Cancer Glossary

Definition and Terms

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Cancer Glossary

Postby patoco » Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:12 am

Cancer Glossary

Lymphedema People


This is a very brief glossary of common cancer terms. For a complete glossary by alpha search I recommend the glossary of cancer terms published by the National Cancer Institute


Acute: Occurring suddenly or over a short period of time.

Adjuvant Chemotherapy: The use of anticancer drugs after surgery patients whose cancers are most likely to recur.

Alopecia: Hair loss.

Anemia: A condition in which blood is deficient in red blood cells, hemoglobin, or total volume of red blood cells.

Antimetabolites: Anticancer drugs that closely resemble substances needed by cells for normal growth. The rumor cells uses the drug instead and "starves" for lack of proper substance.

Benign Tumor: A noncancerous growth that does not spread to other parts of the body. Outlook for recovery is usually favorable with treatment.

Biopsy: The removal and microscopic examination of tissue from the living body for purposes of diagnosis.

Blast Cells: An immature stage in cellular development before appearance of the definitive characteristics of the cell.

Blood Typing and Cross-Matching: The blood cells contain factors that are not the same in all people. Before a transfusion can be given, blood samples from the donor and recipient are typed, or classified (type A, B, AB, or O). Once the two blood samples have been typed, they are cross-matched to be absolutely sure that they are compatible. This is done by placing red cells of the donor in a sample of the recipient's serum and red cells of the recipient in a sample of the donor's serum. If the blood does not "clump," or agglutinate, the two bloods are compatible. Techniques for typing white blood cells and platelets are similar but more complex (see HL-A).

Bone Marrow: The spongy material that fills the cavities of the bones and is the substance in which many of the blood elements are produced. In order to determine the condition of the marrow, a doctor may take a small sample from one of the bones in the chest, hip, spine, or leg. Such examinations are performed with the help of local anesthesia.

Bone Marrow Transplant: Procedure in which a patient's bone marrow is destroyed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy and replace with new bone marrow from a donor, usually a sibling with HL-A (human histocompatibility antigens) identical to the patient's.

Brachytherapy:A type of radiation therapy is which radioactive materials are placed in direct contact with the tissue being treated.

Breast Self-Exam (BSE): A method for women to check their breasts for changes in appearance or feel. This can help detect breast cancer at a more early stage, should it develop.

Breast-Cancer: Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women aged between 35 to 54, incidence has increased such that 1 in 9 women develop breast cancer in the USA. The most common type of breast cancer that found in the cells of the breast ducts, other types include those of the lobes, and inflammatory breast cancer. Between 5 and 10% of breast cancers are known to be hereditary, women with the defective BRCA1 gene are more likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer.

Cancer: A general term for about 100 diseases characterized by uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells. The resulting mass, or tumor, can invade and destroy surrounding normal tissues. Cancer cells from the tumor can spread throughout the blood or lymph (the clear fluid that bathes body cells) to start new cancers in other parts of the body (metastases).

Carcinogen: A chemical or other agent that causes cancer.

Carcinoma: Cancer of the tissues that cover or line the body surface and internal organs.

CT Scan (computerized tomography): Diagnostic X-Ray procedure in which a computer is used to generate a three-dimensional image.

CBC (complete blood count): A series of tests to examine components of the blood. These tests are useful in diagnosing certain health problems and in following the effects of treatment.

Chemotherapy: Treatment with anticancer drugs.

Chronic: A term that us used to describe a disease of long duration or one that is progressing slowly.

Clinical: In general, pertaining to observation and treatment of patients.

Clinical research: A term applied to the study and treatment of patients.
CNS (central nervous system): The brain and spinal cord.

CSFs (colony stimulating factors): Hormone-like substances that regulate the production and function of blood cells, to promote the growth of infection-fighting white blood cells.

Combination Chemotherapy: The use of two or more anticancer medications for treatment of an individual cancer patient.

