Definitions - Glossary P thru T
This is a central location for the definitions available for many of the technical or medical words found on this site. Please click on the letters below to find definitions for words starting with that letter.
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Special thanks to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Many of the definitions in this glossary were adapted or taken directly from the NCI's Dictionary of Cancer Terms.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

P-32
A radioactive form of phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer.

p-value
A statistics term. A measure of probability that a difference between groups during an experiment happened by chance. For example, a p-value of .01 (p = .01) means there is a 1 in 100 chance the result occurred by chance. The lower the p-value, the more likely it is that the difference between groups was caused by treatment.

p53 gene
A tumor suppressor gene that normally inhibits the growth of tumors. This gene is altered in many types of cancer.

Pacific valerian
Valeriana officinalis. A plant whose roots are used as a sedative and to treat certain medical conditions. It is being studied as a way to improve sleep in cancer patients undergoing treatment. Also called valerian, garden valerian, Indian valerian, Mexican valerian, garden heliotrope, and Valerianae radix.

pack year
A way to measure the amount a person has smoked over a long period of time. It is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked. For example, 1 pack year is equal to smoking 1 pack per day for 1 year, or 2 packs per day for half a year, and so on.

paclitaxel
A drug that is used to treat cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

paclitaxel liposome
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called LEP-ETU and PNU-93914.

Paget's disease of bone
A chronic condition in which both the breakdown and regrowth of bone are increased. Paget's disease of bone occurs most frequently in the pelvic and leg bones, skull, and lower spine. It is most common in older individuals, and may lead to bone pain, deformities, and fractures. Also called osteitis deformans.

Paget's disease of the nipple
A form of breast cancer in which the tumor grows from ducts beneath the nipple onto the surface of the nipple. Symptoms commonly include itching and burning and an eczema-like condition around the nipple, sometimes accompanied by oozing or bleeding.

pain threshold
The point at which a person becomes aware of pain.

PALA
A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase the effectiveness of the anticancer drug fluorouracil.

palate (PAL-et)
The roof of the mouth. The front portion is bony (hard palate), and the back portion is muscular (soft palate).

palatine uvula
The soft flap of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth (at the edge of the soft palate). Also called uvula.

palifermin (pal-ee-FER-min)
A form of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) that is made in the laboratory. KGF stimulates the growth of cells that line the surface of the mouth and intestinal tract. Palifermin is used to prevent and treat oral mucositis (mouth sores) caused by high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy in leukemia and lymphoma. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis (mouth sores) and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) in other types of cancer. Palifermin belongs to the family of drugs called recombinant human keratinocyte growth factors. Also called Kepivance.

palliation (PA-lee-AY-shun)
Relief of symptoms and suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliation helps a patient feel more comfortable and improves the quality of life, but does not cure the disease.

palliative care (PA-lee-uh-tiv...)
Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of the disease, side effects caused by treatment of the disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to the disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.

palliative therapy (PA-lee-uh-tiv...)
Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliative cancer therapies are given together with other cancer treatments, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship, recurrent or advanced disease, and at the end of life.

palmar-plantar erythodysthesia
A condition marked by pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or redness of the hands or feet. It sometimes occurs as a side effect of certain anticancer drugs. Also known as hand-foot syndrome.

palpable disease
A term used to describe cancer that can be felt by touch, usually present in lymph nodes, skin, or other organs of the body such as the liver or colon.

palpation
Examination by pressing on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath.

pamidronate
A drug that is used to treat hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood) and cancer that has spread to the bones. It belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates.

panacea
A cure-all.

Pancoast tumor
A type of lung cancer that begins in the upper part of a lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Most Pancoast tumors are non-small cell cancers. Also called pulmonary sulcus tumor.

pancreas
A glandular organ located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion, and it produces several hormones, including insulin. The pancreas is surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and other organs.

pancreatectomy (pan-kree-a-TEK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove all or part of the pancreas. In a total pancreatectomy, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.

pancreatic
Having to do with the pancreas.

pancreatic cancer
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. Also called exocrine cancer.

pancreatic duct
Part of a system of ducts in the pancreas. Pancreatic juices containing enzymes are released into these ducts and flow into the small intestine.

pancreatic enzyme
A protein secreted by the pancreas that aids in the digestion of food.

pancreatic juice
Fluid made by the pancreas. Pancreatic juices contain proteins called enzymes that aid in digestion.

pancreatitis
Inflammation of the pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis may cause diabetes and problems with digestion. Pain is the primary symptom.

panic (PA-nik)
Sudden extreme anxiety or fear that may cause irrational thoughts or actions. Panic may include rapid heart rate, flushing (a hot, red face), sweating, and trouble breathing.

panitumumab
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the diagnosis and treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Also called ABX-EGF.

PAP
Prostatic acid phosphatase. An enzyme produced by the prostate. It may be found in increased amounts in men who have prostate cancer.

Pap smear
A procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix for examination under a microscope. It is used to detect cancer and changes that may lead to cancer. A Pap smear can also show noncancerous conditions, such as infection or inflammation. Also called a Pap test.

Pap test
A procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix for examination under a microscope. It is used to detect cancer and changes that may lead to cancer. A Pap test can also show noncancerous conditions, such as infection or inflammation. Also called a Pap smear.

papillary serous carcinoma
An aggressive cancer that usually affects the uterus/endometrium, peritoneum, or ovary.

papillary thyroid cancer (PA-pih-LAYR-ee THY-royd KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in cells in the thyroid and grows in small finger-like shapes. It grows slowly, is more common in women than in men, and often occurs before age 40. It is the most common type of thyroid cancer.

papillary tumor (PAP-ih-lar-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor shaped like a small mushroom, with its stem attached to the epithelial layer (inner lining) of an organ.

papilledema (pap-il-eh-DEE-ma)
Swelling around the optic disk, the area where the optic nerve (the nerve that carries messages from the eye to the brain) enters the eyeball. Papilledema occurs when increased brain pressure caused by tumors or other problems results in swelling of the optic nerve.

paracentesis (PAYR-uh-sen-TEE-siss)
A procedure in which a thin needle or tube is put into the abdomen to remove fluid from the peritoneal cavity (the space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver).

paraganglia (PAYR-uh-GANG-glee-uh)
A collection of cells that came from embryonic nervous tissue, and are found near the adrenal glands and some blood vessels and nerves. Most paraganglia secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine.

paraganglioma (PAYR-uh-GANG-glee-OH-muh)
A rare, usually benign tumor that develops from cells of the paraganglia. Paraganglia are a collection of cells that came from embryonic nervous tissue, and are found near the adrenal glands and some blood vessels and nerves. Paragangliomas that develop in the adrenal gland are called pheochromocytomas. Those that develop outside of the adrenal glands near blood vessels or nerves are called glomus tumors or chemodectomas.

parageusia
A bad taste in the mouth. Also called dysgeusia.

paralysis (puh-RAL-ih-siss)
Loss of ability to move all or part of the body.

paramyxovirus
A type of virus that has hemagglutinin-neuraminidase proteins in the outer coat and RNA as the genetic material. Measles (rubeola) virus, mumps virus, and Newcastle disease virus are paramyxoviruses.

paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer (PAYR-uh-NAY-zul...)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the paranasal sinus (hollow spaces behind the lower part of the forehead, nose, and cheeks, or below the eyes) or nasal cavity (the inside of the nose from the nostrils to the part of the throat between the nose and windpipe). The most common type of this cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the paranasal sinus and nasal cavity).

paraneoplastic syndrome (PAYR-uh-nee-oh-PLASS-tik SIN-drome)
A group of symptoms that may develop when substances released by some cancer cells disrupt the normal function of surrounding cells and tissue.

paranoia (PAYR-uh-noy-uh)
A mental disorder in which a person has an extreme fear and distrust of others. A paranoid person may have delusions that people are trying to harm him or her.

parasite
An animal or plant that gets nutrients by living on or in an organism of another species. A complete parasite gets all of its nutrients from the host organism, but a semi-parasite gets only some of its nutrients from the host.

parasitic (PAYR-uh-SIH-tik)
Having to do with or being a parasite (an animal or plant that gets nutrients by living on or in an organism of another species).

parasympathetic nervous system (PAYR-uh-SIM-puh-THEH-tik NER-vus SIS-tem)
The part of the nervous system that slows the heart, dilates blood vessels, decreases pupil size, increases digestive juices, and relaxes muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.

parathormone (PAYR-uh-THOR-mone)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. Also called parathyroid hormone, parathyrin, or PTH.

parathyrin (PAYR-uh-THY-rin)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. Also called parathormone, parathyroid hormone, or PTH.

parathyroid cancer (PAYR-uh-THY-royd KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in tissues of one or more of the parathyroid glands (four pea-sized glands in the neck that make parathyroid hormone, which helps the body store and use calcium).

parathyroid gland (PAYR-uh-THY-royd...)
One of four pea-sized glands found on the thyroid. The parathyroid hormone produced by these glands increases the calcium level in the blood.

parathyroid hormone (PAYR-uh-THY-royd HOR-mone)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. Also called parathormone, parathyrin, or PTH.

parathyroidectomy (PAYR-uh-THY-royd-EK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove one or more parathyroid glands (four pea-sized organs found on the thyroid).

parenchyma (pah-REN-kih-ma)
The essential or functional elements of an organ.

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).

paresthesias
Abnormal touch sensations, such as burning or prickling, that occur without an outside stimulus.

paricalcitol (par-i-KAL-si-tol)
A substance that is being used to treat overactive parathyroid glands in patients with kidney failure. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. Paricalcitol belongs to the family of drugs called vitamin D analogs.

parietal pericardium
The outer layer of the pericardium, which is a thin sac of tissue that surrounds the heart.

parietal peritoneum (puh-RY-uh-tul PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The layers of tissue that line the abdominal wall and the pelvic cavity.

Parkinson's disease
A progressive disorder of the nervous system marked by muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, decreased mobility, stooped posture, slow voluntary movements, and a mask-like facial expression.

parotidectomy
Surgery to remove all or part of the parotid gland (a large salivary gland located in front of and just below the ear). In a radical parotidectomy, the entire gland is removed.

paroxetine hydrochloride (puh-ROX-uh-teen HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It belongs to the family of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Also called Paxil.

paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (puh-rahk-SIZ-mul nok-TUR-nul HEE-moh-gloh-bih-NOO-ree-uh)
PNH. A rare disorder in which red blood cells are easily destroyed by certain immune system proteins. Symptoms include blood clots, and red or brownish urine in the morning. Aplastic anemia (decreased production of blood cells) may lead to PNH, and people with PNH are at increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia.

partial cystectomy (sis-TEK-to-mee)
The removal of the cancer as well as some of the bladder tissue around the tumor. Also called segmental cystectomy.

partial hysterectomy (hiss-ter-EK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the uterus only. When the uterus and part or all of the cervix are removed, it is called a total hysterectomy.

partial laryngectomy (PAR-shul lair-in-JEK-tuh-mee)
An operation to remove part of the larynx (voice box).

partial mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee)
The removal of cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor. Usually some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out. Also called segmental mastectomy.

partial nephrectomy (neh-FREK-tuh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of one kidney or a kidney tumor, but not an entire kidney.

partial oophorectomy (o-o-for-EK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove part of one ovary or part of both ovaries.

partial remission
A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment. Also called partial response.

partial response
A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment. Also called partial remission.

partial vulvectomy (par-shul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove most, but not all, of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina).

passive antibody therapy
Treatment with injections of antibodies made in another animal or in the laboratory.

pastoral counselor (PAS-tuh-rul KOWN-suh-ler)
A person who is trained to give spiritual and mental health advice.

patchouli (puh-CHOO-lee)
A bushy herb that is a member of the mint family. A strong-smelling oil taken from the leaves is used in perfumes, incense, detergents, and hair conditioners. It has been used in some cultures to prevent disease. The scientific name is Pogostemon cablin

Paterson-Kelly syndrome
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having Paterson-Kelly syndrome may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Plummer-Vinson syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.

pathognomonic (PATH-og-NOH-mah-nik)
Having to do with a sign or symptom that is specific to a certain disease.

pathologic fracture
A broken bone caused by disease, often by the spread of cancer to the bone.

pathological staging
A method used to determine the stage of cancer. Tissue samples are removed during surgery or a biopsy. The stage is determined based on how the cells in the samples look under a microscope.

pathologist (pa-THOL-o-jist)
A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

pathology report
The description of cells and tissues made by a pathologist based on microscopic evidence, and sometimes used to make a diagnosis of a disease.

patient advocate
A person who helps a patient work with others who have an effect on the patient's health, including doctors, insurance companies, employers, case managers, and lawyers. A patient advocate helps resolve issues about health care, medical bills, and job discrimination related to a patient's medical condition. Cancer advocacy groups try to raise public awareness about important cancer issues, such as the need for cancer support services, education, and research. Such groups work to bring about change that will help cancer patients and their families.

patient-controlled analgesia (...AN-ul-JEE-zee-uh)
PCA. A method of pain relief in which the patient controls the amount of pain medicine that is used. When pain relief is needed, the person can receive a preset dose of pain medicine by pressing a button on a computerized pump that is connected to a small tube in the body.

Paxil (PAK-sil)
A drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It belongs to the family of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Also called paroxetine hydrochloride.

PCA
Patient-controlled analgesia. A method in which the patient controls the amount of pain medicine that is used. When pain relief is needed, the person can receive a preset dose of pain medicine by pressing a button on a computerized pump that is connected to a small tube in the body.

PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome. A condition marked by infertility, enlarged ovaries, menstrual problems, high levels of male hormones, excess hair on the face and body, acne, and obesity. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and endometrial cancer.

PCR
Polymerase chain reaction. A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific DNA sequence.

PDQ
Physician Data Query. PDQ is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute. Designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public, PDQ contains peer-reviewed summaries on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, complementary and alternative medicine, and supportive care; a registry of cancer clinical trials from around the world; and directories of physicians, professionals who provide genetics services, and organizations that provide cancer care. Most of this information, and more specific information about PDQ, can be found on the NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq.

peau d'orange
A dimpled condition of the skin of the breast, resembling the skin of an orange, sometimes found in inflammatory breast cancer.

pediatric (pee-dee-AT-rik)
Having to do with children.

pediatric hematologist
A doctor who specializes in treating blood disorders in children.

pediatric nurse specialist
A registered nurse with an advanced degree in nursing who specializes in the care of children.

pediatric surgeon
A surgeon who specializes in the treatment of children. A surgeon removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on the patient.

pedigree
A record of one's ancestors, offspring, siblings, and their offspring that may be used to determine the pattern of certain genes or disease inheritance within a family.

PEG-interferon alfa-2a (peg-IN-ter-FEER-ahn AL-fa)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called Pegasys.

PEG-interferon alfa-2b (peg IN-ter-FEER-ahn AL-fa)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called PEG-Intron and SCH 54031.

PEG-Intron
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called PEG-interferon alfa-2b and SCH 54031.

PEG-MGDF
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. PEG-MGDF is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor (PEG-rhMGDF).

PEG-rhMGDF
Polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor. A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. PEG-rhMGDF is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-MGDF.

pegaspargase
A modified form of asparaginase, an anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs derived from enzymes.

Pegasys (PEG-ah-siss)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called PEG-interferon alfa-2a.

pegfilgrastim (peg-FIL-grass-tim)
A drug used to increase numbers of white blood cells in patients who are receiving chemotherapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called colony-stimulating factors. Also called Neulasta and filgrastim-SD/01.

PEITC
Phenethyl isothiocyanate. A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables.

peldesine
A substance that is being studied for the treatment of cancer.

pelvic
Having to do with the pelvis (the lower part of the abdomen located between the hip bones).

pelvic examination
A physical examination in which the health care professional will feel for lumps or changes in the shape of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. The health care professional will also use a speculum to open the vagina to look at the cervix and take samples for a PAP test. Also called an internal examination.

pelvic exenteration
Surgery to remove the lower colon, rectum, and bladder, and create stomata (openings) through which urine and stool are passed out of the body. In women, the cervix, vagina, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes are also removed.

pelvic lymphadenectomy (lim-FAD-eh-NEK-tah-me)
Surgery to remove lymph nodes in the pelvis for examination under a microscope to see if they contain cancer.

pelvic wall
The muscles and ligaments that line the part of the body between the hips.

pelvis
The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones.

pemetrexed disodium (pem-eh-TREX-ed dy-SOH-dee-um)
A drug that is used to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma and advanced non-small cell lung cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors. Also called Alimta and LY231514.

penclomedine
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

penectomy (pee-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part or all of the penis

penicillamine
A drug that removes copper from the body and is used to treat diseases in which there is an excess of copper. It is also being studied as a possible angiogenesis inhibitor in the treatment of brain tumors.

penicillin
A drug that is used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics.

penile cancer (PEE-nile KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in the penis (the external male reproductive organ). Most penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the penis).

penile implant
A firm rod or inflatable device that is placed in the penis during a surgical procedure. The implant makes it possible to have and keep an erection. Penile implants are used to treat erectile dysfunction or impotence.

penis
An external male reproductive organ. It contains a tube called the urethra, which carries semen and urine to the outside of the body.

pentetic acid calcium
A drug that protects healthy tissues from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.

pentosan polysulfate
A drug used to relieve pain or discomfort associated with chronic inflammation of the bladder. It is also being evaluated for its protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract in people undergoing radiation therapy.

pentostatin
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

pentoxifylline
A drug used to prevent blood clotting and as a treatment that may help decrease weight loss in people with cancer.

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

peptide 946
A protein that causes white blood cells to recognize and destroy melanoma cells.

percutaneous (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-uss)
Passing through the skin; as in an injection or a topical medicine.

percutaneous ethanol injection (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-uss...)
An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into the tumor to kill cancer cells.

percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage (PTCD).

percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage
PTCD. A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage.

percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-uss trans-hih-PA-tik ko-LAN-jee-AH-gra-fee)
PTC. A procedure to x-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction.

performance status
A measure of how well a patient is able to perform ordinary tasks and carry out daily activities.

perfusion
Bathing an organ or tissue with a fluid. In regional perfusion, a specific area of the body (usually an arm or a leg) receives high doses of anticancer drugs through a blood vessel. Such a procedure is performed to treat cancer that has not spread.

perfusion magnetic resonance imaging
A special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that uses an injected dye in order to see blood flow through tissues. Also called magnetic resonance perfusion imaging.

pericardial effusion
An abnormal collection of fluid inside the sac that covers the heart.

perifosine
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylphospholipids.

perillyl alcohol
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of plant drugs called monoterpenes.

perimenopausal
The time of a woman's life when menstrual periods become irregular. Refers to the time near menopause.

perineal colostomy
An opening made surgically to allow the colon to exit the body through the perineum (the area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males). A colostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed.

perineal prostatectomy (payr-uh-NEE-ul prah-stuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus.

perineum
The area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males.

perineural (pear-ih-NOOR-al)
Around a nerve or group of nerves.

perioperative (PER-ee-AH-pruh-tiv)
Around the time of surgery. This usually lasts from the time the patient goes into the hospital or doctor's office for surgery until the time the patient goes home.

peripheral blood
Blood circulating throughout the body.

peripheral blood lymphocyte therapy
A treatment for Epstein-Barr virus infection or overgrowth of white blood cells (lymphocytes) after an organ or bone marrow transplant. Specific lymphocytes from a sibling donor are infused into the patient to try and reverse these conditions.

peripheral blood smear
A procedure in which a sample of blood is viewed under a microscope to count different circulating blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc.) and see whether the cells look normal.

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.

peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (puh-RIH-fuh-rul PRI-muh-tiv NOOR-oh-EK-toh-DER-mul TOO-mer)
pPNET. A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called Ewing's sarcoma.

peripheral stem cell
An immature cell found circulating in the bloodstream. New blood cells develop from peripheral stem cells.

peripheral stem cell support (puh-RIH-fuh-rul...)
A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the circulating blood that are similar to those in the bone marrow are given to the patient after treatment. This helps the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells. Transplantation may be autologous (an individual's own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral stem cell transplantation.

peripheral stem cell transplantation (puh-RIH-fuh-rul...)
A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the circulating blood that are similar to those in the bone marrow are given to the patient after treatment. This helps the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells. Transplantation may be autologous (an individual's own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral stem cell support.

peripheral T-cell lymphoma
One of a group of aggressive (fast-growing) non-Hodgkin's lymphomas that begin in mature T lymphocytes (T cells that have matured in the thymus gland and gone to other lymphatic sites in the body, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen.) Also called mature T-cell lymphoma.

peripheral venous catheter (puh-RIH-fuh-rul VEE-nus KA-thuh-ter)
A small, flexible tube used to deliver fluids into the body. A needle is used to insert the catheter into a vein, usually in the back of the hand or in the forearm. The tubing is then taped to the skin to hold it in place.

peristalsis (pair-ih-STAL-sis)
The rippling motion of muscles in the intestine or other tubular organs characterized by the alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscles that propel the contents onward.

peritoneal (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul)
Having to do with the parietal peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and pelvic cavity) and visceral peritoneum (the tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdomen, including the intestines).

peritoneal cancer
Cancer of the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers organs in the abdomen.

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

peritoneal fluid (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul FLOO-id)
A liquid that is made in the abdominal cavity to lubricate the surface of the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and pelvic cavity and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.

peritoneal infusion
A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly into the abdominal cavity through a thin tube. Also called intraperitoneal infusion.

peritoneal perfusion
A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly to tumors in the peritoneal cavity.

peritoneum (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.

peritonitis
Inflammation of the peritoneum (tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen). Peritonitis can result from infection, injury, or certain diseases. Symptoms may include swelling of the abdomen, severe pain, and weight loss.

pernicious anemia (per-NISH-us a-NEE-mee-a)
A type of anemia (low red blood cell count) caused by the body's inability to absorb vitamin B12.

perturbation
A disruption or disturbance.

pertussis (per-TUH-sus)
A serious bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes that spreads easily. Pertussis begins like a cold, but develops into severe coughing and gasping for air. Long spells of coughing may cause vomiting, and broken blood vessels in the eyes and on the skin. Also called whooping cough.

pertuzumab (per-TOO-zoo-mab)
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.

pesticide (PES-tih-side)
A chemical that is used to kill insects and other pests.

PET scan
Positron emission tomography scan. A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.

petechiae (peh-TEH-kee-a)
Pinpoint, unraised, round red spots under the skin caused by bleeding.

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
PJS. A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having PJS increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal and many other types of cancer.

phagocyte
An immune system cell that can surround and kill microorganisms and remove dead cells. Phagocytes include macrophages.

phagocytosis (FA-goh-sy-TOH-sis)
The process by which a phagocyte (a type of white blood cell) surrounds and destroys foreign substances (such as bacteria) and removes dead cells.

phantom limb pain
The sensation of pain or other unpleasant feelings in the place of a missing (phantom) limb.

pharmacokinetics
The activity of drugs in the body over a period of time, including the processes by which drugs are absorbed, distributed in the body, localized in the tissues, and excreted.

pharmacology (FAR-muh-KAH-loh-jee)
The study of the origin, chemistry, and uses of drugs and their effects on the body.

pharmacopoeia
A book describing chemicals, drugs, and other substances and how they are used as medicines. It is prepared by a recognized authority.

pharyngeal cancer (fuh-RIN-jee-ul KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). Pharyngeal cancer includes cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Most pharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the pharynx). Also called throat cancer.

pharynx (FAIR-inks)
The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The pharynx is about 5 inches long, depending on body size. Also called the throat.

phase I detoxification
A process in which the liver uses one of two major enzyme pathways to change a toxic substance, such as an anticancer drug, into a less toxic substance that is easier for the body to excrete.

phase I trial
The first step in testing a new treatment in humans. These studies test the best way to give a new treatment (for example, by mouth, intravenous infusion, or injection) and the best dose. The dose is usually increased a little at a time in order to find the highest dose that does not cause harmful side effects. Because little is known about the possible risks and benefits of the treatments being tested, phase I trials usually include only a small number of patients who have not been helped by other treatments.

phase I/II trial
A trial to study the safety, dosage levels, and response to a new treatment.

phase II detoxification
A process in which the liver uses one of two major enzyme pathways to change a toxic substance, such as an anticancer drug, into a less toxic substance that is easier for the body to excrete. In phase II detoxification, liver cells add a substance (such as cysteine, glycine, or a sulfur molecule) to a toxic chemical or drug, to make it less harmful.

phase II trial
A study to test whether a new treatment has an anticancer effect (for example, whether it shrinks a tumor or improves blood test results) and whether it works against a certain type of cancer.

phase II/III trial
A trial to study response to a new treatment and the effectiveness of the treatment compared with the standard treatment regimen.

phase III trial
A study to compare the results of people taking a new treatment with the results of people taking the standard treatment (for example, which group has better survival rates or fewer side effects). In most cases, studies move into phase III only after a treatment seems to work in phases I and II. Phase III trials may include hundreds of people.

phase IV trial
After a treatment has been approved and is being marketed, it is studied in a phase IV trial to evaluate side effects that were not apparent in the phase III trial. Thousands of people are involved in a phase IV trial.

phenethyl isothiocyanate
PEITC. A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables.

phenobarbital
A drug that is used to treat seizures and as a sedative. It is being studied in the treatment of diarrhea and for its ability to increase the antitumor effect of other therapies. It belongs to the family of drugs called barbiturates.

phenol (FEE-nol)
A very poisonous chemical substance made from tar and also found in some plants and essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants). Phenol is used to make plastics, nylon, epoxy, medicines, and to kill germs. Also called carbolic acid.

phenothiazine (FEE-noh-THY-uh-zeen)
A type of drug that is used to treat severe mental and emotional disorders, severe nausea and vomiting, and certain other conditions. It belongs to the families of drugs called antipsychotics and antiemetics.

phenoxodiol
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called signal transduction inhibitors.

phenylacetate
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

phenylbutyrate
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called differentiating agents.

phenylketonuria (FEH-nil-KEE-tone-yoor-ee-uh)
PKU. An inherited disorder that causes a build-up of phenylalanine (an amino acid) in the blood. This can cause mental retardation, behavioral and movement problems, seizures, and delayed development. Using a blood test, PKU can easily be found in newborns, and treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine.

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.

pheresis (fer-E-sis)
A procedure in which blood is collected, part of the blood such as platelets or white blood cells is taken out, and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. Also called apheresis.

Philadelphia chromosome
An abnormality of chromosome 22 in which part of chromosome 9 is transferred to it. Bone marrow cells that contain the Philadelphia chromosome are often found in chronic myelogenous leukemia.

philosophical (FIH-luh-SAH-fih-kul)
Having to do with the deeper questions of life and with a person's basic beliefs, ideas, and attitudes.

phlebotomy
The puncture of a vein with a needle for the purpose of drawing blood. Also called venipuncture.

phospholipid
A lipid (fat) that contains phosphorus. Phospholipids are a major part of cell membranes.

phospholipid complex
A chemical or drug that is attached to a lipid (fat) that contains phosphorus.

phosphorous (FOS-for-us)
Having to do with or containing the element phosphorus.

phosphorus (FOS-for-us)
A nonmetallic element that is found in the blood, muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth and is a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the primary energy source for the body's cells).

phosphorus-32
A radioactive form of phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer. It is also used to help locate areas of DNA damage.

photoactivity
The effect produced when certain substances are exposed to light. In cancer treatment, some drugs become active when exposed to light and are then able to kill tumor cells.

photodynamic therapy (foe-toe-dye-NAM-ik)
Treatment with drugs that become active when exposed to light. These drugs kill cancer cells.

