see high-dose rate brachytherapy.
see durable power of attorney for health care.
-ee-uh or hem-at
bright red blood in the stool.
the percentage of the blood volume made up of red blood cells. This can get low in people with cancer. The normal range varies by lab, but typically is around 37% to 52% of the blood volume.
a doctor who specializes in diseases of the blood and blood-forming tissues.
a collection of blood outside a blood vessel caused by a leak or an injury. A bruise is an example of a hematoma.
procedure used to restock the bone marrow when it has been destroyed by chemotherapy, radiation, or disease. Stem cells can be taken from bone marrow or circulating (peripheral) blood to be transfused into the patient. Stem cells may be the patient’s own (autologous), or may come from someone else (allogeneic). Allogeneic stem cell transplants can come from a matched donor or from the banked umbilical cord blood of a newborn. See also autologous stem cell transplant, allogeneic stem cell transplant, bone marrow, stem cells.
blood in the urine.
surgical removal of part of the colon.
the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen, which is often measured in a complete blood count. Hemoglobin can get very low in people with cancer, especially during certain kinds of treatment. Normal ranges vary by lab, but typically are around 12-18 gm/dL.
large varicose veins inside the rectum or colon. They don’t cause cancer or become cancer, but they can cause pain, itching, and irritation. They can also cause slight bleeding, which can result in a positive fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test even when no cancer is present. See also colon, colorectal cancer screening, fecal immunochemical test, fecal occult blood test, rectum.
enlargement of the liver.
[sometimes called HER2/neu
see human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.
conditions linked with cancers that occur in several family members because of an inherited, mutated gene. See also mutation, gene.
also called HNPCC. An inherited condition that greatly increases a person’s risk for developing colorectal cancer, as well as endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus), ovarian cancer, small bowel cancer, and cancer of the lining of the kidney or the ureters. People with this condition tend to develop cancer at a young age without first having many polyps. See also polyp.
any of a number of genes that are linked to prostate cancer. Inherited deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) changes in these genes may make prostate cancer more likely to develop in some men. Research on these genes is still in early stages, and genetic tests for most of them are not yet available. See also deoxyribonucleic acid, gene, prostate.
being unable to start the stream of urine right away.
when the chance of developing a disease such as cancer is much greater than that normally seen in the general population. People may be at high risk from many factors, including heredity (such as a family history of breast cancer), personal habits (such as smoking), age (older people get cancer more often), the environment (such as overexposure to sunlight), and many others.
also called HDR brachytherapy. A form of treatment that puts a radioactive source into small plastic tubes or applicators near the cancer. The radioactive source is put in the applicators and taken out a few minutes later. The applicator may be left in place. This is usually repeated for a few days to a few weeks and may be used along with external beam radiation therapy. This is different from low-dose rate brachytherapy, which uses lower doses of radiation over a longer period of time and leaves the radioactive seeds in the body. Compare to low dose rate brachytherapy. See also brachytherapy, external beam radiation therapy.
how cells or tissues look when studied under a microscope. The histologic examination of cells and tissues is done by a pathologist. See also pathologist.
an often curable type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Formerly called Hodgkin’s disease. See also lymph node, lymphatic system.
a nurse who gives treatment or medicines in the home, teaches patients how to care for themselves, and assesses their condition to see if further medical attention is needed.
cells or tissue that look the same throughout. See also histology.
a chemical substance released into the body by the endocrine glands such as the thyroid, adrenal, or ovaries. Hormones travel through the bloodstream and set in motion various body functions. Testosterone and estrogen are examples of male and female hormones. See also adrenal gland, endocrine glands, hormone therapy, ovary, thyroid.
cancer treatment using drugs that interfere with hormone production or hormone action, or the surgical removal of hormone-producing glands. Hormone therapy may help kill or slow the growth of cancer cells that depend on hormones to grow. For example, it is a common form of treatment for certain breast and prostate cancers. See also androgen deprivation therapy, hormone receptor, hormone receptor assay.
a protein located on a cell’s surface or within the cell cytoplasm that binds to a hormone. Tumors can be tested for hormone receptors to see if they can be treated with hormones or anti-hormones. See also hormone therapy, hormone receptor assay, estrogen receptor assay, progesterone receptor assay.
a test to see if a breast tumor is likely to be affected by hormones or if it can be treated with hormones. See also estrogen receptor assay, progesterone receptor assay.
see menopausal hormone therapy.
any type of cancer that depends on hormones for survival, such as some breast and prostate cancers. See also hormone therapy, androgen-dependent, hormone receptor, hormone receptor assay.
not responsive to hormone treatments. See also androgen-independent, hormone therapy.
a special kind of care for people in the final phase of illness, as well as their families and caregivers. The care usually takes place in the patient’s home or in a home-like facility. See also palliative treatment.
sudden brief feeling of body warmth, along with flushing of the skin and sweating; common during menopause and androgen deprivation therapy. See also androgen deprivation therapy, menopause.
a protein that is present in very small amounts on the outer surface of normal cells. HER2 stimulates cell growth, and cancers that produce too much of this protein tend to grow and spread faster. Drugs used to treat cancers that produce HER2 attach to the HER2 protein to slow the growth of the cancer cells.
also called HPV. A common virus with many types, some of which cause changes in the body’s cells that can grow into cancer. Of the more than 100 types of HPV, about 40 HPV types can live in the mucous membranes such as those of the vagina, cervix, and anus. Called genital HPV, a few of these types cause most cervical cancers. Genital HPV is spread mainly during vaginal, oral, or anal sex, from one person to another during skin-to-skin contact. In most cases, the body gets rid of the HPV infection, but for some people HPV can cause warts or cancer. Besides cervical cancer, some cancers of the penis, vagina, vulva, and urethra and some head and neck cancers (mostly the tongue and tonsils) may be related to HPV. The types most often linked to cancer include HPV-16, HPV-18, HPV-31, HPV-35, HPV-39, HPV-45, HPV-51, HPV-52, and HPV-58. About 70% of HPV-related cancers are caused by types 16 or 18. Vaccines can now help the body fight these 2 types, as well as 2 other types mainly known for causing warts. There is also a test for HPV that can be done along with a woman’s Pap test. See also Pap test.
the long bone in the upper arm that goes from the shoulder to the elbow.
liquid nutrition given into a vein (intravenously or IV).
too much growth of cells or tissue in a specific area, such as the lining of the prostate. See also benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate.
a growth found in the colon (large intestine) that is unlikely to become cancer. Some doctors think that certain hyperplastic polyps can become pre-cancerous, or may mean a risk of developing adenomatous polyps and cancer later, especially if the polyps are in the ascending colon. See also adenomatous polyp, ascending colon, polyp.
high blood pressure.
high body temperature or fever. Treatments using hyperthermia treat disease or improve treatment outcomes by raising body temperature, or by raising the temperature of the affected body part.
the enlargement of an organ or part due to an increase in the size of its cells.
an operation to remove the uterus. This can be done through an incision (cut) in the abdomen (belly), through a few small cuts in the lower belly (called laparoscopic hysterectomy), or through the vagina. The ovaries may be removed (oophorectomy) at the same time. See also uterus, oophorectomy, ovary, vagina.