool that bounces sound waves off tissues to make pictures of the insides of the body.

    Transfusion
    Replacing lost blood with new blood.

    Transhiatal esophagectomy
    Removal of the esophagus through cuts in the belly area and chest.

    Transition zone
    The inner part of the prostate around the urethra.

    Translocation
    The switching of parts between two chromosomes.

    Transrectal
    Through the rectum.

    Transrectal ultrasound
    A device that is inserted into the rectum and emits sound waves to make pictures of the prostate.

    Transthoracic esophagectomy
    Removal of the esophagus through cuts in the belly area and chest.

    Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
    Removal of some of the prostate through the urethra.

    Transvaginal ultrasound
    Use of a device that is inserted into the vagina and uses sound waves to make pictures of the insides of the body.

    Transverse colon
    The second part of the colon that crosses from the right to the left side of the body.

    Treatment plan
    A written course of action through cancer treatment and beyond.

    Treatment response
    An improvement in disease related to treatment.

    Triple androgen blockade
    Finasteride or dutasteride with combined androgen blockade.

    Trisomy 8
    A health condition in which there are three copies of chromosome 8.

    True local scar recurrence
    Melanoma cells not completely removed or destroyed by treatment, with cancer cells found in or right next to the surgical scar where the first melanoma was removed. Also called persistent melanoma.

    Tubal ligation
    Surgery that seals the fallopian tubes so eggs from the ovary do not reach the womb. Also known as getting one's "tubes tied."

    Tubular breast cancer
    Cancer that started in the breast and has cells that look like tubes.

    Tumor

    1. An abnormal mass of cells.
    2. An overgrowth of cells.

    Tumor burden
    The extent of cancer in the body.

    Tumor deposits
    The presence of tiny tumors where lymph drains from the tumor.

    Tumor depth
    How far the tumor has grown into the structure it is affecting.

    Tumor excision
    Removal of a tumor with surgery.

    Tumor extension
    How far the tumor has grown into nearby tissues.

    Tumor flare
    An increase in testosterone after starting castration therapy.

    Tumor grade
    How closely the cancer cells look like normal cells.

    Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes
    The presence of white blood cells in a tumor.

    Tumor location
    The area of the body that contains the tumor.

    Tumor markers
    Substances in body fluid or tissue that may be a sign of cancer.

    Tumor regression
    A decrease in the size of the tumor.

    Tyrosine kinase
    A type of protein located on or near the surface of cells that sends signals telling cells when to grow and divide.

    Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy
    A type of drug that specifically targets and blocks (inhibits) proteins called tyrosine kinases so the proteins cannot tell cells to grow and make more cells.

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    A federal government agency that regulates drugs and food in the United States.

    Ulcerated or ulceration
    A condition when the top skin layer of a tumor is broken or missing.

    Ulceration status
    Whether or not the top skin layer of a tumor is present and intact (not ulcerated) or is broken or missing (ulcerated).

    Ulcerative colitis
    An inflammatory disease of the colon.

    Ultrasonography
    A test that uses ultrasound to view body parts. Also called ultrasound.

    Ultrasound
    A test that uses sound waves to take pictures of the insides of the body. Also called ultrasonography.

    Ultrasound-guided biopsy
    Use of ultrasound to guide a needle into a breast tumor to remove samples.

    Ultraviolet (UV) radiation

    1. Light energy with a wavelength shorter than visible light but longer than x-rays.
    2. Invisible light energy that comes from the sun, sun lamps, and tanning beds.

    Ultraviolet-A (UVA) radiation
    Long-wave invisible light energy that comes from the sun, sun lamps, and tanning beds.

    Ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation
    Short-wave invisible light energy that comes from the sun and in small amounts from tanning beds.

    Undifferentiated ovarian cancer
    One of five types of cancer that starts in the tissue lining around the ovaries.

    Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (USO)
    Removal of one ovary and one Fallopian tube that are on the same side of the body

    Unresectable
    Cancer that can't be removed by surgery.

    Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy
    Use of a thin, long tool that is guided into the esophagus and stomach.

    Uranium
    A silvery-white metallic chemical.

    Urethra
    A tube that expels urine from the body. Also expels semen in men.

    Urge incontinence
    The feeling of having to rush to urinate or you'll leak urine.

    Urinary incontinence
    The inability to control the release of urine from the bladder.

    Urinary retention
    The inability to completely empty the bladder.

    Urine immunofixation electrophoresis (UIFE)
    A test that identifies the type of M-protein in the urine.

    Urine protein electrophoresis (UPEP)
    A test that shows the amount of M-protein in the urine.

    Urologist
    A doctor who is an expert in urinary systems and in male sex organs.

    Uterine sarcoma
    Cancer that starts in the supportive tissue of the womb.

    Uterus
    The female organ where babies grow during pregnancy. Also called the womb.

  • Vaccine
    A biological agent inserted into the body to prevent a disease.

    Vaccine therapy

    1. The use of a vaccine to treat a person with a disease.
    2. A treatment used to help the body's disease-fighting ability (immune system) prevent a disease.

    Vagina
    A hollow, muscular tube in women through which babies are born. Also called the birth canal.

    Vas deferens
    A tube-shaped male organ through which sperm travel from the testicles to the penis.

    Vasectomy
    Surgery that seals the organ through which sperm travel from the testicles to the penis.

    Vein
    A tube-shaped vessel that carries blood from anywhere in the body to the heart.

    Vemurafenib
    A drug that treats melanoma by targeting a certain abnormal change in the instructions in cells for making and controlling cells.

    Venous access port
    A small device that is inserted beneath the skin and into a vein to give medicine.

    Venous thromboembolism
    A dangerous blood clot in a vein.

    Vertebrae
    The chain of 33 bones in the back that protects a vital group of nerves. Also known as backbone.

    Vertebroplasty
    A procedure to strengthen bones in the spine with bone cement.

    Vertical growth phase
    A downward growth of a tumor into the skin.

    Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)
    Use of thin tool that is inserted between the ribs to do work in the chest.

    Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) biopsy
    Use of thin tools inserted through one or more small cuts in the chest to remove tissue to test for disease.

    Villous adenoma
    An overgrowth within the gut's lining that has a ruffled structure.

    Virtual colonography
    A test that fills the colon with air and then uses computed tomography (CT) to make pictures.

    Visceral
    Reference to the intestines that digest food; the gut.

    Visceral organs
    Soft-tissue internal organs such as the intestines that digest food.

    Visceral pleura
    The inner layer of the tissue lining around the lungs. Also called pulmonary pleura.

    Vital organ
    A functional group of tissues in the body that is needed to live.

    Volume displacement
    The shifting of breast tissue.

    Vulva
    The female organs between the legs.

  • Wedge resection
    Removal of a small part of a lung's lobe.

    Wheezing
    Acoarse, whistling sound while breathing.

    Whipple procedure
    Removal of the head of the pancreas and parts of other nearby organs. Also called a pancreatoduodenectomy.

    White blood cell
    A type of blood cell that fights infection.

    Whole breast radiation
    Treatment of the entire breast with radiation from a machine outside the body.

    Wide excision
    Surgical treatment that removes the whole tumor and some surrounding normal tissue.

    Widespread metastatic disease
    Cancer that has spread from the first tumor to many distant sites in the body.

    Windpipe
    The airway between the throat and bronchi. Also called trachea.

    Wire localization biopsy
    Use of wire that is guided into a tumor by mammography to find which tissue to remove.

    Womb
    The female organ where babies grow during pregnancy. Also called uterus.

  • Xeroderma pigmentosum
    An inability of the skin to repair damage from ultraviolet light.

    X-ray
    Use of small amounts of radiation to make pictures of the insides of the body.

  • Yellow marrow
    A type of bone marrow that consists mainly of fat cells.