Photofrin (FOH-toh-frin)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, porfimer sodium becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called photodynamic therapy agents. Also called porfimer sodium.

photon-beam radiation (FOH-ton beem RAY-dee-AY-shun)
A type of radiation therapy that reaches deep tumors with high-energy x-rays made by a machine called a linear accelerator.

photopheresis (FOH-toh-fuh-REE-siss)
A procedure in which blood is removed from the body and treated with ultraviolet light and drugs that become active when exposed to light. The blood is then returned to the body. It is being studied in the treatment of some blood and bone marrow diseases and graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Also called extracorporeal photopheresis.

photophobia (FOH-toh-FOH-bee-uh)
A condition in which the eyes are more sensitive than normal to light.

photosensitizer (FOH-toh-SEN-sih-ty-zer)
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Also called photosensitizing agent.

photosensitizing agent (FOH-toh-SEN-sih-ty-zing...)
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Also called photosensitizer.

phototoxicity (FOH-toh-tok-SIH-sih-tee)
A condition in which the skin or eyes become very sensitive to sunlight or other forms of light. It can be caused by taking certain drugs, or rubbing certain essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants) or other topical agents into the skin. Phototoxicity causes sunburn, blisters, and other skin problems.

phyllodes tumor
A type of tumor found in breast tissue. It is often large and bulky and grows quickly. It is usually benign (not cancer), but may be malignant (cancer). Also called cystosarcoma phyllodes.

physical dependence (FIH-zih-kul dee-PEN-dents)
A condition in which a person takes a drug over time, and unpleasant physical symptoms occur if the drug is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses.

physical examination
An exam of the body to check for general signs of disease.

physical therapist
A health professional who teaches exercises and physical activities that help condition muscles and restore strength and movement.

physical therapy
The use of exercises and physical activities to help condition muscles and restore strength and movement. For example, physical therapy can be used to restore arm and shoulder movement and build back strength after breast cancer surgery.

physician
Medical doctor.

Physician Data Query
PDQ. The Physician Data Query is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute. Designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public, PDQ contains peer-reviewed summaries on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, complementary and alternative medicine, and supportive care; a registry of cancer clinical trials from around the world; and directories of physicians, professionals who provide genetics services, and organizations that provide cancer care. Most of this information, and more specific information about PDQ, can be found on the NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq.

physiologic
Having to do with the functions of the body. When used in the phrase "physiologic age," it refers to an age assigned by general health, as opposed to calendar age.

phytic acid (FY-tik ASS-id)
A substance found in many foods that come from plants, including corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans, and in large amounts in cereals and legumes. It is being studied in the prevention of cancer. Also called inositol hexaphosphate (IP6).

phytochemical (FY-toh-KEH-mih-kuhl)
A substance found in plants. Some phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cancer.

phytoestrogen
An estrogen-like substance found in some plants and plant products. Phytoestrogens may have anticancer effects.

phytohemagglutinin (FY-toh-HEE-muh-GLOO-tih-nin)
A substance found in plants that causes red blood cells to clump together and certain white blood cells to divide.

phytol (FY-tol)
A chemical substance that comes from plants and is used to make vitamins E and K. Phytol is also found in soaps, beauty care products, and household products.

phytosterol
A plant-based compound that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. Phytosterols may have some effect in cancer prevention. Also called plant sterol.

PI-88
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiangiogenesis agents.

pigment
A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the color of skin, eyes, and hair.

pilocarpine
A drug used to increase salivation in people who have dry mouth caused by opioids or radiation therapy. Pilocarpine belongs to the family of drugs called alkaloids.

pilocytic (PI-lo-SIT-ik)
Made up of cells that look like fibers when viewed under a microscope.

pilot study
The initial study examining a new method or treatment.

PIN
Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. Noncancerous growth of cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the prostate gland. Having high-grade PIN may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

pineal body
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal gland or pineal organ.

pineal gland (PIN-ee-al)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body or pineal organ.

pineal organ
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body or pineal gland.

pineal region tumor (PIN-ee-al...)
A type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.

pineoblastoma (PIN-ee-o-blas-TOE-ma)
A fast growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.

pineocytoma (PIN-ee-o-sye-TOE-ma)
A slow growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.

pinkeye
A condition in which the conjunctiva (membranes lining the eyelids and covering the white part of the eye) become inflamed or infected. Also called conjunctivitis.

pioglitazone (py-oh-GLIH-tuh-zone)
A drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes and is being studied in the prevention of head and neck cancer. It may be able to stop leukoplakia (a precancerous condition affecting the mouth) from developing into cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called thiazolidinediones. Also called Actos.

piperacillin-tazobactam
A drug combination that is used to treat infection in people with cancer. Piperacillin is a synthetic penicillin; tazobactam enhances the effectiveness of piperacillin.

pirfenidone
A substance that is being studied in the prevention and treatment of scar tissue caused by radiation therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called anti-inflammatory agents.

Piritrexim (peer-ee-TREX-im)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called folate antagonists.

pituitary gland (pih-TOO-ih-tair-ee)
The main endocrine gland. It produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions, especially growth.

pituitary tumor (pih-TOO-ih-TAYR-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a pea-sized organ in the center of the brain above the back of the nose. It makes hormones that affect other glands and many body functions, especially growth. Most pituitary tumors are benign (not cancer).

pixantrone
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. Also called BBR 2778.

PJS
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having PJS increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal and many other types of cancer.

PKC
Protein kinase C. An enzyme found throughout the body's tissues and organs. Several forms of PKC are involved in many cellular functions. PKC is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

PKC412
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called protein kinase C (PKC) and protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

PKU
Phenylketonuria . An inherited disorder that causes a build-up of phenylalanine (an amino acid) in the blood. This can cause mental retardation, behavioral and movement problems, seizures, and delayed development. Using a blood test, PKU can easily be found in newborns, and treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine.

placebo
An inactive substance or treatment that looks the same as, and is given the same way as, an active drug or treatment being tested. The effects of the active drug or treatment are compared to the effects of the placebo.

placebo-controlled
Refers to a clinical study in which the control patients receive a placebo.

placenta
The organ that nourishes the developing fetus in the uterus.

placental blood transplantation
The transfer of blood from a placenta to an individual whose own blood production system is suppressed. Placental blood contains high levels of stem cells needed to produce new blood cells. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and severe blood disorders such as aplastic anemia. Also called umbilical cord blood transplant.

plant sterol
A plant-based compound that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. Plant sterols may have some effect in cancer prevention. Also called phytosterol.

plaque
In medicine, a small, abnormal patch of tissue on a body part or an organ. Plaques may also be a build-up of substances from a fluid, such as cholesterol in the blood vessels.

plasma (PLAS-ma)
The clear, yellowish, fluid part of the blood that carries the blood cells. The proteins that form blood clots are in plasma.

plasma cell
A type of white blood cell that produces antibodies.

plasma cell myeloma
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Also called multiple myeloma, Kahler's disease, or myelomatosis.

plasma cell tumor
A tumor that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and plasmacytoma are types of plasma cell tumors.

plasma membrane
The outer membrane of a cell.

plasmacytic
Having to do with plasma cells (a type of white blood cells).

plasmacytoma (PLAZ-ma-sye-TOE-ma)
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). A plasmacytoma may turn into multiple myeloma.

plasmapheresis (plas-ma-fer-EE-sis)
The process of separating certain cells from the plasma in the blood by a machine; only the cells are returned to the person. Plasmapheresis can be used to remove excess antibodies from the blood.

plastic surgeon
A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may occur as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment for diseases.

plastic surgery
An operation that restores or improves the appearance of body structures.

platelet (PLATE-let)
A type of blood cell that helps prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form. Also called a thrombocyte.

platinum
A metal that is an important component of some anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.

Plenaxis
A drug used to reduce the amount of testosterone made in patients with advanced symptomatic prostate cancer for which no other treatment options are available. It belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. Also called abarelix.

pleomorphic
Occurring in various distinct forms. In terms of cells, having variation in the size and shape of cells or their nuclei.

pleura (PLOOR-a)
A thin layer of tissue covering the lungs and lining the interior wall of the chest cavity. It protects and cushions the lungs. This tissue secretes a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly in the chest cavity while breathing.

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.

pleurodesis (PLOO-ro-DEE-sis)
A medical procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to cause inflammation and adhesion between the layers of the pleura (the tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity). This prevents the buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity. It is used as a treatment for severe pleural effusion.

pleuropulmonary blastoma (ploor-oh-PUL-moh-nayr-ee blas-TOH-muh)
A rare and very aggressive (fast-growing) cancer that forms in tissues of the lung and pleura (a thin layer of tissue covering the lungs and the inside wall of the chest cavity). Pleuropulmonary blastoma is most common in children.

plexiform neurofibroma
A nerve that has become thick and misshapen due to the abnormal growth of cells and tissues that cover the nerve.

plexopathy (pleks-AH-pah-thee)
A disorder affecting a network of nerves, blood vessels, or lymph vessels.

plicamycin (ply-kuh-MY-sin)
A drug used to treat some types of testicular cancer, hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood), and hypercalciuria (abnormally high levels of calcium in the urine). It belongs to the families of drugs called antineoplastics and antibiotics. Also called Mithracin.

PLL
Prolymphocytic leukemia. A type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in which too many immature white blood cells (prolymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. PLL usually progresses more rapidly than classic CLL.

ploidy (PLOY-dee)
The number of sets of chromosomes in a cell or an organism. For example, haploid means one set and diploid means two sets.

Plummer-Vinson syndrome
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having Plummer-Vinson syndrome may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Paterson-Kelly syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.

pluripotent
Able to mature or develop in any of several ways.

pluripotent stem cell
A cell that is able to develop into several different types of cells or tissues in the body.

pM-81
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the detection and treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.

PN401
A substance that is being studied for its ability to protect against the gastrointestinal side effects caused by fluorouracil. Also called triacetyluridine. It belongs to the family of drugs called cytoprotective agents.

PNET
Primitive neuroectodermal tumor. One of a group of cancers that develop from the same type of early cells, and share certain biochemical and genetic features. Some PNETs develop in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), and others develop in sites outside of the brain such as the limbs, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET).

pneumatic larynx (noo-MAT-ik LAIR-inks)
A device that is used to help a person talk after a laryngectomy. It uses air to produce a humming sound, which is converted to speech by movement of the lips, tongue, or glottis.

pneumonectomy (noo-moh-NEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove an entire lung.

pneumonia (noo-MONE-ya)
An inflammatory infection that occurs in the lung.

PNH
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. A rare disorder in which red blood cells are easily destroyed by certain immune system proteins. Symptoms include blood clots, and red or brownish urine in the morning. Aplastic anemia (decreased production of blood cells) may lead to PNH, and people with PNH are at increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia.

PNU 166148
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.

PNU-93914
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called LEP-ETU and paclitaxel liposome.

polifeprosan 20 carmustine implant
A biodegradable wafer that is used to deliver the anticancer drug carmustine directly into a brain tumor site after the tumor has been removed by surgery. Also called Gliadel Wafer.

poly-ICLC
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer and for its ability to stimulate the immune system. It is made in the laboratory by combining the nucleic acid RNA with the chemicals poly-L-lysine and carboxymethyl cellulose.

polycystic ovary syndrome (PAH-lee-SIS-tik OH-vuh-ree SIN-drome)
PCOS. A condition marked by infertility, enlarged ovaries, menstrual problems, high levels of male hormones, excess hair on the face and body, acne, and obesity. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and endometrial cancer.

polycythemia vera
A disease in which there are too many red blood cells in the bone marrow and blood, causing the blood to thicken. The number of white blood cells and platelets may also increase. The extra blood cells may collect in the spleen and cause it to become enlarged. They may also cause bleeding problems and make clots form in blood vessels.

polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor (PAH-lee-EH-thuh-leen gly-KAH-sih-layt-id ree-KAHM-bih-nunt HYOO-mun MEH-guh-KAH-ree-oh-site ...)
PEG-rhMGDF. A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. Polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-MGDF.

polyglutamate camptothecin (pol-ee-GLOO-tuh-mayt kamp-toh-THEEK-in)
A form of the anticancer drug camptothecin that may have fewer side effects and work better than camptothecin. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called DNA topoisomerase inhibitors. Also called CT-2106.

polyglutamate paclitaxel
A protein that can be linked to a chemotherapy drug to deliver the drug directly to the tumor with fewer side effects. It is being studied as a treatment for cancer. Also called CT-2103.

polymerase chain reaction
PCR. A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific DNA sequence.

polymorphism
A common variation or mutation in DNA.

polymyositis (PAH-lee-MY-oh-SY-tis)
An inflammatory disease of the muscles closest to the center of the body. It causes weakness, inability to stand, climb stairs, lift, or reach. It may also cause muscle pain and difficulty swallowing, and may affect the lungs and heart. Having polymyositis increases the risk of certain types of cancer.

polyneuritis
Inflammation of several peripheral nerves at the same time.

polyp (POL-ip)
A growth that protrudes from a mucous membrane.

polypectomy (POL-i-PEK-tuh-mee)
Surgery to remove a polyp.

polyphenol
A substance that is found in many plants and gives some flowers, fruits, and vegetables their color. Polyphenols have antioxidant activity.

Polyphenon E
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is made from decaffeinated green tea, and contains chemicals called catechins, which are antioxidants. Also called green tea extract.

polyposis
The development of numerous polyps (growths that protrude from a mucous membrane).

polysaccharide
A type of carbohydrate. It contains sugar molecules that are linked together chemically.

pomegranate
Punica granatum. A subtropical shrub or tree. Juice from the fruit may contain substances that decrease or slow the rise of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. It is being studied for its ability to delay or prevent recurrent prostate cancer.

pons
Part of the central nervous system, located at the base of the brain, between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain. It is part of the brainstem.

pontine
Having to do with the pons (part of the central nervous system, located at the base of the brain, between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain).

porcine (POR-sine)
Having to do with or coming from pigs.

porfimer sodium (PORE-fih-mer SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, porfimer sodium becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called photodynamic therapy agents. Also called Photofrin.

porfiromycin
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticancer antibiotics.

port
An implanted device through which blood may be withdrawn and drugs may be infused without repeated needle sticks. Also called a port-a-cath.

port-a-cath
An implanted device through which blood may be withdrawn and drugs may be infused without repeated needle sticks. Also called a port.

portal hypertension (...HY-per-TEN-shun)
High blood pressure in the vein that carries blood to the liver from the stomach, small and large intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. It is usually caused by a block in the blood flow through the liver due to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.

portal vein
A blood vessel that carries blood to the liver from the stomach, small and large intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. Also called hepatic portal vein.

positive axillary lymph node
A lymph node in the area of the armpit (axilla) to which cancer has spread. This spread is determined by surgically removing some of the lymph nodes and examining them under a microscope to see whether cancer cells are present.

positive test result
A test result that reveals the presence of a specific disease or condition for which the test is being done.

positron emission tomography scan
PET scan. A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.

Post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD. An anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events. Having cancer may also lead to PTSD. Symptoms interfere with day-to-day living and include reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks; avoiding people, places, and things connected to the event; feeling alone and losing interest in daily activities; and having trouble concentrating and sleeping.

posterior (pos-TEER-ee-er)
In human anatomy, has to do with the back of a structure, or a structure found toward the back of the body.

posterior pelvic exenteration (pah-STEER-ee-er PEL-vik ek-ZEN-ter-AY-shun)
Surgery to remove the lower part of the bowel, rectum, uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and vagina. Pelvic lymph nodes may also be removed.

posterior urethral cancer (pos-TEER-ee-er yoo-REE-thrul KAN-ser)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the part of the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) that connects to the bladder (the organ that stores urine).

postmenopausal
Having to do with the time after menopause. Menopause ("change of life") is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods stop permanently.

postmortem
After death. Often used to describe an autopsy.

postoperative
After surgery.

postprandial
After a meal.

postremission therapy
Anticancer drugs given to kill cancer cells that survive after remission induction therapy.

potassium (po-TASS-ee-um)
A metallic element that is important in body functions such as regulation of blood pressure and of water content in cells, transmission of nerve impulses, digestion, muscle contraction, and heartbeat.

potassium hydroxide
A toxic and highly corrosive chemical used to make soap, in bleaching, and as a paint remover. It is used in small amounts as a food additive and in the preparation of some drugs.

potentiation
In medicine, the effect of increasing the potency or effectiveness of a drug or other treatment.

PR+
Progesterone receptor positive. Describes cells that have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are PR+ need progesterone to grow and will usually stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding.

PR-
Progesterone receptor negative. Describes cells that do not have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are PR- do not need progesterone to grow, and usually do not stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding.

practitioner (prak-TIH-shuh-ner)
A person who works in a specific profession. For example, a doctor or nurse is a healthcare practitioner.

Pravachol (PRA-vuh-KOL)
A drug that lowers the amount of cholesterol in the blood. It may also make tumor cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) and chemosensitizers. Also called pravastatin.

pravastatin (PRA-vuh-stat-in)
A drug that lowers the amount of cholesterol in the blood. It may also make tumor cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) and chemosensitizers. Also called Pravachol.

precancerous (pre-KAN-ser-us)
A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called premalignant.

precancerous dermatitis
A skin disease marked by scaly or thickened patches on the skin, and often caused by prolonged exposure to arsenic. The patches often occur on sunexposed areas of the skin and in older white men. These patches may become malignant (cancerous). Also called Bowen's disease or precancerous dermatosis.

precancerous dermatosis
A skin disease marked by scaly or thickened patches on the skin, and often caused by prolonged exposure to arsenic. The patches often occur on sunexposed areas of the skin and in older white men. These patches may become malignant (cancerous). Also called Bowen's disease or precancerous dermatitis.

precancerous polyps
Growths that protrude from a mucous membrane. Precancerous polyps may (or are likely to) become cancer.

preclinical study
Research using animals to find out if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful. Preclinical studies take place before any testing in humans is done.

predictive factor (pre-DIK-tiv)
A situation or condition that may increase a person's risk of developing a certain disease or disorder.

prednisolone
A drug that is used to treat blood cell cancers (leukemias) and lymph system cancers (lymphomas). It belongs to the family of drugs called synthetic corticosteroids.

prednisone
A drug that is used to treat several types of cancer and other disorders. Prednisone also inhibits the body's immune response. It belongs to the family of drugs called steroids.

preleukemia (PREE-loo-KEE-mee-a)
A disease in which the bone marrow does not function normally. Also called myelodysplastic syndrome or smoldering leukemia.

premalignant
A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called precancerous.

premature ovarian failure (oh-VAYR-ee-un FAYL-yer)
A condition in which the ovaries stop working before age 40. Symptoms include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and infertility. Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can cause premature ovarian failure. Ovarian failure caused by cancer treatment may be temporary or permanent and may be treated with hormone replacement therapy. Also called primary ovarian insufficiency or early menopause.

premenopausal
Having to do with the time before menopause. Menopause ("change of life") is the time of life when a woman's menstrual periods stop permanently.

premycotic phase (PREE-my-CAH-tik fayz)
A phase of mycosis fungoides in which a patient has areas of red, scaly, itchy skin on areas of the body that are usually not exposed to sun. This is early-phase mycosis fungoides, but it is hard to diagnose the rash as mycosis fungoides during this phase. The premycotic phase may last from months to decades.

prescription
A doctor's order for medicine or another intervention.

pretracheal space
The area in front of the trachea (windpipe).

prevascular space
The area in the front part of the chest between the lungs. Also called anterior mediastinum.

prevention (pree-VEN-shun)
In medicine, action taken to decrease the chance of getting a disease or condition. For example, cancer prevention includes avoiding risk factors (such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and radiation exposure) and increasing protective factors (such as getting regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet).

preventive
Used to prevent disease.

preventive mastectomy (pree-VEN-tiv ma-STEK-tuh-mee)
Surgery to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by removing one or both breasts before disease develops. Also called prophylactic mastectomy.

primary care doctor
A doctor who manages a person's health care over time. A primary care doctor is able to give a wide range of care, including prevention and treatment, can discuss cancer treatment choices, and can refer a patient to a specialist.

primary central nervous system lymphoma
Cancer that arises in the lymphoid tissue found in the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS includes the brain and spinal cord.

primary effusion lymphoma (PRY-mayr-ee eh-FYOO-zhun lim-FOH-muh)
A rare, aggressive (fast-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma marked by an abnormal build-up of fluids in a body cavity. It usually occurs together with a human herpesvirus in people who have weakened immune systems, such as in AIDS.

primary endpoint
The main result that is measured at the end of a study to see if a given treatment worked (e.g., the number of deaths or the difference in survival between the treatment group and the control group). What the primary endpoint will be is decided before the study begins.

primary myelofibrosis
A progressive, chronic disease in which the bone marrow is replaced by fibrous tissue and blood is made in organs such as the liver and the spleen, instead of in the bone marrow. This disease is marked by an enlarged spleen and progressive anemia. Also called chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis, agnogenic myeloid metaplasia, myelosclerosis with myeloid metaplasia, and idiopathic myelofibrosis.

primary ovarian insufficiency
A condition in which the ovaries stop working before age 40. Symptoms include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and infertility. Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can cause primary ovarian insufficiency. Ovarian insufficiency caused by cancer treatment may be temporary or permanent and may be treated with hormone replacement therapy. Also called premature ovarian failure or early menopause.

primary tumor
The original tumor.

primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PRI-muh-tiv NOOR-oh-EK-toh-DER-mul TOO-mer)
PNET. One of a group of cancers that develop from the same type of early cells, and share certain biochemical and genetic features. Some PNETs develop in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), and others develop in sites outside of the brain such as the limbs, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET).

prinomastat
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor and belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called AG3340.

pro-oxidant
A substance that can produce oxygen byproducts of metabolism that can cause damage to cells.

probenecid (proh-BEN-uh-sid)
A drug that is used to treat gout and is used together with some antibiotics to make them work better. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotic therapy adjuncts.

procarbazine
A drug that is used to treat cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

prochlorperazine (pro-klor-PAIR-a-zeen)
A drug used to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiemetics.

proctitis (prok-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the rectum. Also called rectitis.

proctoscopy (prok-TOS-koh-pee)
Examination of the rectum using a proctoscope, inserted into the rectum. A proctoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

proctosigmoidoscopy (PROK-toh-sig-moy-DOS-koh-pee)
Examination of the lower colon using a sigmoidoscope, inserted into the rectum. A sigmoidoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. Also called sigmoidoscopy.

progeny
Offspring; the product of reproduction or replication.

progesterone (pro-JES-ter-own)
A female hormone.

progesterone receptor (proh-JES-tuh-rone)
PR. A protein found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue, some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone progesterone will bind to the receptors inside the cells and may cause the cells to grow.

progesterone receptor negative (proh-JES-tuh-rone rih-SEP-ter NEH-guh-tiv)
PR-. Describes cells that do not have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are PR- do not need progesterone to grow, and usually do not stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding.

progesterone receptor positive (proh-JES-tuh-rone rih-SEP-ter PAH-zuh-tiv)
PR+. Describes cells that have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are PR+ need progesterone to grow and will usually stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding.

progesterone receptor test (proh-JES-tuh-rone rih-SEP-ter test)
A lab test to find out if cancer cells have progesterone receptors (proteins to which the hormone progesterone will bind). If the cells have progesterone receptors, they may need progesterone to grow, and this can affect how the cancer is treated.

progestin (pro-JES-tin)
Any natural or laboratory-made substance that has some or all of the biologic effects of progesterone, a female hormone.

prognosis (prog-NO-sis)
The likely outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery or recurrence.

prognostic factor (prog-NOS-tik)
A situation or condition, or a characteristic of a patient, that can be used to estimate the chance of recovery from a disease or the chance of the disease recurring (coming back).

programmed cell death
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 programmed cell death may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called apoptosis.

progression
Increase in the size of a tumor or spread of cancer in the body.

progression-free survival
One type of measurement that can be used in a clinical study or trial to help determine whether a new treatment is effective. It refers to the probability that a patient will remain alive, without the disease getting worse.

progressive disease
Cancer that is growing, spreading, or getting worse.

proliferating
Multiplying or increasing in number. In biology, cell proliferation occurs by a process known as cell division.

proliferative index
A measure of the number of cells in a tumor that are dividing (proliferating). May be used with the S-phase fraction to give a more complete understanding of how fast a tumor is growing.

prolymphocytic leukemia
PLL. A type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), in which too many immature white blood cells (prolymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. PLL usually progresses more rapidly than classic CLL.

promegapoietin
A drug given during chemotherapy to increase blood cell regeneration. Promegapoietin is a colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets. It is a cytokine and belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents.

promyelocytic leukemia (PROH-MY-eh-loh-SIH-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow. It is usually marked by an exchange of parts of chromosomes 15 and 17. Also called acute promyelocytic leukemia.

prophylactic
In medicine, something that prevents or protects.

prophylactic cranial irradiation (proh-fih-LAK-tik KRAY-nee-ul ir-ray-dee-AY-shun)
Radiation therapy to the head to reduce the risk that cancer will spread to the brain.

prophylactic mastectomy (PROH-fuh-LAK-tik ma-STEK-tuh-mee)
Surgery to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by removing one or both breasts before disease develops. Also called preventive mastectomy.

prophylactic oophorectomy (proh-fih-LAK-tik o-o-for-EK-toh-mee)
Surgery intended to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by removing the ovaries before disease develops.

prophylactic surgery
Surgery to remove an organ or gland that shows no signs of cancer, in an attempt to prevent development of cancer of that organ or gland. Prophylactic surgery is sometimes chosen by people who know they are at high risk for developing cancer.

prophylaxis
An attempt to prevent disease.

prospective
In medicine, a study or clinical trial in which participants are identified and then followed forward in time.

prospective cohort study
A research study that follows over time groups of individuals who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic (for example, female nurses who smoke and those who do not smoke) and compares them for a particular outcome (such as lung cancer).