Culture: A laboratory procedure in which micro-organisms contained in samples of blood, secretions, or other body fluids are cultivated in special nutrients; used to determine the presence and type of infectious agents.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): The basic material of life. DNA is a long, chain-like chemical found in the nucleus of all cells. The segments of the chain are the genetic code that guides the development of every cell.

Erythocytes: Red blood cells. Their main protein component, hemoglobin, carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body.

Extravasation: Leaking of the drug out of the vein and into the skin.

Gamma Globulin: A class of protein components of the blood containing antibodies effective in defending the body from certain micro-organisms.

Gastrointestinal: Pertaining to the digestive tract, which includes the mouth, throat esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum.

Granulocytes: One type of white blood cell that destroys invading bacteria.

HL -A (human histocompatibility antigens): These antigens appear on white blood cells as well as cells of almost all other tissues and are analogous to red blood cell antigens (A,B, etc.). By typing for HL-A antigens, donors and recipients of white blood cells, platelets, and organs can be "matched" to ensure good performance and survival of transfused and transplanted cells.

Hematologist: A physician who specializes in the study of blood diseases.

Hematology: The study of blood and blood-forming organs.

Hemoglobin: The iron-protein component in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues.

Hemorrhage: A general term for loss of blood, often profuse, brought about by injury to the blood vessels or by a deficiency of certain necessary blood elements such as platelets.

Hyperalimentation: Intravenous administration of nutrients, bypassing
the gastrointestinal tract. It is also called total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

Immune System: The body's system of defenses against disease, composed of certain white blood cells and antibodies. Antibodies are protein substances that react against bacteria and other harmful material.

Immunology: Study of the body's natural defense mechanisms against disease.

Immunotherapy: An experimental method of treating cancer that uses substances that stimulate the body's immune system.

Infection: The invasion and multiplication of disease-producing organisms in the body.

Informed Consent: The permission given by a person before surgery or other kinds of treatment. The patient, or a parent or guardian, must
understand the potential risks and benefits of the treatment and legally agree to accept those risks.

Intramuscular (IM): The injection of a drug into muscle tissue, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Intravenous (IV): The administration of a drug or fluid directly into a vein.

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP): An X-Ray examination of the kidneys that depends on accumulation and visualization in the kidney of a special substance that is injected into a vein.

Isotopic Scan: A Diagnostic procedure for examining the brain, bones, and other organs. In this procedure, a radioactive substance is introduced intravenously, collects in certain organs, and is then studied by special scanners that detect radioactivity.

Leukocytes: White blood cells.

Leukopenia: a low number of leukocytes or wbc's. Leukopenia decreases the bodies ability to fight disease and infections.

Low Grade: A grade of Non-Hodgkin's denoting usually low growth. NHL types that are low grade (indolent) are small lymphocytic, small cleaved cell follicular, mixed follicular, small cleaved cell diffuse, intermediately differentiated diffuse and cutaneous T-cell (mycosis fungoides).

Lumbar Puncture (LP): A diagnostic procedure that involves inserting a needle into the spine and taking a sample of spinal fluid for examination. Also called a spinal tap.

Lymph: A nearly colorless fluid that bathes body cells and moves through the lymphatic vessel of the body.

Lymph Nodes: Bean-shaped structures scattered along vessels of the lymphatic system. These nodes act as filters, collecting bacteria or cancer cells that may travel through the lymphatic system.

Lymphangiography: An X-Ray procedure that uses a radio-opaque dye to examine the lymph system.

Lymphatic System: Circulatory network of vessels carrying lymph, and the lymphoid organs such as the lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus, that produce and store infection-fighting cells.

Lymphoma: A tumor of the lymphatic system.

Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (LBL): a very aggressive non-hodgkin's lymphoma often occurring in younger patients. Intensive combination chemotherapy is standard treatment. See the lymphoblasic lymphoma information page for more information.

Lymphocytes: A type of white blood cell that fights infection and disease and are found in the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, and lymphoid organs. The two main types of lymphocytes - B cells (bone marrow derived lymphocytes) and T cells (thymus derived lymphocytes or thymocytes) combine forces to regulate the immune response.

