Medical Glossary

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  • 131I-MIBG

    Iodine I 131 metaiodobenzylguanidine. A radioactive substance that is used in imaging tests, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.

  • 5-FU

    A drug that is used in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called fluorouracil.

  • 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA)

    A breakdown product of serotonin that is excreted in the urine. Serotonin is a hormone found at high levels in many body tissues. Serotonin and 5-HIAA are produced in excess amounts by carcinoid tumors, and levels of these substances may be measured in the urine to test for carcinoid tumors.

  • Abdomen

    The area of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.

  • Abdominal

    Having to do with the abdomen, which is the part of the body between the chest and the hips that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.

  • Abdominoperitoneal resection

    Surgery to remove the anus, the rectum, and part of the sigmoid colon through an incision made in the abdomen. The end of the intestine is attached to an opening in the surface of the abdomen and body waste is collected in a disposable bag outside of the body. This opening is called a colostomy. Lymph nodes that contain cancer may also be removed during this operation.

  • Ablation

    In medicine, the removal or destruction of a body part or tissue or its function. Ablation may be performed by surgery, hormones, drugs, radiofrequency, heat, or other methods.

  • Abnormal

    Not normal. In referring to a lesion or growth, may be cancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer).

  • Abscess

    An enclosed collection of pus in tissues, organs, or confined spaces in the body. An abscess is a sign of infection and is usually swollen and inflamed.

  • ACE inhibitor

    Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. A type of drug that is used to lower blood pressure. ACE inhibitors belong to the family of drugs called antihypertensives.

  • Acupressure

    The application of pressure or localized massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.

  • Acute

    A sudden onset of symptoms or disease.

  • Adenocarcinoma (AD-in-o-kar-sin-O-ma)

    "Adeno-" is a prefix that means "gland." In general, glands secrete things and are classified as endocrine or exocrine. Endocrine glands secrete things into the bloodstream, like hormones.The word "carcinoma" means a malignant tumor that starts in epithelial tissue.Put the two words together and you get "adenocarcinoma," which means a malignant tumor in epithelial tissue, specifically in a gland.

    A malignant cancer that begins in cells that line certain internal organs and that have glandular (secretory) properties.

  • Adenoma (ad-in-O-ma)

    A benign tumor (noncancerous) made up of glandular tissue. For example, an adenoma of the pituitary gland may cause it to produce abnormal amounts of hormones.

  • Adjunct agent

    In cancer therapy, a drug or substance used in addition to the primary therapy.

  • Adjunctive therapy

    Another treatment used together with the primary treatment. Its purpose is to assist the primary treatment.

  • Adjuvant therapy

    Treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or biological therapy.

  • Adrenal glands

    Two small organs near the kidneys that release hormones.

  • Adrenaline

    A hormone secreted by the adrenal gland (particularly during intense emotional states) into the circulatory system which stimulates the heart, blood vessels and respiratory system. Also called epinephrine.

  • Adriamycin (generic name doxorubicin)

    An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.

  • AFP (Alpha fetoprotein)

    A tumor marker.

  • Aggressive

    A quickly growing cancer.

  • Allopurinol

    A drug that lowers high levels of uric acid (a byproduct of metabolism) in the blood caused by some cancer treatments. Allopurinol is in a class of medications called xanthine oxidase inhibitors. Brand names: Aloprim® and Zyloprim®

  • Alopecia

    The loss of hair, which may include all body hair as well as scalp hair.

  • Alternative medicine

    Practices used instead of standard treatments. They generally are not recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches. Alternative medicine includes dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.

  • Ambien®

    A drug used to treat insomnia (inability to sleep), and anxiety. It belongs to a family of drugs known as imidazopyridines (sedative hypnotics). Also called zolpidem.

  • Amino acid sequence

    The arrangement of amino acids in a protein. Proteins can be made from 20 different kinds of amino acids, and the structure and function of each type of protein are determined by the kinds of amino acids used to make it and how they are arranged.

  • Amino acids

    Organic compounds that form the building blocks of proteins.Out of 20 or more, 9 are considered essential , indispensable to life and growth that the body cannot make and must be supplied by diet. They are: threonine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan. They are found in complete protein foods such as eggs, milk, cheese, meats and fish. See complete protein.

  • Amoxicillin

    An antibiotic drug used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called penicillins or penicillin derivatives.

  • Ampulla

    A sac-like enlargement of a canal or duct.

  • Ampulla of Vater

    An enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas at the point where they enter the small intestine.

  • Amylase (AM-il-aze)

    An enzyme that helps the body digest starches.

  • Anal

    Having to do with the anus, which is the posterior opening of the large bowel.

  • Analgesic

    A drug that reduces pain. Analgesics include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.

  • Analog

    A derivative of a parent substance to which it is similar but not identical.

  • Analysis

    A process in which anything complex is separated into simple or less complex parts.

  • Anaphylactic shock

    A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been previously exposed to. The reaction may include itchy skin, edema, collapsed blood vessels, fainting, and difficulty in breathing.

  • Anaplastic

    A term used to describe cancer cells that divide rapidly and have little or no resemblance to normal cells

  • Anastomosis

    A procedure to connect healthy section of tubular structures in the body after the diseased portion has been surgically removed.

  • Anemia

    Condition in which a decreased number of red blood cells may cause symptoms including tiredness, shortness of breath, and weakness.

  • Anesthesia

    Drugs or substances that cause loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.

  • Anesthesiologist

    A doctor who specializes in giving drugs or other agents to prevent or relieve pain during surgery or other procedures being done in the hospital.

  • Anesthetic

    A substance that causes loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.

  • Angiogenesis

    Blood vessel formation. Tumor angiogenesis is the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. This is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor.

  • Angiogenesis inhibitor

    A substance that may prevent the formation of blood vessels. In anticancer therapy, an angiogenesis inhibitor prevents the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor.

  • Angiogram

    An X ray of blood vessels; the person receives an injection of dye to outline the vessels on the X ray.

  • Angiogrpahy

    A procedure to X-ray blood vessels. The blood vessels can be seen because of an injection of a dye that shows up in the X-ray pictures.

  • Angiostatin

    A protein normally made by the body. It can also be made in the laboratory, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiostatin may prevent the growth of new blood vessels from the surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. It belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor)

    A type of drug that is used to lower blood pressure. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors belong to the family of drugs called antihypertensives.

  • Anorexia

    An abnormal loss of the appetite for food. Anorexia can be caused by cancer, AIDS, a mental disorder (i.e., anorexia nervosa), or other diseases.

  • Anti-inflammatory

    Having to do with reducing inflammation.

  • Antibody

    A type of protein made by certain white blood cells in response to a foreign substance (antigen). Each antibody can bind to only a specific antigen. The purpose of this binding is to help destroy the antigen. Antibodies can work in several ways, depending on the nature of the antigen. Some antibodies destroy antigens directly. Others make it easier for white blood cells to destroy the antigen.

  • Anticoagulant

    A drug that helps prevent blood clots from forming. Also called a blood thinner.

  • Antidepressent

    A drug used to treat depression.

  • Antiemetic agent

    A drug that prevents or controls nausea and vomiting.

  • Antifungal agent

    A drug used to treat fungal infections.

  • Antigen

    Any substance that causes the body to produce natural antibodies.

  • Antineoplastic agent

    A drug that prevents, kills, or blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells.

  • Antioxidant

    A substance that prevents damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that often contain oxygen. They are produced when molecules are split to give products that have unpaired electrons. This process is called oxidation.

  • Aorta

    The largest artery in the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to vessels that reach the rest of the body.

  • Apoptosis

    A type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell leads to its death. This is the body's normal way of getting rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. The process of apoptosis may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called programmed cell death.

  • Appendectomy

    Surgery to remove the appendix (small finger-shaped pouch at the end of the first part of the large intestine).

  • Appendix

    A small, fingerlike pouch that sticks out from the cecum (the first part of the large intestine near the end of the small intestine).

  • Apudoma

    Any tumor composed of cells with APUD (amine precursor uptake and decarboxylation) cytochemical properties. Ultrastructurally these tumors often display electron-dense granules and they produce multiple regulatory hormones and amines, neuron-specific enolase, synaptophysine and chromogranin A or C. These cells are thought to give rise, in addition to the islet cell tumors of the pancreas, to carcinoid tumors, medullary carcinomas of the thyroid, melanomas and pheochromocytomas. This explains the striking similarities in the histology of these tumors and pancreatic islet cell tumors. See also carcinoid gastrointestinal and islet cell tumor of the pancreas.

  • Aqueous

    Having to do with water.

  • Arrhymia

    Irregular heartbeat.

  • Arterial embolization

    The blocking of an artery by a clot of foreign material. This can be done as treatment to block the flow of blood to a tumor. See also hepatic artery embolization (bland embolization) and hepatic artery chemoembolization (HACE).

  • Arteriogram

    An X ray of arteries; the person receives an injection of a dye that outlines the vessels on an X ray.

  • Ascites (ah-SYE-teez)

    Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen that may cause swelling. In late-stage cancer, tumor cells may be found in the fluid in the abdomen. Ascites also occurs in patients with liver disease.

  • Aspiration

    The process of removing fluid or tissue, or both, from a specific area.

  • Assay

    A laboratory test to find and measure the amount of a specific substance.

  • Asthenia

    Weakness; lack of energy and strength.

  • Ataxia

    Loss of muscle coordination.

  • Atypical carcinoid

    Atypical Ccrcinoid is faster growing than typical carcinoid. Atypical carcinoid (AC) is an intermediate form of tumor between low-grade malignant typical carcinoid (TC) and high-grade malignant small cell carcinoma (SCC), which represent the two ends of the spectrum of neuroendocrine tumors. See carcinoid.

  • Autoimmunity

    A condition in which the body's immune system mistakenly fights and rejects the body's own tissues.

  • Avastin®

    See Bevacizumab.

  • Axilla

    The armpit.

  • Axillary nodes

    Lymph nodes, also called lymph glands, found in the armpit (axilla).

  • Barium enema

    A procedure in which a liquid with barium in it is put into the rectum and colon by way of the anus. Barium is a silver-white metallic compound that helps to show the image of the lower gastrointestinal tract on an X ray.

  • Barium swallow

    A series of X rays of the esophagus. The x-ray pictures are taken after the person drinks a solution that contains barium. The barium coats and outlines the esophagus on the X ray. Also called an esophagram.

  • Barrett's esphogus

    A condition in which the cells lining the lower part of the esophagus have changed or been replaced with abnormal cells that could lead to cancer of the esophagus. The backing up of stomach contents (reflux) may irritate the esophagus and, over time, cause Barrett's esophagus.

  • Benign (tumor)

    A noncancerous growth that does not invade nearby tissue or spread from one part of the body to another.

  • Beta carotene

    A vitamin A precursor. Beta carotene belongs to the family of fat-soluble vitamins called carotenoids.

  • Bevacizumab (brand name Avastin®)

    • Avastin is a cancer (antineoplastic) medication. Avastin interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.
    • Avastin is used in the treatment of cancers of the colon and rectum.

  • Bias

    In a clinical trial, a flaw in the study design or method of collecting or interpreting information. Biases can lead to incorrect conclusions about what the study or trial showed.

  • Bile

    A fluid made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile is excreted into the small intestine, where it helps digest fat.

  • Bile duct

    A tube through which bile passes in and out of the liver.

  • Biliary

    Having to do with the liver, bile ducts, and/or gallbladder.

  • Bilirubin

    Substance formed when red blood cells are broken down. Bilirubin is part of the bile, which is made in the liver and is stored in the gallbladder. The abnormal buildup of bilirubin causes jaundice.

  • Bioavailable

    The ability of a drug or other substance to be absorbed and used by the body. Orally, bioavailable means that a drug or other substance that is taken by mouth can be absorbed and used by the body.

  • Biofeedback

    A method of learning to voluntarily control certain body functions such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and muscle tension with the help of a special machine. This method can help control pain.