Prost 30
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the detection and treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.

prostate (PROS-tayt)
A gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate surrounds the part of the urethra (the tube that empties the bladder) just below the bladder, and produces a fluid that forms part of the semen.

prostate cancer (prah-state KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men.

prostate-specific antigen
PSA. A substance produced by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate.

prostate-specific antigen test
A blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by the prostate and some other tissues in the body. Increased levels of PSA may be a sign of prostate cancer.

prostatectomy (prah-sta-TEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove part or all of the prostate. Radical (or total) prostatectomy is the removal of the entire prostate and some of the tissue around it.

prostatic acid phosphatase (FOS-fa-tays)
PAP. An enzyme produced by the prostate. It may be found in increased amounts in men who have prostate cancer.

prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (prah-STA-tik IN-truh-eh-puh-THEE-lee-ul NEE-uh-PLAY-zhuh)
PIN. Noncancerous growth of the cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the prostate gland. Having high-grade PIN may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

prostatitis (prah-stuh-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the prostate gland.

prostatocystectomy (PROS-tuh-toh-sis-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the bladder (the organ that holds urine), the seminal vesicles, and the prostate. The seminal vesicles and prostate are glands in the male reproductive system that help make semen. Also called cystoprostatectomy.

prosthesis (pros-THEE-sis)
A device, such as an artificial leg, that replaces a part of the body.

prosthodontist (pros-tho-DON-tist)
A dentist who specializes in replacing missing teeth or other structures of the mouth to restore an individual's appearance, comfort, or health.

prostration (prah-STRAY-shun)
A condition in which a person is so tired or weak that he or she is unable to do anything.

protease inhibitor
A compound that interferes with the ability of certain enzymes to break down proteins. Some protease inhibitors can keep a virus from making copies of itself (for example, AIDS virus protease inhibitors), and some can prevent cancer cells from spreading.

proteasome inhibitor
A drug that blocks the action of proteasomes. A proteasome is a large protein complex that helps destroy other cellular proteins when they are no longer needed. Proteasome inhibitors are being studied in the treatment of cancer.

protective factor (proh-TEK-tiv FAK-ter)
Something that may decrease the chance of getting a certain disease. Some examples of protective factors for cancer are getting regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet.

protein (PRO-teen)
A molecule made up of amino acids that are needed for the body to function properly. Proteins are the basis of body structures such as skin and hair and of substances such as enzymes, cytokines, and antibodies.

protein kinase C (PROH-teen KY-nayz)
PKC. An enzyme found throughout the body's tissues and organs. Several forms of PKC are involved in many cellular functions. PKC is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

proteoglycan
A molecule that contains both protein and glycosaminoglycans, which are a type of polysaccharide. Proteoglycans are found in cartilage and other connective tissues.

proteomic profile
An evaluation of proteins in a sample of blood. This may help detect early cancer or cancer recurrence, or help predict response to treatment.

proteomics
The study of the structure and function of proteins, including the way they work and interact with each other inside cells.

protocol
An action plan for a clinical trial. The plan states what the study will do, how, and why. It explains how many people will be in it, who is eligible to participate, what study agents or other interventions they will be given, what tests they will receive and how often, and what information will be gathered.

proton
A small, positively charged particle of matter found in the atoms of all elements. Streams of protons generated by special equipment can be used for radiation treatment.

proton beam radiation therapy (PROH-ton beem RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy that uses protons generated by a special machine. A proton is a type of high-energy radiation that is different from an x-ray.

proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging
A noninvasive imaging method that provides information about cellular activity (metabolic information). It is used along with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which provides information about the shape and size of the tumor (spacial information). Also called magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging and 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging.

protozoal
Having to do with the simplest organisms in the animal kingdom. Protozoa are single-cell organisms, such as ameba, and are different from bacteria, which are not members of the animal kingdom. Some protozoa can be seen without a microscope.

proximal
In medicine, refers to a part of the body that is closer to the center of the body than another part. For example, the knee is proximal to the toes. The opposite is distal.

pruritus (proo-RY-tus)
Itching. Severe itching may be a side effect of some cancer treatments and a symptom of some types of cancers.

PS-341
A drug that is used to treat multiple myeloma and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called proteosome inhibitors and dipeptidyl boronic acids. Also called Velcade and bortezomib.

PSA
Prostate-specific antigen. A substance produced by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate.

psammoma body (sam-O-ma)
A structure found in some benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumor cells. Psammoma bodies look like hardened concentric rings when viewed under a microscope. They can be a sign of chronic inflammation.

PSC 833
A substance that is being studied for its ability to prevent or overcome the resistance of tumor cells to some anticancer drugs. It belongs to the family of drugs called cyclosporine analogs.

pseudomyxoma peritonei (SOO-doe-mix-O-ma PAIR-ih-TOE-nee-I)
A build-up of mucus in the peritoneal cavity. The mucus may come from ruptured ovarian cysts, the appendix, or from other abdominal tissues, and mucus-secreting cells may attach to the peritoneal lining and continue to secrete mucus.

psoralen (SOR-uh-len)
A substance from plants that is sensitive to light (or can be activated by light). Psoralens are used together with UV light to treat psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. They are also being studied in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease. They belong to the family of drugs called furocoumarins. An example of a psoralen is methoxsalen.

psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy (SOR-uh-len...UL-truh-VY-oh-let A THAYR-uh-pee)
PUVA therapy. A type of photodynamic therapy used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The patient receives psoralen (a drug that becomes active when it is exposed to light) by mouth or applied to the skin, followed by ultraviolet A radiation. PUVA therapy may increase the risk of getting skin cancer.

psoriasis
A chronic disease of the skin marked by red patches covered with white scales.

psychiatrist (sy-KY-uh-trist)
A medical doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.

psychological (SY-koh-LAH-jih-kul)
Having to do with how the mind works and how thoughts and feelings affect behavior.

psychologist
A specialist who can talk with patients and their families about emotional and personal matters, and can help them make decisions.

psychosis (sy-KOH-sis)
A severe mental disorder in which a person loses the ability to recognize reality or relate to others. The person is not able to cope with the demands of everyday life. Symptoms include being paranoid, having false ideas about what is taking place or who one is, and seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.

psychostimulant (SY-koh-STIM-yoo-lunt)
A drug that causes a sense of well-being, decreases fatigue and depression, and increases the desire to eat. These drugs can also cause mood changes and trouble with sleeping.

psychotherapy (SY-koh-THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment of mental, emotional, personality, and behavioral disorders using methods such as discussion, listening, and counseling. Also called talk therapy.

PTC
Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (per-kyoo-TAN-ee-us trans-heh-PAT-ik ko-LAN-jee-AH-gra-fee). A procedure to x-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction.

PTCD
Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage. A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage.

PTH
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. Also called parathormone, parathyroid hormone, or parathyrin.

PTK787/ZK 222584
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors and VEGF receptor kinase inhibitors. Also called vatalanib.

ptosis
Drooping of the upper eyelid.

PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder. An anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events. Having cancer may also lead to PTSD. Symptoms interfere with day-to-day living and include reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks; avoiding people, places, and things connected to the event; feeling alone and losing interest in daily activities; and having trouble concentrating and sleeping.

puberty (PYOO-ber-tee)
The time of life when a child experiences physical and hormonal changes that mark a transition into adulthood. The child develops secondary sexual characteristics and becomes able to have children. Secondary sexual characteristics include growth of pubic, armpit, and leg hair; breast enlargement; and increased hip width in girls. In boys, they include growth of pubic, face, chest and armpit hair; voice changes; penis and testicle growth, and increased shoulder width.

pulmonary
Having to do with the lungs.

pulmonary rehabilitation education
Education about behavior and lifestyle changes to help patients with chronic lung disease decrease breathing problems, return to daily activities, and improve quality of life. Education may include instruction about breathing exercises, nutrition, use of medicines, and ways for the patient to reduce stress and save energy.

pulmonary sulcus tumor (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee SUL-kuss TOO-mer)
A type of lung cancer that begins in the upper part of a lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Most pulmonary sulcus tumors are non-small cell cancers. Also called Pancoast tumor.

pump (pump)
A device that is used to give a controlled amount of a liquid at a specific rate. For example, pumps are used to give drugs (such as chemotherapy or pain medicine) or nutrients

punch biopsy (BY-op-see)
Removal of a small disk-shaped sample of tissue using a sharp, hollow device. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.

Purinethol (PYUR-in-thall)
A drug used to treat acute lymphatic leukemia. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called mercaptopurine.

purple clover
Trifolium pratense. A plant whose flowers have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in the relief of menopausal symptoms and may have anticancer effects. Also called red clover and wild clover.

purple coneflower (...KONE-flow-er)
An herb native to North America that has been used to prevent and treat the common cold and other respiratory infections. Purple coneflower may interfere with treatment that uses the immune system to fight cancer. Also called echinacea. The scientific names are Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia.

PUVA therapy
Psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy. A type of photodynamic therapy used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The patient receives psoralen (a drug that becomes active when it is exposed to light) by mouth or applied to the skin, followed by ultraviolet A radiation. PUVA therapy may increase the risk of getting skin cancer.

gV701
A virus that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of viruses that cause Newcastle disease in birds.

pyrazine diazohydroxide
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

pyrazoloacridine
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called acridines.

pyroxamide (py-ROX-uh-mide)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors.

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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 coenzyme Q10, CoQ10, vitamin Q10, and ubiquinone.

qi (chee)
In traditional Chinese medicine, vital energy or life force that keeps a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health in balance.

qigong (chee-gong)
A form of traditional Chinese mind/body exercise and meditation that uses slow and precise body movements with controlled breathing and mental focusing to improve balance, flexibility, muscle strength, and overall health.

QS21
A substance from plants that is being studied together with vaccine therapy for its ability to improve the way the immune system responds to disease. It belongs to the family of drugs called saponin adjuvants.

quadrantectomy
Surgical removal of the region of the breast (approximately one quarter) containing cancer.

quality of life
The overall enjoyment of life. Many clinical trials assess the effects of cancer and its treatment on the quality of life. These studies measure aspects of an individual's sense of well-being and ability to carry out various activities.

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R-flurbiprofen
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

r-tPA
Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator. A protein that is made by the body and that helps dissolve blood clots. It can also be made in the laboratory and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. r-tPA belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), Activase, and Alteplase.

R101933
A substance that is being studied for its ability to make cancer cells respond to drugs to which they have become resistant. It belongs to the family of drugs called multidrug resistance inhibitors.

R115777
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called farnesyltransferase inhibitors. Also called tipifarnib and Zarnestra.

rabies
A disease of the nervous system caused by the rabies virus. Rabies is marked by an increase in saliva production, abnormal behavior, and eventual paralysis and death.

radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun)
Energy released in the form of particles or electromagnetic waves. Common sources of radiation include radon gas, cosmic rays from outer space, and medical x-rays.

radiation dermatitis (RAY-dee-AY-shun DER-muh-TY-tis)
A skin condition that is a common side effect of radiation therapy. The affected skin becomes painful, red, itchy, and blistered.

radiation enteritis (RAY-dee-AY-shun EN-tuh-RY-tis)
Inflammation of the small intestine caused by radiation therapy to the abdomen, pelvis, or rectum. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping, frequent bowel movements, watery or bloody diarrhea, fatty stools, and weight loss. Some of these symptoms may continue for a long time.

radiation fibrosis (ray-dee-AY-shun fye-BRO-sis)
The formation of scar tissue as a result of radiation therapy.

radiation nurse
A health professional who specializes in caring for people who are receiving radiation therapy.

radiation oncologist (ray-dee-AY-shun on-KOL-o-jist)
A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.

radiation physicist
A person who makes sure that the radiation machine delivers the right amount of radiation to the correct site in the body. The physicist works with the radiation oncologist to choose the treatment schedule and dose that has the best chance of killing the most cancer cells.

radiation surgery
A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiosurgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

radiation therapist
A health professional who gives radiation treatment.

radiation therapy (RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
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.

radical cystectomy (RAD-ih-kal sis-TEK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the bladder as well as nearby tissues and organs.

radical hysterectomy (hiss-ter-EK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the uterus, cervix, and part of the vagina. The ovaries, fallopian tubes, and nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.

radical local excision (RA-dih-kul LOH-kul ek-SIH-zhun)
Surgery to remove a tumor and a large amount of normal tissue surrounding it. Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.

radical lymph node dissection
A surgical procedure to remove most or all of the lymph nodes that drain lymph from the area around a tumor. The lymph nodes are then examined under a microscope to see if cancer cells have spread to them.

radical mastectomy (RAD-ih-kul mas-TEK-toe-mee)
Surgery for breast cancer in which the breast, chest muscles, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm are removed. For many years, this was the breast cancer operation used most often, but it is used rarely now. Doctors consider radical mastectomy only when the tumor has spread to the chest muscles. Also called the Halsted radical mastectomy.

radical nephrectomy (RAD-ih-kul neh-FREK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove an entire kidney, nearby adrenal gland and lymph nodes, and other surrounding tissue.

radical perineal prostatectomy (RAD-ih-kul peh-rih-NEE-ul prah-stuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all of the prostate through an incision between the scrotum and the anus. Nearby lymph nodes are sometimes removed through a separate incision in the wall of the abdomen.

radical prostatectomy (RAD-ih-kul prah-stuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the entire prostate. The two types of radical prostatectomy are retropubic prostatectomy (surgery through an incision in the wall of the abdomen) and perineal prostatectomy (surgery through an incision between the scrotum and the anus).

radical retropubic prostatectomy (RAD-ih-kul reh-troh-PYOO-bik prah-stuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all of the prostate and nearby lymph nodes through an incision in the wall of the abdomen.

radical vulvectomy (RA-dih-kul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the entire vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina) and nearby lymph nodes.

radioactive (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv)
Giving off radiation.

radioactive drug
A drug containing a radioactive substance that is used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in pain management of bone metastases. Also called a radiopharmaceutical.

radioactive fallout (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv)
Airborne radioactive particles that fall to the ground during and after an atomic bombing, nuclear weapons test, or nuclear plant accident.

radioactive iodine (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv EYE-uh-dine)
A radioactive form of iodine, often used for imaging tests or as a treatment for thyroid cancer and certain other cancers. For imaging tests, the patient takes a small dose of radioactive iodine that collects in thyroid cells and certain kinds of tumors and can be detected by a scanner. For treatment of thyroid cancer, the patient takes a large dose of radioactive iodine, which kills thyroid cells. Radioactive iodine is also used in internal radiation therapy for prostate cancer, intraocular (eye) melanoma, and carcinoid tumors. The radioactive iodine is given by infusion or sealed in seeds, which are placed in or near the tumor to kill cancer cells.

radioactive palladium
A radioactive form of palladium (a metallic element that resembles platinum). When used to treat prostate cancer, radioactive seeds (small pellets that contain radioactive palladium) are placed in the prostate. Cancer cells are killed by the energy given off as the radioactive material decays (breaks down).

radioactive seed
A small, radioactive pellet that is placed in or near a tumor. Cancer cells are killed by the energy given off as the radioactive material decays (breaks down).

radiofrequency ablation
The use of electrodes to heat and destroy abnormal tissue.

radioimmunoguided surgery
A procedure that uses radioactive substances to locate tumors so that they can be removed by surgery.

radioimmunotherapy
Treatment with a radioactive substance that is linked to an antibody that will attach to the tumor when injected into the body.

radioisotope
An unstable element that releases radiation as it breaks down. Radioisotopes can be used in imaging tests or as a treatment for cancer.

radiolabeled
Any compound that has been joined with a radioactive substance.

radiologic exam
A test that uses radiation or other imaging procedures to find signs of cancer or other abnormalities.

radiologist (RAY-dee-OL-o-jist)
A doctor who specializes in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are produced with x-rays, sound waves, or other types of energy.

radiology
The use of radiation (such as x-rays) or other imaging technologies (such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose or treat disease.

radionuclide scanning (RAY-dee-oh-NOO-klide)
A test that produces pictures (scans) of internal parts of the body. The person is given an injection or swallows a small amount of radioactive material; a machine called a scanner then measures the radioactivity in certain organs.

radiopharmaceutical
A drug containing a radioactive substance that is used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in pain management of bone metastases. Also called a radioactive drug.

radiosensitization
The use of a drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

radiosensitizer
A drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

radiosurgery
A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

radiotherapy (RAY-dee-oh-THAYR-uh-pee)
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 radiotherapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiation therapy.

radon (RAY-don)
A radioactive gas that is released by uranium, a substance found in soil and rock. Breathing in too much radon can damage lung cells and lead to lung cancer.

raloxifene
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and is used in the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Raloxifene is also being studied as a cancer prevention drug.

raltitrexed
An anticancer drug that stops tumor cells from growing by blocking the ability of cells to make DNA. Also called ICI D1694. It belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors.

randomization
When referring to an experiment or clinical trial, the process by which animal or human subjects are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments or other interventions. Randomization gives each participant an equal chance of being assigned to any of the groups.

randomized clinical trial
A study in which the participants are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments; neither the researchers nor the participants can choose which group. Using chance to assign people to groups means that the groups will be similar and that the treatments they receive can be compared objectively. At the time of the trial, it is not known which treatment is best. It is the patient's choice to be in a randomized trial.

ranpirnase
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called ribonuclease enzymes. Also called Onconase.

rapamycin
A drug used to help prevent the body from rejecting organ and bone marrow transplants. It is also being studied as a treatment for cancer. Rapamycin belongs to the family of drugs called immunosuppressants. It is now called sirolimus.

rapid hormone cycling
A procedure in which drugs that block the production of male hormones are alternated with male hormones and/or drugs that promote the production of male hormones. This procedure is being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer.

rapid-onset opioid
An opioid that relieves pain quickly. Opioids are drugs similar to opiates such as morphine and codeine but do not contain and are not made from opium.

ras gene
A gene that has been found to cause cancer when it is altered (mutated). Agents that block its activity may stop the growth of cancer.

ras peptide (rass PEP-tide)
A short piece of the ras protein, which is made by the ras gene. The ras gene has been found to cause cancer when it is mutated (changed).

rasburicase
A drug that is used to treat high blood levels of uric acid in patients receiving treatment for cancer.

rattlesnake root
Cimicifuga racemosa. An eastern North American perennial herb. A substance obtained from the root of the plant has been used in some cultures to treat a number of medical problems. It is being studied in the treatment of hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. The plant is also called black cohosh, black snakeroot, bugwort, and bugbane.

rauschpfeffer (ROWSH-FEH-fer)
An herb native to islands in the South Pacific. Substances taken from the root have been used in some cultures to relieve stress, anxiety, tension, sleeplessness, and problems of menopause. Rauschpfeffer may increase the effect of alcohol and of certain drugs used to treat anxiety and depression. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises users that rauschpfeffer may cause severe liver damage. Also called kava kava, intoxicating pepper, tonga, and yangona. The scientific name is Piper methysticum.

RAV12
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. It binds to a carbohydrate (sugar) molecule that is found on gastric, colon, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian, breast, and kidney cancer cells.

ravuconazole
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of infections caused by fungi. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifungal agents.

RBC
Red blood cell. A cell that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called erythrocyte.

rebeccamycin
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastic antibiotics.

rebeccamycin analog
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is similar to rebeccamycin. It belongs to the families of drugs called antineoplastic antibiotics and topoisomerase I inhibitors. Also called NSC 655649.

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.

recombinant
Made through genetic engineering, which is also called gene splicing or recombinant DNA technology. By putting animal or plant genes into the genetic material of bacteria or yeast cells, these microorganisms can be turned into "factories" to make proteins for medical uses.

recombinant tissue plasminogen activator
r-tPA. A protein that is made by the body and that helps dissolve blood clots. It can also be made in the laboratory and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. r-tPA belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), Activase, and Alteplase.

reconstructive surgeon
A doctor who can surgically reshape or rebuild (reconstruct) a part of the body, such as a woman's breast after surgery for breast cancer.

reconstructive surgery
Surgery that is done to reshape or rebuild (reconstruct) a part of the body changed by previous surgery.

recover (ree-KUH-ver)
To become well and healthy again.

rectal
By or having to do with the rectum. The rectum is the last several inches of the large intestine and ends at the anus.

rectitis (rek-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the rectum. Also called proctitis.

rectum
The last several inches of the large intestine. The rectum ends at the anus.

recur
To occur again.

recurrence
Cancer that has returned after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected. The cancer may come back to the same place as the original (primary) tumor or to another place in the body. Also called recurrent cancer.

recurrent cancer
Cancer that has returned after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected. The cancer may come back to the same place as the original (primary) tumor or to another place in the body. Also called recurrence.

red blood cell
RBC. A cell that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called an erythrocyte.

red cedar (...SEE-der)
A type of evergreen tree with hard fragrant wood that is a member of the cypress family. The oil from the wood is used in soaps, shampoos, bath salts, perfumes, aromatherapy, and to keep insects away. It is also called cedarwood and Eastern red cedar. The scientific name is Juniperus virginiana.

red clover
Trifolium pratense. A plant whose flowers have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in the relief of menopausal symptoms and may have anticancer effects. Also called purple clover and wild clover.

red date
The fruit of the jujube plant. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems.

red elm
Ulmus fulva or Ulmus rubra. The inner bark of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have antioxidant effects. Also called slippery elm, gray elm, Indian elm, and sweet elm.

Reed-Sternberg cell
A type of cell that appears in people with Hodgkin's disease. The number of these cells increases as the disease advances.

reflux
The backward flow of liquid from the stomach into the esophagus.

refractory
In medicine, describes a disease or condition that does not respond to treatment.

refractory cancer
Cancer that does not respond to treatment. The cancer may be resistant at the beginning of treatment or it may become resistant during treatment. Also called resistant cancer.

regeneration
In biology, regrowth of damaged or destroyed tissue or body part.

regimen
A treatment plan that specifies the dosage, the schedule, and the duration of treatment.

regional
In oncology, describes the body area right around a tumor.

regional cancer
Refers to cancer that has grown beyond the original (primary) tumor to nearby lymph nodes or organs and tissues.

regional chemotherapy (REE-juh-nul KEE-moh-THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with anticancer drugs directed to a specific area of the body.

regional enteritis
Chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly the small intestine and colon. Regional enteritis increases the risk for colorectal cancer and small intestine cancer. Also called Crohn's disease.

regional lymph node
In oncology, a lymph node that drains lymph from the region around a tumor.

regional lymph node dissection
A surgical procedure to remove some of the lymph nodes that drain lymph from the area around a tumor. The lymph nodes are then examined under a microscope to see if cancer cells have spread to them.

registered dietitian (...dy-eh-TIH-shun)
A health professional with special training in the use of diet and nutrition to keep the body healthy. A registered dietitian may help the medical team improve the nutritional health of a patient.

Reglan (REG-lun)
A drug that increases the motility (movements and contractions) of the stomach and upper intestine. It is used to treat certain stomach problems and nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It belongs to the families of drugs called antiemetics and motility agents. Also called metoclopramide.

regression
A decrease in the size of a tumor or in the extent of cancer in the body.

rehabilitation (REE-huh-BIH-lih-TAY-shun)
In medicine, a process to restore mental and/or physical abilities lost to injury or disease, in order to function in a normal or near-normal way.

rehabilitation specialist
A healthcare professional who helps people recover from an illness or injury and return to daily life. Examples of rehabilitation specialists are physical therapists and occupational therapists.

relapse
The return of signs and symptoms of cancer after a period of improvement.

relative survival rate
A specific measurement of survival. For cancer, the rate is calculated by adjusting the survival rate to remove all causes of death except cancer. The rate is determined at specific time intervals, such as 2 years and 5 years after diagnosis.

relaxation technique
A method used to reduce tension and anxiety, and control pain.

Remeron
A drug used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of drugs called antidepressant agents. Also called mirtazapine.

remission
A decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.

remission induction therapy
Initial treatment with anticancer drugs to decrease the signs or symptoms of cancer or make them disappear.

remote brachytherapy
A type of internal radiation treatment in which the radioactive source is removed between treatments. Also called high-dose-rate remote brachytherapy or high-dose-rate remote radiation therapy.

renal artery
The main blood vessel that supplies blood to a kidney and its nearby adrenal gland and ureter. There is a renal artery for each kidney.

renal capsule
The fibrous connective tissue that surrounds each kidney.

renal cell cancer
The most common type of kidney cancer. It begins in the lining of the renal tubules in the kidney. The renal tubules filter the blood and produce urine. Also called hypernephroma.

renal collecting tubule
The last part of a long, twisting tube that collects urine from the nephrons (cellular structures in the kidney that filter blood and form urine) and moves it into the renal pelvis and ureters. Also called collecting duct.

renal failure (REE-nul FAYL-yer)
A condition in which the kidneys stop working and are not able to remove waste and extra water from the blood or keep body chemicals in balance. Acute or severe renal failure happens suddenly (for example, after an injury) and may be treated and cured. Chronic renal failure develops over many years, may be caused by conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, and cannot be cured. Chronic renal failure may lead to total and long-lasting kidney failure, called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). A person in ESRD needs dialysis (the process of cleaning the blood by passing it through a membrane or filter) or a kidney transplant. Also called kidney failure.

renal fascia
A fibrous envelope of tissue that surrounds the kidney. Also called Gerota's fascia and Gerota's capsule.

renal glomerulus
A tiny, round cluster of blood vessels within the kidneys. It filters the blood to reabsorb useful materials and remove waste as urine.

renal pelvis
The area at the center of the kidney. Urine collects here and is funneled into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.

renal tubular acidosis (REE-nal TOO-bu-lar as-ih-DO-sis)
A rare disorder in which structures in the kidney that filter the blood are impaired, producing urine that is more acid than normal.

Renova
A topical preparation of tretinoin that is used to treat acne. Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A that is also called all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA).

replicate
To make a copy or duplicate of something.

replication cycle
In biology, refers to the reproduction cycle of viruses. A repliction cycle begins with the infection of a host cell and ends with the release of mature progeny virus particles.

reproductive cell
An egg or sperm cell. Each mature reproductive cell carries a single set of 23 chromosomes.

reproductive system
In women, this system includes the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus (womb), the cervix, and the vagina (birth canal). The reproductive system in men includes the prostate, the testes, and the penis.

resectable (ree-SEK-tuh-bul)
Able to be removed by surgery.

resected
Removed by surgery.

resection (ree-SEK-shun)
A procedure that uses surgery to remove tissue or part or all of an organ.

residual disease
Cancer cells that remain after attempts to remove the cancer have been made.

resistant cancer
Cancer that does not respond to treatment. The cancer may be resistant at the beginning of treatment, or it may become resistant during treatment. Also called refractory cancer.

resorption
A process in which a substance, such as tissue, is lost by being destroyed and then absorbed by the body.

respirator (RES-pih-RAY-ter)
In medicine, a machine used to help a patient breathe. Also called ventilator.

respiratory syncytial virus
RSV. A virus that causes respiratory infections with cold-like symptoms.

respiratory system (RES-pih-ra-tor-ee)
The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Also called the respiratory tract.

respiratory therapy (RES-pih-ra-tor-ee)
Exercises and treatments that help improve or restore lung function.

respiratory tract
The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Also called the respiratory system.

response
In medicine, an improvement related to treatment.

response rate
The percentage of patients whose cancer shrinks or disappears after treatment.

resting
In biology, refers to a cell that is not dividing.

resveratrol
A substance found in the skins of grapes and in certain other plants, fruits, and seeds. It is made by various plants to help defend against invading fungi, stress, injury, infection, and too much sunlight. It is being studied in the prevention of cancer and heart disease. It belongs to the families of drugs called antioxidants and polyphenols.

Retin-A
A topical preparation of tretinoin that is used to treat acne. Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A that is also called all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA).

Retin-A-Micro
A topical preparation of tretinoin that is used to treat acne. Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A that is also called all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA).

retina (RET-ih-nuh)
The light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye that receive images and sends them as electric signals through the optic nerve to the brain.

retinoblastoma
An eye cancer that most often occurs in children younger than 5 years. It occurs in hereditary and nonhereditary (sporadic) forms.

retinoic acid (REH-tih-NOH-ik ASS-id)
A form of vitamin A that is made by the body, and can also be made in the laboratory. It is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia, usually together with other drugs, and to treat acne. It is being studied in the treatment and prevention of other types of cancer. Also called all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), tretinoin, and vitamin A acid.

retinoid
Vitamin A or a vitamin A-like compound.

retinol (REH-tih-nol)
An active form of vitamin A found in animal foods such as liver, whole eggs, and whole milk.

retinyl palmitate
A drug that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.

retromolar trigone (reh-troh-MOH-ler TRY-gone)
The small area behind the wisdom teeth.

retroperitoneal (REH-troh-PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul)
Having to do with the area outside or behind the peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen).

retropubic prostatectomy (reh-troh-PYOO-bik prah-stuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made in the wall of the abdomen.

retrospective
Looking back at events that have already taken place.

retrospective cohort study
A research study in which the medical records of groups of individuals who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic (for example, female nurses who smoke and those who do not smoke) are compared for a particular outcome (such as lung cancer). Also called a historic cohort study.

retrospective study
A study that compares two groups of people: those with the disease or condition under study (cases) and a very similar group of people who do not have the disease or condition (controls). Researchers study the medical and lifestyle histories of the people in each group to learn what factors may be associated with the disease or condition. For example, one group may have been exposed to a particular substance that the other was not. Also called a case-control study.

retroviral vector
RNA from a virus that is used to insert genetic material into cells.

retrovirus
A type of virus that has RNA instead of DNA as its genetic material. It uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to become part of the host cells' DNA. This allows many copies of the virus to be made in the host cells. The virus that causes AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is a type of retrovirus.

