a condition with abnormally large proteins in the blood, which may reduce or clog blood flow in the smaller blood vessels. Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma with such proteins. See also non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia.
a type of white blood cell that engulfs and destroys foreign materials. See also white blood cells.
a method of taking pictures of the inside of the body. Instead of using x-rays, MRI uses a powerful magnet to send radio waves through the body. The images appear on a computer screen as well as on film. Like x-rays, the procedure is physically painless, but some people may feel confined inside the MRI machine. See also imaging studies, x-ray.
cancerous; dangerous or likely to cause death if untreated. Compare with benign. See also cancer.
-mer or tyoo
a mass of cancer cells that may invade nearby tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. Not all cancers form tumors. See also malignant, tumor.
lymph nodes that are inside the chest near the sternum or breastbone. See also lymph nodes.
an x-ray of the breast; a method of finding breast cancer that can’t be felt using the fingers. Mammograms are done with a special type of x-ray machine used only for this purpose. A mammogram can show a developing breast tumor before it’s big enough to be felt by a woman or even by a highly skilled health care professional. Screening mammography is used to help find breast cancer early in women who don’t have any symptoms. Diagnostic mammography helps the doctor learn more about breast masses or the cause of other breast symptoms. See also screening, x-ray.
any plastic surgery to rebuild the breast or to change the shape, size, or position of the breast. Reduction mammoplasty reduces the size of the breast. Augmentation mammoplasty enlarges a woman’s breast, usually with implants. See also breast reconstruction, implants.
in cancer surgery or biopsy, the tissue beyond the visible edge of the tumor or abnormal tissue that is removed along with the tumor or abnormality, in an effort to get all of the cancer. See also surgical margin.
any sort of lump, which may or may not be cancer. See also tumor.
surgery to remove all or part of the breast and sometimes other tissue. There are several types of mastectomies.Modified radical mastectomy removes the breast, skin, nipple, areola, and most of the axillary lymph nodes on the same side, leaving the chest muscles intact.
Partial or segmental mastectomy removes only the part of the breast that has the cancer and a margin of healthy breast tissue surrounding the tumor.
Prophylactic mastectomy is a mastectomy done before any evidence of cancer can be found, for the purpose of preventing cancer.
Quadrantectomy (quad-runt-EK-tuh-me) is a partial mastectomy in which the quarter of the breast that has a tumor is removed.
Simple mastectomy or total mastectomy removes only the breast and areola.
Compare to lumpectomy. See also axillary dissection, lymph node, sentinel node biopsy.
inflammation or infection of the breast.
related to a part of the body that lies between other parts. In cancer care, often refers to the center of the chest. See also mediastinum.
examination of the chest cavity using a thin, lighted, flexible tube inserted under the chest bone (sternum). This lets the doctor see the lymph nodes in this area and remove samples to check for cancer. See also biopsy, lymph node.
any structure or area of the body that is between other parts, such as the nasal septum that separates the 2 nostrils. Commonly refers to the central part of the chest, which is surrounded by the breastbone, the backbone, and both lungs. The chest mediastinum contains the heart, large blood vessels, trachea, esophagus, and lymph nodes. See also lymph nodes.
see durable power of attorney for health care.
a doctor who is specially trained to diagnose and treat cancer with chemotherapy and other drugs. See also cancer care team, chemotherapy.
a special type of invasive ductal carcinoma with especially sharp boundaries between tumor tissue and normal tissue. About 5% of breast cancers are medullary carcinomas. The outlook (prognosis) for this kind of cancer is considered better than average. See also invasive ductal carcinoma.
a cancerous (malignant) tumor that begins in the cells that make the skin coloring (these cells are called melanocytes). Melanoma is almost always curable when found early. But it is likely to spread, and once it has spread to other parts of the body the chances for a cure are much lower.
-ar-key or men-ar
a woman’s first menstrual period. Early menarche (before age 12) is a risk factor for breast cancer, possibly because the earlier a woman’s periods begin, the longer she is exposed to estrogen. See also estrogen, risk factor.
the use of estrogen and progesterone from an outside source after the body has stopped making its own supply because of natural or induced menopause. This type of hormone therapy is sometimes given to relieve symptoms of menopause. Studies have found that taking estrogen and progesterone together increases breast cancer risk, as well as the risk of heart disease and blood clots. See also estrogen, estrogen therapy, menopause, progesterone.
the phase in a woman’s life when monthly cycles of menstruation stop. During this time, hormone levels typically fluctuate before they stabilize at much lower levels. Menopause usually takes place in women in their late 40s or early 50s, but it can also be brought on suddenly by surgical removal of both ovaries (oophorectomy), or by some chemotherapies that destroy ovarian function. See also chemotherapy, estrogen, hormone, ovary.
the molecule that carries the information from the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) genetic code to the parts of the cell that make proteins. See also deoxyribonucleic acid, ribonucleic acid.
happening at different times. Compare to synchronous.
cancer cells that have spread to one or more sites elsewhere in the body, often by way of the lymph system or bloodstream. Regional or local metastasis is cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, tissues, or organs close to where the cancer started (the primary site). Distant metastasis is cancer that has spread to organs or tissues that are farther away (such as when lung cancer spreads to the brain).The plural of this word is metastases (meh-tas-tuh-sees). See also cancer, lymph node, lymph system, primary site.