  • Biomarker

    A substance sometimes found in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A high level of biomarker may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Examples of biomarkers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers), and PSA (prostate cancer). Also called tumor marker. See neuroendocrine markers.

  • Biopsy

    The removal of cells or tissues for examination under a microscope. When only a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an incisional biopsy or core biopsy. When an entire lump or suspicious area is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, the procedure is called a needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration.

  • Biotherapy

    Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infections and other diseases. Also used to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also known as biological therapy, immunotherapy, or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy. Examples of biotherapy drugs are Octreotide and alpha interferon.

  • Blinded study

    A type of study in which the patients (single-blinded) or the patients and their doctors (double-blinded) do not know which drug or treatment is being given. The opposite of a blinded study is an open label study.

  • Blood cells

    Minute structures produced in the bone marrow; they consist of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

  • Blood count

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

  • Blood transfusion

    The administration of blood or blood products into a blood vessel.

  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)

    A chemical in the blood produced by the breakdown of protein. Urea nitrogen is removed from the blood by the kidneys. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) tests are sometimes done to see how well the kidneys are working.

  • Blood-brain barrier

    A network of blood vessels with closely spaced cells that makes it difficult for potentially toxic substances (such as anticancer drugs) to penetrate the blood vessel walls and enter the brain.

  • Bolus

    A single dose of drug usually injected into a blood vessel over a short period of time. Also called bolus infusion.

  • Bone marrow

    The spongy material found inside the bones. Most blood cells are made in the bone marrow.

  • Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration

    The procedure by which a needle is inserted into a bone to withdraw a sample of bone marrow.

  • Bone marrow suppression

    A decrease in the production of blood cells.

  • Bone metastases

    Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the bone.

  • Bone scan

    A picture of the bones using a radioactive dye that shows any injury, disease, or healing. This is a valuable test to determine if cancer has spread to the bone, if anticancer therapy has been successful, and if affected bony areas are healing.

  • Booster

    In medicine, refers to a vaccination given after a previous vaccination. A booster helps maintain or increase a protective immune response.

  • Booster shot

    Medication given to enhance already given medical substance. Example: A person taking long-acting octreotide may need to supplement with short-acting octreotide under certain circumstamces.

  • Bowel

    The long tube-shaped organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. There is both a small and a large bowel. Also called the intestine.

  • Brain tumor

    The growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. Brain tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

  • Bronchi

    The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs.

  • Bronchial

    Having to do with the bronchi, which are the larger air passages of the lungs, including those that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs and those within the lungs.

  • Bronchiole

    A tiny branch of air tubes in the lungs.

  • Bronchitis

    Inflammation (swelling and reddening) of the bronchi.

  • Bronchoscopy (bron-KOS-ko-pee)

    A procedure in which a thin, lighted tube is inserted through the nose or mouth. This allows examination of the inside of the trachea and bronchi (air passages that lead to the lung), as well as the lung. Bronchoscopy may be used to detect cancer or to perform some treatment procedures.

  • Bronchus

    A large air passage that leads from the trachea (windpipe) to the lung.

  • BUN

    See Blood urea nitrogen.

  • Bypass

    A surgical procedure in which the doctor creates a new pathway for the flow of body fluids.

  • C-cell

    A type of cell in the thyroid. C cells make calcitonin, a hormone that helps control the calcium level in the blood.

  • C-cell

    A type of cell in the thyroid. C cells make calcitonin, a hormone that helps control the calcium level in the blood.

  • C-kit (Ckit, CD117)

    An abbreviation of the chemical name of an enzyme (protein) necessary for proliferation of certain cancers (GIST tumors, CML, a few neuroendocrine tumors and possibly other uncommon cancers).

  • CA 19-9 assay

    A test that measures the level of CA 19-9 in the blood. CA 19-9 is a tumor marker released into the bloodstream from both cancer cells and normal cells. Higher than normal amounts of CA 19-9 in the blood can be a sign of gallbladder or pancreatic cancer or other conditions.CA 19-9

  • CA-125 test

    A blood test that measures the level of CA-125, a substance found in blood, other body fluids and some tissues. Increased levels of CA-125 may be a sign of cancer.

  • Cachexia

    Loss of body weight and muscle mass, and weakness that may occur in patients with cancer, AIDS, or other chronic diseases.

  • Calcitonin

    A hormone formed by the C cells of the thyroid gland. It helps maintain a healthy level of calcium in the blood. When the calcium level is too high, calcitonin lowers it.

  • Calcium

    A mineral found in teeth, bones, and other body tissues.

  • Calcium carbonate

    A mineral taken primarily as a supplement to prevent osteoporosis. It is also being studied for cancer prevention

  • Calorie

    A measurement of the energy content of food. The body needs calories as "fuel" to perform all of its functions, such as breathing, circulating the blood, and physical activity. When a person is sick, his or her body may need extra calories to fight fever or other problems.

  • CAM (Complementary and alternative medicine)

    Forms of treatment that are used in addition to (complementary) or instead of (alternative) standard treatments. These practices are not considered standard medical approaches. CAM includes dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.

  • Cancer

    Cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that have mutated from normal tissues. This growth can kill when these cells prevent normal function of vital organs or spread throughout the body, damaging essential systems. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. There are at least 200 different kinds of cancers.

  • Cancer in situ

    The stage where the cancer is still confined to the tissue in which it started.

  • Candidiasis

    A condition in which Candida albicans, a type of yeast, grows out of control in moist skin areas of the body. It is usually a result of a weakened immune system, but can be a side effect of chemotherapy or treatment with antibiotics. Thrush usually affects the mouth (oral thrush); however, rarely, it spreads throughout the entire body. Also called candidosis, moniliasis, or thrush.

  • Capecitabine (brand name Xeloda® tablets)

    An anticancer drug.

  • Capsule; Wireless Capsule Endoscopy

    "The Camera in a Pill" Wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE) is a noninvasive procedure in which a small capsule containing a video camera, light, transmitter, and batteries is swallowed and passed through the GI tract while video recording the mucosa of the small bowel. These images are transmitted by a radiofrequency signal to a data recorder attached to the patient’s waist. After approximately eight hours the capsule is excreted and the recorded data is downloaded to a computer where, with the use of software, it can be viewed, edited and reported. Wireless capsule endoscopy is intended for patients with small bowel disease who have obscure bleeding, in addition to GI symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, and whose diagnosis remains unknown following standard radiology and endoscopy.

  • Carbohydrate

    A sugar molecule. Carbohydrates can be small and simple (for example, glucose) or they can be large and complex (for example, polysaccharides such as starch, chitin or cellulose).

  • Carbon-11 acetate

     A radioactive form of carbon that is used in positron emission tomography (PET) scanning.

  • Carboplatin (brand name Paraplatin®)

    Carboplatin (KAR-boe-pla-tin) belongs to the group of medicines known as alkylating agents. It is used to treat cancer of the ovaries. It may also be used to treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor. Carboplatin interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which eventually are destroyed.

  • Carcinogen

    A substance that causes cancer. For example, nicotine in cigarettes is a carcinogen that causes lung cancer.

  • Carcinoid (cancer, tumor)

    A type of cancer that is usually slow growing and arises from special endocrine cells widely scattered throughout the body. These cells are most commonly found in the gastrointestinal system and the lungs and in other sites. Carcinoid tumors are potentially malignant and can, at times, spread to nearby lymph nodes, the liver, and elsewhere. They may secrete potent substances such as serotonin, prostaglandins, histamine, and other hormones which can affect the cardiovascular and digestive systems causing the carcinoid syndrome. See below for information about typical vs atypical carcinoids. The two types are distinguished from each other by their appearance under the microscope.

    Typical carcinoid (TC): Typical carcinoids are nine times as common as atypical ones. Typical carcinoids grow slowly.

    Atypical carcinoid (AC): Atypical carcinoid is faster growing than typical carcinoid. Atypical carcinoid (AC) is an intermediate form of tumor between low-grade malignant typical carcinoid (TC) and high-grade malignant small cell carcinoma (SCC), which represent the two ends of the spectrum of neuroendocrine tumors.

    Nonfunctioning carcinoids can be detected similarly to other space-occupying lesions, eg, by angiography, CT, or MRI, depending on the site. Small-bowel carcinoids may exhibit filling defects or other abnormalities on barium X-ray studies. Definitive diagnosis is made histologically.

    Functioning carcinoids are suspected on the basis of the symptoms and signs, and diagnosis is confirmed by demonstrating increased urinary excretion of the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA).

  • Carcinoid crisis

    Carcinoid crisis and pseudoanaphylactic reactions: Carcinoid crisis is when all of the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome come at the same time. Carcinoid crisis is the most serious and life-threatening complication of carcinoid syndrome, and is generally found in people who already have carcinoid syndrome.The crisis may occur suddenly, or it can be associated with stress, chemotherapy, or anesthesia. It is characterized by abrupt flushing of face and sometimes upper body, usually severe falls in blood pressure and even bronchospasm with wheezing can (infrequently) occur. The attack may look like an anaphylactic attack. Diarrhea is an important part of carcinoid syndrome but is not usually simultaneous with the carcinoid crisis. It more commonly occurs as part of the anaphylactic reaction of an allergic or pseudoallergic reaction. Standard allergy tests are not usually positive in such cases. 24-hour urine histamine, blood histamine and blood tryptase tests, particularly if obtained at time of attack or just afterwards will establish diagnosis. Of allergic or pseudo allergic so called idiopathic anaphylactic attacks and mast cell disease. Epinephrine will provoke - not help carcinoid attacks. Urine 5HIAA is helpful when positive but if depended on as the sole chemical test for carcinoid syndrome will miss 50% of cases! Better also to measure blood serotonin, tryptophan and chromogranin A. Other blood markers associated with rare cases of severe attacks of flushing, diarrhea and fall in blood pressure are VIP, calcitonin and gastrin. They too should be measured. If any or all of the above are positive, further elaborate tests and treatment will be needed with details depending on which test(s) are positive. A carcinoid crisis may be prevented and successfully treated with octreotide, a therapy that can increase low blood pressure and control the production of hormones.

  • Carcinoid heart disease

    Cardiac manifestation of malignant carcinoid syndrome. It is a unique form of fibrosis involving the endocardium, primarily of the right heart. The fibrous deposits tend to cause constriction of the tricuspid and pulmonary valves. Serotonin excretion plays a role in the development of carcinoid heart disease (CHD), but the exact pathogenesis is not known.

  • Carcinoid syndrome

    A combination of symptoms caused by release into the circulation of excessive amounts of serotonin and other hormonal substances from some carcinoid tumors. Symptoms may include flushing of the face, diarrhea, bronchial spasms (wheezing), rapid pulse, and sudden blood pressure changes (usually a fall) along with other symptoms of heart failure. Carcinoid syndrome is often mistaken for common diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer, lupus, asthma, or menopause.

  • Carcinoma

    A malignant tumor that arises from epithelium, found in skin and the lining of body organs; for example, breast, prostate, lung, stomach or bowel. Carcinomas tend to infiltrate into adjacent tissue and spread (metastasize) to distant organs, such as bones, liver, lung, or the brain.

  • Carcinomatosis (Carcinosis)

    A condition in which cancer is spread widely throughout the body, or, in some cases, to a relatively large region of the body. Also called carcinosis.

  • Cardiac

    Having to do with the heart

  • Cardiomegaly

    An enlargement of the heart.

  • Cardiopulmonary

    Having to do with the heart and lungs.

  • Cardiovascular

    Having to do with the heart and blood vessels.

  • CAT scan (CT scan)

    A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine. Also called computerized axial tomography, computed tomography (CT scan), or computerized tomography.

  • Catecholamine(s)

    Any of several compounds occurring naturally in the body that serve as hormones or as neurotransmitters in the sympathetic nervous system . The catecholamines include such compounds as epinephrine or adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine

  • Catheter

    A flexible tube used to deliver fluids into or withdraw fluids from the body.

  • CBC

    Complete blood count. A test to check the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a sample of blood. Also called blood cell count.