Lymphoma: a subset of cancers that begin in the lymph system. Lymphomas are broken down into two categories - Hodgkin's Disease and the Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas. The word for lymphoma is some common languages: Lymphom (German), lymphom (Danish), linfoma (Spanish, Portuguese and Italian), lymphome (French), lymfoom (Dutch).

Lymphomatoid Granulomatosis: a B-cell lymphoma that is now called pulmonary angiocentric B-cell lymphoma.

Lymphomatoid Papulosis (LyP): a skin disorder that can progress into Hodgkin's Disease or forms of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Skin lesions come and go. The prevalence rate is estimated at 1.2 to 1.9 cases per million population. More Information.

Lymphoplasmacytoid Lymphoma (LPL): an indolent non-hodgkin's lymphoma. See the Lymphoplasmacytoid lymphoma page for more information.

Malignant: Tending to become progressively worse; in the case of cancer, it implies ability to invade, spread, and actively destroy normal tissue.

MabThera: UK trade name for rituxan.

Macrophage: a type of white blood cell that fights inflammation.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): a test that uses a magnetic field sensor and computers to create 3-dimensional images of the body. It is similar to computerized tomography (CT scan) but uses magnets instead of x-rays.

MALT / MALToma (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue): a low grade B-Cell non-hodgkin's lymphoma arising most commonly in the stomach, salivary gland, lung, or thyroid tissue. The gastrointestinal tract, particularly the stomach, is the most frequently involved site. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori is found in up to 92% of patients with gastric MALT lymphoma. See the new page on Marginal Zone Lymphomas for more information.

Mantle Cell Lymphoma: an aggressive form of non-hodgkin's lymphoma. More on the Mantle Cell page.

Marginal Zone Lymphoma: a term used to encompass indolent B-Cell lymphomas that are either MALT or monocytoid B-Cell lymphoma. See the page on Marginal Zone Lymphomas for more information.

Metastases: Cancer growths that started from cancer cells shed by a primary cancer arising in another part of the body.

Monoclonal Antibody: an artificially made antibody used against a specific antigen. Use of monoclonal antibodies is being researched to target chemotherapy or radioactive substances directly to cancer cells. More Information.

Monocytes: One type of white blood cell that destroys invading bacteria.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A techniques that uses magnetic fields and radio waves linked to a computer to create pictures of areas inside the body.

Mucositis: inflammation of the mucus membranes (like the mouth) that causes pain, soreness, and/or excessive mucus production.

Mycosis Fungoides: A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that first appears on the skin. Also called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Nasal T-cell Lymphoma: a subset of angiocentric lymphomas, it is treated with doxorubicin (adriamycin) based combination chemotherapy and is managed like diffuse large cell lymphoma.

Nausea: feeling sick or wanting to vomit, possibly with dizziness or symptoms. Some chemotherapy combinations can cause nausea for up to several days - this can be lessened by taking antiemetic drugs.

Needle Biopsy: A sample of tissue is taken with a needle and looked at under a microscope.

Neoplasm: malignant (cancerous) growth

Neutropenia: a low number of neutrophils or white blood cells (wbc's); may increase the risk of infection depending how low the wbc count is and for how long it has been low.

Neutrophils: A type of white blood cell that plays a major role in the
body's defense against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas (NHL): A group of lymphomas characterized by cancerous growth of different types of lymphatic cells, excluding those characterized by Hodgkin's Disease. The lymphomas are broken down into three grades depending on how fast the particular lymphoma develops: low grade, intermediate grade, and high grade.

Oncologist: A physician who specializes in cancer.

Oncology: Study of the physical, chemical, and biological properties and features of cancer.

Ostomy: A suffix that refers to a surgically created passage connecting an internal organ with the skin or other internal organs.