the spread of cancer cells to one or more sites elsewhere in the body, often by way of the lymph system or bloodstream. See also lymph system, metastasis.
a way to describe cancer that has spread from the primary site (where it started) to other structures or organs, nearby or far away (distant). See also metastasis, primary site.
also written as m. A metric measure of length. It takes about 39.37 inches (or 100 centimeters) to equal 1 meter. See also centimeter, millimeter.
the spread of cancer cells in groups so small that they can only be seen under a microscope.
also called MSI. A type of genetic mutation often linked to hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC). This mutation causes size differences in sections of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that are normally the same size in all a person’s cells. Testing for MSI is done on tissue taken from the cancer to find out if the DNA is of different lengths; if it is, HNPCC genetic testing is usually offered. See also deoxyribonucleic acid, genetic testing, hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer, mutation.
an operation that uses a microscope to see and attach very tiny blood vessels to each other.
a way of treating cancer in a few sites, such as the liver, by using heat to destroy the cells. See also ablation.
also written as mm. A metric measure of length that is 1/1000 of a meter. 10 mm equals 1 centimeter, and 1,000 mm equals a meter. It takes about 25 mm (or 2.5 cm) to equal 1 inch. See also centimeter, meter.
unit of radiation exposure. See also radiation dose.
unit of radiation exposure. See also radiation dose.
an allogeneic bone marrow or stem cell transplant in which lower doses of conditioning treatment are used before the transplant. This allows some of the patient’s own bone marrow stem cells to survive, which lowers the risk of very low blood counts during engraftment. The new stem cells kill off the patient’s stem cells over time, after the transplant engrafts or “takes.” See also allogeneic stem cell transplant, bone marrow, hematopoietic stem cell transplant, reduced-intensity conditioning, stem cells.
man-made antibodies that are designed to lock onto certain antigens (substances that can be recognized by the immune system). Monoclonal antibodies have several uses in diagnosing and treating cancer. Monoclonal antibodies that have been attached to chemotherapy drugs or radioactive substances are able to seek out antigens unique to cancer cells and deliver these treatments directly to the cancer, which kills the cancer cell without harming healthy tissue. “Naked” monoclonal antibodies can attach to cancer cells so that the cancer cells can be found and attacked by the immune system. Research is still going on to learn more ways they can be used to treat cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are also often used to help detect and classify cancer cells under a microscope. Other studies are being done to see if radioactive atoms attached to monoclonal antibodies can be used in imaging tests to detect and locate small groups of cancer cells. See also antibody, antigen, chemotherapy, imaging studies, immunocytochemistry.
rate of disease in a population or group; the number of people who have a disease or condition. See also incidence, prevalence.
in cancer, how cells look under the microscope, including shape, structure, pattern, color, and other aspects of their appearance. See also pathologist.
a measure of the rate of death from a disease within a given group of people.
see magnetic resonance imaging.
a type of carcinoma that is formed by mucus-producing cancer cells. See also carcinoma.
see mucous membrane.
inflammation of a mucous membrane, such as the lining of the mouth. See also mucous membrane.
also called mucosa. The moist inner lining layer of the mouth, throat, eyelids, nose, urethra, vagina, and digestive system.
the thick fluid secreted by mucous membranes and glands.
resistance of cancer cells to several unrelated drugs after being exposed to a single chemotherapy drug. May also refer to infections that can no longer be cured by the usual antibiotics. See also chemotherapy.
a type of cancer that starts in the plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the body’s immune system. When plasma cells grow out of control, they can form a tumor, usually in the bone marrow. This type of tumor is called a myeloma, and if there are many tumors the cancer is called multiple myeloma. If there is only one tumor, it is called solitary plasmacytoma. See also bone marrow, immune system.
the inner muscle layer of the digestive tube (intestine) that is between the mucosa and the submucosa. See also colon, colon wall.
the muscle layer that covers most parts of the intestine (digestive tube). This layer is furthest away from the center of the tube. Moving outward from the opening, the muscularis propria is beneath the submucosa. Beyond the submucosa is a thin layer of tissue called subserosa, which covers the colon but not the rectum. See also colon, colon wall, intestine, rectum.
a change in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of a cell. Most mutations do not cause cancer, and a few may even be helpful. But all types of cancer are thought to be due to mutations that damage a cell’s DNA. Some cancer-related mutations can be inherited (passed on from a parent). This means that the person is born with the mutated DNA in all the body’s cells. But most mutations happen after the person is born. These are called somatic or acquired mutations. This type of mutation happens in one cell at a time, and only affects cells that arise from the single mutated cell. See also cancer susceptibility genes, deoxyribonucleic acid, gene, inherited mutation, somatic mutation.
treatment to wipe out the bone marrow before a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. See also bone marrow, hematopoietic stem cell transplant, conditioning treatment.
also called myelocytic leukemia, myelogenous leukemia, or non-lymphocytic leukemia. A type of cancer that starts in the cells that are supposed to mature into different types of blood cells. Myeloid leukemia can be chronic (CML) or acute (AML). There are a number of subtypes of acute myeloid leukemia, some with genetic abnormalities that can affect the outlook for successful treatment. See also leukemia, non-myeloid cancers.