  • CCNU® (generic name lomustin)

    Lomustine (loe-MUS-teen) belongs to the group of medicines known as alkylating agents. It is used to treat some kinds of cancer. Lomustine is available as capsules.

  • CEA (Carcinoembryonic antigen)

    Carcinoembryonic antigen. A substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of people who have certain cancers, other diseases, or who smoke. It is used as a tumor marker for colorectal cancer.

  • CEA assay

    A laboratory test to measure carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of people who have certain cancers.

  • Cecum

    A pouch that forms the first part of the large intestine. It connects the small intestine to the colon, which is part of the large intestine.

  • Celiac disease

    A digestive disease that is caused by an immune response to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Celiac disease damages the lining of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. A person with celiac disease may become malnourished no matter how much food is consumed.

  • Cell proliferation

    An increase in the number of cells as a result of cell growth and cell division.

  • Cellulitis

    An acute, spreading infection of the deep tissues of the skin and muscle that causes the skin to become warm and tender and may also cause fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and blisters.

  • Centimeter

    A measure of length in the metric system. A centimeter is one hundredth of a meter. There are 2½ centimeters in an inch.

  • Central nervous system (CNS)

    The brain and spinal cord.

  • Central venous catheter

    A special intravenous tubing that is surgically inserted into a large vein near the heart and exits from the chest or abdomen. The catheter allows medications, fluids, or blood products to be given and blood samples to be taken.

  • Cervical nodes

    Lymph nodes in the neck.

  • Cervix

    The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.

  • Chemoembolization

    A procedure in which the blood supply to the tumor is blocked surgically or mechanically and anticancer drugs are administered directly into the tumor. This permits a higher concentration of drug to be in contact with the tumor for a longer period of time. If done in the liver it is called hepatic artery chemo embolization (also known as HACE).

  • Chemotherapy

    The treatment of cancer with drugs.

    Adjuvant chemotherapy
        Chemotherapy given to kill any remaining cancer cells, usually after all  detectable tumor is removed by surgery or radiotherapy.

    Combination chemotherapy
        The use of more than one drug during cancer treatment. 

  • Cholestasis

    Any condition in which the release of bile from the liver is blocked. The blockage can occur in the liver (intrahepatic cholestasis) or in the bile ducts (extrahepatic cholestasis).

  • Chromogranin A (CgA)

    A blood tumor marker used for detection of certain cancers. Chromogranin A is considered the best general neuroendocrine serum or plasma marker available both for diagnosis and therapeutic evaluation and is increased in 50-100% of patients with various neuroendocrine tumors. Chromogranin A serum or plasma levels reflect tumor load, and it may be an independent marker of prognosis in patients with midgut carcinoids. The measurement of CgA is considered "the gold standard" of chemical tests for confirming the diagnosis of carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumors and following their course.

  • Chronic

    Persisting over a long period of time.

  • Cipro®

    A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It is also being studied in the treatment of bladder cancer. Cipro belongs to the family of drugs called fluoroquinolones. Also called ciprofloxacin.

  • Circulatory system

    The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood throughout the body. This system helps tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, and it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system.

  • Cisplatin (brand name Platinol®)

    An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.

  • Clinical trial

    A type of research study that uses volunteers to test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. The trial may be carried out in a clinic or other medical facility. Also called a clinical study.

  • CNS

    Central nervous system. The brain and spinal cord.

  • Cobalamine (B12)

    A vitamin that is needed to make red blood cells and DNA (the genetic material in cells), and to keep nerve cells healthy. It is found in eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish, milk, and milk products. Cobalamine, along with folate, may be given to help reduce side effects in cancer patients being treated with drugs called antimetabolites. Also called vitamin B12.

  • Coenzyme Q10

    A substance found in most tissues in the body, and in many foods. It can also be made in the laboratory. It is used by the body to produce energy for cells, and as an antioxidant. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and in the relief of side effects caused by some cancer treatments. Also called Q10, CoQ10, vitamin Q10, and ubiquinone.

  • Colectomy

    An operation to remove all or part of the colon. When only part of the colon is removed, it is called a partial colectomy. In an open colectomy, one long incision is made in the wall of the abdomen and doctors can see the colon directly. In a laparoscopic-assisted colectomy, several small incisions are made and a thin, lighted tube attached to a video camera is inserted through one opening to guide the surgery. Surgical instruments are inserted through the other openings to perform the surgery.

  • Colitis

    Inflammation of the colon.

  • Collision tumors

    An area of mixing of malignant cells from two distinct tumors (such as a carcinoma and a sarcoma) that have developed separately but near each other.

  • Colonoscopy

    An examination of the inside of the colon using a thin, lighted tube (called a colonoscope) inserted into the rectum. If abnormal areas are seen, tissue can be removed and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present.
      

  • Colostomy

    A surgical procedure by which an opening is created between the colon and the outside of the abdomen to allow stool to be emptied into a collection bag.

  • Common bile duct

    Carries bile from the liver and gallbladder into the duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine).

  • Comorbidity

    The condition of having two or more diseases at the same time.

  • Compassionate use trial

    A way to provide an investigational therapy to a patient who is not eligible to receive that therapy in a clinical trial, but who has a serious or life-threatening illness for which other treatments are not available. Also called expanded access trial.

  • Complete protein

    A "complete" protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids in sufficient amount for maintenance of of body and for a normal rate of growth. Animal foods are the best source of complete proteins.

  • Complete remission

    The disappearance of all signs of cancer in response to treatment. This does not always mean the cancer has been cured. Also called a complete response.

  • Computed tomography (CT scan)

    A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine. Also called computerized tomography and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.

  • Congestive heart failure

    A buildup of fluid in the lungs or extremities, or both (especially the legs). This occurs if the heart cannot pump the blood adequately.

  • Core biopsy

    The removal of a tissue sample with a needle for examination under a microscope.

  • Corticosteroid

    A hormone that has antitumor activity in lymphomas and lymphoid leukemias. Corticosteroids (steroids) may also be used for hormone replacement and for the management of some of the complications of cancer and its treatment.
       

  • Cortisone

    A natural steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland. It can also be made in the laboratory. Cortisone reduces swelling and can suppress immune responses.

  • COX-2 inhibitor

    Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve pain and inflammation. COX-2 inhibitors are being studied in the prevention of colon polyps, and as anticancer drugs.

  • CPT 111 / irinotecan (Camptosar®)

    An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. It is a camptothecin analogue. Also called irinotecan.

  • Creatinine

    A compound that is excreted from the body in urine. Creatinine levels are measured to monitor kidney function.

  • Crohn's disease (IBD)

    Crohn's disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. The disease most commonly occurs in the ileum (the area where the small and large intestine joins the colon), but the colon and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract may be affected as well; includes thickening of the intestinal wall. Crohn's disease increases the risk for colorectal and small intestine cancer.

  • Cryosurgery

    Treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal tissues.

  • CT scan (Computed tomography)

    Also known as Computed Axial Tomography (CAT), is a painless, sophisticated X-ray procedure. Multiple images are taken during a CT or CAT scan, and a computer compiles them into complete, cross-sectional pictures ("slices") of soft tissue, bone, and blood vessels. It can be given with or without contrast (medication given by drink or injection to enhance X-ray pictures).

  • Cutaneous

    Having to do with the skin.

  • Cyanosis

    Blue-colored skin caused by too little oxygen in the blood.

  • Cyclosporine

    A drug used to help reduce the risk of rejection of organ and bone marrow transplants by the body. It is also used in clinical trials to make cancer cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs.

  • Cyproheptadine

    A drug that is used to treat asthma, allergies, and colds, and to relieve itching caused by certain skin disorders. It has also been used to stimulate appetite and weight gain, and is being studied in the treatment of weight loss caused by cancer and its treatment. Cyproheptadine belongs to the family of drugs called antihistamines.

  • Cyst

    An accumulation of fluid or semisolid material within a sac.

  • Cytoreductive (surgery,therapy) (debulking)

    Surgery done when cancer has spread in the pelvic/abdominal area, to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Example of such procedures are: embolization; chemoembolization; thermo- or cryotherapy, or radio-receptor therapy.

  • Dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome®)

    An anticancer drug. DTIC-Dome, a trademark for a drug used to treat cancer (dacarbazine) belongs to the group of medicines called alkylating agents. It is used to treat cancer of the lymph system and malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer). It may also be used to treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor.

  • Dehydration

    A condition caused by the loss of too much water from the body. Severe diarrhea or vomiting can cause dehydration.

  • Desmoid tumor

    A tumor of the tissue that surrounds muscles, usually in the abdomen. A desmoid tumor rarely metastasizes (spreads to other parts of the body). Also called aggressive fibromatosis, especially when the tumor is outside the abdomen.

  • Dexamethasone (brand names Decadron®; Dexameth®; Dexone®; Hexadrol®)

    A synthetic steroid (similar to steroid hormones produced naturally in the adrenal gland). Dexamethasone is used to treat leukemia and lymphoma and may be used to treat some of the problems caused by other cancers and their treatment.

  • Diabetes

    A disease in which the body does not properly control the amount of sugar in the blood. As a result, the level of sugar in the blood is too high. This disease occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly.

  • Diabetes mellitus (dye-a-BEE-teez MEL-ih-tus)

    A group of disorders in which there is a defect in the transfer of glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells, leading to abnormally high levels of blood sugar (hyperglycemia).There are two distinct types of diabetes mellitus: insulin-dependent and noninsulin-dependent.

    Insulin dependent diabetes
        Insulin-dependent diabetes (Type I), also called juvenile-onset diabetes, is the more serious form of the disease. Treatment includes a diet limited in carbohydrates and saturated fat, exercise to burn glucose, and regular insulin injections, sometimes administered via a portable insulin pump.

    Noninsulin dependent diabetes
        Noninsulin-dependent diabetes (Type 2), also called adult-onset diabetes, results from the inability of the cells in the body to respond to insulin. As in Type I diabetes, treatment includes exercise and weight loss and a diet low in total carbohydrates and saturated fat. Some individuals require insulin injections; many rely on oral drugs, such as sulphonylureas metformin, or acarbose.

  • Dialysis

    The process of cleansing the blood when the kidneys are not able to filter the blood.

  • Diaphram

    The thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen.

  • Diarrhea

    Frequent and watery bowel movements.

  • Differentiation

    In cancer, refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor. Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and tend to grow and spread at a slower rate than undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tumor cells, which lack the structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.

  • Diffuse

    Widely spread; not localized or confined.

  • Digestive system

    The organs that take in food and turn it into products that the body can use to stay healthy. Waste products the body cannot use leave the body through bowel movements. The digestive system includes the salivary glands, mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, small and large intestines, and rectum.

  • Dilate

    To widen or enlarge an opening or hollow structure beyond its usual size, such as the pupil of the eye or a blood vessel.

  • Disseminate

    Scatter or distribute over a large area or range.

  • Distal

    In medicine, refers to a part of the body that is farther away from the center of the body than another part. For example, the fingers are distal to the shoulder. The opposite is proximal.

  • Diuretic

    A drug that increases the production of urine.

  • Docetaxel (brand name Taxotere®)

    An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

  • Dopamine

    A neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, motivation, and the feeling of pleasure.

  • Double-blinded

    A clinical trial in which neither the medical staff nor the person knows which of several possible therapies the person is receiving.

  • Doxorubicin (brand names Adriamycin®; Doxil®; Rubex®)

    Doxorubicin is a type of antibiotic that is only used in cancer chemotherapy. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

  • Drug resistance

    The result of cells' ability to resist the effects of a specific drug.

  • Dumping syndrome

    A group of symptoms that occur when food or liquid enters the small intestine too rapidly. These symptoms include cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness. Dumping syndrome sometimes occurs in people who have had a portion of their stomach removed.