RevM10 gene
An antiviral gene that is being studied in the treatment of cancer in patients who have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Reye's syndrome (RAYZ SIN-drome)
A rare disease that damages the brain and liver and causes death if not treated. It occurs most often in children younger than 15 years who have had a fever-causing virus, such as chickenpox or flu. Taking aspirin during a viral illness may increase the risk of Reye's syndrome.

rhabdoid tumor
A malignant tumor of either the central nervous system (CNS) or the kidney. Malignant rhabdoid tumors of the CNS often have an abnormality of chromosome 22. These tumors usually occur in children younger than 2 years.

rhabdomyosarcoma
A malignant tumor of muscle tissue.

rheumatism
A group of disorders marked by inflammation or pain in the connective tissue structures of the body. These structures include bone, cartilage, and fat.

rheumatoid arthritis (ROO-muh-TOYD ar-THRY-tis)
An autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, and may cause severe joint damage, loss of function, and disability. The disease may last from months to a lifetime, and symptoms may improve and worsen over time.

rhinoscope (RY-noh-skope)
A thin, tube-like instrument used to examine the inside of the nose. A rhinoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may have a tool to remove tissue. Also called a nasoscope.

rhinoscopy (ry-NOS-koh-pee)
Examination of the inside of the nose using a rhinoscope. A rhinoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. Also called nasoscopy.

rhizoxin
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It comes from a fungus and is similar to vinca alkaloid drugs. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimitotic agents.

rhubarb
Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale. The root of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called da-huang, Chinese rhubarb, Indian rhubarb, and Turkish rhubarb.

ribavirin
A drug used to treat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in the lungs.

ribonucleic acid
RNA. One of the two types of nucleic acids found in all cells. The other is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Ribonucleic acid transmits genetic information from DNA to proteins produced by the cell.

ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor
A family of anticancer drugs that interfere with the growth of tumor cells by blocking the formation of deoxyribonucleotides (building blocks of DNA).

rifampin
A drug used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics.

risedronate (ris-ED-roe-nate)
A substance that is being studied in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. It belongs to the family of drugs called bone resorption inhibitors.

risk factor
Something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. Some examples of risk factors for cancer include age, a family history of certain cancers, use of tobacco products, certain eating habits, obesity, lack of exercise, exposure to radiation or other cancer-causing agents, and certain genetic changes.

ritonavir
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called protease inhibitors. It interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

Rituxan (rih-TUX-an)
A type of monoclonal antibody used to treat some types of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells. Rituxan binds to CD20, a marker found on B cells. Also called rituximab.

rituximab (rih-TUX-ih-MAB)
A type of monoclonal antibody used to treat some types of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells. Rituximab binds to CD20, a marker found on B cells. Also called Rituxan.

RK-0202
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of oral mucositis in patients receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy for head and neck cancer.

RMP-7
A substance that is being studied for its ability to help other drugs reach the brain. It belongs to the family of drugs called bradykinin agonists. Also called lobradimil.

RNA
Ribonucleic acid. One of the two types of nucleic acids found in all cells. The other is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). RNA transmits genetic information from DNA to proteins produced by the cell.

Ro 31-7453
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It may prevent cancer cells from dividing. It belongs to the family of drugs called cell cycle inhibitors.

Ro 50-3821
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of anemia in patients who are receiving chemotherapy. It is a form of erythropoietin (a substance produced in the kidneys that stimulates the production of red blood cells) that has been changed in the laboratory. Also called methoxypolyethylene glycol epoetin beta.

rofecoxib
A drug that was being used for pain relief and was being studied for its ability to prevent cancer and to block the growth of new blood vessels to solid tumors. It belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Rofecoxib was taken off the market in the U.S. because of safety concerns. Also called Vioxx.

Roman chamomile (ROH-mun KA-moh-MY-ul)
A plant with daisy-like flowers that are used in tea to calm and relax, improve sleep, and help with stomach problems. Roman chamomile has also been used in some cultures to treat skin conditions, mild infections, and other disorders. The scientific name is Chamaemelum nobile.

rosiglitazone
A drug taken to help reduce the amount of sugar in the blood. Rosiglitazone helps make insulin more effective and improves regulation of blood sugar. It belongs to the family of drugs called thiazolidinediones.

RPI.4610
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of kidney cancer. It may prevent the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to the tumor. It belongs to the families of drugs called VEGF receptor and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called Angiozyme.

RPR 109881A
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called taxanes.

RSR13
A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called radiosensitizers. Also called efaproxiral.

RSV
Respiratory syncytial virus. A virus that causes respiratory infections with cold-like symptoms.

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S-1
A drug that is being studied for its ability to enhance the effectiveness of fluorouracil and prevent gastrointestinal side effects caused by fluorouracil. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

S-phase fraction
A measure of the percentage of cells in a tumor that are in the phase of the cell cycle during which DNA is synthesized. The S-phase fraction may be used with the proliferative index to give a more complete understanding of how fast a tumor is growing.

sacrum (SAY-krum)
The large, triangle-shaped bone in the lower spine that forms part of the pelvis. It is made of 5 fused bones of the spine.

safingol
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein kinase C inhibitors.

SAHA
Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid. A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors. Also called vorinostat.

saline
A solution of salt and water.

saliva (suh-LIE-vuh)
The watery fluid in the mouth made by the salivary glands. Saliva moistens food to help digestion and it helps protect the mouth against infections.

salivary gland (SAL-ih-vair-ee)
A gland in the mouth that produces saliva.

salivary gland cancer (SA-lih-VAYR-ee gland KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in tissues of a salivary gland (gland in the mouth that makes saliva). Most salivary gland cancers occur in older people.

salpingo-oophorectomy (sal-PIN-go o-o-for-EK-toe-mee)
Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

salvage therapy
Treatment that is given after the cancer has not responded to other treatments.

samarium 153
A radioactive substance used in cancer therapy.

saponin
A substance found in soybeans and many other plants. Saponins may help lower cholesterol and may have anticancer effects.

saquinavir mesylate
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called protease inhibitors. It interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

sarCNU
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called sarcosinamide nitrosourea.

sarcoid
An inflammatory disease marked by the formation of granulomas (small nodules of immune cells) in the lungs, lymph nodes, and other organs. Sarcoid may be acute and go away by itself, or it may be chronic and progressive. Also called sarcoidosis.

sarcoidosis
An inflammatory disease marked by the formation of granulomas (small nodules of immune cells) in the lungs, lymph nodes, and other organs. Sarcoidosis may be acute and go away by itself, or it may be chronic and progressive. Also called sarcoid.

sarcoma
A cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.

sarcosinamide nitrosourea
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called sarCNU.

sargramostim
A substance that helps make more white blood cells, especially granulocytes, macrophages, and cells that become platelets. It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. Also called granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF).

satraplatin
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called platinum analogs. Also called BMS-182751 and JM 216.

saturated fat (SA-chu-RAY-ted...)
A type of fat with certain chemical properties that is usually solid at room temperature. Most saturated fats come from animal food products, but some plant oils, such as palm and coconut oil, also contain high levels. Eating saturated fat increases the level of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of heart disease.

SB-715992
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

SC-70935
A substance that is being studied for its ability to stimulate the production of blood cells during chemotherapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called colony-stimulating factors. Also known as leridistim.

scalpel (SKAL-pul)
A small, thin knife used for surgery.

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.

scanner
In medicine, an instrument that takes pictures of the inside of the body.

SCF
Stem cell factor. A drug that is being studied for its ability to increase the number of stem cells in the blood. It belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic cell growth factors. Also called ancestim and Stemgen.

SCH 54031
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called PEG-Intron and PEG-interferon alfa-2b.

SCH 66336
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors. Also called lonafarnib.

SCH-58500
A drug that inhibits the growth of tumor cells that express the mutated p53 gene.

schedule (SKEH-jool)
In clinical trials, the step-by-step plan for how patients are to be treated; for example, the drug or type of radiation therapy that is to be given, the method by which it is to be given, the amount of time between courses, and the total length of treatment.

Schiller test (SHIL-er)
A test in which iodine is applied to the cervix. The iodine colors healthy cells brown; abnormal cells remain unstained, usually appearing white or yellow.

schizophrenia (SKIT-soh-FREE-nee-uh)
A group of severe mental disorders in which a person has trouble telling the difference between real and unreal experiences, thinking logically, having normal emotional responses to others, and behaving normally in social situations. Symptoms include seeing, hearing, feeling things that are not there, having false ideas about what is taking place or who one is, nonsense speech, unusual behavior, lack of emotion, and social withdrawal.

Schwann cell
A type of glial cell of the peripheral nervous system that helps separate and insulate nerve cells.

schwannoma (shwah-NO-ma)
A tumor of the peripheral nervous system that arises in the nerve sheath (protective covering). It is almost always benign, but rare malignant schwannomas have been reported.

scientist
A person who has studied science, especially one who is active in a particular field of investigation.

scintimammography
A type of breast imaging test that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of some women who have had abnormal mammograms, or who have dense breast tissue. Scintimammography is not used for screening, or in place of a mammogram. In this test, a woman receives an injection of a small amount of a radioactive substance called technetium 99, which is taken up by cancer cells, and a gamma camera is used to take pictures of the breasts. Also called Miraluma test and sestamibi breast imaging.

scleroderma
A chronic disorder marked by hardening and thickening of the skin. Scleroderma can be localized or it can affect the entire body (systemic).

screening
Checking for disease when there are no symptoms.

screening mammogram
X-rays of the breasts taken to check for breast cancer in the absence of signs or symptoms.

scrotum (SKRO-tum)
In males, the external sac that contains the testicles.

Scutellaria barbata
An herb that belongs to a group of herbs named the Scutellaria species or scullcap. Both the root and the above-ground part have been used to make herbal medicines. The root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lung cancer and other medical problems.

SDX-102
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called alanosine.

SDX-105
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called bendamustine.

sebum (SEE-bum)
An oily substance produced by certain glands in the skin.

second primary cancer
Refers to a new primary cancer in a person with a history of cancer.

second-line therapy
Treatment that is given when initial treatment (first-line therapy) doesn't work, or stops working.

second-look surgery
Surgery performed after primary treatment to determine whether tumor cells remain.

secondary cancer
A term that is used to describe either a new primary cancer or cancer that has spread from the place in which it started to other parts of the body.

sedative (SEH-duh-tiv)
A drug used to calm a person down, relieve anxiety, or help a person sleep.

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 erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

sedoxantrone trihydrochloride
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called DNA-intercalating compounds. Also called CI-958.

segmental cystectomy (sis-TEK-to-mee)
The removal of cancer as well as some of the bladder tissue around the tumor. Sometimes called partial cystectomy.

segmental mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee)
The removal of cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor. Usually some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out. Also called partial mastectomy.

seizure (SEE-zhur)
Convulsion; a sudden, involuntary movement of the muscles.

selection bias
An error in choosing the individuals or groups to take part in a study. Ideally, the subjects in a study should be very similar to one another and to the larger population from which they are drawn (for example, all individuals with the same disease or condition). If there are important differences, the results of the study may not be valid.

selective estrogen receptor modulator (sel-EK-tiv ESS-tro-jen re-SEP-tor MOD-yew-lay-tor)
SERM. A drug that acts like estrogen on some tissues but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are SERMs.

selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
SSRI. A type of drug that is used to treat depression. SSRIs slow the process by which serotonin (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another) is reused by nerve cells that make it. This increases the amount of serotonin available for stimulating other nerves.

selenium
An essential dietary mineral.

self-esteem
A feeling of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-respect.

sella turcica
A depression of the bone at the base of the skull where the pituitary gland is located.

semaxanib (seh-MAX-uh-nib)
A substance that has been studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called SU5416.

semen
The fluid that is released through the penis during orgasm. Semen is made up of sperm from the testicles and fluid from the prostate and other sex glands.

seminal fluid (SEM-in-al)
Fluid from the prostate and other sex glands that helps transport sperm out of the man's body during orgasm. Seminal fluid contains sugar as an energy source for sperm.

seminal vesicle (SEM-in-al VES-ih-kul)
A gland that helps produce semen.

seminal vesicle biopsy
The removal of fluid or tissue with a needle from the seminal vesicles for examination under a microscope. The seminal vesicles are glands in the male reproductive tract that produce a part of semen.

seminoma (sem-in-O-ma)
A type of cancer of the testicles. Seminomas may spread to the lung, bone, liver, or brain.

semiparasitic
In botany, a plant that gets food from a host but also contains chlorophyll and is capable of photosynthesis.

semustine
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

senega root
The root of an herb called Polygala senega. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, including problems of the respiratory system.

senile keratosis
A precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin. Also called solar or actinic keratosis.

sensitivity
When referring to a medical test, sensitivity refers to the percentage of people who test positive for a specific disease among a group of people who have the disease. No test has 100% sensitivity because some people who have the disease will test negative for it (false negatives).

sensor
A device that responds to a stimulus, such as heat, light, or pressure, and generates a signal that can be measured or interpreted.

sensory
Having to do with the senses.

sentinel lymph node
The first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. When cancer spreads, the cancer cells may appear first in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes.

sentinel lymph node biopsy
Removal and examination of the sentinel node(s) (the first lymph node(s) to which cancer cells are likely to spread from a primary tumor). To identify the sentinel lymph node(s), the surgeon injects a radioactive substance, blue dye, or both near the tumor. The surgeon then uses a scanner to find the sentinel lymph node(s) containing the radioactive substance or looks for the lymph node(s) stained with dye. The surgeon then removes the sentinel node(s) to check for the presence of cancer cells.

sentinel lymph node mapping
The use of dyes and radioactive substances to identify the first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. Cancer cells may appear first in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes and other places in the body.

seocalcitol
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called vitamin D analogs.

sepsis (SEP-sis)
The presence of bacteria or their toxins in the blood or tissues.

septate (SEP-tate)
An organ or structure that is divided into compartments.

septicemia
Disease caused by the spread of bacteria and their toxins in the bloodstream. Also called blood poisoning.

sequential treatment
One treatment after the other.

SERM
Selective estrogen receptor modulator. A drug that acts like estrogen on some tissues but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are SERMs.

serosa (seh-ROH-suh)
The outer lining of organs and body cavities of the abdomen and chest, including the stomach. Also called serous membrane.

serotonin
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. Also called 5-hydroxytryptamine.

serous (SEER-us)
Having to do with serum, the clear liquid part of blood.

serous membrane
The outer lining of organs and body cavities of the abdomen and chest, including the stomach. Also called serosa.

Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor of the ovary (sur-TOH-lee LY-dig TOO-mer)
A rare type of ovarian tumor in which the tumor cells secrete a male sex hormone. This may cause virilization (the appearance of male physical characteristics in females). Also called androblastoma and arrhenoblastoma.

sertraline
A drug that is used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Also called Zoloft.

serum
The clear liquid part of the blood that remains after blood cells and clotting proteins have been removed.

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 glutamate pyruvate transaminase
SGPT. An enzyme found in the liver and other tissues. A high level of serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase released into the blood may be a sign of liver damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called alanine transferase.

serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase
SGOT. An enzyme found in the liver, heart, and other tissues. A high level of serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase released into the blood may be a sign of liver or heart damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called aspartate transaminase.

serum tumor marker test
A blood test that measures the amount of substances called tumor markers (or 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.

Serzone
A drug used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of drugs called antidepressant agents. Also called nefazodone.

sesquiterpene lactone
A substance found in some plants. Sesquiterpene lactones may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Plants containing sesquiterpene lactones have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems.

sestamibi breast imaging
A type of breast imaging test that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of some women who have had abnormal mammograms, or who have dense breast tissue. Sestamibi breast imaging is not used for screening, or in place of a mammogram. In this test, a woman receives an injection of a small amount of a radioactive substance called technetium 99, which is taken up by cancer cells, and a gamma camera is used to take pictures of the breasts. Also called scintimammography and Miraluma test.

severe myelosuppression
Severe reduction in the numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the bone marrow. Severe myelosuppression is a side effect of some cancer treatments. Also called myeloablation.

Sezary syndrome (say-zah-REE SIN-drome)
A form of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a cancerous disease that affects the skin.

SGN-00101
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called fusion proteins.

SGN-15
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It combines a monoclonal antibody with the anticancer drug doxorubicin. Monoclonal antibodies are substances that are made in the laboratory and that can locate and bind to cancer cells. SGN-15 belongs to the family of drugs called antibody drug conjugates. Also called cBR96-doxorubicin immunoconjugate.

SGN-30
A monoclonal antibody that binds to cells that have the CD30 antigen on their surface, including Hodgkin's disease cells and cells from anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. SGN-30 is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called monoclonal antibodies.

SGN-40
A monoclonal antibody that binds to cells that have the CD40 antigen on their surface, including cells from multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. SGN-40 is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called monoclonal antibodies.

SGOT
Serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase. An enzyme found in the liver, heart, and other tissues. A high level of SGOT released into the blood may be a sign of liver or heart damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called aspartate transaminase.

SGPT
Serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase. An enzyme found in the liver and other tissues. A high level of SGPT released into the blood may be a sign of liver damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called alanine transferase.

sham therapy
An inactive treatment or procedure that is intended to mimic as closely as possible a therapy in a clinical trial. Also called placebo therapy.

shave biopsy (BY-ahp-see)
A procedure in which a skin abnormality and a thin layer of surrounding skin are removed with a small blade for examination under a microscope. Stitches are not needed with this procedure.

sheep sorrel
Rumex acetosella. A plant that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects. Also called dock and sorrel.

Sheridan's Formula
A liquid that has been promoted as a treatment for a wide range of diseases, including cancer. The ingredients thought to be in Sheridan's Formula have been tested, and none of them has been shown to be effective in treating any form of cancer. Sheridan's Formula is not available in the United States. Also called Entelev, Cancell, Jim's Juice, Crocinic Acid, JS'114, JS'101, 126'F, and Cantron.

shiitake mushroom
Lentinus edodes. A dark oriental mushroom widely used as a food. Several anticancer substances have been found in shiitake mushrooms, including lentinan, which has been studied in Japan as a treatment for stomach and colorectal cancer.

shinbone
The larger of two bones between the knee and ankle. Also called tibia.

Sho-saiko-to
A Japanese formulation of seven Chinese herbs that is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

shunt
In medicine, a passage that is made to allow blood or other fluid to move from one part of the body to another. For example, a surgeon may implant a tube to drain cerebrospinal fluid from the brain to the abdomen. A surgeon may also change normal blood flow by making a passage that leads from one blood vessel to another.

sialic acid (sy-A-lik)
Any of a group of simple sugar molecules.

sialyl Tn-KLH
A vaccine composed of a substance that enhances immunity plus an antigen found on some tumors of the colon, breast, lung, ovary, pancreas, and stomach.

side effect
A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some common side effects of cancer treatment are fatigue, pain, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss, and mouth sores.

side-to-end coloanal anastomosis
A surgical procedure in which the side of the colon is attached to the anus after the rectum has been removed. A section of the colon about 2 inches long is formed into a mini-pouch in order to replace the function of the rectum and store stool until it can be eliminated. This procedure is similar to the J-pouch coloanal anastomosis but a much smaller pouch is formed.

sideropenic dysphagia
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having sideropenic dysphagia may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Paterson-Kelly syndrome and Plummer-Vinson syndrome.

SIDS
Sudden infant death syndrome. The sudden and unexpected death of a healthy child who is younger than one year old, usually during sleep. The cause of SIDS is not known. Also called crib death.

sigmoid colon (SIG-moyd KO-lun)
The S-shaped section of the colon that connects to the rectum.

sigmoidoscope (sig-MOY-doh-skope)
A thin, tube-like instrument used to examine the inside of the colon. A sigmoidoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may have a tool to remove tissue.

sigmoidoscopy (sig-MOY-DOS-koh-pee)
Examination of the lower colon using a sigmoidoscope, inserted into the rectum. A sigmoidoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. Also called proctosigmoidoscopy.

signal transduction inhibitor
A drug that may prevent the ability of cancer cells to multiply quickly and invade other tissues.

signet ring cell carcinoma
A highly malignant type of cancer typically found in glandular cells that line the digestive organs. The cells resemble signet rings when examined under a microscope.

significant
In statistics, describes a mathematical measure of difference between groups. The difference is said to be significant if it is greater than what might be expected to happen by chance alone. Also called statistically significant.

SIL
Squamous intraepithelial lesion. A general term for the abnormal growth of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix. The changes in the cells are described as low grade or high grade, depending on how much of the cervix is affected and how abnormal the cells appear.

sildenafil
A substance that is used to treat erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil relaxes the smooth muscle of the penis to allow increased blood flow and erection. It belongs to the family of drugs called phosphodiesterase inhibitors. Also called Viagra.

silicon phthalocyanine 4 (SIH-lih-KON THAH-loh-SY-uh-NEEN)
A drug that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, it becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called photodynamic therapy agents.

silicone
A synthetic gel that is used as an outer coating on breast implants and as the inside filling of some implants.

Silybum marianum
A plant that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, including stomach, liver, and gallbladder disorders. The active extract of Silybum marianum seeds is called silymarin. It is being studied in the prevention of liver damage caused by some cancer treatments. Also called milk thistle.

silymarin
A substance obtained from milk thistle seeds that is being studied in the prevention of liver damage caused by certain cancer treatments.

simian virus 40 (SIH-mee-un VY-rus...)
SV40. A virus that infects some types of monkeys. It may also infect humans, and was found in some polio vaccines tested in the early 1960s. Although the virus has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, there is no evidence that it causes cancer in people.

simple mastectomy
Removal of the breast. Also called total mastectomy.

simple nephrectomy (neh-FREK-tuh-mee)
Surgery to remove one kidney.

simple vulvectomy (SIM-pul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the entire vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina).

simulation
In cancer treatment, a process used to plan radiation therapy so that the target area is precisely located and marked.

single blind study
A type of clinical trial in which only the doctor knows whether a patient is taking the standard treatment or the new treatment being tested. This helps prevent bias in treatment studies.

single nucleotide polymorphism
SNP. The most common type of change in DNA (molecules inside cells that carry genetic information). An SNP occurs when a single nucleotide (building block of DNA) is replaced with another. These changes may cause disease, and may affect how a person reacts to bacteria, viruses, drugs, and other substances.

single-photon emission computed tomography
SPECT. A special type of computed tomography (CT) scan in which a small amount of a radioactive drug is injected into a vein and a scanner is used to make detailed images of areas inside the body where the radioactive material is taken up by the cells. SPECT can give information about blood flow to tissues and chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body.

siplizumab
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of certain lymphoproliferative disorders and psoriasis. Also called MEDI-507.

sirolimus
A drug used to help prevent the body from rejecting organ and bone marrow transplants. It is also being studied as a treatment for cancer. Sirolimus belongs to the family of drugs called immunosuppressants. It was previously called rapamycin.

SIRS
Systemic inflammatory response syndrome. A serious condition in which there is inflammation throughout the whole body. It may be caused by a severe bacterial infection (sepsis), trauma, or pancreatitis. It is marked by fast heart rate, low blood pressure, low or high body temperature, and low or high white blood cell count. The condition may lead to multiple organ failure and shock.

SJG-136
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called DNA cross-linking agents.

Sjogren's syndrome (SHOH-grinz SIN-drome)
An autoimmune disease that affects the tear glands and salivary glands, and may affect glands in the stomach, pancreas, and intestines. The disease causes dry eyes and mouth, and may cause dryness in the nose, throat, air passages, skin, and vagina. It may also cause inflammation in the joints, muscles, and skin; pneumonia; tingling in the fingers and toes; and fatigue. It often occurs with rheumatoid arthritis or other connective tissue diseases.

skeletal (SKEH-leh-tul)
Having to do with the skeleton (bones of the body).

skeleton
The framework that supports the soft tissues of vertebrate animals and protects many of their internal organs. The skeletons of vertebrates are made of bone and/or cartilage.

skin cancer (skin KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the skin. When cancer forms in cells that make pigment, it is called melanoma. When cancer forms in cells that do not make pigment it may begin in basal cells (small, round cells in the base of the outer layer of skin) or squamous cells (flat cells that form the surface of the skin). Both types of skin cancer usually occur in skin that has been exposed to sunlight, such as the skin on the face, neck, hands, and arms.

skin graft
Skin that is moved from one part of the body to another.

skin patch
A bandage-like patch that releases medicine into the body through the skin. The medicine enters the blood slowly and steadily.

skin stimulation
The process of applying pressure, friction, temperature change, or chemical substances to the skin to lessen or block a feeling of pain.

skin test
A test for an immune response to a compound by placing it on or under the skin.

skinning vulvectomy (SKIN-ing vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the top layer of skin of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina). A skin graft may be used to replace the skin that was removed.

SLE
Systemic lupus erythematosus. A chronic, inflammatory, connective tissue disease that can affect many organs including the joints, skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, and nervous system. It is marked by many different symptoms; however, not everyone with SLE has all of the symptoms. Also called lupus.

slippery elm
Ulmus fulva or Ulmus rubra. The inner bark of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have antioxidant effects. Also called gray elm, Indian elm, red elm, and sweet elm.

small cell lung cancer
An aggressive (fast-growing) cancer that usually forms in tissues of the lung and spreads to other parts of the body. The cancer cells look small and oval-shaped when looked at under a microscope. Also called oat cell cancer.

small intestine (in-TES-tin)
The part of the digestive tract that is located between the stomach and the large intestine.

small intestine cancer (smawl in-TES-tin KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in tissues of the small intestine (the part of the digestive tract between the stomach and the large intestine). The most common type is adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Other types of small intestine cancer include sarcoma (cancer that begins in connective or supportive tissue), carcinoid tumor (a slow-growing type of cancer), gastrointestinal stromal tumor (a type of soft tissue sarcoma), and lymphoma (cancer that begins in immune system cells).

small lymphocytic lymphoma (LIM-foh-SI-tik lim-FOH-muh)
An indolent (slow-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma marked by swollen lymph nodes that usually occurs in people older than 50 years. It is very similar to a form of leukemia called chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Also called well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma.

smoldering leukemia
A disease in which the bone marrow does not function normally. Also called preleukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.

smoldering myeloma
A very slow-growing type of myeloma in which abnormal plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) make too much of a single type of monoclonal antibody (a protein). This protein builds up in the blood or is passed in the urine. Patients with smoldering myeloma usually have no symptoms, but need to be checked often for signs of progression to fully developed multiple myeloma.

SnET2
An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents. Also called tin ethyl etiopurpurin.

SNP
Single nucleotide polymorphism. The most common type of change in DNA (molecules inside cells that carry genetic information). An SNP occurs when a single nucleotide (building block of DNA) is replaced with another. These changes may cause disease, and may affect how a person reacts to bacteria, viruses, drugs, and other substances.

