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Cancer Glossary

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Browse the glossary by selecting a letter or by entering a cancer-related term:

V
 Search  [vack-seen]
a modified version of a germ or other substance related to a disease, usually given by injection (a shot). It is used to stimulate the immune system to resist that disease for a period of time, or even permanently. For instance, the HPV vaccines help prevent cancer by helping the body fight human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause many types of cancer. Research continues into vaccines to help a person who has cancer, with recent progress in prostate cancer treatment.
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a device that creates an erection by drawing blood into the penis; a ring placed at the base of the penis then traps the blood and keeps the erection. See also impotence.
 Search  [vuh-jie-nuh]
the passage leading from the vulva (the female genital organs on the outside of the body) to the uterus (the womb). See also vulva.
 Search  [va-juh-NY-tus]
any inflammation of the vagina. Atrophic vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina in which vaginal tissue becomes thin and dry. This condition often occurs after menopause and is caused by lack of estrogen. It may be relieved by an estrogen cream, ring, or tablet that is placed in the vagina. Some types of vaginitis can also be side effects of chemotherapy. See also,chemotherapy, estrogen, menopause, vagina.
 Search  [vass def-er-ens]
one of 2 muscular tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the seminal vesicles. See also seminal vesicles, sperm, testicles.
 Search  [vas-ku-lur en-doe-THEE-lee-uhl]
a protein that helps tumors form new blood vessels. See also angiogenesis.
 Search  [vuh-seck-tuh-me]
surgery in which a segment of each vas deferens is removed to prevent release of sperm and thus prevent pregnancy. See also sperm, vas deferens.
 Search  [ver-tuh-bruh]
one of 33 bones that is stacked and interlocked to form the spinal column; the spinal cord runs through these bones. The plural is vertebrae (ver-tuh-bray). See also spinal cord, spine.
 Search  [vih-lus ad-no-muh or ad-uh-NO-muh]
a type of benign (not cancer) polyp inside the colon or other parts of the digestive tract with finger-like projections of gland cells that can be seen under the microscope. These finger-like structures generally make up at least half of the adenoma. Villous adenomas are usually broad-based lesions, and often cause rectal bleeding. Because they can be pre-cancerous, they are usually removed when found. See also adenomatous polyp, colon, polyp, rectum, tubular adenoma, tubulovillous adenoma.
 Search  [vih-lus]
a polyp or mass that has some finger-like projections of gland cells when seen under the microscope. If there are enough of these, the mass would be considered a villous or tubulovillous polyp or adenoma. See also adenomatous polyp, colon, polyp, tubular adenoma, tubulovillous adenoma, villous adenoma.
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examination of the colon for polyps or masses using special computed tomography (CT) scans. The images are combined by a computer to make a 3-dimensional (3-D) model of the colon and rectum, which doctors can “fly-through” on a computer screen. If abnormalities are found, doctors must follow up using an actual colonoscopy. See also colon, colonoscopy, computed tomography scan, polyp.
 Search  [vy-rus]
a type of very small organism (called a micro-organism) can grow and reproduce only in living cells. Viruses are too small to be seen with a regular microscope. Viruses can infect cells, which in some cases can lead to diseases.
 Search  [vul-vuh]
the outside parts of a woman’s genitals, such as the labia, clitoris, and opening of the vagina. See also clitoris, labia, vagina.