  • Duodenum

    The first portion of the small intestine, attached to the stomach. (The part food enters immediately after it leaves the stomach).After foods combine with stomach acid, they descend into the duodenum where they mix with bile from the gall bladder and digestive juices from the pancreas. See also small intestine

  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)

    Discomfort during or after eating caused by some interference with the normal digestive process. Symptoms include nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, gas distress, and a feeling of abdominal distention.

  • Dysphagia

    Difficulty in swallowing.

  • Dysplasia

    Cells that look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer.

  • Dyspnea

    Difficult or painful breathing; shortness of breath.

  • Dysuria

    Difficult or painful urination.

  • EBR (External Beam Radiation)

    See External Beam Radiation

  • EBV (Epstein-Barr virus)

    A common virus that remains dormant in most people. It has been associated with certain cancers, including Burkitt's lymphoma, immunoblastic lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

  • Ecchymosis

    A small bruise caused by blood leaking from broken blood vessels into the tissues of the skin or mucous membranes.

  • Ectopic

    In an abnormal position.

  • Edema

    The accumulation of fluid in part of the body.

  • Effusion

    A collection of fluid in a body cavity, usually between two adjoining tissues. For example, a pleural effusion is the collection of fluid between two layers of the pleura (the lung's covering).

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)

    A test that takes recordings of the electrical activity of the heart.

  • Embolism

    A block in an artery caused by blood clots or other substances, such as fat globules, infected tissue, or cancer cells.

  • Embolization

    The blocking of an artery by a clot or foreign material. Embolization can be done as treatment to block the flow of blood to a tumor. See also chemoembolization and bland embolization.

  • Emesis

    Vomiting.

  • Enalapril (brand name Vasotec)

    An antihypertensive agent that can also be used to slow or prevent the progression of heart disease in people with childhood cancer treated with drugs that may be harmful to the heart.

  • Encapsulated

    Confined to a specific, localized area and surrounded by a thin layer of tissue.

  • Encephalopathy

    A disorder of the brain that can be caused by disease, injury, drugs, or chemicals.

  • Endocrine cancer

    Cancer that occurs in endocrine tissue, the tissue in the body that secretes hormones.

  • Endogenous

    Produced inside an organism or cell. The opposite is external (exogenous) production.

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography

    ERCP. A procedure to x-ray the pancreatic duct, hepatic duct, common bile duct, duodenal papilla, and gallbladder. In this procedure, a thin, lighted tube (endoscope) is passed through the mouth and down into the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). A smaller tube (catheter) is then inserted through the endoscope into the bile and pancreatic ducts. A dye is injected through the catheter into the ducts, and an X ray is taken.

  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)

    A procedure in which an endoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted into the body. The endoscope is used to bounce high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) off internal organs to make a picture (sonogram). Also called endosonography.

  • Endoscopy

    A procedure that uses an endoscope to diagnose or treat a condition. There are many types of endoscopy; examples include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, gastroscopy, enteroscopy, and esophogealgastroduodenoscopy (EGD).

  • Endostatin

    A drug that is being studied for its ability to prevent the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor. Endostatin belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

  • Enteral nutrition

    A form of nutrition that is delivered into the digestive system as a liquid. Drinking nutrition beverages or formulas and tubefeeding are forms of enteral nutrition. People who are unable to meet their needs with food and beverages alone, and who do not have vomiting or uncontrollable diarrhea may be given tubefeedings. Tubefeeding can be used to add to what a person is able to eat or can be the only source of nutrition. A small feeding tube may be placed through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine, or it may be surgically placed into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen, depending on how long it will be used.

  • Enzyme

    Biological catalyst. A protein that speeds up chemical reactions in the body.
    Enzymes accelerate the rates of reactions while experiencing no permanent chemical modification as a result of their participation.

  • Epigastric

    Having to do with the upper middle area of the abdomen.

  • Epinephrine

    Epinephrine is a naturally occurring hormone, also called adrenaline. It is one of two chemicals (the other is norepinephrine) released by the adrenal gland. Epinephrine increases the speed and force of heartbeats and thereby the work that can be done by the heart. It dilates the airways to improve breathing and narrows blood vessels in the skin and intestine so that an increased flow of blood reaches the muscles and allows them to cope with the demands of exercise. Epinephrine has been produced synthetically as a drug since 1900. It remains the drug of choice for treatment of anaphylaxis. It is contraindicated in the treatment of carcinoid crisis. Epinephrine provokes flushing in patients with the carcinoid syndrome.

  • Epothilone

    A drug obtained from bacteria that interferes with cell division. Some epothilones are being studied as treatments for cancer.

  • ERCP (Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)

    A procedure used to diagnose and sometimes remove gallstones blocking the common bile duct. It involves swallowing an endoscope, which the doctor gently moves through the gastrointestinal tract to the small intestine. A special dye is released into the small intestine so that gallstones can be seen on x-ray. This technique can be adapted for use in surgery to remove gallstones using a tiny basket attached to the end of the endoscope. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

  • Erythema

    Redness of the skin.

  • Erythrocyte

    The red blood cell that carries oxygen to body cells and carbon dioxide away from body cells.

  • Esophagitis

    Inflammation of the esophagus (food pipe).

  • Esophagus

    The muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.

  • ESR (commonly known as sed rate)

    Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate. The distance red blood cells travel in one hour in a sample of blood as they settle to the bottom of a test tube. The sedimentation rate is increased in inflammation, infection, cancer, rheumatic diseases, and diseases of the blood and bone marrow. Also called sedimentation rate.

  • Estrogen

    A female hormone produced primarily by the ovaries.

  • Estrogen receptor assay (ER assay)

    A test that determines if breast cancer is stimulated by the hormone estrogen.

  • Etiology

    The cause or origin of disease.

  • Etoposide, VP-16 (brand names VePesid®,Toposar®)

    Etoposide (e-toe-POE-side) belongs to the group of medicines known as antineoplastic agents. It is used to treat cancer of the testicles and certain types of lung cancer. It is also sometimes used to treat some other kinds of cancer in both males and females. The exact way that etoposide acts against cancer is not known. However, it seems to interfere with the growth of the cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed.

  • Excision

    Surgical removal.

  • External Beam Radiation (EBR)

    A radiation treatment that uses a machine to aim high-energy radiation at the cancerous tissue. For carcinoid it is mainly used for painful bone metastases but is also useful for brain metastases and is useful for incompletely resected or recurrent carcinoid of the thymus. There is also some experience indicating possible limited usefulness for EBR in treating inoperable mediastinal metastases from very aggressive atypical carcinoids of the lung. In the presence of renal insufficiency when radiographic iodine containing contrast cannot be used for angiogram   External Beam Radiation (EBR) could have application in very selective cases. Multi beam EBR has no use and is unsafe to debulk multiple liver metastases.

  • False-negative test result

    A test result that indicates that a person does not have a specific disease or condition when the person actually does have the disease or condition.

  • False-positive test result

    A test result that indicates that a person has a specific disease or condition when the person actually does not have the disease or condition.

  • Fatty acid

    A major component of fats that is used by the body for energy and tissue development.
     

  • Fentanyl

    A narcotic opioid drug that is used in the treatment of pain.

  • Fibrosis

    The growth of fibrous tissue.

  • Fine-needle aspirate

    A procedure in which a needle is inserted, under local anesthesia, to obtain a sample for the evaluation of suspicious tissue.

  • Fine-needle aspiration

    The removal of tissue or fluid with a needle for examination under a microscope. Also called needle biopsy.

  • Fistula

    An abnormal opening between two areas of the body.

  • Fluoroscope (floor´eskōp)

    Instrument consisting of an X-ray machine and a fluorescent screen that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion.

  • Fluorouracil (floor-o-YOOR-a-sil), also called 5-FU

    A drug that is used as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

  • Flushing (carcinoid flushing)

    Carcinoid syndrome occurs in about 10% of patients with these tumors. In 75% of patients, episodes of severe flushing are precipitated by exercise, alcohol, stress, and certain foods (spices, chocolate, cheese, avocados, plums, walnuts, red sausage, and red wine). With time the flushing may appear without provocation. The character of the flush differs depending upon the site of origin of the tumor. Tumors of the foregut (stomach, lung, pancreas) are associated with a bright-red "geographic" flush of a more sustained duration, as well as lacrimation (the secretion of tears), wheezing, sweating, and a sensation of burning. In ileal tumors, the flush is patchier and more violet in color, intermingled with areas of pallor, and does not last as long. Flushing of either type may be associated with facial edema that may persist and lead to telangiectasia and even facial rosacea.The patient should receive an adequate niacin supplement (nicotinamide rather than nicotinic acid, since the latter causes flushing) and should avoid foods, agents, and activities that precipitate symptoms.

  • Folic acid (folate)

    A B-complex vitamin that is being studied as a cancer prevention agent. Also called folate.

  • Free radical

    A highly reactive chemical that often contains oxygen and is produced when molecules are split to give products that have unpaired electrons (a process called oxidation). Free radicals can damage important cellular molecules such as DNA or lipids or other parts of the cell.

  • Frozen section

    A technique in which tissue is removed and then quick-frozen and examined under a microscope by a pathologist.

  • Fulguration

    Destroying tissue using an electric current.

  • Fusion scan (MIBG, OctreoScan or other scans)

    The fusion scan electronically fuses combines the images from the OctreoScan or MIBG scan or any PET other scan with those of a CT scan rendering a final image that may be superior to those of the individual studies: i.e., a CT scan combined with the radionuclear scan at the same time, with the patient in the same position is very valuable method to obtain precise tumor confirmation localizing information.

  • Gabapentin (Brand name Neurontin®)

    An anticonvulsant drug also used for relief of peripheral neuropathy pain. family of drugs.

  • Gallbladder

    The pear-shaped organ found below the liver. Bile is concentrated and stored in the gallbladder. 

  • Gallstone

    Solid material that forms in the gallbladder or common bile duct. Gallstones are made of cholesterol or other substances found in the gallbladder. They may occur as one large stone or as many small ones, and vary from the size of a golf ball to a grain of sand. Also called cholelith.

  • Gamma irradiation

    A type of radiation therapy that uses gamma radiation. Gamma radiation is a type of high-energy radiation that is different from X rays.

  • Gamma knife

    Radiation therapy in which high-energy rays are aimed at a tumor from many angles in a single treatment session.

  • Gastrectomy

    An operation to remove all or part of the stomach.

  • Gastric

    Having to do with the stomach.

  • Gastric reflux

    The backward flow of stomach acid contents into the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach). Also called esophageal reflux or gastroesophageal reflux.

  • Gastrin

    A peptide hormone secreted by cells in the stomach that stimulates secretion of acid into the lumen of the stomach. Gastrin is a major physiological regulator of gastric acid secretion. It also has an important trophic or growth-promoting influence on the gastric mucosa. Excessive secretion of gastrin, or hypergastrinemia, is a well-recognized cause of a severe disease known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which is seen at low frequency in man and dogs. The hallmark of this disease is gastric and duodenal ulceration due to excessive and unregulated secretion of gastric acid. Most commonly, hypergastrinemia is the result of gastrin-secreting tumors (gastrinomas), which develop in the pancreas or duodenum.

  • Gastrinoma

    A tumor that causes overproduction of gastric acid. It usually occurs in the islet cells of the pancreas but may also occur in the esophagus, stomach, spleen, or lymph nodes.

  • Gastroesophageal reflux

    The backward flow of stomach acid contents into the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach). Also called esophageal reflux or gastric reflux.

  • Gastrointestinal (GI)

    Refers to the stomach and intestines.

  • Gastrointestinal tract

    The stomach and intestines.

  • Gastroscopy

    An examination of the inside of the stomach using a thin, lighted tube (called a gastroscope) passed through the mouth and esophagus.

  • Gefitinib (brand name Iressa®)

    Iressa is an anticancer drug that inhibits an enzyme (tyrosine kinase) present in lung cancer cells, as well as other cancers and normal tissues, that appears to be important to the growth of cancer cells. Iressa is used as a single agent for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has progressed after, or failed to respond to two other types of chemotherapy (drugs used to kill cancer cells). and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called ZD 1839.