SNX 111
A drug used in the treatment of chronic pain. Also called ziconotide.

soblidotin
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called tubulin inhibitors. Also called TZT-1027.

social service (SOH-shul SER-vis)
A community resource that helps people in need. Services may include help getting to and from medical appointments, home delivery of medication and meals, in-home nursing care, help paying medical costs not covered by insurance, loaning medical equipment, and housekeeping help.

social support (SOH-shul suh-PORT)
A network of family, friends, neighbors, and community members that is available in times of need to give psychological, physical, and financial help.

social worker
A professional trained to talk with people and their families about emotional or physical needs, and to find them support services.

sodium
A mineral needed by the body to keep body fluids in balance. Sodium is found in table salt and in many processed foods. Too much sodium can cause the body to retain water.

sodium borocaptate
BSH. A substance used in a type of radiation therapy called boron neutron capture therapy. Sodium borocaptate is injected into a vein and becomes concentrated in tumor cells. The patient then receives radiation treatment with atomic particles called neutrons. The neutrons react with the boron in sodium borocaptate and make radioactive particles that kill the tumor cells without harming normal cells.

sodium salicylate
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Sodium salicylate may be tolerated by people who are sensitive to aspirin.

sodium sulfite
A chemical used in photography, paper making, water treatment, and for other purposes.

sodium thiosulfate (SO-dee-um thye-oh-SUL-fate)
A substance that is used in medicine as an antidote to cyanide poisoning and to decrease side effects of the anticancer drug cisplatin.

soft diet
A diet consisting of bland foods that are softened by cooking, mashing, pureeing, or blending.

soft palate (PAL-et)
The back, muscular (not bony) part of the roof of the mouth.

soft tissue
Refers to muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body.

soft tissue sarcoma (...TIH-shoo sar-KOH-muh)
A cancer that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body.

solar keratosis
A precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin. Also called actinic or senile keratosis.

solid tumor
An abnormal mass of tissue that usually does not contain cysts or liquid areas. Solid tumors may be benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous). Different types of solid tumors are named for the type of cells that form them. Examples of solid tumors are sarcomas, carcinomas, and lymphomas. Leukemias (cancers of the blood) generally do not form solid tumors.

soluble (SOL-yoo-bul)
Able to be dissolved in a liquid.

solvent (SOL-vent)
A liquid that is able to dissolve a solid.

somatic (soh-MA-tik)
Having to do with the body.

somatic cell
Any of the body cells except the reproductive (germ) cells.

somatic mutation
An alteration in DNA that occurs after conception. Somatic mutations can occur in any of the cells of the body except the germ cells (sperm and egg) and therefore are not passed on to children. These alterations can (but do not always) cause cancer or other diseases.

somatostatin receptor scintigraphy
SRS. 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.

somnolence syndrome (SOM-no-lens)
Periods of drowsiness, lethargy, loss of appetite, and irritability in children following radiation therapy treatments to the head.

sonogram (SON-o-gram)
A computer picture of areas inside the body created by bouncing high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) off internal tissues or organs. Also called an ultrasonogram.

sorafenib (sor-AF-eh-nib)
A drug used to treat advanced kidney cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called Raf kinase inhibitors and VEGF receptor kinase inhibitors. Also called BAY 43-9006 and Nexavar.

sorivudine
An antiviral drug that is being studied as a treatment for herpesvirus. It belongs to the family of drugs called nucleic acid synthesis inhibitors.

sorrel
Rumex acetosella. A plant that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects. Also called sheep sorrel and dock.

soy
Glycine max. A plant of Asian origin that produces beans used in many food products. Soy products contain isoflavones (estrogen-like substances) that are being studied for the prevention of cancer, hot flashes that occur with menopause, and osteoporosis (loss of bone density). Soy products in the diet may lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Also called soya and soybean.

soya (SOY-uh)
Glycine max. A plant of Asian origin that produces beans used in many food products. Soy products contain isoflavones (estrogen-like substances) that are being studied for the prevention of cancer, hot flashes that occur with menopause, and osteoporosis (loss of bone density). Soy products in the diet may lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Also called soy and soybean.

soybean
Glycine max. A plant of Asian origin that produces beans used in many food products. Soy products contain isoflavones (estrogen-like substances) that are being studied for the prevention of cancer, hot flashes that occur with menopause, and osteoporosis (loss of bone density). Soy products in the diet may lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Also called soy and soya.

spasm (SPA-zum)
A sudden contraction of a muscle or group of muscles, such as a cramp.

specialist (SPEH-shuh-list)
In medicine, a doctor or other health care professional who is trained and licensed in a special area of practice. Examples of medical specialists include oncologists (cancer specialists) and hematologists (blood specialists).

specific immune cell
An immune cell such as a T or B lymphocyte that responds to a single, specific antigen.

specificity
When referring to a medical test, specificity refers to the percentage of people who test negative for a specific disease among a group of people who do not have the disease. No test is 100% specific because some people who do not have the disease will test positive for it (false positive).

SPECT
Single-photon emission computed tomography. A special type of computed tomography (CT) scan in which a small amount of a radioactive drug is injected into a vein and a scanner is used to make detailed images of areas inside the body where the radioactive material is taken up by the cells. SPECT can give information about blood flow to tissues and chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body.

speculum (SPEK-yoo-lum)
An instrument used to widen an opening of the body to make it easier to look inside.

speech pathologist (pa-THOL-o-jist)
A specialist who evaluates and treats people with communication and swallowing problems. Also called a speech therapist.

speech therapist
A specialist who evaluates and treats people with communication and swallowing problems. Also called a speech pathologist.

sperm
The male reproductive cell, formed in the testicle. A sperm unites with an egg to form an embryo.

sperm banking
Freezing sperm for use in the future. This procedure can allow men to father children after loss of fertility.

sperm count (spurm kownt)
A count of the number of sperm in a sample of semen. A sperm count may be used as a measure of fertility.

sperm retrieval (... rih-TREE-vul)
Removal of sperm from a man's testis or epididymis by a doctor using a fine needle or other instrument.

SPF
Sun protection factor. A scale for rating the level of sunburn protection in sunscreen products. The higher the SPF, the more sunburn protection it gives. Sunscreens with an SPF value of 2 through 11 give minimal protection against sunburns. Sunscreens with an SPF of 12 through 29 give moderate protection. Those with an SPF of 30 or higher give high protection against sunburn.

sphincter
A ring-shaped muscle that relaxes or tightens to open or close a passage or opening in the body. Examples are the anal sphincter (around the opening of the anus) and the pyloric sphincter (at the lower opening of the stomach).

spiculated mass (SPIK-you-lay-ted...)
A lump of tissue with spikes or points on the surface.

spinal column (SPY-nul KAH-lum)
The bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The spinal column encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called spine, backbone, and vertebral column.

spinal cord
A column of nerve tissue that runs from the base of the skull down the back. It is surrounded by three protective membranes, and is enclosed within the vertebrae (back bones). The spinal cord and the brain make up the central nervous system, and spinal cord nerves carry most messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

spinal tap
A procedure in which a needle is put into the lower part of the spinal column to collect cerebrospinal fluid or to give drugs. Also called a lumbar puncture.

spindle cell cancer
Cancer that arises in cells that appear spindle-shaped when viewed under a microscope. These cancers can occur in various places in the body, including the skin, lungs, kidney, breast, gastrointestinal tract, bone, and muscle.

spindle cell sarcoma
A type of connective tissue cancer in which the cells are spindle-shaped when examined under a microscope.

spine
The bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The spine encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called backbone, spinal column, and vertebral column.

spine cancer
Cancer that begins in the spinal column (backbone) or spinal cord. The spinal column is made up of linked bones, called vertebrae. The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissue that runs from the base of the skull down the back. It is surrounded by three protective membranes, and is enclosed within the vertebrae. Many different types of cancer may form in the bones, tissues, fluid, or nerves of the spine.

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.

spirituality (SPIR-ih-choo-A-lih-tee)
Having to do with deep, often religious, feelings and beliefs, including a person's sense of peace, purpose, connection to others, and beliefs about the meaning of life.

spleen
An organ that is part of the lymphatic system. The spleen produces lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells. It is located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach.

splenectomy (splen-EK-toe-mee)
An operation to remove the spleen.

splenic (SPLEH-nik)
Having to do with the spleen (an organ in the abdomen that makes immune cells, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells).

splenomegaly
Enlarged spleen.

spotted thistle
Cnicus benedictus. A plant whose leaves, stems, and flowers have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. Spotted thistle may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called blessed thistle, St. Benedict's thistle, cardin, and holy thistle.

sputum (SPYOO-tum)
Mucus and other matter brought up from the lungs by coughing.

sputum cytology
Examination under a microscope of lung cells found in sputum (mucus and other matter brought up from the lungs by coughing) to check for cancer.

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

squamous cell (SKWAY-mus)
Flat cell that looks like a fish scale under a microscope. These cells cover inside and outside surfaces of the body. They are found in the tissues that form the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body (such as the bladder, kidney, and uterus), and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts.

squamous cell carcinoma (SKWAY-mus sel KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Also called epidermoid carcinoma.

squamous intraepithelial lesion (SKWAY-mus IN-truh-eh-pih-THEEL-ee-ul LEE-zhun)
SIL. A general term for the abnormal growth of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix. The changes in the cells are described as low grade or high grade, depending on how much of the cervix is affected and how abnormal the cells appear.

SR-29142
A drug that may protect healthy tissue from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.

SR-45023A
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates. It affects cancer cell receptors governing cell growth and cell death.

SR49059
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It inhibits a hormone growth factor that causes some cancer cells to divide. It belongs to the family of drugs called vasopressin receptor antagonists.

SRS
Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy. 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.

SSRI
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. A type of drug that is used to treat depression. SSRIs slow the process by which serotonin (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another) is reused by nerve cells that make it. This increases the amount of serotonin available for stimulating other nerves.

St. Benedict's thistle
Cnicus benedictus. A plant whose leaves, stems, and flowers have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. St. Benedict's thistle may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called blessed thistle, cardin, holy thistle, and spotted thistle.

St. John's wort
Hypericum perforatum, an herbal product sold as an over-the-counter treatment for depression. It is being studied for its ability to lessen certain side effects of cancer treatment.

ST1481
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. Also called gimatecan.

stable disease
Cancer that is neither decreasing nor increasing in extent or severity.

stage
The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

stage 0 anal cancer
Cancer is found in the innermost lining of the anus only. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 bladder cancer
Cancer is found on tissue lining the inside of the bladder only. Stage 0 is divided into stage 0a and stage 0is, depending on the type of the tumor. Stage 0a is also called papillary carcinoma, which may look like tiny mushrooms growing from the lining of the bladder. Stage 0is is also called carcinoma in situ, which is a flat tumor on the tissue lining the inside of the bladder.

stage 0 cervical cancer
Cancer is found in the first layer of cells lining the cervix only and has not invaded the deeper tissues of the cervix. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 chronic lymphocytic leukemia
There are too many lymphocytes in the blood, but there are no other symptoms of leukemia. Stage 0 is indolent (slow-growing).

stage 0 colorectal cancer
Cancer is found in the innermost lining of the colon and/or rectum only. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 esophageal cancer
Cancer is found in the innermost layer of cells lining the esophagus. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 extrahepatic bile duct cancer (EK-struh-hih-PA-tik bile dukt)
Cancer is found only in the innermost layer of cells lining the extrahepatic bile duct. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 gallbladder cancer
In stage 0, cancer is found in the innermost (mucosal) layer of the gallbladder only. Stage 0 cancer is also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 gastric cancer
Cancer is found in the inside lining of the mucosal (innermost) layer of the stomach wall. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 hypopharyngeal cancer
Cancer is found only in the lining of the hypopharynx. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 laryngeal cancer (...luh-RIN-jul...)
Cancer is found only in the cells lining the larynx. Stage 0 cancer is also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 melanoma
Cancer is found in the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) only. Also called melanoma in situ.

stage 0 nasopharyngeal cancer
Cancer is found in the lining of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose) only. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 non-small cell lung cancer
Cancer is limited to the lung. It is found in a few layers of cells only, and has not grown through the top lining of the lung. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 skin cancer
Cancer is found in the epidermis (topmost layer of the skin) only, in the layer of cells in which the cancer began. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 testicular cancer
Abnormal cells are found only in the tiny tubules where the sperm cells begin to develop. The cells do not invade normal tissues; all tumor marker levels are normal. Sometimes called a precancerous condition. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter (tran-ZIH-shu-nul sel KAN-ser of the REE-nul PEL-vus and yoo-REE-ter)
Cancer is found only on tissue lining the inside of the renal pelvis or ureter. Stage 0 is divided into stages 0a and 0is, depending on the type of tumor. In stage 0a, the cancer may look like tiny mushrooms growing from the lining; also called noninvasive papillary carcinoma. In stage 0is, the tumor is flat on the lining; also called carcinoma in situ.

stage 1 neuroblastoma (NUR-oh-blas-TOH-muh)
Tumor is only found in one area; all of the tumor that can be seen is completely removed during surgery.

stage 2 neuroblastoma (NUR-oh-blas-TOH-muh)
Stage 2 is divided into stages 2A and 2B. In stage 2A, the tumor is in one area only and not all of the tumor that can be seen can be completely removed during surgery. In stage 2B, the tumor is in one area only and all of the tumor that can be seen may be completely removed during surgery, but cancer cells are found in nearby lymph nodes.

stage 3 neuroblastoma (NUR-oh-blas-TOH-muh)
In stage 3 neuroblastoma, the tumor (1) cannot be completely removed during surgery and has spread from one side of the body to the other side and may also have spread to nearby lymph nodes; or (2) is in one area of one side of the body only, but has spread to lymph nodes on the other side of the body; or (3) is in the middle of the body and has spread to tissues or lymph nodes on both sides of the body, and the tumor cannot be removed by surgery.

stage 4 neuroblastoma (NUR-oh-blas-TOH-muh)
Stage 4 neuroblastoma is divided into stages 4 and 4S. In stage 4, the tumor has spread to distant lymph nodes, the skin, and/or other parts of the body. In stage 4S, (1) the child is younger than 1 year; and (2) the cancer has spread to the skin, liver, and/or bone marrow; and (3) the tumor is in one area only and all of the tumor that can be seen may be completely removed during surgery; and/or (4) cancer cells may be found in the lymph nodes near the tumor.

stage I adrenocortical cancer
Cancer that is smaller than 5 centimeters (smaller than 2 inches) and has not spread into tissues around the adrenal gland.

stage I adult Hodgkin's lymphoma
Stage I is divided into stage I and stage IE. In stage I, cancer is found in a single group of lymph nodes. In stage IE, cancer is found in one area or organ other than the lymph nodes.

stage I adult non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Stage I is divided into stage I and stage IE. In stage I, cancer is found in a single lymph node area. In stage IE, cancer is found in an organ or tissue other than the lymph nodes.

stage I adult primary liver cancer
There is one tumor and it has not spread to nearby blood vessels.

stage I AIDS-related lymphoma
Stage I AIDS-related lymphoma is divided into stages I and IE. In stage I, cancer is found in one group of lymph nodes. In stage IE, cancer is found in one area of one organ or tissue that is not part of the lymph system.

stage I anal cancer
The tumor is no larger than 2 centimeters.

stage I bladder cancer
Cancer has spread to the connective tissue layer below the inner lining of the bladder.

stage I breast cancer
The tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has not spread outside the breast.

stage I cancer of the uterus
Cancer found in only the main part of the uterus, not the cervix.

stage I cancer of the vulva
Cancer found in the vulva only or the space between the opening of the rectum and the vagina (perineum). The tumor is 2 centimeters (about 1 inch) or smaller.

stage I cervical cancer
Cancer is found in the cervix only. Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB, based on the amount of cancer that is found. In stage IA, a very small amount of cancer that can only be seen with a microscope is found in the tissues of the cervix. The cancer is not deeper than 5 millimeters and not wider than 7 millimeters. In stage IB, the cancer is still within the cervix and either (1) can only be seen with a microscope and is deeper than 5 millimeters or wider than 7 millimeters; or (2) can be seen without a microscope and may be larger than 4 centimeters.

stage I childhood liver cancer
All of the cancer was removed by surgery.

stage I childhood non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Cancer is found in a single area or lymph node outside of the abdomen or chest.

stage I chronic lymphocytic leukemia
There are too many lymphocytes in the blood and the lymph nodes are larger than normal.

stage I colorectal cancer
Cancer has spread beyond the innermost lining of the colon and/or rectum to the second and third layers and involves the inside wall of the colon and/or rectum, but it has not spread to the outer wall or outside the colon and/or rectum. Also called Dukes' A colorectal cancer.

stage I cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
May be either of the following: (1) stage IA cancer affecting less than 10% of the skin's surface and appearing as red, dry, scaly patches; (2) stage IB cancer affecting 10% or more of the skin's surface and appearing as red, dry, scaly patches.

stage I endometrial cancer
Cancer is found in the uterus only. Stage I is divided into stage IA, IB, and IC, based on how far the disease has spread. In stage IA, cancer is in the endometrium only; in stage IB, cancer has spread into the inner half of the myometrium (muscle layer of the uterus); in stage IC, cancer has spread into the outer half of the myometrium.

stage I esophageal cancer
Cancer has spread beyond the innermost layer of cells to the next layer of tissue in the wall of the esophagus.

stage I extrahepatic bile duct cancer (EK-struh-hih-PA-tik bile dukt)
Stage I is divided into stage IA and IB. In stage IA, cancer is found only in the bile duct. In stage IB, cancer has spread through the wall of the bile duct.

stage I gastric cancer
Stage I is divided into stage IA and stage IB, depending on where the cancer has spread. In stage IA, cancer has spread completely through the mucosal (innermost) layer of the stomach wall. In stage IB, cancer has spread completely through the mucosal (innermost) layer of the stomach wall and is found in up to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor, or has spread to the muscularis (middle) layer of the stomach wall.

stage I hypopharyngeal cancer
The tumor is found only in one area of the hypopharynx and is 2 centimeters or smaller.

stage I kidney cancer
The tumor is 7 centimeters or smaller and is found in the kidney only. Also called stage I renal cell cancer.

stage I laryngeal cancer (...luh-RIN-jul...)
Cancer is found only in the area where it started. Stage I laryngeal cancer depends on where cancer is found in the larynx. If it started in the supraglottis, then cancer is in one area of the supraglottis only and the vocal cords can move normally. If it started in the glottis, then cancer is in one or both vocal cords and the vocal cords can move normally. If it started in the subglottis, then cancer is in the subglottis only.

stage I lip and oral cavity cancer
Cancer that is no larger than 2 centimeters (about 1 inch) and has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.

stage I malignant mesothelioma
Cancer is found in the lining of the chest wall and may also be found in the lining of the lung, the lining of the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen), or the lining of the sac that covers the heart on the same side of the chest. Also called localized malignant mesothelioma.

stage I melanoma
Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB. In stage IA, the tumor is not more than 1 millimeter thick, with no ulceration. The tumor is in the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and upper layer of the dermis (inner layer of skin). In stage IB, the tumor is either not more than 1 millimeter thick, with ulceration, and may have spread into the dermis or the tissue below the skin; or 1 to 2 millimeters thick, with no ulceration.

stage I multiple myeloma
Relatively few cancer cells have spread throughout the body. There may be no symptoms of disease.

stage I mycosis fungoides and the Sezary syndrome (...my-KOH-sis fun-GOY-deez...)
Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB. In stage IA, less than 10% of the skin surface is covered with patches and/or plaques (areas of abnormal tissue). In stage IB, 10% or more of the skin surface is covered with patches and/or plaques. Stage I may also be classified based on how many abnormal lymphocytes (white blood cells) are found in the blood.

stage I nasopharyngeal cancer
Cancer is found in the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose) only.

stage I non-small cell lung cancer
Cancer is in the lung only. Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB based on the size or location of the tumor.

stage I oropharynx cancer
Cancer that is no larger than 2 centimeters (about 0.75 inch) and is confined to the oropharynx.

stage I ovarian cancer
Cancer is found in one or both of the ovaries and has not spread. Stage I is divided into stage IA, stage IB, and stage IC. In stage IA, cancer is found in a single ovary. In stage IB, cancer is found in both ovaries. In stage IC, cancer is found in one or both ovaries and one of the following is true: cancer is found on the outside surface of one or both ovaries; the capsule (outer covering) of the tumor has ruptured (broken open); or, cancer cells are found in fluid from the peritoneal cavity (the body cavity that contains most of the organs in the abdomen).

stage I pancreatic cancer
Cancer is found in the pancreas only. Stage I is divided into stage IA and stage IB based on tumor size. In stage IA, the tumor is no larger than 2 centimeters and in stage IB, the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters.

stage I prostate cancer
Cancer is found in the prostate only. It cannot be felt during a digital rectal exam and is not visible by imaging. It is usually found accidentally during surgery for other reasons, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (a condition in which an overgrowth of prostate tissue occurs). Also called stage A1 prostate cancer.

stage I renal cell cancer (REE-nul)
The tumor is 7 centimeters or smaller and is found in the kidney only. Also called stage I kidney cancer.

stage I skin cancer
The tumor is no larger than 2 centimeters.

stage I testicular cancer
Stage I is divided into stage IA, stage IB, and stage IS, and is determined after a radical inguinal orchiectomy (surgery to remove the testicle) is done. In stage IA, cancer is in the testicle and epididymis and may have spread to the inner layer of the membrane surrounding the testicle; all tumor marker levels are normal. In stage IB, the cancer is in the testicle and the epididymis and has spread to the blood or lymph vessels in the testicle; or has spread to the outer layer of the membrane surrounding the testicle; or is in the spermatic cord or the scrotum and may be in the blood or lymph vessels of the testicle; all tumor marker levels are normal. In stage IS, cancer is found anywhere within the testicle, spermatic cord, or the scrotum, and either all tumor marker levels are slightly above normal or one or more tumor marker levels are moderately above normal or high.

stage I transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter (tran-ZIH-shu-nil sel KAN-ser of the REE-nul PEL-vus and yoo-REE-ter)
Cancer has spread through the cells lining the renal pelvis and/or ureter, into the layer of connective tissue.

stage I Wilms' tumor
Cancer that is found in the kidney only and can be completely removed by surgery.

stage IA gallbladder cancer
Stage I gallbladder cancer is divided into stages IA and IB. In stage IA, cancer has spread beyond the innermost (mucosal) layer to the connective tissue or to the muscle layer.

stage IA soft tissue sarcoma
Cancer in which the cells look very much like normal cells. The cancer is smaller than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage IB gallbladder cancer
Stage I gallbladder cancer is divided into stages IA and IB. In stage IB, cancer has spread beyond the muscle layer to the connective tissue around the muscle.

stage IB soft tissue sarcoma
Cancer in which the cells look somewhat different from normal cells. The cancer is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage II adrenocortical cancer
Cancer that is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread into tissues around the adrenal gland.

stage II adult Hodgkin's lymphoma
Stage II is divided into stage II and stage IIE. In stage II, cancer is found in two or more lymph node groups on the same side of the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs that helps breathing and separates the chest from the abdomen). In stage IIE, cancer is found in one area or organ other than the lymph nodes and in the lymph nodes near that area or organ, and may have spread to other lymph node groups on the same side of the diaphragm.

stage II adult non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Stage II is divided into stage II and stage IIE. In stage II, cancer is found in two or more lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm. In stage IIE, cancer is found in an organ or tissue other than the lymph nodes and may have spread to one or more lymph nodes on the same side of the diaphragm.

stage II adult primary liver cancer
There is either (1) one tumor that has spread to nearby blood vessels; or (2) there is more than one tumor, none of which is larger than 5 centimeters.

stage II AIDS-related lymphoma
Stage II AIDS-related lymphoma is divided into stages II and IIE. In stage II, cancer is found in two or more lymph node groups on the same side of the diaphragm (the muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen). In stage IIE, cancer is found in one area of one organ or tissue that is not part of the lymph system and in nearby lymph nodes. Cancer may also be found in other lymph node groups on the same side of the diaphragm.

stage II anal cancer
The tumor is larger than 2 centimeters.

stage II bladder cancer
Cancer has spread to either the inner layer or outer layer of the muscle wall of the bladder.

stage II breast cancer
Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB based on tumor size and whether it has spread to the axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under the arm). In stage IIA, the cancer is either no larger than 2 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or between 2 and 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes. In stage IIB, the cancer is either between 2 and 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

stage II cancer of the uterus
Cancer that has spread to the cervix.

stage II cancer of the vulva
Cancer that is found in the vulva, the space between the opening of the rectum and the vagina (perineum), or both. The tumor is larger than 2 centimeters (larger than 1 inch).

stage II cervical cancer
Cancer has spread beyond the cervix but not to the pelvic wall (the tissues that line the part of the body between the hips). Stage II is divided into stages IIA and IIB, based on how far the cancer has spread. In stage IIA, cancer has spread to the upper two thirds of the vagina but not to tissues around the uterus. In stage IIB, cancer has spread to the upper two thirds of the vagina and to the tissues around the uterus.

stage II childhood liver cancer
All of the cancer was removed by surgery, except for a small amount of cancer that can be seen only with a microscope, or tumor cells that may have spilled into the abdomen during surgery.

stage II childhood non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Cancer is found (1) in only one area and in the lymph nodes around it; or (2) in two or more areas or lymph nodes on one side of the diaphragm (the thin muscle under the lungs that divides the chest and abdominal cavity and helps with breathing); or (3) to have started in the stomach or intestines and has been completely removed by surgery, and lymph nodes in the area may or may not contain cancer.

stage II chronic lymphocytic leukemia
There are too many lymphocytes in the blood, the liver or spleen is larger than normal, and the lymph nodes may be larger than normal.

stage II colorectal cancer
Cancer has spread outside the colon and/or rectum to nearby tissue, but it has not gone into the lymph nodes. Also called Dukes' B colorectal cancer.

stage II cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
Stage II cutaneous T-cell lymphoma may be either of the following: (1) stage IIA, in which the skin has red, dry, scaly patches but no tumors, and lymph nodes are enlarged but do not contain cancer cells; (2) stage IIB, in which tumors are found on the skin, and lymph nodes are enlarged but do not contain cancer cells.

stage II endometrial cancer
Cancer has spread from the uterus to the cervix, but not beyond the cervix. Stage II is divided into stage IIA and IIB, based on how far the cancer has spread into the cervix. In stage IIA, cancer has spread to the glands where the cervix and uterus meet. In stage IIB, cancer has spread into the connective tissue of the cervix.

stage II esophageal cancer
Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, depending on where the cancer has spread. In stage IIA, cancer has spread to the layer of esophageal muscle or to the outer wall of the esophagus. In stage IIB, cancer may have spread to any of the first three layers of the esophagus and to nearby lymph nodes.

stage II extrahepatic bile duct cancer (EK-struh-hih-PA-tik bile dukt)
Stage II is divided into stage IIA and IIB. In stage IIA, cancer has spread to the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and/or to either the right or left branches of the hepatic artery or of the portal vein (major blood vessels that carry blood to the liver). In stage IIB, cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and (1) is found in the bile duct; or (2) has spread through the wall of the bile duct; or (3) has spread to the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and/or the right or left branches of the hepatic artery or portal vein.

stage II gastric cancer
Cancer has spread (1) completely through the mucosal (innermost) layer of the stomach wall and is found in 7 to 15 lymph nodes near the tumor, or (2) to the muscularis (middle) layer of the stomach wall and is found in up to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor, or (3) to the serosal (outermost) layer of the stomach wall but not to lymph nodes or other organs.

stage II hypopharyngeal cancer
The tumor is either (1) larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 4 centimeters and has not spread to the larynx (voice box); or (2) found in more than one area of the hypopharynx or in nearby tissues.

stage II kidney cancer
The tumor is larger than 7 centimeters and is found in the kidney only. Also called stage II renal cell cancer.

stage II laryngeal cancer (...luh-RIN-jul...)
Cancer that is found in the larynx. The exact definition of stage II depends on where the cancer started. If it started in the supraglottis, then cancer is in more than one area of the supraglottis or glottis or region near the supraglottis. If it started in the glottis, then cancer has spread to the supraglottis and/or the subglottis, and/or the vocal cords do not move normally. If it started in the subglottis, then cancer has spread to the vocal cords, which may not move normally.

stage II lip and oral cavity cancer
Cancer that is larger than 2 centimeters (about 1 inch) but smaller than 4 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes in the area.

