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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).