  • Gemcitabine (Brand name Gemzar®)

    An anticancer drug.

  • Generic

    Official nonbrand names by which medicines are known. Generic names usually refer to the chemical name of the drug.

  • Ghrelin

    A peptide hormone produced predominantly by the stomach. Ghrelin appears to be another hormone produced in almost all gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, has little if any biological activity, and may be useful as a marker for response to therapy.

  • GIST

    Gastrointestinal stromal tumor. A type of tumor that usually begins in cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. It can be benign or malignant.

  • Gleevec® (Generic name Imaptimib)

    A drug that is being studied for its ability to inhibit the growth of certain cancers. It interferes with a portion of the protein produced by the bcr/abl oncogene. Also called imatinib mesylate and STI571.

  • Glucagon

    A hormone produced by the pancreas that increases the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

  • Glucagonoma

    A rare pancreatic tumor that produces a hormone called glucagon. Glucagonomas can produce symptoms similar to diabetes, a disease associated with a tumor of the pancreas. It is marked by excess blood sugar, mouth swelling, anemia, weight loss, and a rash.

  • Glutamine

    An amino acid used in nutrition therapy. It is also being studied for the treatment of diarrhea caused by radiation therapy.

  • Gnenome

    The complete genetic material of an organism.

  • Goblet cell carcinoid (of the appendix)

    Goblet cell carcinoid is a rather rare neoplasm that has the histologic features of both carcinoids and adenocarcinoma. It is a neuroendocrine tumor that is considered a malignancy that is more aggressive than typical carcinoid tumor of the appendix.

  • Growth hormone

    A substance made by the body that functions to regulate cell division and cell survival. Some growth factors are also produced in the laboratory and used in biological therapy.

  • Guaiac test

    A test that checks for hidden blood in the stool.

  • Helicobacter pylori ( H. pylori )

    Bacteria that cause inflammation and ulcers in the stomach.

  • Hemangioma (haemangioma)

     Hemangiomas are abnormally dense collections of dilated small blood vessels (capillaries) that may occur in the skin or internal organs. Hemangiomas are diagnosed by a physical examination. In the case of deep or mixed lesions, a CT scan or MRI scan may be performed to ensure that deeper structures are not involved. Occasionally, a hemangioma may be associated with other rare syndromes. Additional studies should be done to determine if any of these syndromes are present.A hemangioma may be benign (non-cancerous) tumor consisting of dilated blood vessels. When a hemangioma occurs in the liver it is called a hepatic hemangioma. Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy is the only method to distinguish small liver metastases from small haemangiomas.

  • Hematocrit (Hct)

    The percentage of red blood cells in the blood. A low hematocrit measurement indicates anemia.

  • Hematologist

    A doctor who specializes in the problems of blood and bone marrow.

  • Hematology

    The science that studies the blood.

  • Hematuria

    Blood in the urine.

  • Hemicolectomy

    A hemicolectomy is a procedure where a portion of the large bowel is removed due to the presence of cancer. This may involve either the left or right part of the bowel.

  • Hemoccult (Guaiac) test

    A test that checks for hidden blood in the stool.

  • Hemorrhage

    In medicine, loss of blood from damaged blood vessels. A hemorrhage may be internal or external, and usually involves a lot of bleeding in a short time.

  • Heparin

    A drug that helps prevent blood clots from forming. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants (blood thinners).

  • Hepatic

    Refers to the liver.

  • Hepatic artery chemoembolization (HACE) (also called TACE)

    HACE is the localized treatment of a tumor that spars healthy tissue and organ function. Chemoembolization is used to treat tumors in the liver. The normal liver has a dual blood supply with the hepatic artery supplying 25% and the portal vein supplying the remaining 75%. However, tumors of the liver only receive their blood supply from the hepatic artery. Chemotherapy drugs can be directly injected into the hepatic artery, treating the tumor directly but sparing almost all of the surrounding healthy liver tissue. The artery is then blocked, depriving the tumor of blood supply and "locking" the chemotherapy into the tumor. The normal liver can then receive its necessary blood supply from the portal vein.

  • Hepatic artery embolization (bland embolization)

    Hepatic artery embolization: Another option for tumors that cannot be removed is to reduce the blood flow through the hepatic artery, the artery that feeds most liver cancer cells. This is done by hepatic artery embolization (injecting materials that plug up the artery). Most of the healthy liver cells will be unaffected because they get their blood supply from the portal vein. This procedure involves inserting a catheter into an artery in the groin area and threading it up into the liver. A dye is usually injected into the bloodstream at this time to allow the doctor to monitor the path of the catheter via angiography, a special type of x-ray. Once the catheter is in place, small particles are injected into the artery to plug it up.

  • Hepatoma

    Carcinoma of the liver. A malignant tumor that begins in the liver (primary), as opposed to cancer that has spread from another site.

  • Hepatomegaly

    Enlarged liver.

  • Herpes simplex

    The most common virus that causes sores often seen around the mouth, commonly called cold sores.

  • Herpes zoster (shingles)

    A virus that settles around certain nerves causing blisters, swelling, and pain. This condition is also called shingles.

  • HIPAA

    The Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. Privacy rule creates national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information.

  • Histamine

    A naturally occurring substance that is released by the immune system after being exposed to an allergen. When you inhale an allergen, mast cells located in the nose and sinus membranes release histamine. Histamine then attaches to receptors on nearby blood vessels, causing them to enlarge (dilate). Histamine also binds to other receptors located in nasal tissues, causing redness, swelling, itching, and changes in the secretions.

  • Histochemistry

    The study of cells and tissues using both microscopic and chemical staining techniques.

  • Histological examination

    The examination of tissue specimens under a microscope.

  • Hodgkin's disease

    A cancer that affects the lymph nodes. See Lymphoma.

  • Hormone

    The word hormone originates from the Greek word meaning "I excite." It is a chemical substance produced by an organ or cells of an organ in one part of the body, and carried in the blood or other body fluids to another organ or part of the body; and which has a specific regulatory effect on the activity of the body including growth, metabolism and reproduction.

  • Hormone receptor

    A protein on the surface of a cell that binds to a specific hormone. The hormone causes many changes to take place in the cell.

  • Hospice

    Literal meaning "a place of shelter." Today it refers to supportive care of a terminally ill patient. A program which provides palliative and supportive care for terminally ill patients and their families, either directly or on a consulting basis with the patient's physician or another community agency. Originally a medieval name for a way station for crusaders where they could be replenished, refreshed, and cared for, hospice is used here for an organized program of care for people going through life's "last station." The whole family is considered the unit of care, and care extends through their period of mourning.

  • Hot flash

    A sudden, temporary onset of body warmth, flushing, and sweating (often associated with menopause). Not to be confused with flushing caused by carcinoid syndrome. (See flushing)

  • Human leukocyte antigen test (HLA)

    A special blood test used to match a blood or bone marrow donor to a recipient for transfusion or transplant.

  • Hyperalimentation

    A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Hyperalimentation does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using parenteral nutrition. Also known as parenteral or total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

  • Hyperalimentation

    The intravenous administration of a highly nutritious solution. See TPN.

  • Hypercalcemia

    Abnormally high blood calcium.

  • Hyperglycemia

    Abnormally high blood sugar,opposite to hypoglycemia abnormally low blood sugar.

  • Hyperplasia

    An abnormal increase in the number of cells in an organ or tissue.

  • Hypertension

    Abnormally high blood pressure, opposite to Hypotension, abnormally low blood pressure.

  • Hyperthyroidism

    Too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms include weight gain, constipation, dry skin, and sensitivity to the cold. Also called underactive thyroid.

  • Hypervascular

    Having a large number of blood vessels.

  • IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

    The term “inflammatory bowel disease” has been used to refer to both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, the causes of which are unknown.
    Crohn's disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract but most commonly occurs in the ileum (the area where the small and large intestine meet). Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic, episodic, inflammatory disease of the large intestine and rectum characterized by bloody diarrhea.

  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

    Is a condition characterized by frequently alternating constipation and diarrhea in the absence of any disease process. It is usually accompanied by abdominal pain, especially in the lower left quadrant, bloating, and flatulence. Other symptoms, such as heartburn, lower back pain, and agitation, may be present concurrently.

  • Idiopathic

    Describes a disease of unknown cause.

  • Ileostomy

    A surgical opening in the abdomen connected to the small intestine to allow stool to be emptied into a collection bag.

  • Ileum

    The lowest section of the small intestine, which attaches to the large intestine.

  • IM (Intramuscular)

    Within or into muscle.

  • Imatinib mesylate (brand name - Gleevec®)

    A drug that is being studied for its ability to inhibit the growth of certain cancers. It interferes with a portion of the protein produced by the bcr/abl oncogene. Also called Gleevec and STI571.

  • Immunity (Immune system)

    The body's ability to fight infection and disease.

  • Immunoassay

    A test that uses the binding of antibodies to antigens to identify and measure certain substances. Immunoassays may be used to diagnose disease. Also, test results can provide information about a disease that may help in planning treatment.

  • Immunohistochemistry

    The techique for testing specific substances in biopsy/tumor tissue by staining with dye coupled to antibodies specific for the substance being tested. For the neuroendocrine group stains such as ; chromogranin, serotonin, neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and synaptophysin are used.

  • Immunosuppression

     Weakening of the immune system that causes a lowered ability to fight infection and disease.

  • Immunotherapy

    The artificial stimulation of the body's immune system to treat or fight disease.

  • In situ cancer

    Early cancer that has not spread to neighboring tissue.

  • In vitro

    In the laboratory (outside the body). The opposite of in vivo (in the body).

  • In vivo

    In the body. The opposite of in vitro (outside the body or in the laboratory).

  • Incidence

    The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.

  • Indium-111 Pentreotide

    An anticancer drug belonging to a family of drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.

  • Indolent

    A type of cancer that grows slowly.

  • Infiltration

    The leaking of fluid or medicines into tissues, which can cause swelling.

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

    A general term that refers to the inflammation of the colon and rectum. Inflammatory bowel disease includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.Not to be confused with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

  • Infusion

    Delivering fluids or medications into the bloodstream over a period of time.

  • Infusion pump

    A device that delivers measured amounts of fluids or medications into the bloodstream over a period of time.

  • Injection

    Pushing a medication into the body with the use of a syringe and needle.
    Intramuscular (IM) injection: Into the muscle.
    Intravenous (IV) injection: Into the vein.
    Subcutaneous (SC) injection: Into the fatty tissue under the skin.

  • Institutional Review Board (IRB)

     A group of scientists, doctors, clergy, and consumers at each health care facility that participates in a clinical trial. IRBs are designed to protect study participants. They review and must approve the action plan for every clinical trial. They check to see that the trial is well designed, does not involve undue risks, and includes safeguards for patients.

  • Insulinoma (Islet Cells Adenoma)

    An insulinoma is a usually benign tumor of the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas.

  • Interferon

    A naturally produced chemical released by the body in response to viral infections. Interferon can be artificially produced and used as a form of immunotherapy.A biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infections and other diseases). Interferons interfere with the division of cancer cells and can slow tumor growth. There are several types of interferons, including interferon-alpha, -beta, and -gamma. The body normally produces these substances. They are also made in the laboratory to treat cancer and other diseases. Alpha-interferons may control symptoms of carcinoid syndrome and produce objective biochemical responses (greater than 50% suppression of 5-HIAA).

  • Interleukin

    A biological response modifier (substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that helps the immune system fight infection and cancer. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

  • International

  • Intravenous (IV)

    Injection into a vein.

  • Iodine I 131 metaiodobenzylguanidine (131 I-MIBG)

     A radioactive substance that is used in imaging tests, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.