Pathologist: A physician who interprets and diagnoses the changes cause by disease in the body.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant (PBSCT): Similar to a bone marrow transplant (BMT), young blood stem cells are collected from the patient (autologous) or another matched donor (allogeneic) usually by a process called apheresis. High dose chemotherapy and/or radiation is given, and the stem cells reinfused to the patient to re-establish (rescue) the patients immune system.

Peripheral Neuropathy: numbness, tingling, burning, and/or weakness in the extremities (usually hands and/or feet). The chemotherapy drugs vinblastine (Hodgkin's) and vincristine (used for some NHLs) and both vinca alkaloid drugs which can cause varying degrees of peripheral neuropathy. More on the Peripheral Neuropathy page.

Petechiae: Tiny localized hemorrhages from the small blood vessels just beneath the surface of the skin.

Plasma: The liquid portion of the blood that contains numerous proteins an minerals and is necessary for normal body functioning.

Platelets: One of the main components of the blood that forms clots that seal up injured areas and prevent hemorrhage.
PO - Per Os: by mouth, orally

Poorly-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma: the old Rappaport classification for the form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma now known as follicular center cell lymphoma with a large component of small-cleaved cells.

Port: Well defined area mapped out for radiation.

Prognosis: An estimate of the outcome of a disease; a prediction.

Prosthesis: An artificial limb.

Protocol: medical treatment plan

Pruritus: itching (sometimes an unofficial "B" symptom of Hodgkin's Disease).

Pulminary Angiocentric B-Cell Lymphoma: formerly called lymphomatoid granulomatosis, it is a condition that when malignant is treated with doxorubicin (Adriamycin) based combination chemotherapy and is treated like diffuse large cell lymphoma.

Purging: in cancer treatment purging refers to the removal of cancer or T cells in bone marrow or stem cells prior to BMT or PBSCT.

Rad: A unit of measurement for radiation.

Radiation Therapist (radiation oncologist): A physician who has had additional specialized training in using radiation to treat human disease. This specialist differs from the radiologist, whose primary role is one of diagnostician.

Radiation Therapy: Treatment using high energy radiation from X-Ray machines, cobalt, radium, or other sources.

Radiation Therapy Technologist: A specially trained technician who assists the radiation therapist in giving external radiation treatments.

Radioisotope Studies (scans): A diagnostic procedure in which a harmless amount of radioactive chemical is injected into the blood stream and concentrates in cancer cells. A scanning device passed over the body senses any radioactivity and makes a picture of its location in the body.
Radiologist: A physician with special training in reading diagnostic X-rays.

Red Blood Cells: Cells that carry oxygen to all the various organs and tissues of the body.

Recurrence: The reappearance of a disease after a period when symptoms had lessened or deceased.

Reed-Sternberg Cell: A type of cell that appears in patients with Hodgkin's disease.

Remission: The decrease or disappearance of cancer symptoms, also the period during which this occurs.

Research Protocol: A general treatment plan that several hospitals use for one type of cancer.

Sarcoma: A cancer of connective tissues such as bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, nerve sheath, or blood vessels.

Toxicity: The quality of substances that causes ill effects.
TPN (total parenteral nutrition): The procedure in which nutrients are supplied directly to the bloodstream.

Ultrasound Studies: A diagnostic technique in which "pictures" are made by bouncing sound waves off organs and other internal structures. Tumors are identified from these pictures.

Watch and Wait: a period of using no treatment or little treatment and seeing how the lymphoma progresses. Typically a strategy used for low grade / Indolent Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. More on the Watch and Wait page.

Well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma: the old Rappaport classification for the form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma now known as small lymphocytic lymphoma.

White Blood Cell (WBC): a variety of cells that fight infection in the body and are part of the immune system.

White Blood Cell Count: measurement of the total number of white blood cells in a sample of blood. Blood Count Information.

X-Rays: High-energy radiation used in high doses to treat cancer or in low doses to diagnoses disease.

Original Post June 12, 2006 - 400 views
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Re: Cancer Glossary

Postby patoco » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:46 am

Reviewed October 8, 2009
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