stage II malignant mesothelioma
Cancer is found in the lining of the chest wall and the lymph nodes on the same side of the chest. Cancer may also be found in the lining of the lung, the lining of the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen), or the lining of the sac that covers the heart on the same side of the chest. Stages II, III, and IV malignant mesothelioma are also called advanced malignant mesothelioma.

stage II melanoma
Stage II is divided into stages IIA, IIB, and IIC. In stage IIA, the tumor is either 1 to 2 millimeters thick, with ulceration; or 2 to 4 millimeters thick, with no ulceration. In stage IIB, the tumor is either 2 to 4 millimeters thick, with ulceration; or more than 4 millimeters thick, with no ulceration. In stage IIC, the tumor is more than 4 millimeters thick, with ulceration.

stage II multiple myeloma
Cancer in which a moderate number of cancer cells have spread throughout the body.

stage II mycosis fungoides and the Sezary syndrome (...my-KOH-sis fun-GOY-deez...)
Stage II is divided into stages IIA and IIB. In stage IIA, any amount of the skin surface is covered with patches and/or plaques (areas of abnormal tissue). Lymph nodes are enlarged but cancer has not spread to them. In stage IIB, one or more tumors (lumps of malignant cells) are found on the skin. Lymph nodes may be enlarged but cancer has not spread to them. Stage II may also be classified based on how many abnormal lymphocytes (white blood cells) are found in the blood.

stage II nasopharyngeal cancer
Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB. In stage IIA, cancer has spread from the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose) to the oropharynx (the middle part of the throat that includes the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils), and/or to the nasal cavity. In stage IIB, cancer is found in the nasopharynx and has spread to lymph nodes on one side of the neck, or has spread to the area surrounding the nasopharynx and may have spread to lymph nodes on one side of the neck.

stage II non-small cell lung cancer
Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or to the chest wall, the diaphragm, the mediastinal pleura (the thin membrane that covers the outside of the lungs in the area near the heart), or the parietal pericardium (the outer layer of tissue that surrounds the heart). Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB based on the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes.

stage II oropharynx cancer
Tumor that is between 2 and 4 centimeters (0.75 and 1.5 inches) and is confined to the oropharynx.

stage II ovarian cancer
Cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread into other areas of the pelvis. Stage II is divided into stage IIA, stage IIB, and stage IIC. In stage IIA, cancer has spread to the uterus and/or the fallopian tubes. In stage IIB, cancer has spread to other tissues within the pelvis. In stage IIC, cancer has spread to the uterus and/or fallopian tubes and/or other tissue within the pelvis and cancer cells are found in fluid from the peritoneal cavity (the body cavity that contains most of the organs in the abdomen).

stage II pancreatic cancer
Stage II is divided into stages IIA and IIB, based on where the cancer has spread. In stage IIA, cancer has spread to nearby tissue and organs but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes. In stage IIB, cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and may have spread to nearby tissue and organs.

stage II prostate cancer
Cancer is more advanced than in stage I, but has not spread outside the prostate. Also called stage A2, stage B1, or stage B2 prostate cancer.

stage II renal cell cancer (REE-nul)
The tumor is larger than 7 centimeters and is found in the kidney only. Also called stage II kidney cancer.

stage II skin cancer
The tumor is larger than 2 centimeters.

stage II testicular cancer
Stage II is divided into stage IIA, stage IIB, and stage IIC, and is determined after a radical inguinal orchiectomy (surgery to remove the testicle) is done. In stage IIA, the cancer is anywhere within the testicle, spermatic cord, or scrotum; and has spread to up to 5 lymph nodes in the abdomen (none larger than 2 centimeters). In stage IIB, the cancer is anywhere within the testicle, spermatic cord, or scrotum; has spread to up to 5 lymph nodes in the abdomen (at least one of the lymph nodes is larger than 2 centimeters, but none is larger than 5 centimeters) or has spread to more than 5 lymph nodes (the lymph nodes are not larger than 5 centimeters). In stage IIC, the cancer is anywhere within the testicle, spermatic cord, or scrotum; and has spread to a lymph node in the abdomen that is larger than 5 centimeters. All tumor marker levels are normal or slightly above normal.

stage II transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter (tran-ZIH-shu-nil sel KAN-ser of the REE-nul PEL-vus and yoo-REE-ter)
Cancer has spread through the layer of connective tissue to the muscle layer of the renal pelvis and/or ureter.

stage II Wilms' tumor
Cancer has spread to tissue near the kidney, to blood vessels, or to the renal sinus (a part of the kidney through which blood and fluid enter and exit). The cancer can be completely removed by surgery.

stage IIA breast cancer
Stage II breast cancer is divided into stages IIA and IIB. In stage IIA, (1) no tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is found in the axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes; or (2) the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes; or (3) the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

stage IIA gallbladder cancer
Stage II gallbladder cancer is divided into stages IIA and IIB. In stage IIA, cancer has spread beyond the tissue that covers the gallbladder and/or to the liver and/or to one nearby organ, such as the stomach, small intestine, colon, pancreas, or bile ducts outside the liver.

stage IIA soft tissue sarcoma
The cancer cells look somewhat different from normal cells. The cancer is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage IIB breast cancer
Stage II breast cancer is divided into stages IIA and IIB. In stage IIB, (1) the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes; or (2) the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

stage IIB gallbladder cancer
Stage II gallbladder cancer is divided into stages IIA and IIB. In stage IIB, cancer has spread in one of the following ways: (1) beyond the innermost layer to the connective tissue and to nearby lymph nodes; or (2) to the muscle layer and nearby lymph nodes; or (3) beyond the muscle layer to the connective tissue around the muscle and nearby lymph nodes; or (4) through the tissue that covers the gallbladder and/or to the liver and/or to one nearby organ, such as the stomach, small intestine, colon, pancreas, or bile ducts outside the liver, and to nearby lymph nodes.

stage IIB melanoma
Melanoma in which the tumor is more than 4 millimeters thick. It has spread through the lower part of the inner layer of skin (dermis) and into subcutaneous (under the skin) tissue, but not to nearby lymph nodes.

stage IIB soft tissue sarcoma
The cancer cells look very different from normal cells. The cancer is smaller than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage IIC soft tissue sarcoma
The cancer cells look very different from normal cells. The cancer is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage III adrenocortical cancer
The cancer has spread into tissues around the adrenal gland or has spread to the lymph nodes around the adrenal gland.

stage III adult Hodgkin's lymphoma
Stage III is divided into stage III, stage IIIE, stage IIIS, and stage IIIS+E. In stage III, cancer is found in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs that helps breathing and separates the chest from the abdomen). In stage IIIE, cancer is found in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm and in a nearby area or organ other than the lymph nodes. In stage IIIS, cancer is found in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm and in the spleen. In stage IIIE+S, cancer is found in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm, in a nearby area or organ, and in the spleen. Stage III is also divided into stage III(1) and stage III(2). In stage III(1), cancer is limited to the upper abdomen above the renal vein. In stage III(2), cancer is found in lymph nodes in the pelvis and/or near the heart.

stage III adult non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Stage III is divided into stage III, stage IIIE, stage IIIS, and stage IIIS+E. In stage III, cancer is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm. In stage IIIE, cancer is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm and in a nearby organ or tissue other than the lymph nodes. In stage IIIS, cancer is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm and in the spleen. In stage IIIS+E, cancer is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm, in a nearby organ or tissue, and in the spleen.

stage III AIDS-related lymphoma
Stage III AIDS-related lymphoma is divided into stages III, IIIE, IIIS, and IIIS+E. In stage III, cancer is found in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm (the muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen). In stage IIIE, cancer is found in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm and in one area of an organ or tissue that is not part of the lymph system. In stage IIIS, cancer is found in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm and in the spleen. In stage IIIS+E, cancer is found in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm, in the spleen, and in one area of an organ or tissue that is not part of the lymph system.

stage III anal cancer
Stage III anal cancer is divided into stage IIIA and IIIB. Stage IIIA anal cancer has spread to the lymph nodes around the rectum or to nearby organs such as the vagina or bladder. Stage IIIB cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the middle of the abdomen or in the groin, or the cancer has spread to both nearby organs and the lymph nodes around the rectum.

stage III bladder cancer
Cancer has spread from the bladder to the fatty layer of tissue surrounding it, and may have spread to the reproductive organs (prostate, uterus, vagina).

stage III breast cancer
Stage III is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB. In stage IIIA breast cancer, the cancer (1) is smaller than 5 centimeters (2 inches) and has spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit, which have grown into each other or into other structures and are attached to them; or (2) is larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit. In stage IIIB breast cancer, the cancer (1) has spread to tissues near the breast (skin, chest wall, including the ribs and the muscles in the chest); or (2) has spread to lymph nodes inside the chest wall along the breast bone.

stage III cancer of the uterus
Cancer cells have spread outside the uterus to the vagina and/or lymph nodes in the pelvis but have not spread outside the pelvis.

stage III cancer of the vulva
Cancer is found in the vulva, perineum, or both. The cancer has also spread to nearby tissues such as the lower part of the urethra (the tube through which urine passes), the vagina, and the anus (the opening of the rectum); to nearby lymph nodes; or both.

stage III cervical cancer
Cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina and may have spread to the pelvic wall (the tissues that line the part of the body between the hips), and nearby lymph nodes. Stage III is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB, based on now far the cancer has spread. In stage IIIA, cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina but not to the pelvic wall. In stage IIIB, cancer has spread to the pelvic wall and/or the tumor has become large enough to block the ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder). This blockage can cause the kidneys to enlarge or stop working. Cancer may also have spread to lymph nodes in the pelvis.

stage III childhood liver cancer
Either (1) the tumor cannot be removed by surgery; or (2) cancer that can be seen without a microscope remains after surgery; or (3) the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.

stage III childhood non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Cancer is found (1) in areas or lymph nodes on both sides of the diaphragm (the thin muscle under the lungs that divides the chest and abdominal cavity and helps with breathing); or (2) to have started in the chest; or (3) in more than one place in the abdomen; or (4) in the area around the spine.

stage III chronic lymphocytic leukemia
There are too many lymphocytes in the blood and there are too few red blood cells. The lymph nodes, liver, or spleen may be larger than normal.

stage III colorectal cancer
Tumor cells have spread to organs and lymph nodes near the colon/rectum. Also called Dukes C colorectal cancer.

stage III cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
Nearly all of the skin is red, dry, and scaly; lymph nodes are either normal or enlarged but do not contain cancer cells.

stage III endometrial cancer
Cancer has spread beyond the uterus and cervix, but has not spread beyond the pelvis. Stage III is divided into stage IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC, based on how far the cancer has spread within the pelvis. In stage IIIA, cancer has spread to (1) the outermost layer of the uterus; and/or (2) tissue just beyond the uterus; and/or (3) the peritoneum (tissue that lines the abdominal wall and organs). In stage IIIB, cancer has spread beyond the uterus and cervix, into the vagina. In stage IIIC, cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the uterus.

stage III esophageal cancer
Cancer has spread to the outer wall of the esophagus and may have spread to tissues or lymph nodes near the esophagus.

stage III extrahepatic bile duct cancer (EK-struh-hih-PA-tik bile dukt)
Cancer has spread to (1) the portal vein (blood vessel that carries blood to the liver) or to both branches; or (2) the hepatic artery (blood vessel that carries blood to the liver); or (3) other nearby organs or tissues, such as the colon, stomach, small intestine, or abdominal wall. Cancer may also have spread to nearby lymph nodes.

stage III gallbladder cancer
In stage III, cancer has spread to a main blood vessel in the liver or to nearby organs and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.

stage III gastric cancer
Stage III is divided into stage IIIA and stage IIIB depending on where the cancer has spread. In stage IIIA, cancer has spread to (1) the muscularis (middle) layer of the stomach wall and is found in 7 to 15 lymph nodes near the tumor, or (2) the serosal (outermost) layer of the stomach wall and is found in 1 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor, or (3) to organs next to the stomach but not to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. In stage IIIB, cancer has spread to the serosal (outermost) layer of the stomach wall and is found in 7 to 15 lymph nodes near the tumor.

stage III hypopharyngeal cancer
In stage III hypopharyngeal cancer the tumor is (1) found only in one area of the hypopharynx and is 2 centimeters or smaller; cancer has also spread to a single lymph node on the same side of the neck and the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller; or (2) in more than one area of the hypopharynx, is in nearby tissues, or is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 4 centimeters and is not in the larynx; cancer has also spread to a single lymph node on the same side of the neck and the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller; or (3) larger than 4 centimeters or has spread to the larynx; cancer may have spread to a single lymph node on the same side of the neck and the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller.

stage III kidney cancer
Cancer is found in either (1) the kidney and in 1 nearby lymph node; or (2) an adrenal gland or in the layer of fatty tissue around the kidney, and may be found in 1 nearby lymph node; or (3) the main blood vessels of the kidney and may be found in 1 nearby lymph node. Also called stage III renal cell cancer.

stage III laryngeal cancer (...luh-RIN-jul...)
In stage III laryngeal cancer, one of the following is found: (1) cancer is in the larynx only and the vocal cords do not move normally; cancer may have spread to tissues next to the larynx; cancer may have spread to one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor and the lymph node is smaller than 3 centimeters; or (2) cancer is in one area of the larynx, the vocal cords move normally, and cancer is found in one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor; the lymph node is smaller than 3 centimeters; or (3) cancer is in more than one area of the larynx or in the vocal cords (which may not move normally) and in one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor; the lymph node is smaller than 3 centimeters.

stage III lip and oral cavity cancer
The cancer is larger than 4 centimeters (about 2 inches); or the cancer is any size but has spread to only one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the cancer. The lymph node that contains cancer is no larger than 3 centimeters (just over one inch).

stage III malignant mesothelioma
Cancer has spread to the chest wall, mediastinum, heart, lining of the peritoneum, and/or beyond the diaphragm. Cancer may also have spread to lymph nodes on the other side of the chest or outside the chest. Stages II, III, and IV malignant mesothelioma are also called advanced malignant mesothelioma.

stage III melanoma
The tumor may be any thickness, with or without ulceration (formation of a break on the skin or surface of an organ), and (1) has spread to 1 or more lymph nodes; or (2) has spread into the nearby lymph system but not into nearby lymph nodes; or (3) has spread to lymph nodes that are matted (not moveable); or (4) satellite tumors (additional tumor growths within 2 centimeters of the original tumor) are present and nearby lymph nodes are involved.

stage III multiple myeloma
A relatively large number of cancer cells have spread throughout the body. There may be one or more of the following: 1) a decrease in the number of red blood cells, causing anemia; 2) the amount of calcium in the blood is very high, because the bones are being damaged; 3) more than three bone tumors (plasmacytomas) are found; or 4) high levels of M protein are found in the blood or urine.

stage III mycosis fungoides and the Sezary syndrome (...my-KOH-sis fun-GOY-deez...)
In stage III, nearly all of the skin is reddened and there may be patches, plaques, or tumors. Lymph nodes may be enlarged but cancer has not spread to them. Stage III may also be classified based on how many abnormal lymphocytes (white blood cells) are found in the blood.

stage III nasopharyngeal cancer
Cancer (1) is found in the nasopharynx and has spread to lymph nodes on both sides of the neck; or (2) has spread into the soft tissues (oropharynx and/or nasal cavity) and to lymph nodes on both sides of the neck; or (3) has spread beyond the soft tissues into areas around the pharynx and to lymph nodes on both sides of the neck; or (4) has spread to nearby bones or sinuses and may have spread to lymph nodes on one or both sides of the neck.

stage III non-small cell lung cancer
Cancer has spread to structures near the lung; to the lymph nodes in the area that separates the two lungs (mediastinum); or to the lymph nodes on the other side of the chest or in the lower neck. Stage III is further divided into stage IIIA (usually can be resected which is sometimes treated with surgery) and stage IIIB (usually cannot be resected which is rarely treated with surgery).

stage III oropharynx cancer
The tumor is larger than 4 centimeters (about 1.5 inches) in size and may involve a single lymph node on the same side of the neck.

stage III ovarian cancer
Cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread to other parts of the abdomen. Stage III is divided into stage IIIA, stage IIIB, and stage IIIC. In stage IIIA, the tumor is found in the pelvis only, but cancer cells have spread to the surface of the peritoneum. In stage IIIB, cancer has spread to the peritoneum but is not larger than 2 centimeters in diameter. In stage IIIC, cancer has spread to the peritoneum and is larger than 2 centimeters in diameter and/or has spread to lymph nodes in the abdomen. Cancer that has spread to the surface of the liver is also considered stage III disease.

stage III pancreatic cancer
Cancer has spread to the major blood vessels near the pancreas, and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.

stage III prostate cancer
Cancer has spread beyond the outer layer of the prostate to nearby tissues and may be found in the seminal vesicles (glands that help produce semen). Also called stage C prostate cancer.

stage III renal cell cancer (REE-nul)
Cancer is found in (1) the kidney and in 1 nearby lymph node; or (2) an adrenal gland or in the layer of fatty tissue around the kidney, and may be found in 1 nearby lymph node; or (3) the main blood vessels of the kidney and may be found in 1 nearby lymph node. Also called stage III kidney cancer.

stage III skin cancer
Cancer has spread below the skin to cartilage, muscle, or bone and/or to nearby lymph nodes, but not to other parts of the body.

stage III soft tissue sarcoma
The cancer cells look very different from normal cells. The cancer is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) but has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage III testicular cancer
Stage III is divided into stage IIIA, stage IIIB, and stage IIIC, and is determined after a radical inguinal orchiectomy (surgery to remove the testicle) is done. In stage IIIA, the cancer is anywhere within the testicle, spermatic cord, or scrotum; may have spread to one or more lymph nodes in the abdomen; and has spread to distant lymph nodes or to the lungs. In stage IIIB, the cancer is anywhere within the testicle, spermatic cord, or scrotum; and may have spread to one or more nearby or distant lymph nodes or to the lungs. In stage IIIC, the cancer is anywhere within the testicle, spermatic cord, or scrotum; and may have spread to one or more nearby or distant lymph nodes or to the lungs or anywhere else in the body. The level of one or more tumor markers may range from normal to very high.

stage III transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter (tran-ZIH-shu-nil sel KAN-ser of the REE-nul PEL-vus and yoo-REE-ter)
Cancer has spread either (1) to the layer of fat outside the renal pelvis and/or ureter; or (2) into the wall of the kidney.

stage III Wilms' tumor
Cancer has spread to tissues near the kidney and cannot be completely removed by surgery. The cancer may have spread to blood vessels or organs near the kidney or throughout the abdomen. The cancer may also have spread to lymph nodes near the kidney.

stage IIIA adult primary liver cancer
Stage III adult primary liver cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIA there is either (1) more than one tumor larger than 5 centimeters; or (2) one tumor that has spread to a major branch of blood vessels near the liver.

stage IIIA anal cancer
Stage III anal cancer is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB. In stage IIIA, the tumor may be any size and has spread to either (1) lymph nodes near the rectum; or (2) nearby organs, such as the vagina, urethra, and bladder.

stage IIIA breast cancer
Stage III breast cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIA, (1) no tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is found in axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures; or (2) the tumor is 5 centimeters or smaller and has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures; or (3) the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to axillary lymph nodes that may or may not be attached to each other or to other structures.

stage IIIB adult primary liver cancer
Stage III adult primary liver cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIB, there are one or more tumors of any size that have either (1) spread to nearby organs other than the gallbladder; or (2) broken through the lining of the peritoneal cavity.

stage IIIB anal cancer
Stage III anal cancer is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB. In stage IIIB, the tumor may be any size and has spread to (1) nearby organs and to lymph nodes near the rectum; or (2) lymph nodes on one side of the pelvis and/or groin, and may have spread to nearby organs; or (3) lymph nodes near the rectum and in the groin, and/or to lymph nodes on both sides of the pelvis and/or groin, and may have spread to nearby organs.

stage IIIB breast cancer
Stage III breast cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIB, the cancer may be any size, has spread to tissues near the breast (the skin or chest wall, including the ribs and muscles in the chest), and may have spread to lymph nodes within the breast or under the arm.

stage IIIC adult primary liver cancer
Stage III adult primary liver cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIC, the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.

stage IIIC breast cancer
Stage III breast cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIC, cancer has spread to lymph nodes beneath the collarbone and near the neck; and may have spread to lymph nodes within the breast or under the arm and to tissues near the breast.

stage IV adrenocortical cancer
The cancer has spread to tissues or organs in the area and to lymph nodes around the adrenal cortex, or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

stage IV adult Hodgkin's lymphoma
The cancer is found in at least one organ other than the lymph nodes and may be in the lymph nodes near the organ(s); or the cancer is found in one organ other than the lymph nodes and has spread to lymph nodes far away from the organ.

stage IV adult non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
The cancer either (1) is found in at least one organ or tissue other than the lymph nodes and may be in nearby lymph nodes; or (2) has spread to one organ other than the lymph nodes and has spread to lymph nodes far away from that organ.

stage IV adult primary liver cancer
Cancer has spread beyond the liver to other places in the body, such as the bones or lungs. The tumors may be of any size and may also have spread to nearby blood vessels and/or lymph nodes.

stage IV AIDS-related lymphoma
In stage IV AIDS-related lymphoma, the cancer is found (1) in several areas throughout one or more organs that are not part of the lymph system, and it may be in nearby lymph nodes; or (2) in one organ that is not part of the lymph system, and it has spread to lymph nodes far away from that organ.

stage IV anal cancer
The tumor may be any size, and cancer has spread to distant parts of the body. It may also have spread to lymph nodes and nearby organs.

stage IV bladder cancer
Cancer has spread from the bladder to the wall of the abdomen or pelvis. Cancer may have spread to one or more lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.

stage IV breast cancer
Cancer has spread to other organs of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.

stage IV cancer of the uterus
Cancer cells have spread to the lining of the bladder or rectum or to distant parts of the body.

stage IV cancer of the vulva
Cancer has spread beyond the urethra, vagina, and anus into the lining of the bladder (the sac that holds urine) and the bowel (intestine); or it may have spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvis or to other parts of the body.

stage IV cervical cancer
Cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum, or other parts of the body. Stage IV is divided into stages IVA and IVB. In stage IVA, cancer has spread to the bladder or rectal wall and may have spread to lymph nodes in the pelvis. In stage IVB, cancer has spread beyond the pelvis and pelvic lymph nodes to other places in the body, such as the abdomen, liver, intestinal tract, or lungs.

stage IV childhood liver cancer
The cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

stage IV childhood non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Cancer is found in the bone marrow, brain, or spinal cord. Cancer may also be found in other parts of the body.

stage IV chronic lymphocytic leukemia
There are too many lymphocytes in the blood and too few platelets. The lymph nodes, liver, or spleen may be larger than normal and there may be too few red blood cells.

stage IV colorectal cancer
Cancer may have spread to nearby lymph nodes and has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs. Also called Dukes' D colorectal cancer.

stage IV cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
Stage IV cutaneous T-cell lymphoma may be either of the following: in stage IVA cancer, the skin is red, dry, and scaly, and the lymph nodes contain cancer cells; in stage IVB cancer, the skin is red, dry and scaly, cancer cells may be found in lymph nodes, and cancer has spread to other organs in the body.

stage IV endometrial cancer
Cancer has spread beyond the pelvis. Stage IV is divided into stage IVA and IVB, based on how far the cancer has spread. In stage IVA, cancer has spread to the bladder or bowel wall. In stage IVB, cancer has spread to other parts of the body beyond the pelvis, including lymph nodes in the abdomen and/or groin.

stage IV esophageal cancer
Stage IV esophageal cancer is divided into stage IVA and stage IVB, depending on where the cancer has spread. In stage IVA, cancer has spread to nearby or distant lymph nodes. In stage IVB, cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes and/or organs in other parts of the body.

stage IV extrahepatic bile duct cancer (EK-struh-hih-PA-tik bile dukt)
Cancer has spread to lymph nodes and/or organs far away from the extrahepatic bile duct.

stage IV gallbladder cancer
In stage IV, cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and/or to organs far away from the gallbladder.

stage IV gastric cancer
Cancer has spread (1) to organs next to the stomach and to at least one lymph node, or (2) to more than 15 lymph nodes, or (3) to other parts of the body.

stage IV hypopharynx cancer
The tumor has spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes of the neck and may have spread to other parts of the body.

stage IV kidney cancer
Cancer has spread (1) beyond the layer of fatty tissue around the kidney and may be found in 1 nearby lymph node; or (2) to 2 or more nearby lymph nodes; or (3) to other organs, such as the bowel, pancreas, or lungs, and may be found in nearby lymph nodes. Also called stage IV renal cell cancer.

stage IV laryngeal cancer
The cancer has spread to tissues around the larynx, such as the pharynx or the tissues in the neck. The lymph nodes in the area may contain cancer; the cancer has spread to more than one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the cancer, to lymph nodes on one or both sides of the neck, or to any lymph node that measures more than 6 centimeters (over 2 inches); or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

stage IV lip and oral cavity cancer
The cancer has spread to tissues around the lip and oral cavity (the lymph nodes in the area may contain cancer); the cancer is any size and has spread to more than one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the cancer, to lymph nodes on one or both sides of the neck, or to any lymph node that is larger than 6 centimeters (larger than 2 inches); or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

stage IV malignant mesothelioma
Cancer has spread to distant organs or tissues. Stages II, III, and IV malignant mesothelioma are also called advanced malignant mesothelioma.

stage IV melanoma
The tumor may be any thickness, with or without ulceration (formation of a break on the skin or surface of an organ), may have spread to 1 or more nearby lymph nodes, and has spread to other places in the body.

stage IV mycosis fungoides and the Sezary syndrome (...my-KOH-sis fun-GOY-deez...)
Stage IV is divided into stages IVA and IVB. In stage IVA, most of the skin is reddened, and any amount of the skin is covered with patches and/or plaques (areas of abnormal tissue) or tumors (lumps of malignant cells). Cancer has spread to lymph nodes, and the lymph nodes may be enlarged. In stage IVB, most of the skin is reddened, and any amount of the skin is covered with lesions or tumors. Cancer has spread to other organs in the body. Lymph nodes may be enlarged and cancer may have spread to them. Stage IV may also be classified based on how many abnormal lymphocytes (white blood cells) are found in the blood.

stage IV nasopharyngeal cancer
Stage IV nasopharyngeal cancer is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC. In stage IVA, cancer has spread beyond the nasopharynx and may have spread to the cranial nerves, the hypopharynx (bottom part of the throat), areas in and around the side of the skull or jawbone, and/or the bone around the eye. Cancer may also have spread to lymph nodes on one or both sides of the neck, and the involved lymph nodes are 6 centimeters or smaller. In stage IVB, cancer has spread to lymph nodes above the collarbone and/or the involved lymph nodes are larger than 6 centimeters. In stage IVC, cancer has spread beyond nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body.

stage IV non-small cell lung cancer
Cancer has spread to other parts of the body or to another lobe of the lungs.

stage IV oropharynx cancer
The tumor has spread to the hard palate, tongue, or larynx, to nearby lymph nodes, and may have spread to other parts of the body.

stage IV ovarian cancer
Cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has metastasized (spread) beyond the abdomen to other parts of the body. Cancer that is found in tissues of the liver is considered stage IV disease.

stage IV pancreatic cancer
Cancer may be of any size and has spread to distant organs, such as the liver, lung, and peritoneal cavity (the body cavity that contains most of the organs in the abdomen), and may have also spread to organs and tissues near the pancreas or to lymph nodes.

stage IV prostate cancer
Cancer has metastasized (spread) to lymph nodes near or far from the prostate, or to other parts of the body, such as the bladder, rectum, bones, liver, or lungs. Metastatic prostate cancer often spreads to the bones. Also called stage D1 or stage D2 prostate cancer.