  • IRB

    See Institutional Review Board

  • Irinotecan-CPT 11 (Camptosar®)

    An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. It is a camptothecin analog. Also called CPT 11.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

    Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by a group of symptoms in which abdominal pain or discomfort is associated with a change in bowel pattern, such as loose or more frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, and/or constipation.The diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome has relied on a diagnosis of exclusion. Because the symptoms of IBS share the symptoms of so many other intestinal illnesses, it sometimes takes years before a correct diagnosis is made to exclude the obvious, and not so obvious, conditions which present symptoms similiar to IBS.IBS is often misdiagnosed or misnamed as colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, irritable bowel disease or spastic bowel (colon).

  • Islet cell cancer (tumors)

    Islet cell tumors are some of the rarest of the neuroendocrine tumors, and include VIPomas, gastrinomas, insulinomas, glucagonomas, and pancreatic islet cell carcinomas. Some islet cells are non-functional. They do not produce a homone that, as of yet, the medical profession can identify or a syndrome that they recongize.

  • Jaundice

    A condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes become yellow, urine darkens, and the color of stool becomes lighter than normal. Jaundice occurs when the liver is not working properly or when a bile duct is blocked.

  • Jejunum

    The middle section of the small intestine between the duodenum and ileum. See small intestine.

  • Ki-67 (MIB-1)

    The Ki-67 biomarker is a proliferation index that is detected by a process called immunohistochemical staining. When a tumor cell tests positive for Ki-67, the tumor is actively growing.

  • Kilogram

    A measure of weight. A kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds.

  • Kytril® (generic name Granisetron)

    Kytril is an antiemetic drug that the Food and Drug Administration has approved for administration. It has shown to prevent nausea and vomiting associated with single day and repeat cycle cancer chemotherapy.

  • Lanreotide (Octreotate)

    Lanreotide Autogel® is a new aqueous gel formulation of somatostatin analogue, which demonstrates sustained release over 28 days. (Manufactured by Ipsen)

  • Laparoscopy

    The insertion of a thin, lighted tube (called a laparoscope) through the abdominal wall to inspect the inside of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.

  • Large cell carcinoma

    Lung cancer in which the cells are large and look abnormal when viewed under a microscope.

  • Laryngectomy

    The surgical removal of the larynx.

  • Larynx

    The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called the voice box.

  • Latency

    Describes a condition that is present but not active or causing symptoms.

  • Lesion

    A lump or abscess that may be caused by injury or disease, such as cancer.

  • Leucovorin

    Drug used to protect normal cells from high doses of the anticancer drug methotrexate. It is also used to increase the antitumor effects of fluorouracil and tegafur-uracil, an oral treatment alternative to intravenous fluorouracil.

  • Leukemia

    Cancer of the blood. White blood cells may be produced in excessive amounts and are unable to work properly.

  • Leukocyte

    See White blood cell.

  • Leukopenia

    A low number of white blood cells.

  • Ligation

    The process of tying off blood vessels so that blood cannot flow to a part of the body or to a tumor.

  • Lumpectomy

    See Mastectomy-Segmental.

  • Lupus

    A chronic inflammatory connective tissue disease marked by skin rashes, joint pain and swelling, inflammation of the kidneys, inflammation of the fibrous tissue surrounding the heart (i.e., the pericardium), as well as other problems. Not all affected individuals display all of these problems. Also called systemic lupus erythematosus.

  • Lymph nodes

    Hundreds of small oval bodies that contain lymph. Lymph nodes act as our first line of defense against infections and cancer.

  • Lymphangiogram

    A test to look at the lymph nodes.

  • Lymphatic system

    A network that includes lymph nodes, lymph, and lymph vessels that serves as a filtering system for the blood.

  • Lymphedema

    Swelling either from obstructed cancerous lymph nodes or from surgically removed lymph nodes.

  • Lymphocytes

    White blood cells that kill viruses and defend against the invasion of foreign material.

  • Lymphoma

    A cancer of the lymphatic system. Doctors differentiate the different lymphomas by the type of cell that is involved in the makeup of the tumor. Treatments depend on the type of cell that is seen. Lysis

    In biology, lysis refers to the breakdown of a cell caused by damage to its plasma (outer) membrane. Lysis can be caused by chemical or physical means (for example, strong detergents or high-energy sound waves) or by an infection.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

    A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. MRI makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as CT or x-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.

  • Malabsorption syndrome

    A group of symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea resulting from the body's inability to properly absorb nutrients. Often seen after surgical resection of the small bowel ( short bowel syndrome) or as a side effect of treatment with octreotide. Usually treated with pancreatic enzymes.

  • Malignant carcinoid syndrome

    Synonymous with carcinoid syndrome.

  • Malignant tumor

    A tumor made up of cancer cells of the type that can spread to other parts of the body.

  • Mammogram (Mammography)

    A low-dose X ray / picture of the breasts to determine whether abnormal growths or cysts are present.

  • Mast cell disease (Mastocytosis)

    Also known as Systemic Mast Cell Disease, Systemic Mastocytosis, Urticaria pigmentosa. Mastocytosis (mas-toe-sigh-toe-sis) is a disorder caused by having too many mast cells in a person's body. Mast cells are a kind of blood cell that are located in the skin, the linings of the stomach and intestine, and connective tissue (such as cartilage or tendons). Mast cells are important for survival. They help defend the skin, stomach, and intestine against disease. Mast cells are also involved in wound healing. Chemicals released by mast cells cause physiological changes that lead to typical allergic responses such as hives, itching, abdominal cramping, and even shock. When too many mast cells exist in a person's body, the additional chemicals can cause bone pain, abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting, ulcers, diarrhea, skin lesions, and episodes of hypotension (very low blood pressure and faintness) or anaphylaxis (shock).

  • Mastectomy

    The surgical removal of the breast.

    Mastectomy - Segmental (lumpectomy)
    Removal of the lump and a small amount of surrounding breast tissue.
    Mastectomy - Simple (modified mastectomy)
    Removal of the entire breast.
    Mastectomy - Radical
    Removal of the entire breast along with underlying muscle and lymph nodes of the armpit.

     

  • Mean

    A statistics term. The average value in a set of measurements. The mean is the sum of a set of numbers divided by how many numbers are in the set.

  • Median

    A statistics term. The middle value in a set of measurements.

  • Mediastinum

    The area between the lungs. The organs in this area include the heart and its large blood vessels, the trachea, the esophagus, the bronchi, and lymph nodes.

  • Melanoma

    A cancer of the pigment-forming cells of the skin or the retina of the eye.

  • MEN 1

    Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome. A rare, inherited disorder that affects the endocrine glands and can cause tumors in the parathyroid and pituitary glands and the pancreas. These tumors (usually benign) cause the glands to secrete high levels of hormones, which can lead to other medical problems, such as kidney stones, fertility problems, and severe ulcers. In some cases, tumors inside the pancreas can become cancerous. Also called multiple endocrine adenomatosis and Wermer's syndrome.

  • Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)

    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine tumor of the skin that is associated with a high incidence of recurrence and metastasis. For more indepth information visit this website for both patients and medical professionals.

  • Mesentery (Mesenteric membrane)

    A double layer of peritoneum that attaches to the back wall of the abdominal cavity and supports the small intestines The peritoneal membrane that attaches the intestines to the abdominal wall near the back.
     

  • Metastasize (metastatic

    To spread from the first cancer site, for example, carcinoid cancer of the small intestine that spreads to the liver.

  • MIBG (therapy) (Iodine 131 metaiodobenzylguanidine)

    A systemic radionuclear therapy sometimes used in patients whose tumors can be strongly imaged with MIGB. Occasionally such tumors also benefit by treatment with MIBG not including radioactive iodine.

  • MIBG(scintiscan) (Iodine 131 metaiodobenzylguanidine)

    An iodine radioisotope (MIBG, iodine-131-meta-iodobenzylguanidine) is another type of a radionuclear scan using a substance called MIBG. MIBG is very similar to the hormone dopamine or the hormone adrenaline, which are secreted by many of the neuroendocrine tumors.MIBG is particularly useful in localization of the primary tumors or metastatic lesions in pheochromocytoma and related tumors of the autonomic nervous syetem such as paraganglioma, and can also be used to find a rarer type of tumor like medullary carcinoma of the thyroid. How good is the MIBG? It has a very high specificity. How does MIBG scan compare with OctreoScan in carcinoid patients? For most carcinoid tumors MIBG is not as good but it is used in some patients where OctreoScan is unavailable or is negative.

  • Mitosis

    The process by which a single cell divides into two cells. Synonyms for mitosis are cell division, cell replication, cell growth or cell proliferation. Mitosis results in the production of two daughter cells from a single parent cell. The daughter cells are identical to one another and to the original parent cell.

  • Monoclonal antibodies

    Artificially manufactured antibodies specifically designed to find targets on cancer cells for diagnostic or treatment purposes.

     
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)

    A sophisticated test that provides in-depth images of organs and structures in the body. See also Magnetic resonance imaging.

  • mTOR

    A protein that helps control several cell functions, including cell division and survival, and binds to rapamycin and other drugs. mTOR may be more active in some types of cancer cells than it is in normal cells. Blocking mTOR may cause the cancer cells to die. It is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase. Also called mammalian target of rapamycin.

  • Mucosa (Mucous membranes)

    The lining of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

  • Necrosis

    Refers to the death of living tissues.

  • Needle biopsy

    The removal of tissue or fluid with a needle for examination under a microscope. Also called fine-needle aspiration.

  • Neoplasm

    A new growth of tissue or cells; a tumor that is generally malignant.

  • Neuroendocrine

    Having to do with the interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system. Neuroendocrine describes certain cells that release hormones into the blood in response to stimulation of the nervous system.

  • Neuroendocrine markers

    The measurement of general and specific biochemical markers in patients with neuroendocrine tumours assists with diagnosis and gives an indication of the effectiveness of treatment and they may be used as prognostic indicators.These are substances sometimes found in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A high level of tumor marker may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Examples of neuroendocrine tumor markers include Urine 5-HIAA, blood serotonin, chromogranin A., pancreatic polypeptide, gastrin etc. Also called biomarker.

  • Neuroendocrine tumor (NET)

    A tumor derived from cells that release a hormone in response to a signal from the nervous system. Some examples of neuroendocrine tumors are carcinoid tumors, islet cell tumors, medullary thyroid carcinoma, and pheochromocytoma. These tumors secrete hormones in excess, causing a variety of symptoms.

  • Neuropathy

    A problem in peripheral nerve function (any part of the nervous system except the brain and spinal cord) that causes pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, and muscle weakness in various parts of the body. Neuropathies may be caused by physical injury, infection, toxic substances, disease (e.g., cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, or malnutrition), or drugs such as anticancer drugs. Also called peripheral neuropathy.

  • Neurotransmitter

    A substance such as a hormone or protein that is found naturally in the body and that carries signals between nerve cells and other cells.

  • Nicotinamide (B3)

    Niacinamide is the amide form of nicotinic acid (Niacin). It is often used interchangeably with niacin. However it does not cause the flushing that niacin does. Caution must be exercised with niacin, niacinamide and sustained release niacin because larger doses may cause liver damage. The first indications of over-use are usually nausea and elevations of liver enzymes.

  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

    A cancer of the lymphatic system . Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is related to Hodgkin's disease but is made up of different cell types. See Lymphoma.

  • Non-small cell lung cancer

    A group of lung cancers that includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

  • Novocaine

     A drug given to people to prevent them feeling pain, especially during an operation on their teeth. 

  • Objective response

    An improvement that can be measured by the health care provider (for example, a decrease in pain can be measured by how much pain medicine the patient is taking).

  • Observation

    Closely monitoring a patient's condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change. Also called watchful waiting, (Wait and see approach).

  • Obstruction

    Blockage of a passageway.

  • Octreotide scan / Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy.(SRS)

    A type of radionuclide scan used to find carcinoid and other types of tumors. Radioactive octreotide, a drug similar to somatostatin, is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive octreotide attaches to tumor cells that have receptors for somatostatin. A radiation-measuring device detects the radioactive octreotide, and makes pictures showing where the tumor cells are in the body. This procedure is also called somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS).

