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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.