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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.
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.
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.
Having to do with the liver, bile ducts, and/or gallbladder.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs.
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.
A tiny branch of air tubes in the lungs.
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.
A large air passage that leads from the trachea (windpipe) to the lung.
See Blood urea nitrogen.
A surgical procedure in which the doctor creates a new pathway for the flow of body fluids.