  • Octreotide/Somatostatin analogues

     Synthetic somatostatin derivative that inhibits many hormones produced naturally and in excess by different neuroendocrine tumors (serotonin, growth hormone, gastrin, VIP, glucagon, secretin, insulin, cholecystokinin and others). Examples of octreotide and other somatostatin analogues are  Sandostatin s.c. ®, and Sandostatin LAR® manufactured by Novartis), lanreotide - trade name - Somatuline, ® Autogel®, manufactured by Ipsen, vapreotide - trade name - Sanvar(R) manufactured by H3 Pharma.

  • Omega-3 fatty acid

    Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats, one of four basic types of fat that the body derives from food.Omega-3s are termed essential fatty acids (EFAs) because they are critical for good health. However, the body cannot make them on its own. For this reason, omega-3s must be obtained from food, thus making outside sources of these fats "essential and may reduce the risk the heart disease, improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and be useful in the prevention and treatment of many other diseases. Good food sources are found in certain fish tissues, and in vegetable sources such as flax seeds, walnuts, and canola oil.

  • Oncologist

    A doctor who specializes in oncology.

  • Oncology

    The study and treatment of cancer. Doctors who specialize in oncology are called oncologists.

  • Ostomy

    An operation to create an opening (a stoma) from an area inside the body to the outside. Colostomy and urostomy are types of ostomies.

  • Oxaliplatin (brand name Eloxatin®)

    An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.Oxaliplatin (OX-ah-lee-PLA-tin) belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics. It is used to treat cancer of the colon or rectum. Oxaliplatin is usually given along with other medicines to treat cancer.

  • Palliative treatment (care)

    Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It treats the disease partially and insofar as possible, but it will not cure it completely. When a patient is in hospice care, treatment is aimed at the relief of pain and symptoms of disease.

  • Pancreas

    Is a gland organ located behind the stomach. It is part of the digestive system and produces important enzymes and hormones that help break down foods.

  • Pancreatectomy

    Surgery to remove all or part of the pancreas.

  • Pancreatic enzymes

     Proteins secreted by the pancreas that aids in the digestion of food. Often needed to supplement during long term octreotide therapy. Examples of pancreatic enzyme supplements are : Creon 20, Viokase 16, Pancrease, Ultrace, MT 20 Lipram.

  • Pap (Papanicolaou) smear

    A test to detect cancer of the cervix.

  • Paracentesis

    Removing fluid from the abdomen using local anesthesia, a needle and syringe.

  • Parathyroid gland

    One of four pea-sized glands found on the thyroid. The parathyroid hormone produced by these glands increases the calcium level in the blood.

  • Parenteral nutrition

    A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Parenteral nutrition does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using parenteral nutrition. Also known as hyperalimentation or total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

  • Pathological fracture

    A break in a bone usually caused by cancer or some disease condition.

  • Pathology

    Is the study and diagnosis of disease by the examination of tissues and body fluids under the microscope. A doctor who specializes in pathology is called a pathologist.

  • Peg-interferon alfa-2a and alfa-2b

    Alfa-2a; A substance that is used to treat hepatitis C infections, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers.
    Alfa-2b:An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. PEG-interferon alfa-2b is a cytokine. Also called SCH 54031.

  • Pellagra (carcinoid induced)

    A disease caused by deficiency of niacin ( Vitamin B3) or tryptophan (or by a defect in the metabolic conversion of tryptophan to niacin). It is characterized by gastrointestinal disturbances, erythema and nervous or mental disorders; You may seen it in untreated or inadequately treated carcinoid syndrome patients. The patient should receive an adequate niacin supplement (nicotinamide rather than nicotinic acid, since the latter causes flushing) and should avoid foods, agents, and activities that precipitate symptoms.

  • Peptide

    Any compound consisting of two or more amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

  • Percutaneous

    Performed through a small opening in the skin.

  • Perioperative

    It is the time period of a surgical procedure;this commonly lasts from the time of going into the hospital or doctor's office for surgery until the time the patient goes home.

  • Peripheral neuropathy

    A condition of the nervous system that causes numbness, tingling, burning or weakness. It usually begins in the hands or feet, and can be caused by certain anticancer drugs.

  • Peritoneal cavity

    The space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver. It is bound by thin membranes.

  • Pernicious anemia

    A type of anemia (low red blood cell count) caused by the body's inability to absorb vitamin B12 due to the lack of intrisic factor which is  needed for the absorption. Because vitamin B12 is needed by nerve cells and blood cells for them to function properly, deficiency can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, tingling sensations, difficulty walking, and diarrhea.

  • PET scan

    Positron Emission Tomography - A form of nuclear medicine scanning in which minute amounts of radioactive tracers are used to detect cancer anywhere in the body.

  • Petechiae

    Tiny areas of bleeding under the skin, usually caused by a low platelet count.

  • Pheochromocytoma

    A tumor of the adrenal gland that causes it to produce too much adrenaline. Pheochromocytomas are usually benign (noncancerous), but can cause dangerously high blood pressure and other symptoms, including pounding headaches, heart palpitations, flushing of the face, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Phlebitis

    A painful inflammation of the veins.

  • Photosensitivity

    Extreme sensitivity to the sun, leaving the patient prone to sunburns. This can be a side effect of some cancer drugs and radiation.

  • Placebo

    An inert substance often used in clinical trials for comparison.

  • Platelet (Plt)

    A type of blood cell that helps prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form. Also called a thrombocyte.

  • Platelet count

    The number of platelets in a blood sample.

  • Pleural cavity

    The space enclosed by the pleura, which is a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity.

  • Pleural effusion

    An abnormal collection of fluid between the thin layers of tissue (pleura) lining the lung and the wall of the chest cavity.

  • Polyp

    A growth of tissue protruding into a body cavity, such as a nasal or rectal polyp. Polyps may be benign or malignant.

  • Port-Implanted

    A catheter connected to a quarter-sized disc that is surgically placed just below the skin in the chest or abdomen. The tube is inserted into a large vein or artery directly into the bloodstream. Fluids, drugs, or blood products can be infused, and blood can be drawn through a needle that is stuck into the disc. Examples: Port-o-cath, Infusaport, Lifeport.

  • Port-Peritoneal

    A catheter connected to a quarter-sized disc that is surgically placed in the abdomen. The catheter is inserted to deliver chemotherapy to the peritoneum (abdominal cavity).

  • Positron Emisson Tomography (PET)

    A technique that allows biochemical and functional studies of human tumors in vivo. A specific PET tracer is available for the visualization of neuroendocrine gastrointestinal tumors, the serotonin precursor 5-HTP, and PET investigations with this tracer is currently the most sensitive method for detecting small tumors in the thorax and abdomen. Thus, PET can detect small ACTH-producing tumors, small insulinomas and gastrinomas that are difficult to detect with conventional imaging techniques.

  • Prednisone

    Belongs to the family of drugs called steroids and is used to treat several types of cancer and other disorders. Prednisone also inhibits the body's immune response.

  • Primary tumor

    The original cancer site. For example, breast cancer that has spread to the bone is still called breast cancer.

  • Progesterone

    One of the female hormones produced by the ovaries.

  • Progesterone-receptor assay

    A test that determines if breast cancer is stimulated by the hormone progesterone.

  • Prognosis

    The projected outcome of a disease; the life expectancy.

  • Proliferation index (Ki-67 / MIB 1)

    A measure of the number of cells in a tumor that are dividing (proliferating). May be used to give a more complete understanding of how fast a tumor is growing. Example; Ki-67 also known as MIB1. The proliferative activity of tumors can be evaluated using MIB1 antibody to detect Ki-67 nuclear antigen, which is associated with cell proliferation.

  • Protocol

    A treatment plan.

  • PSA (Prostate-specific antigen)

    A marker used to determine prostate disease; it may be benign or malignant.

  • Pulmonary

    Relating to the lungs.

  • Pump - infusion pump

    A small portable device that infuses measured amounts of fluids or medication into the body over a period of time. See Sandostatin S.C.

  • Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)

    The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiotherapy.

  • Radio frequency ablation (RFA)

    Radiofrequency ablation , laser therapy, and microwave therapy all use heat to kill the cancer cells. RFA is probably the most widely used palliative treatment. It may be applied under sedation through the skin, at laparoscopy, or during a surgical operation.

  • Radioisotope

    A radioactive material frequently used in imaging procedures to safely diagnose or treat disease, or to evaluate response to treatment.

  • Radiologist

    A doctor who specializes in the use of x-rays to diagnose and treat diseases.

  • Receptor

    A molecule inside or on the surface of a cell that binds to a specific substance and causes a specific physiologic effect in the cell.

  • Recurrence

    The reappearance of a disease after a period of remission.

  • Red blood cells (Erythrocytes)

    Cells in the blood that deliver oxygen to tissues and take carbon dioxide from them.

  • Red blood count (RBC)

    The number of red blood cells seen in a blood sample.

  • Regression

    The shrinkage of cancer growth.

  • Relapse

    The reappearance of a disease after its apparent cessation.

  • Remission

    Complete or partial disappearance of the signs and symptoms of disease.

  • RFA

    See Radiofrequency Ablation.

  • Risk factor

     Anything that increases a person's chances of developing cancer, for example, smoking and lung cancer.

  • Saline

    A solution of salt and water

  • Samarium 153

    A radioactive substance used in cancer therapy.

  • Sandostatin ® s.c., Sandostatin LAR® Depot (generic name octreotide acetate)

    A somatostatin analogue, anti-hormone drug that is indicated for treatment in patients with metastatic carcinoid tumors, carcinoid syndrome and related NETs. It is given by sub cutaneously injection 2-4 times per day, and then the injection may be changed to once every 3-4 weeks using a long acting release (LAR) dosage. Continous infusion via (insulin) pump has been rarely used by some physicians for patients requiring very large dosage.. Octreotide (Sandostatin®) often improves symptoms of the carcinoid syndrome (severe diarrhea and flushing). In some cases, this anti-hormone drug inhibits and sometimes reverses the growth of the tumors. Manufactured by Novartis.

  • Scan

    A picture of structures inside the body. Scans often used in diagnosing, staging, and monitoring disease include liver scans, bone scans, and computed tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. In liver scanning and bone scanning, radioactive substances that are injected into the bloodstream collect in these organs. A scanner that detects the radiation is used to create pictures. In CT scanning, an x-ray machine linked to a computer is used to produce detailed pictures of organs inside the body. MRI scans use a large magnet connected to a computer to create pictures of areas inside the body.

  • Sedimentation rate (Sed rate, ESR)

    Is the measurement of the  rate at which the red blood cells fall in blood test tube during an hour. It is a common hematology test, which is a non-specific measure of inflammation, infection, cancer, rheumatic diseases and diseases of the blood and bone marrow. This is also called the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)

    A popular class of antidepressant medication that typically decreases anxiety as well as depression (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil). It acts by blocking the reuptake of serotonin. It is contraindicated in patients with carcinoid syndrome as it may preciptate a carcinoid crisis or worsen symptoms of carcinoid syndrome.

  • Sepsis

    The presence of bacteria or their toxins in the blood or tissues.

  • Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT)

     A hormone found in the brain, platelets, digestive tract, and pineal gland. It acts both as a neurotransmitter (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another) and a vasoconstrictor (a substance that causes blood vessels to narrow). A lack of serotonin in the brain is thought to be a cause of depression. It is now widely understood that 95% of the serotonin in the body resides in the gut.

  • Serum albumin

    The main protein in blood plasma. Low levels of serum albumin occur in people with malnutrition, inflammation, and serious liver and kidney disease.

  • Serum tumor marker test

    A blood test that measures the amount of substances called tumor markers also known as biomarkers. Tumor markers are released into the blood by tumor cells or by other cells in response to tumor cells. A high level of a tumor marker may be a sign of cancer. See neuroendocrine markers.

  • Shingles

    See Herpes zoster.