stage IV renal cell cancer (REE-nul)
Cancer has spread (1) beyond the layer of fatty tissue around the kidney and may be found in 1 nearby lymph node; or (2) to 2 or more nearby lymph nodes; or (3) to other organs, such as the bowel, pancreas, or lungs, and may be found in nearby lymph nodes. Also called stage IV kidney cancer.

stage IV skin cancer
Cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

stage IV soft tissue sarcoma
The cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the area or other parts of the body (such as the lungs, head, or neck).

stage IV transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter (tran-ZIH-shu-nil sel KAN-ser of the REE-nul PEL-vus and yoo-REE-ter)
Cancer has spread to a nearby organ and/or to the layer of fat surrounding the kidney.

stage IV Wilms' tumor
Cancer has spread to organs further away from the kidney (such as the lungs, liver, bone, and brain).

stage IVA hypopharyngeal cancer
Stage IV hypopharyngeal cancer is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC. In stage IVA, the tumor is (1) any size and has spread to nearby soft tissue, connective tissue, the thyroid, or the esophagus; cancer may be found either in one lymph node on the same side of the neck (the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller) or in one or more lymph nodes anywhere in the neck (all of these lymph nodes are 6 centimeters or smaller); or (2) in only one area of the hypopharynx, is 2 centimeters or smaller, and has also spread to one or more lymph nodes anywhere in the neck (all of these lymph nodes are 6 centimeters or smaller); or (3) in more than one area of the hypopharynx, is in nearby tissues, or is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 4 centimeters and has not spread to the larynx; cancer has spread to one or more lymph nodes anywhere in the neck (all of these lymph nodes are 6 centimeters or smaller); or (4) larger than 4 centimeters or has spread to the larynx; cancer has also spread to one or more lymph nodes anywhere in the neck (all of these lymph nodes are 6 centimeters or smaller).

stage IVA laryngeal cancer (...luh-RIN-jul...)
Stage IV is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC. In stage IVA, one of the following is found: (1) cancer has spread through the thyroid cartilage and/or has spread to tissues beyond the larynx such as the neck, trachea, thyroid, or esophagus; cancer may have spread to one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor and the lymph node is smaller than 3 centimeters; or (2) cancer has spread to one or more lymph nodes anywhere in the neck and the lymph nodes are smaller than 6 centimeters; cancer may have spread to tissues beyond the larynx, such as the neck, trachea, thyroid, or esophagus. Vocal cords may not move normally.

stage IVA pancreatic cancer
Cancer has spread to organs that are near the pancreas (such as the stomach, spleen, or colon) but has not spread to distant organs (such as the liver or lungs).

stage IVB hypopharyngeal cancer
Stage IV hypopharyngeal cancer is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC. In stage IVB, the tumor either (1) has spread to nearby soft tissue, connective tissue, blood vessels, the thyroid, or the esophagus, and may have spread to lymph nodes of any size; or (2) is any size and has spread to lymph nodes that are larger than 6 centimeters.

stage IVB laryngeal cancer (...luh-RIN-jul...)
Stage IV is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC. In stage IVB, one of the following is found: (1) cancer has spread to the space in front of the spinal column and surrounds the carotid artery, or has spread to parts of the chest and may have spread to one or more lymph nodes anywhere in the neck (the lymph nodes may be any size); or (2) cancer has spread to a lymph node that is larger than 6 centimeters and may have spread as far as the space in front of the spinal column, around the carotid artery, or to parts of the chest. Vocal cords may not move normally.

stage IVB pancreatic cancer
Cancer of the pancreas in which the cancer has spread to distant organs (such as the liver or lungs).

stage IVC hypopharyngeal cancer
Stage IV hypopharyngeal cancer is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC. In stage IVC, cancer has spread beyond the hypopharynx to other parts of the body.

stage IVC laryngeal cancer (...luh-RIN-jul...)
Stage IV is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC. In stage IVC, cancer has spread beyond the larynx to distant parts of the body.

stage V Wilms' tumor
Cancer cells are found in both kidneys.

staging (STAY-jing)
Performing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer within the body, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. It is important to know the stage of the disease in order to plan the best treatment.

standard of care
In medicine, treatment that experts agree is appropriate, accepted, and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide patients with the standard of care. Also called standard therapy or best practice.

standard therapy
In medicine, treatment that experts agree is appropriate, accepted, and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide patients with standard therapy. Also called standard of care or best practice.

statin (STA-tin)
Any of a group of drugs that lower the amount of cholesterol and certain fats in the blood. Statins inhibit a key enzyme that helps make cholesterol. Statin drugs are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

statistically significant
Describes a mathematical measure of difference between groups. The difference is said to be statistically significant if it is greater than what might be expected to happen by chance alone. Also called significant.

staurosporine
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkaloids. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

stavudine
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nucleoside analogs. It is used to treat infection caused by viruses.

stellate
Star shaped.

stem cell
A cell from which other types of cells develop. Blood cells develop from blood-forming stem cells.

stem cell factor
SCF. A drug that is being studied for its ability to increase the number of stem cells in the blood. It belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic cell growth factors. Also called ancestim and Stemgen.

stem cell transplantation
A method of replacing immature blood-forming cells that were destroyed by cancer treatment. The stem cells are given to the person after treatment to help the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells.

Stemgen
A drug that is being studied for its ability to increase the number of stem cells in the blood. It belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic cell growth factors. Also called stem cell factor (SCF) and ancestim.

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

stereotactic biopsy (STAYR-ee-oh-TAK-tik BY-op-see)
A biopsy procedure that uses a computer and a 3-dimensional scanning device to find a tumor site and guide the removal of tissue for examination under a microscope.

stereotactic body radiation therapy
A radiation therapy technique that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue.

stereotactic external-beam radiation
A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

stereotactic injection
A procedure in which a computer and a 3-dimensional scanning device are used to inject anticancer drugs directly into a tumor.

stereotactic radiation therapy (STAIR-ee-o-TAK-tik ray-dee-AY-shun)
A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

stereotactic radiosurgery (STAIR-ee-o-TAK-tik...)
A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy, and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

stereotaxic radiosurgery
A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery.

stereotaxis (STAYR-ee-oh-TAX-iss)
Use of a computer and scanning devices to create 3-dimensional pictures. This method can be used to direct a biopsy, external radiation, or the insertion of radiation implants.

sterile (STER-il)
Unable to produce children. Also means free from germs.

steroid drug (STAIR-oyd)
A type of drug used to relieve swelling and inflammation. Some steroid drugs may also have antitumor effects.

steroid therapy
Treatment with corticosteroid drugs to reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation.

STI571
A drug that is used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors and certain types of chronic myelogenous leukemia. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Imatinib mesylate blocks a protein made by the bcr/abl oncogene. It belongs to the family of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called imatinib mesylate and Gleevec.

stimulant (STIM-yoo-lunt)
In medicine, a family of drugs used to treat depression, attention-deficit disorder (a common disorder in which children are inattentive, impulsive, and/or over-active), and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes uncontrollable sleepiness). Stimulants increase brain activity, alertness, attention, and energy. They also raise blood pressure and increase heart rate and breathing rate.

stoma (STO-ma)
A surgically created opening from an area inside the body to the outside.

stomach
An organ that is part of the digestive system. The stomach helps digest food by mixing it with digestive juices and churning it into a thin liquid.

stomach cancer (STUH-muk KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues lining the stomach. Also called gastric cancer.

stomatitis
Inflammation or irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth.

stool
The waste matter discharged in a bowel movement; feces.

stool test
A test to check for hidden blood in the bowel movement.

streptavidin
A small bacterial protein that binds with high affinity to the vitamin biotin. This streptavidin-biotin combination can be used to link molecules such as radioisotopes and monoclonal antibodies together. These bound products have the property of being attracted to, and attaching to, cancer cells, rather than normal cells. The radiolabeled products are more easily removed from the body, thus decreasing their toxicity.

streptozocin
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

stroke
In medicine, a loss of blood flow to part of the brain, which damages brain tissue. Strokes are caused by blood clots and broken blood vessels in the brain. Symptoms include dizziness, numbness, weakness on one side of the body, and problems with talking, writing, or understanding language. The risk of stroke is increased by high blood pressure, older age, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, atherosclerosis (a build-up of fatty material and plaque inside the coronary arteries), and a family history of stroke.

Stromagen
A drug that is derived from a patient's stem cells (specialized cells in the bone marrow that form new blood cells) and may be given back to the patient to help restore bone marrow that has been damaged by high-dose chemotherapy.

stromal tumor (STRO-mal)
A tumor that arises in the supporting connective tissue of an organ.

strontium
A metal often used in a radioactive form for imaging tests and in the treatment of cancer.

strontium ranelate (STRON-chee-um RAN-uh-layt)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Strontium ranelate helps new bone tissue to grow and decreases bone loss. This lowers the risk of bone fractures.

strontium-89
A radioactive compound that is absorbed by the bone. It is used to treat bone pain associated with prostate cancer.

study agent
A medicine, vitamin, mineral, food supplement, or a combination of them that is being tested in a clinical trial.

Sturge-Weber syndrome
SWS. A rare, congenital disorder that affects the brain, skin, and eyes. Abnormal blood vessel growth occurs in the trigeminal nerve in the face and the meninges (covering) of the brain. This abnormal growth causes red or purple skin discoloration (sometimes called a port wine stain), usually on one side of the face, and can also cause seizures, learning disabilities, and glaucoma.

SU006668
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called SU6668.

SU011248
A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). SU011248 is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of other cancers. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib, sunitinib malate, SU11248, and Sutent.

SU101
An anticancer drug that works by inhibiting a cancer cell growth factor. Also called leflunomide.

SU11248
A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). SU11248 is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of other cancers. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib, sunitinib malate, SU011248, and Sutent.

SU5416
A substance that has been studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called semaxanib.

SU6668
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called SU006668.

subcutaneous
Beneath the skin.

subcutaneous port
A tube surgically placed into a blood vessel and attached to a disk placed under the skin. It is used for the administration of intravenous fluids and drugs; it can also be used to obtain blood samples.

subependymal (SUB-ep-EN-di-mal)
Below the ependyma (the membrane that lines the ventricles of the brain and the central canal of the spinal cord).

suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (soo-ber-OYL-an-uh-lide hy-DROX-ah-mik A-sid)
SAHA. A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors. Also called vorinostat.

subglottis (SUB-glot-is)
The lowest part of the larynx; the area from just below the vocal cords down to the top of the trachea.

subjective improvement
An improvement that is reported by the patient, but cannot be measured by the healthcare provider (for example, "I feel better").

submucosa (sub-myoo-KOH-suh)
The layer of tissue under the mucosa (inner lining of some organs and body cavities that makes mucus).

subserosa (sub-seh-ROH-suh)
The layer of tissue under the serosa (outer lining of some organs and body cavities).

subset analysis
In a clinical study, the evaluation of results for some but not all of the patients who participated. The selected patients have one or more characteristics in common, such as the same stage of disease or the same hormone receptor status.

substance abuse (SUB-stunts uh-BYOOS)
The use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs or alcohol for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts. Substance abuse may lead to social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems.

subtenon
Used to describe injections through the membrane covering the muscles and nerves at the back of the eyeball.

sucralfate
A drug used to treat ulcers. It adheres to proteins at the ulcer site and forms a protective coating over the ulcer. Sucralfate is also used to treat mucositis.

suction aspiration (SUK-shun as-per-AY-shun)
A surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated (opened) and vacuum is used to remove tissue from the uterus. Also called suction evacuation or vacuum aspiration.

suction evacuation (SUK-shun ee-VA-kyoo-A-shun)
A surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated (opened) and vacuum is used to remove tissue from the uterus. Also called suction aspiration or vacuum aspiration.

sudden infant death syndrome (...SIN-drome)
SIDS. The sudden and unexpected death of a healthy child who is younger than one year old, usually during sleep. The cause of SIDS is not known. Also called crib death.

suicide (SOO-ih-SYDE)
The act of taking one's own life on purpose.

sulfa drug
A type of antibiotic used to treat infection. Also called sulfonamide.

sulfonamide
A type of antibiotic used to treat infection. Also called sulfa drug.

sulfuric acid
A strong acid that, when concentrated, is extremely corrosive to the skin and mucous membranes. It is used in making fertilizers, dyes, electroplating, and industrial explosives.

sulindac
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

sun protection factor
SPF. A scale for rating the level of sunburn protection in sunscreen products. The higher the SPF, the more sunburn protection it gives. Sunscreens with an SPF value of 2 through 11 give minimal protection against sunburns. Sunscreens with an SPF of 12 through 29 give moderate protection. Those with an SPF of 30 or higher give high protection against sunburn.

Sun's Soup (sunz soop)
A mixture of vegetables and other edible plants that has been studied in the treatment of cancer. The vegetables include soybean, shiitake mushroom, mung bean, red date, scallion, garlic, leek, lentil, Hawthorn fruit, onion, ginseng, Angelica root, licorice, dandelion root, senega root, ginger, olive, sesame seed, and parsley. Sun's Soup is available in the United States as a dietary supplement.

sunitinib (soo-NIH-tih-nib)
A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). Sunitinib is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of other cancers. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib malate, SU11248, SU011248, and Sutent.

sunitinib malate (soo-NIH-tih-nib MA-layt)
A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). Sunitinib malate is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other cancers. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib, SU11248, SU011248, and Sutent.

sunscreen
A substance that helps protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays. Sunscreens reflect, absorb, and scatter both ultraviolet A and B radiation to provide protection against both types of radiation. Using lotions, creams, or gels that contain sunscreens can help protect the skin from premature aging and damage that may lead to skin cancer.

superficial
Affecting cells on the surface. Not invasive.

superfractionated radiation therapy
A way of giving radiation therapy in smaller-than-usual doses two or three times a day instead of once a day. Also called hyperfractionation and hyperfractionated radiation therapy.

superior vena cava
The large vein that carries blood from the head, neck, arms, and chest to the heart.

superior vena cava syndrome
A condition in which a tumor presses against the superior vena cava (the large vein that carries blood from the head, neck, arms, and chest to the heart). This pressure blocks blood flow to the heart and may cause coughing, difficulty in breathing, and swelling of the face, neck, and upper arms.

supplemental nutrition (SUH-pleh-MEN-tul noo-TRIH-shun)
A substance or product that is added to a person's diet to make sure they get all the nutrients they need. It may include vitamins, minerals, protein, or fat, and may be given by mouth, by tube feeding, or into a vein.

supplementation
Adding nutrients to the diet.

support group
A group of people with similar disease who meet to discuss how better to cope with their disease and treatment.

supportive care
Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of supportive care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of the disease, side effects caused by treatment of the disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to the disease or its treatment. Also called palliative care, comfort care, and symptom management.

suppository (suh-POZ-ih-TOR-ee)
A form of medicine contained in a small piece of solid material, such as cocoa butter or glycerin, that melts at body temperature. A suppository is inserted into the rectum, vagina, or urethra and the medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream.

supraclavicular lymph node
A lymph node located above the clavicle (collarbone).

supraglottic laryngectomy (SOO-pra-GLOT-ik lair-in-JEK-tuh-mee)
An operation to remove the supraglottis, which is part of the larynx (voice box) above the vocal cords.

supraglottis (SOO-pra-GLOT-is)
The upper part of the larynx (voice box), including the epiglottis; the area above the vocal cords.

suprarenal gland (SOO-pruh-REE-nul...)
A small gland that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. There are two suprarenal glands, one on top of each kidney. Also called adrenal gland.

supratentorial (soo-pruh-ten-TOR-ee-ul)
Having to do with the upper part of the brain.

suramin (SOO-rah-min)
A drug that is used to treat infections caused by parasites. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called antiprotozoals and anthelmintics.

surface electrode (SER-fuss ee-LEK-trode)
A small device that is attached to the skin to measure or cause electrical activity in the tissue under it. Surface electrodes may be used to look for problems with muscles and nerves.

surgeon
A doctor who removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on the patient.

surgery (SER-juh-ree)
A procedure to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out whether disease is present. An operation.

surgical castration
Surgical removal of the testicles (orchiectomy) or ovaries (oophorectomy) to stop the production of sex hormones. Decreasing the levels of hormones may stop the growth of certain cancers.

surgical oncologist
A doctor who performs biopsies and other surgical procedures in cancer patients.

survival rate
The percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are alive for a given period of time after diagnosis. This is commonly expressed as 5-year survival.

survivorship (sur-VY-ver-ship)
In cancer, survivorship covers the physical, psychosocial, and economic issues of cancer, from diagnosis until the end of life. It includes issues related to the ability to get health care and follow up treatment, late effects of treatment, second cancers, and quality of life.

Sutent (SOO-tent)
A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). Sutent is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of other cancers. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib, sunitinib malate, SU11248, and SU011248.

SV40
Simian virus 40. A virus that infects some types of monkeys. It may also infect humans, and was found in some polio vaccines tested in the early 1960s. Although the virus has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, there is no evidence that it causes cancer in people.

sweet elm
Ulmus fulva or Ulmus rubra. The inner bark of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have antioxidant effects. Also called slippery elm, gray elm, Indian elm, and red elm.

SWS
Sturge-Weber syndrome. A rare, congenital disorder that affects the brain, skin, and eyes. Abnormal blood vessel growth occurs in the trigeminal nerve in the face and the meninges (covering) of the brain. This abnormal growth causes red or purple skin discoloration (sometimes called a port wine stain), usually on one side of the face, and can also cause seizures, learning disabilities, and glaucoma.

sympathetic nervous system (SIM-puh-THEH-tik NER-vus SIS-tem)
The part of the nervous system that increases heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and pupil size. It also causes blood vessels to narrow and decreases digestive juices.

symptom
An indication that a person has a condition or disease. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and pain.

symptom management
Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of symptom management is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of the disease, side effects caused by treatment of the disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to the disease or its treatment. Also called palliative care, comfort care, and supportive care.

symptomatic
Having to do with symptoms, which are signs of a condition or disease.

syncytium
A large cell-like structure formed by the joining together of two or more cells. The plural is syncytia.

syndrome (SIN-drome)
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.

synergistic (SIH-ner-JIS-tik)
In medicine, describes the interaction of two or more drugs when their combined effect is greater than the sum of the effects seen when each drug is given alone.

syngeneic (SIN-juh-NAY-ik)
Having to do with individuals or tissues that have identical genes. For example, identical twins and cells and tissues from them are syngeneic.

syngeneic bone marrow transplantation (SIN-juh-NAY-ik)
A procedure in which a person receives bone marrow donated by his or her healthy identical twin.

syngeneic stem cell transplantation (SIN-juh-NAY-ik)
A procedure in which a patient receives blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) donated by his or her healthy identical twin.

synovial membrane
A layer of connective tissue that lines the cavities of joints, tendon sheaths, and bursae (fluid-filled sacs between tendons and bones). The synovial membrane makes synovial fluid, which has a lubricating function.

synovial sarcoma
A malignant tumor that develops in the synovial membrane of the joints.

synovitis (SIH-noh-VY-tis)
Inflammation (swelling, pain, and warmth) of a synovial membrane, which is a layer of connective tissue that lines a joint, such as the hip, knee, ankle, or shoulder. Synovitis is caused by some types of arthritis and other diseases.

synthetic (sin-THEH-tik)
Having to do with substances that are man-made instead of taken from nature.

synthetic protegrin analog
A drug that may prevent oral mucositis (sores on the lining of the mouth), a side effect of some cancer treatments.

synthetic retinoid (sin-THET-ik RET-in-oyd)
A substance related to vitamin A that is produced in a laboratory.

syringe
A small hollow tube used for injecting or withdrawing liquids. It may be attached to a needle in order to withdraw fluid from the body or inject drugs into the body.

systemic (sis-TEM-ik)
Affecting the entire body.

systemic chemotherapy (sis-TEH-mik kee-moh-THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with anticancer drugs that travel through the blood to cells all over the body.

systemic disease
Disease that affects the whole body.

systemic inflammatory response syndrome
SIRS. A serious condition in which there is inflammation throughout the whole body. It may be caused by a severe bacterial infection (sepsis), trauma, or pancreatitis. It is marked by fast heart rate, low blood pressure, low or high body temperature, and low or high white blood cell count. The condition may lead to multiple organ failure and shock.

systemic lupus erythematosus
SLE. A chronic, inflammatory, connective tissue disease that can affect the joints and many organs, including the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, and nervous system. It can cause many different symptoms; however, not everyone with SLE has all of the symptoms. Also called lupus.

systemic mastocytosis (sis-TEH-mik MAS-toh-sy-TOH-sis)
A rare disease in which too many mast cells (a type of immune system cell) are found in the skin, bones, joints, lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and gastrointestinal tract. Mast cells give off chemicals such as histamine that can cause flushing (a hot, red face), itching, abdominal cramps, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, and shock.

systemic radiation (sis-TEH-mik ray-dee-AY-shun)
Treatment with a radioactive substance, such as a radioactively-labeled monoclonal antibody, that travels through the blood to cells all over the body.

systemic therapy (sis-TEH-mik THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment using substances that travel through the bloodstream, reaching and affecting cells all over the body.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

T cell
One type of white blood cell that attacks virus-infected cells, foreign cells, and cancer cells. T cells also produce a number of substances that regulate the immune response. Also called T lymphocyte.

T lymphocyte
One type of white blood cell that attacks virus-infected cells, foreign cells, and cancer cells. T lymphocytes also produce a number of substances that regulate the immune response. Also called T cell.

t test
A statistical test that is used to find out if there is a real difference between the means (averages) of two different groups. It is sometimes used to see if there is a significant difference in response to treatment between groups in a clinical trial.

T-3
A thyroid hormone. Also called triiodothyronine or liothyronine sodium.

T-cell depletion
Treatment to destroy T cells, which play an important role in the immune response. Elimination of T cells from a bone marrow graft from a donor may reduce the chance of an immune reaction against the recipient's tissues.

T-cell lymphoma (lim-FO-ma)
A disease in which certain cells of the lymph system (called T lymphocytes) become cancerous.

T138067
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells by preventing cell division.

T4N5 liposomal lotion
Enzyme lotion used in treating xeroderma pigmentosum.

T900607
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called tubulin-binding agents.

TAC-101
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called synthetic retinoids and angiogenesis inhibitors.

tachycardia
Rapid beating of the heart, usually defined as greater than 100 beats per minute.

tachypnea
Rapid breathing.

tacrolimus
A drug used to help reduce the risk of rejection by the body of organ and bone marrow transplants.

TAG-72 antigen
A protein/sugar complex found on the surface of many cancer cells, including breast, colon, and pancreatic cells.

tai chi (ty chee)
A form of traditional Chinese mind/body exercise and meditation that uses slow sets of body movements and controlled breathing. Tai chi is done to improve balance, flexibility, muscle strength, and overall health.

tailbone
The small bone at the bottom of the spine. It is made up of 3-5 fused bones. Also called coccyx.

talampanel
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of brain tumors and other brain disorders, such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. It belongs to the family of drugs called AMPA receptor antagonists.

talaporfin sodium
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells.

talk therapy
Treatment of mental, emotional, personality, and behavioral disorders using methods such as discussion, listening, and counseling. Also called psychotherapy.

talotrexin (tal-oh-TREX-in)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of leukemia and some other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifolates.

tamoxifen (ta-MOK-si-FEN)
A drug used to treat breast cancer, and to prevent it in women who are at a high risk of developing breast cancer. Tamoxifen blocks the effects of the hormone estrogen in the breast. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens.

targeted therapy
A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. A monoclonal antibody is a type of targeted therapy.

tariquidar
A substance that is being studied for its ability to overcome tumor-cell resistance to anticancer drugs. It belongs to the family of drugs called anthranilic acid derivatives. Also called XR9576.

taurolidine
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anti-infectives.

taxane
A drug that inhibits cell growth by stopping cell division. Taxanes are used as treatments for cancer. Also called antimitotic or antimicrotubule agents or mitotic inhibitors. Docetaxel and paclitaxel are taxanes.

TCM
Traditional Chinese medicine. A medical system that has been used for thousands of years to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. It is based on the belief that qi (the body's vital energy) flows along 20 meridians (channels) throughout the body and keeps a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health in balance. TCM aims to restore the body's balance and harmony between the natural opposing forces of yin and yang, which can block qi and cause disease. TCM includes acupuncture, diet, herbal therapy, meditation, physical exercise, and massage. Also called Oriental medicine.

tea tree
A tree that is a member of the myrtle family. Oil from the tea tree is used in shampoos and skin care products and to treat skin infections. It has been used in some cultures to treat other skin conditions, including acne, burns, and insect bites. The scientific name is Melaleuca alternifolia.

technetium Tc 99m dextran
A radiolabeled substance that is used in cancer diagnosis.

technetium Tc 99m sulfur colloid
A radiolabeled substance that is used to help identify sites of tumor development.

tegafur
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

teicoplanin
A substance used to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics.

telangiectasia (tel-AN-gee-ek-TAY-zha)
The permanent enlargement of blood vessels, causing redness in the skin or mucous membranes.

Telcyta (tel-SY-tuh)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called glutathione analogs. Also called TLK286.

telemedicine (TEH-leh-MEH-dih-sin)
The delivery of healthcare from a distance using electronic information and technology such as computers, cameras, videoconferencing, the Internet, satellite, and wireless communications.

temoporfin
An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents.

temozolomide
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

temsirolimus (TEM-ser-OH-lih-mus)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called rapamycin analogs. Also called CCI-779.

tendon (TEN-dun)
Tough, fibrous, cord-like tissue that connects muscle to bone or another structure, such as an eyeball. Tendons help the bone or structure to move.

teniposide
An anticancer drug that is a podophyllotoxin derivative and belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

TENS
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation. A technique in which mild electric currents are applied to some areas of the skin by a small power pack connected to two electrodes. Also called controlled low-voltage electrical stimulation.

teratocarcinoma (TAYR-uh-toh-KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
A type of cancer that most commonly develops in the testes (testicles).

teratoma (ter-a-TOW-ma)
A type of germ cell tumor that may contain several different types of tissue, such as hair, muscle, and bone. Teratomas occur most often in the ovaries in women, the testicles in men, and the tailbone in children. Not all teratomas are malignant.

terminal disease
Disease that cannot be cured and will cause death.

terpene (TER-peen)
A type of strong-smelling chemical substance found in some plants, especially trees that have cones. Terpenes are found in essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants).

testicle (TES-tih-kul)
One of two egg-shaped glands found inside the scrotum that produce sperm and male hormones. Also called a testis.

testicular cancer (tes-TIH-kyuh-ler KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the testis (one of two egg-shaped glands inside the scrotum that make sperm and male hormones). Testicular cancer usually occurs in young or middle aged men. Two main types of testicular cancer are seminomas (cancers that grow slowly and are sensitive to radiation therapy), and nonseminomas (different cell types that grow more quickly than seminomas).

testimonial
Information provided by an individual who claims to have been helped or cured by a particular product. The information provided lacks the necessary elements to be evaluated in a rigorous and scientific manner and is not used in the scientific literature.

testis (TES-tis)
One of two egg-shaped glands found inside the scrotum that produce sperm and male hormones. Also called a testicle.

testosterone (tes-TOS-ter-own)
A hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.

tetanus toxoid
A substance that is derived from the toxin released by the bacterium that causes the disease tetanus. It is used as a vaccine to prevent tetanus or to help boost the immune response to other vaccines.

tetracycline
An antibiotic drug used to treat infection.

tetrahydrouridine
A substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called cytidine deaminase inhibitors, multidrug resistance modulators, and radiosensitizers.

TG4010
A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug.

thalamus (THAL-a-muss)
An area of the brain that helps process information from the senses and transmit it to other parts of the brain.

