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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.
Dosimetry
While dosimetry in its original sense is the measurement of the absorbed dose delivered by ionizing radiation, the term is better known as a scientific sub-specialty in the fields of health physics and medical physics, where it is the calculation and assessment of the radiation dose received by the human body. Read more about why it is important for cancer treatment.
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 alsosmall 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.