  • Short Bowel Syndrome

    Short bowel syndrome is a group of problems affecting people who have had half or more of their small intestine removed. It is characterized by malabsorption due to loss of small intestinal surface area. The degree and type of resulting nutritional deficiencies depend on the length and location of the bowel that is lost. In general, patients will develop symptoms of short bowel syndrome when less than 200 cm of functional small bowel remains. As the majority of nutrient digestion and absorption is complete within the first 100 cm of jejunum, most patients will be able to maintain nutritional balance using oral feeding if at least 100 cm of intact jejunum is still present. Patients with less than 100 cm will likely require parenteral nutrition.

  • Side effects

    Secondary effects of drugs used for disease treatment.

  • Sigmoidoscopy

    The visual examination of the rectum and lower colon using a tubular instrument called a sigmoidoscope.

  • SIR-Spheres®

    The SIR-Spheres® are biocompatible radioactive microspheres that emit yttrium-90. They are delivered by a percutaneous approach into the hepatic artery feeding the tumors in the liver. A single dose of FUDR chemotherapy is injected into the liver during the same treatment session as the SIR-Spheres®.

  • Small cell lung cancer

    A type of lung cancer in which the cells appear small and round when viewed under the microscope. Also called oat cell lung cancer.

  • Small intestine

    The part of the digestive tract that extends from the stomach to the large intestine. The small intestine includes the duodenum (closest to the stomach), the jejunum, and the ileum (closest to the large intestine).

  • Somatostatin analogues

    Are drugs such as octreotide and lanreotide that copy or mimic the action of somatostatin. They are also known as biotherapy. Somatostatin is a substance produced naturally in many parts of the body. It can stop the over production of hormones, causing the carcinoid syndrome.

  • Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS, OctreoScan®)

    A type of radionuclide scan used to find carcinoid and other types of tumors. In SRS, radioactive octreotide, a drug similar to somatostatin, is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive octreotide attaches to tumor cells that have receptors for somatostatin. A radiation-measuring device detects the radioactive octreotide, and makes pictures showing where the tumor cells are in the body. This procedure is also called an octreotide scan.

  • Spiral CT scan

    A detailed picture of areas inside the body. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine that scans the body in a spiral path. Also called helical computed tomography.

  • Sputum

    Secretions produced by the lungs

  • SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

    See Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

  • Staging

    Determination of extent of the cancer in the body.

  • Stains

    Chemicals applied to a biological sample in order to uncover the presence of certain substances in the sample under the microscope if they are present. The presence of different substances in a sample are shown by using different stains.

  • Steatorrhea

    Is the presence of excess fat in feces, causing it to be frothy, foul-smelling and floating.  This is a finding that is typical in malabsorption syndromes.(type of diarrhea that may occur when using octreotide.)

  • Stent

    A device placed in a body structure (such as a blood vessel or the gastrointestinal tract) to provide support and keep the structure open.

  • Steroid (drug)

    This is the short term for corticosteroid drugs which is used to reduce swelling and inflammation quickly.

  • Stoma

    Is an opening, either natural or surgically created, which connects a portion of a body cavity to the surface of the body.

  • Stomatitis

    Temporary inflammation and soreness of the mouth.

  • Streptozocin (brand name Zanosar®)

    Is an antineoplastic medication. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

  • Subcutaneous (sc)

    Beneath the skin.

  • Syndrome

    A set of symptoms or conditions that occur together and suggest the presence of a certain disease or an increased chance of developing the disease.

  • Systemic disease/therapy/chemotherapy

    A disease/therapy/chemotherapy that affects the entire body instead of a specific organ.

  • Tamoxifen (brand name Nolvadex®)

    A drug used to fight breast cancer cells that have estrogen receptors.Tamoxifen blocks the estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells, causing the tumor to slow down or stop in growth. This drug belongs to the family of drugs called, selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERM's.

  • Telangiectasia

    A dilatation of small bloodvessels near the surface of the skin or mucous membranes. They can develop anywhere on the body, but most commonly seen on the face, eyes and legs. Most cases are of unknown cause, but they can occur in rosacea and certain systemic diseases.

  • Temodar® (generic name temozolomide ( tem-oh-ZOHL-oh-mide))

    Is an oral chemotherapy, slowing the growth and spread of cancer cells.

  • Thalidomide (brand name Thalomid®)

    A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. It prevents the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor.

  • Therasphere® (Yttrium 90 glass microspheres)

    Therasphere is a therapeutic device that delivers radiation directly to tumors in the liver using glass beads. The tiny beads (or intrahepatic microspheres) measure one third the diameter of a human hair, and are embedded with a radioactive element called yttrium90.

  • Thoracentesis (Pleural tap)

    Is an invasive procedure to remove fluid or air from the pleural space for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

  • Thoracic

    Having to do with the chest

  • Thrombocytopenia

    An abnormally low number of platelets (thrombocytes). If the platelet count is too low, bleeding could occur.

  • Thymus

    An organ that is part of the lymphatic system, in which T lymphocytes grow and multiply. The thymus is in the chest behind the breastbone.

  • Thyroid gland

    A gland located beneath the voice box (larynx) that produces thyroid hormone. The thyroid helps regulate growth and metabolism.

  • Total pancreatectomy

    Surgery to remove the entire pancreas. Part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.

  • Total parenteral nutrition (TPN)

    A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Total parenteral nutrition does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using total parenteral nutrition.

  • Tracer

    A substance, frequently a radioisotope, used in miniscule amounts, in imaging procedures to safely diagnose disease or to evaluate response to treatment.

  • Tryptophan

    An essential amino acid that occurs in proteins. It is essential for growth and normal metabolism; a precursor of niacin and neurotransmitter serotonin.

  • Tube feeding

    A type of enteral nutrition (nutrition that is delivered into the digestive system in a liquid form). For tubefeeding, a small tube may be placed through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. Sometimes it is surgically placed into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen, depending on how long it will be used. People who are unable to meet their needs with food and beverages alone, and who do not have vomiting or uncontrollable diarrhea may be given tubefeedings. Tubefeeding can be used to add to what a person is able to eat or can be the only source of nutrition.

  • Tumor (neoplasm)

    An abnormal mass of tissue that results when the growth of cells exceeds,and is uncoordinated with that of the normal tissues around it. Tumors can be benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous). Tumors are also called neoplasm.

  • Tumor debulking

    Surgically removing as much of the tumor as possible.

  • Tumor marker

    A substance sometimes found in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A high level of tumor marker may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Also called biomarker. See neuroendocrine markers.

  • Ulcerative colitis

    This is a chronic inflammation affecting the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Ulcerative colitis occurs only through continuous stretches of your colon. It is characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea

  • Ultrasonography (ultrasound)

    A procedure which uses high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) that travels from a transducer through the skin and into the body, where sound bounces off internal structures, creating echoes.These echo patterns are shown on the screen of an ultrasound machine, forming a picture of body tissues called a sonogram. Also called a ultrasound.

  • Ultrasound-guided biopsy

    A procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to guide the health professional's instrument to the site of the abnormal growth to obtain a biopsy.

  • Undifferentiated (poorly differentiated)

    A term used to describe tumor cells which lack the structures and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably. The opposite are well- differentiated tumor cells, which resemble normal cells and tend to grow and spread at a slower rate than the undifferentiated (poorly differentiated) tumor cells.

  • Urea nitrogen (BUN,blood urea nitrogen)

    A chemical in the blood produced by the breakdown of protein. Urea nitrogen is removed from the blood by the kidneys. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) tests are done to see how well the kidneys are working.

  • Urine 5-HIAA

    See 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA)

  • Urticaria (hives)

    Is a eruption of a red, raised, itchy skin rash as a result of the body's adverse reaction to certain allergens. They can appear anywhere on the body including the face, lips, tongue, throat, or ears. Hives vary in size and can last for minutes or days.

  • Vapreotide

    Is a drug that belongs to the group of drugs called somatostatin analogs.

  • Venipuncture

    Is the process of obtaining intravenous access for the purpose of collecting blood, starting a intravenous drip or to give medication.

  • Video capsule/Wireless Capsule Endoscopy.

    A method to monitoring gastrointestinal diseases, a new type of video-telemetry capsule that is swallowed and journeys down the gastrointestinal tract while transmitting images . As such, the capsule, 11 mm in diameter and 30 mm long, i.e. about the size of a pill, provides a kind of inside view at a rate of two frames per second. Its video images are transmitted using UHF-band telemetry to aerials taped to the body.

  • Vincristine (brand name Vincasar®)

    Vincristine is a chemotherapy drug, which slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to the treatment, and the type of cancer you have.

  • Vipoma

    Also known as Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide-Producing Tumor or Pancreatic Endocrine Tumor.
    These are cancerous tumors that affect a type of hormone-secreting cell in the pancreas.Vipomas cause severe diarrhea, which can result in symptoms of hypokalemia (low blood potassium), and dehydration.

  • Virus

    An infectious agent that is much smaller than a bacteria.

  • von Hippel-Lindau syndrome

    Is a genetic condition involving the abnormal growth of bloodvessels in bodyparts such as the eyes, brain, spinal cord, adrenal glands, or other parts of the body. People with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome have a higher risk of developing some type of cancer.

  • Wermer's syndrome

    Is a rare inherited genetic defect that produces hyperplasia or malignant tumors in the parathyroid glands, pituitary glands and the pancreas. These tumors (usually benign) cause the glands to secrete high levels of hormones, which can lead to medical problems, such as kidney stones, fertility problems, and severe ulcers. In some cases, tumors inside the pancreas can become cancerous. Also called multiple endocrine adenomatosis or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome. (MEN-1)

  • Whipple procedure

    A type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. The head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and other nearby tissues are removed.

  • White blood cells (WBC)

    General term for a variety of cells responsible for fighting invading germs, infection, and allergy-causing agents.The white blood cells include neutrophils, eosinophils,basophils,monocytes, macrophage and lymphocytes.

  • White blood count (WBC)

    The actual number of white blood cells seen in a blood sample.

  • Wireless capsule endoscopy

    Wireless capsule endoscopy is a noninvasive procedure in which a small capsule containing a video camera, light, transmitter, and batteries is swallowed and passed through the GI tract while video recording the mucosa of the small bowel. These images are transmitted by a radiofrequency signal to a data recorder attached to the patient’s waist. After approximately eight hours the capsule is excreted and the recorded data is downloaded to a computer where, with the use of software, it can be viewed, edited and reported. Wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE) is intended for patients with small bowel disease who have obscure bleeding, in addition to GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and whose diagnosis remains unknown following standard radiology and endoscopy.

  • Xeloda® (generic name capecitabine (ka-pe-SITE-a-been))

    Capecitabine is a chemotherapy that is given as a treatment for some types of cancer, including advanced bowel cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

  • Xray

    High-energy electromagnetic radiation used to diagnose and treat diseases. Diagnostic tests are using high energy to visualize internal body organs. For xray treatments, see Radiation therapy.

  • Xray therapy

    Is the use of high-energy radiation from xrays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy) or from materials called radioisotopes. Radioisotopes produce radiation and can be placed in or near the tumor. This type of radiation treatment is called internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, interstitial radiation, or brachytherapy. Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Xray therapy is also called radiation therapy, radiotherapy, or irradiation.

  • Yttrium 90

    Is a radioactive isotope used in the treatment of NETs

  • Zofran® (generic name Ondansetron (on-DAN-se-tron))

    Antiemetic medication,used in the U.S and Canada to treat or prevent nausea and vomiting that may occur with anticancer medicines (chemotherapy), radiation, or after surgery.

  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome

    A disorder in which tumors of the pancreatic islet cells produce large amounts of gastrin (a hormone), leading to excess acid in the stomach and, possibly, a peptic ulcer of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine

  • Zometa® (generic name zoledronic (zo-le-DRO-nik) acid)

    Zometa® injection is a treatment for certain cancers that have spread to the bones. Zometa® is not a chemotherapy and is used along with other cancer treatments, such as radiation, hormonal therapy, or chemotherapy.Its main action is to lower bone pain, help to prevent fractures, help to prevent pressure on the spinal cord from damage to bones in the spine.