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

theophylline
A drug used to improve breathing in people who are short of breath. It belongs to the family of drugs called bronchodilators or respiratory smooth muscle relaxants.

therapeutic (THAYR-uh-PYOO-tik)
Having to do with treating disease and helping healing take place.

therapy
Treatment.

thermal ablation
A procedure using heat to remove tissue or a part of the body, or destroy its function. For example, to remove the lining of the uterus, a catheter is inserted through the cervix into the uterus, a balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, and fluid inside the balloon is heated to destroy the lining of the uterus.

thermography
In medicine, a procedure in which a heat-sensing infrared camera is used to record the surface heat produced by different parts of the body. Abnormal tissue growth can cause temperature changes, which may show up on the thermogram. Thermography may be used to diagnose breast cancer and other tumors.

thermotherapy (THER-moh-THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment of disease using heat.

thiethylperazine (thy-EH-thul-PAYR-uh-zeen)
A drug used to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting. It belongs to the families of drugs called antiemetics and phenothiazines.

thioguanine
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

thiotepa
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

third molar
The last tooth to come in at the back of each side of the upper and lower jaws. Third molars usually come in between 17 and 23 years of age, but not everyone has them. Also called wisdom tooth.

third-line therapy
Treatment that is given when both initial treatment (first-line therapy) and subsequent treatment (second-line therapy) don't work, or stop working.

thoracalgia (THORE-uh-kal-juh)
Chest pain. Also called thoracodynia.

thoracentesis (thor-a-sen-TEE-sis)
Removal of fluid from the pleural cavity through a needle inserted between the ribs.

thoracic (thor-ASS-ik)
Having to do with the chest.

thoracodynia (THORE-uh-koh-DIN-ee-uh)
Chest pain. Also called thoracalgia.

thoracoscope (thuh-RAK-oh-skope)
A thin tube-like instrument used to examine the inside of the chest. A thoracoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may have tool to remove tissue.

thoracoscopy (THOR-uh-KOS-koh-pee)
Examination of the inside of the chest, using a thoracoscope. A thoracoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

thoracotomy (thor-a-KAH-toe-mee)
An operation to open the chest.

throat (throte)
The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The throat is about 5 inches long, depending on body size. Also called the pharynx.

throat cancer
Cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). Throat cancer includes cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Most throat cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the pharynx). Also called pharyngeal cancer.

thrombocyte (THROM-bo-site)
A type of blood cell that helps prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form. Also called a platelet.

thrombocytopenia (THROM-boh-sy-toh-PEE-nee-uh)
A decrease in the number of platelets in the blood that may result in easy bruising and excessive bleeding from wounds or bleeding in mucous membranes and other tissues.

thrombohemorrhagic event
A process that involves either a blood clot or bleeding, such as a heart attack or stroke.

thrombophlebitis (throm-bo-fleh-BY-tis)
Inflammation of a vein that occurs when a blood clot forms.

thrombopoietin
A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets, during chemotherapy. It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood forming) agents.

thrombosis (throm-BOW-sis)
The formation or presence of a blood clot inside a blood vessel.

thrush
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 Candidiasis or Candidosis.

thymic carcinoma (THY-mik KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
A rare type of thymus gland cancer. It usually spreads, has a high risk of recurrence, and has a poor survival rate. Thymic carcinoma is divided into subtypes, depending on the types of cells in which the cancer began. Also called type C thymoma.

thymidine
A chemical compound found in DNA. Also used as treatment for mucositis.

thymidylate synthase inhibitor
A drug that blocks DNA synthesis and may prevent tumor cell growth. It is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

Thymitaq (THY-mih-tak)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of liver cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Also called AG337 and nolatrexed.

thymoma
A tumor of the thymus, an organ that is part of the lymphatic system and is located in the chest, behind the breastbone.

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.

Thyrogen
A form of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that is made in the laboratory. It is used to test for remaining or recurring cancer cells in patients who have been treated for thyroid cancer. Also called thyrotropin alfa.

thyroglobulin (THIGH-roe-GLOB-yu-lin)
The form that thyroid hormone takes when stored in the cells of the thyroid. If the thyroid has been removed, thyroglobulin should not show up on a blood test. Doctors measure thyroglobulin level in blood to detect thyroid cancer cells that remain in the body after treatment.

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

thyroid cancer (THY-royd KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in the thyroid gland (an organ at the base of the throat that makes hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight). Four main types of thyroid cancer are papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. The four types are based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope.

thyroid follicular cell (THY-royd foh-LIK-yoo-ler)
A type of cell in the thyroid. Thyroid follicular cells make thyroid hormone.

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

thyroid hormone (THY-royd HOR-mone)
A hormone that affects heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. Thyroid hormone is made by the thyroid gland and can also be made in the laboratory.

thyroid-stimulating hormone
TSH. A hormone produced by the pituitary gland. TSH stimulates the release of thyroid hormone from thyroglobulin. It also stimulates the growth of thyroid follicular cells. An abnormal TSH level may mean that the thyroid hormonal regulation system is out of control, usually as a result of a benign condition (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism).

thyroidectomy (THY-royd-EK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid.

thyroiditis (thy-roy-DY-tis)
Inflammation of the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis may be an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland over time, causing hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone). A temporary form of thyroiditis may also occur after the birth of a baby, or when viral or bacterial infections spread to the thyroid.

thyrotropin alfa
A form of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that is made in the laboratory. It is used to test for remaining or recurring cancer cells in patients who have been treated for thyroid cancer. Also called Thyrogen.

tiazofurin
An anticancer drug being studied to stop cell growth.

tibia (TIH-bee-uh)
The larger of two bones between the knee and ankle. Also called shinbone.

time to progression
A measure of time after a disease is diagnosed (or treated) until the disease starts to get worse.

tin ethyl etiopurpurin
An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents. Also called SnET2.

tin Sn 117m DTPA
A radioactive chemical being studied to treat bone pain associated with cancer.

tinidazole
A drug used to treat protozoal infections, such as amebiasis, giardiasis, and trichomoniasis. It belongs to a family of drugs called antiprotozoal agents. Tinidazole is also being evaluated in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections in people with low-grade gastric lymphoma.

tipifarnib (tip-ee-FAR-nib)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called farnesyltransferase inhibitors. Also called R115777 and Zarnestra.

tirapazamine
A drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

tissue (TISH-oo)
A group or layer of cells that work together to perform a specific function.

tissue flap reconstruction
A type of breast reconstruction in which a flap of tissue is surgically moved from another area of the body to the chest, and formed into a new breast mound.

tissue plasminogen activator
tPA. A protein that is made by the body and that helps dissolve blood clots. It can also be made in the laboratory and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. tPA belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (r-tPA), Activase, and Alteplase.

TLK286
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called glutathione analogs. Also called Telcyta.

TM
Transcendental Meditation. A mental technique used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve quality of life. TM is the registered trademark of the Maharishi Foundation Ltd.

TNF
Tumor necrosis factor. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease).

TNFerade
A gene therapy product that is being studied in combination with radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer.

TNM staging system
A system for describing the extent of cancer in a patient's body. T describes the size of the tumor and whether it has invaded nearby tissue, N describes any lymph nodes that are involved, and M describes metastasis (spread of cancer from one body part to another).

TNP-470
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. It prevents the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor.

tobacco (tuh-BA-koh)
Nicotiana tabacum. A plant with leaves that have high levels of the addictive chemical nicotine. The leaves may be smoked (in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes), applied to the gums (as dipping and chewing tobacco), or inhaled (as snuff). Tobacco leaves also contain many cancer-causing chemicals, and tobacco use and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke have been linked to many types of cancer and other diseases.

tocladesine
A substance that has been studied as an anticancer drug. It is an analog of a substance that occurs naturally in the body (cyclic adenosine monophosphate).

tomography (tuh-MAH-gra-fee)
A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine.

tonga (TON-guh)
An herb native to islands in the South Pacific. Substances taken from the root have been used in some cultures to relieve stress, anxiety, tension, sleeplessness, and problems of menopause. Tonga may increase the effect of alcohol and of certain drugs used to treat anxiety and depression. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises users that tonga may cause severe liver damage. Also called kava kava, intoxicating pepper, rauschpfeffer, and yangona. The scientific name is Piper methysticum.

tongue cancer
Cancer that begins in the tongue. When the cancer begins in the front two-thirds of the tongue, it is considered to be a type of oral cavity cancer; when the cancer begins in the back third of the tongue, it is considered to be a type of oropharyngeal or throat cancer.

tonsil
One of two small masses of lymphoid tissue on either side of the throat.

topical
On the surface of the body.

topical chemotherapy (TAH-pih-kul KEE-moh-THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with anticancer drugs in a lotion or cream applied to the skin.

topoisomerase inhibitor (TOH-poh-i-SAH-muh-raze)
A substance that blocks topoisomerase enzymes, which are involved in DNA structure and cell growth. Certain topoisomerase inhibitors are used to treat some types of cancer.

topotecan (toh-poh-TEE-kan)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. Also called Hycamtin.

toremifene
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Toremifene blocks the effect of the hormone estrogen in the body. It may help control some cancers from growing, and it may delay or reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

tositumomab (TAH-sih-TOO-moh-mab)
A monoclonal antibody that is used in the treatment of certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. When tositumomab and iodine I 131 tositumomab (a form of tositumomab that has been chemically changed by adding radioactive iodine) are given together, the combination is called the Bexxar regimen.

total androgen blockade
Therapy used to eliminate male sex hormones (androgens) in the body. This may be done with surgery, hormonal therapy, or a combination.

total estrogen blockade
Therapy used to eliminate estrogen in the body. This may be done with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these procedures.

total hysterectomy (hiss-ter-EK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the entire uterus, including the cervix. Sometimes, not all of the cervix is removed. Also called complete hysterectomy.

total laryngectomy (LAIR-in-JEK-tuh-mee)
An operation to remove all of the larynx (voice box).

total mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee)
Removal of the breast. Also called simple mastectomy.

total nodal irradiation
Radiation therapy to the mantle field, the spleen, the lymph nodes in the upper abdomen, and the lymph nodes in the pelvic area.

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. Also known as hyperalimentation or parenteral nutrition.

total skin electron beam radiation therapy (...ee-LEK-tron beem ray-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
TSEB radiation therapy. A type of radiation therapy using electrons that is directed at the entire surface of the body. This type of radiation goes into the outer layers of the skin, but does not go deeper into tissues and organs below the skin.

total-body irradiation
Radiation therapy to the entire body. It is usually followed by bone marrow or peripheral stem cell transplantation.

totipotent
Having to do with cells that are able to develop into any type of cell found in the body.

toxic
Having to do with poison or something harmful to the body. Toxic substances usually cause unwanted side effects.

toxicity (tox-IH-sih-tee)
The extent to which something is poisonous or harmful.

toxicology (TOK-sih-KAH-luh-jee)
The study of poisons, including the source, effect, and treatment of poisoning. It is a branch of pharmacology (the study of drugs).

toxin
A poison produced by certain animals, plants, or bacteria.

TP-38 immunotoxin
A substance that combines a protein that binds to certain tumor cells with a bacterial toxin that kills tumor cells. It is being studied in the treatment of brain tumors.

tPA
Tissue plasminogen activator. A protein that is made by the body and that helps dissolve blood clots. It can also be made in the laboratory and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. tPA belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (r-tPA), Activase, and Alteplase.

TPA
12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. A substance that is being studied in the treatment of hematologic cancers. It belongs to the family of drugs called phorbol esters.

TPN
Total parenteral nutrition. A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. TPN 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 TPN. Also known as hyperalimentation or parenteral nutrition.

trabecular cancer
A rare type of cancer that forms on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles. Trabecular cancer is a type of Merkel cell cancer.

trace element
A chemical found in very small amounts in a given substance. Organisms need certain trace elements to survive.

tracer
A substance (such as a radioisotope) used in imaging procedures.

trach tube
A 2-inch- to 3-inch-long curved metal or plastic tube placed in a surgically created opening (tracheostomy) in the windpipe to keep it open. Also called a tracheostomy tube.

trachea (TRAY-kee-uh)
The airway that leads from the larynx to the lungs. Also called the windpipe.

tracheoesophageal puncture (TRAY-kee-o-ee-SOF-uh-JEE-ul PUNK-chur)
A small opening made by a surgeon between the esophagus and the trachea. A valve keeps food out of the trachea but lets air into the esophagus for esophageal speech.

tracheostomy (TRAY-kee-AHS-toe-mee)
Surgery to create an opening (stoma) into the windpipe. The opening itself may also be called a tracheostomy.

tracheostomy button (TRAY-kee-AHS-toe-mee)
A 0.5-inch- to 1.5-inch-long plastic tube placed in a surgically created opening (tracheostomy) in the windpipe to keep it open.

tracheostomy tube (TRAY-kee-AHS-tuh-mee toob)
A 2-inch- to 3-inch-long curved metal or plastic tube placed in a surgically created opening (tracheostomy) in the windpipe to keep it open. Also called a trach ("trake") tube.

traditional acupuncture (truh-DIH-shuh-nul AK-yoo-PUNK-cher)
An ancient form of acupuncture based on the principle that there are five universal elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) that affect a person's emotions, personality, health, and response to treatment. Each person is affected by one element more than the others. Also called five element acupuncture.

traditional Chinese medicine (truh-DIH-shuh-nul chy-NEEZ MEH-dih-sin)
TCM. A medical system that has been used for thousands of years to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. It is based on the belief that qi (the body's vital energy) flows along 20 meridians (channels) throughout the body and keeps a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health in balance. TCM aims to restore the body's balance and harmony between the natural opposing forces of yin and yang, which can block qi and cause disease. TCM includes acupuncture, diet, herbal therapy, meditation, physical exercise, and massage. Also called Oriental medicine.

trans fat (tranz fat)
A type of fat that has certain chemical properties and is usually found in processed foods such as baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, shortening, margarine, and certain vegetable oils. Eating trans fat increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

transabdominal ultrasound
A procedure used to examine the organs in the abdomen. The ultrasound device is pressed firmly against the skin of the abdomen. Sound waves from the device bounce off tissues and create echoes. A computer uses the echoes to make a picture called a sonogram.

Transcendental Meditation
TM. A mental technique used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve quality of life. Transcendental Meditation is the registered trademark of the Maharishi Foundation Ltd.

transcription
In biology, the process by which a cell makes an RNA copy of a sequence of DNA that is a gene.

transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (tranz-kyoo-TAY-nee-us ee-LEK-trik NERV STIM-yoo-LAY-shun)
TENS. A technique in which mild electric currents are applied to some areas of the skin by a small power pack connected to two electrodes. Also called controlled low-voltage electrical stimulation.

transdermal (tranz-DER-mul)
Absorbed through the unbroken skin.

transfer factor (TRANS-fer FAK-ter)
A substance made by some white blood cells. Transfer factor from one person's white blood cells may be able to cause a specific immune response when injected into the skin of another person.

transferrin-CRM107
A substance created by linking a form of diphtheria toxin to transferrin (a protein that binds to and is taken up by rapidly growing cells, such as tumor cells). Once inside, the toxin portion of the molecule kills the tumor cells. It is being studied in the treatment of brain tumors. It belongs to the family of drugs called ligand-targeted toxin conjugates.

transformation
The change that a normal cell undergoes as it becomes malignant.

transfusion (trans-FYOO-zhun)
The infusion of components of blood or whole blood into the bloodstream. The blood may be donated from another person, or it may have been taken from the person earlier and stored until needed.

transitional cell
A cell that varies in shape depending on whether the tissue is being stretched. Transitional cells may be stretched without breaking apart. They line hollow organs such as the bladder.

transitional cell carcinoma
A type of cancer that develops in the lining of the bladder, ureter, or renal pelvis (the part of the kidney that collects, holds, and drains urine).

transperineal biopsy (TRANZ-payr-uh-NEE-ul BY-op-see)
A procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed from the prostate for examination under a microscope. The sample is removed with a thin needle that is inserted through the skin between the scrotum and rectum and into the prostate.

transplant surgeon
A doctor who specializes in transplantation surgery. The surgeon replaces a patient's organ with an organ from another person.

transplantation
The replacement of tissue with tissue from the person's own body or from another person.

transrectal biopsy (TRANZ-REK-tul BY-op-see)
A procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed from the prostate using a thin needle that is inserted through the rectum and into the prostate. Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is usually used to guide the needle. The sample is examined under a microscope to see if it contains cancer.

transrectal ultrasound (TRANZ-REK-tul...)
TRUS. A procedure in which a probe that sends out high-energy sound waves is inserted into the rectum. The sound waves are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissue called a sonogram. TRUS is used to look for abnormalities in the rectum and nearby structures, including the prostate. Also called endorectal ultrasound.

transurethral biopsy
A procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed from the prostate for examination under a microscope. A thin, lighted tube is inserted through the urethra into the prostate, and a small piece of tissue is removed with a cutting loop.

transurethral needle ablation
A procedure that is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). A small probe that gives off low-level radiofrequency energy is inserted through the urethra into the prostate. The energy from the probe heats and destroys the abnormal prostate tissue without damaging the urethra. Also called transurethral radiofrequency ablation.

transurethral radiofrequency ablation (TRANZ-yuh-REE-thrul RAY-dee-oh-FREE-kwen-see a-BLAY-shun)
A procedure that is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). A small probe that gives off low-level radiofrequency energy is inserted through the urethra into the prostate. The energy from the probe heats and destroys the abnormal prostate tissue without damaging the urethra. Also called transurethral needle ablation.

transurethral resection (TRANZ-yoo-REE-thral ree-SEK-shun)
Surgery performed with a special instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called TUR.

transurethral resection of the prostate (TRANZ-yoo-REE-thrul ree-SEK-shun)
TURP. A surgical procedure to remove tissue from the prostate using an instrument inserted through the urethra.

transvaginal sonography (tranz-VA-jih-nul soh-NAH-gruh-fee)
TVS. A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina that causes sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis. These sound waves create echoes that are sent to a computer, which creates a picture called a sonogram. Also called transvaginal ultrasound.

transvaginal ultrasound (tranz-VA-jih- nul UL-tra-SOWND)
A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina that causes sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis. These sound waves create echoes that are sent to a computer, which creates a picture called a sonogram. Also called transvaginal sonography (TVS).

trastuzumab (tras-TOO-zuh-mab)
A type of monoclonal antibody used to detect or treat some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells. Trastuzumab blocks the effects of the growth factor protein HER2, which transmits growth signals to breast cancer cells. Also called Herceptin.

Traumeel S
A substance that contains minerals and extracts of 14 plants, including belladonna, arnica, St. John's wort, and Echinacea. It is being studied as a mouth rinse treatment for oral mucositis (painful mouth sores) caused by cancer therapy. It is known as a homeopathic remedy.

treatment field
In radiation therapy, the place on the body where the radiation beam is aimed.

treosulfan
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

trephine (TREE-fine)
A surgical tool used to cut out circular pieces of bone or other tissue.

tretinoin
A form of vitamin A that is made by the body, and can also be made in the laboratory. It is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia, usually together with other drugs, and to treat acne. It is being studied in the treatment and prevention of other types of cancer. Also called all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), retinoic acid, and vitamin A acid.

triacetyluridine (try-ASS-uh-til-YOOR-ih-deen)
A substance that is being studied for its ability to protect against the gastrointestinal side effects caused by fluorouracil. Also called PN401. It belongs to the family of drugs called cytoprotective agents.

triamcinolone (try-am-SIN-oh-lone)
A substance that is being studied for the prevention of nonmelanoma skin cancer. It is an anti-inflammatory drug that is applied to the skin to relieve irritation, rashes, and infections. It belongs to the family of drugs called topical corticosteroids.

Triapine
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called ribonucleotide reductase inhibitors. Also called 3-aminopyridine-2-carboxaldehyde thiosemicarbazone and 3-AP.

tributyrin
A triglyceride drug that may inhibit cell growth and induce cell differentiation. Differentiating agents may be effective in changing cancer cells back into normal cells.

trichothiodystrophy
A hereditary condition characterized by sparse and brittle hair, short stature, and mental retardation.

tricyclic antidepressant (try-SY-klik AN-tee-dee-PREH-sunt)
A type of drug used to treat depression.

Trifolium pratense (try-FOH-lee-um pray-TEN-see)
A plant whose flowers have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in the relief of menopausal symptoms and may have anticancer effects. Also called red clover, purple clover, and wild clover.

trigeminal nerve
The main sensory nerve of the head and face, and the motor nerve of the muscles used in chewing. Also called the fifth cranial nerve.

trigger point acupuncture (TRIH-ger poynt AK-yoo-PUNK-chur)
Use of acupuncture to treat pain by inserting needles into trigger points on the body. Trigger points are places on the body where injury has occurred, but the pain has been sent along nerves and is felt in another place in the body.

triiodothyronine
A thyroid hormone. Also called liothyronine sodium or T-3.

trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole
An antibiotic drug used to treat infection and prevent pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

trimetrexate glucuronate
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. It is used in the treatment of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

triptorelin
A hormonal anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing analogs.

trophoblast (TROH-foh-BLAST)
A thin layer of cells that helps a developing embryo attach to the wall of the uterus, protects the embryo, and forms a part of the placenta.

tropisetron
A substance that is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is not available in the United States. It belongs to the family of drugs called 5-HT3 receptor blockers.

troxacitabine
A drug being studied for use as an anticancer agent.

true lavender (...LA-vun-der)
A plant with aromatic leaves and flowers that is a member of the mint family. Oil from the flowers has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, to keep insects away, and to wash in. It is also used in aromatherapy. Perillyl alcohol, a substance found in true lavender, is being studied in cancer prevention and treatment. Also called lavender and English lavender. The scientific name is Lavandula angustifolia.

TRUS
Transrectal ultrasound. A procedure in which a probe that sends out high-energy sound waves is inserted into the rectum. The sound waves are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissue called a sonogram. TRUS is used to look for abnormalities in the rectum and nearby structures, including the prostate. Also called endorectal ultrasound.

trust
A legal document in which a person states what is to be done with his or her property after death. There are many types of trusts, and a trust may take the place of a will.

TSEB therapy
Total skin electron beam radiation therapy. A type of radiation therapy using electrons that is directed at the entire surface of the body. This type of radiation goes into the outer layers of the skin, but does not go deeper into tissues and organs below the skin.

TTI-237
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called antimitotic or antimicrotubule agents.

tubal ligation (TOO-bul lye-GAY-shun)
An operation to tie the fallopian tubes closed. This procedure prevents pregnancy by blocking the passage of eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

tubefeeding
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.

tuberous sclerosis
A genetic disorder in which benign (noncancerous) tumors form in the kidneys, brain, eyes, heart, lungs, and skin. This disease can cause seizures, mental disabilities, and different types of skin lesions.

tubulovillous adenoma
A type of polyp that grows in the colon and other places in the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes in other parts of the body. These adenomas may become malignant (cancerous).

tui na (twee-nah)
Chinese massage that uses kneading, pressing, rolling, shaking, and stretching of the body. Tui na is thought to regulate qi (vital energy) and blood flow, and improve the function of tendons, bones, and joints.

tumor (TOO-mer)
An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumors may be benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous). Also called neoplasm.

tumor antigen vaccine (...AN-tih-JEN...)
A vaccine made of cancer cells, parts of cancer cells, or pure tumor antigens (substances isolated from tumor cells). A tumor antigen vaccine may stimulate the body's immune system to find and kill cancer cells.

tumor board review
A treatment planning approach in which a number of doctors who are experts in different specialties (disciplines) review and discuss the medical condition and treatment options of a patient. In cancer treatment, a tumor board review may include that of a medical oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with drugs), a surgical oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with surgery), and a radiation oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with radiation). Also called a multidisciplinary opinion.

tumor burden
Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumor, or the amount of cancer in the body. Also called tumor load.

tumor debulking
Surgically removing as much of the tumor as possible.

tumor infiltrating lymphocyte
A white blood cell that has left the bloodstream and migrated into a tumor.

tumor initiation (TOO-mer ih-NIH-shee-AY-shun)
A process in which normal cells are changed so that they are able to form tumors. Substances that cause cancer can be tumor initiators.

tumor load
Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumor, or the amount of cancer in the body. Also called tumor burden.

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. Examples of tumor markers 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 biomarker.

tumor model (TOO-mer MAH-dul)
Cells, tissues, or animals used to study the development and progression of cancer, and to test new treatments before they are given to humans. Animals with transplanted human tumors or other tissues are called xenograft models.

tumor necrosis factor (TOO-mer ne-KRO-sis)
A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease). Three types of tumor necrosis factor have been identified: alpha, beta, and gamma. Tumor necrosis factor seems to play a role in the breakdown of cancer cells.

tumor promotion (TOO-mer pruh-MOE-shun)
A process in which existing tumors are stimulated to grow. Tumor promoters are not able to cause tumors to form.

tumor suppressor gene (TOO-mer suh-PREH-ser jeen)
A type of gene (unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring) that helps control cell growth. Blocking the action of tumor suppressor genes may lead to cancer.

tumor vasculature-targeted tumor necrosis factor alpha
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is made by linking tumor necrosis factor (TNF) to a peptide. The peptide binds to tumor blood vessels and TNF damages them. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called NGR-TNF.

tumor volume (TOO-mer VOL-yoom)
The size of a cancer measured by the amount of space taken up by the tumor. For example, the tumor volume of prostate cancer is the percentage of the prostate taken up by the tumor.

tumor-derived
Taken from an individual's own tumor tissue; may be used in the development of a vaccine that enhances the body's ability to build an immune response to the tumor.

tumor-specific antigen
A protein or other molecule that is unique to cancer cells or is much more abundant in them. These molecules are usually found in the plasma (outer) membrane, and they are thought to be potential targets for immunotherapy or other types of anticancer treatment.

TUR
Surgery performed with a special instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called transurethral resection.

Turkish rhubarb
Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale. The root of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called rhubarb, da-huang, Chinese rhubarb, and Indian rhubarb.

turmeric (TER-meh-rik)
An East Indian plant that is a member of the ginger family and is used as a spice and food color. The underground stems are used in some cultures to treat certain stomach problems. The substance in turmeric that gives it a yellow color (curcumin) is being studied in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, cystic fibrosis, and psoriasis. Also called Indian saffron and jiang huang. The scientific name is Curcuma longa.

TURP
Transurethral resection of the prostate. A surgical procedure to remove tissue from the prostate using an instrument inserted through the urethra.

TVS
Transvaginal sonography. A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina that causes sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis. These sound waves create echoes that are sent to a computer, which creates a picture called a sonogram. Also called transvaginal ultrasound.

Tykerb
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called ErbB-2 and EGFR dual tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called GW572016 and lapatinib.

tympanites
Swelling of the abdomen caused by gas in the intestines or peritoneal cavity. Also called meteorism.

type 3 serotonin receptor antagonist (...SAYR-uh-TOH-nin rih-SEP-ter an-TAG-uh-nist )
A type of drug used to treat certain types of irritable bowel syndrome and relieve nausea and vomiting. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiemetics. Also called 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 receptor antagonist or 5-HT3 receptor antagonist.

type C thymoma
A rare type of thymus gland cancer. It usually spreads, has a high risk of recurrence, and has a poor survival rate. Thymic carcinoma is divided into subtypes, depending on the types of cells in which the cancer began. Also called thymic carcinoma.

tyrosinase peptide (ty-RAH-sih-NAYZ...)
A protein that is made from tumor cells and is used in a vaccine against melanoma. A tyrosinase peptide vaccine may stimulate the body's immune system to find and kill melanoma cells.

tyrosine kinase inhibitor
A drug that interferes with cell communication and growth and may prevent tumor growth. Some tyrosine kinase inhibitors are used to treat cancer.

TZT-1027
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called tubulin inhibitors. Also called soblidotin.




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