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Cancer Glossary

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

W
 Search  [WAL-den-strom MACK-row-GLOB-yuh-lin-EE-mee-uh]
Also called lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. A type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which the cells make large amounts of an abnormal protein called a macroglobulin. The lymphoma cells grow mainly in the bone marrow and crowd out normal blood cells. See also bone marrow, macroglobulinemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
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See expectant management.
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Often shortened to WBCs. Blood cells that help defend the body against infections. There are many types of white blood cells. Certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can reduce the number of these cells and make a person more likely to get infections. See also blood count, chemotherapy, immune system.
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Classification system for prostate cancer using the categories A, B, C, or D. It’s largely been replaced by the TNM system. Whitmore-Jewett staging can be translated into the TNM system, or the doctor can explain how this staging system will affect treatment options. See also prostate, staging.
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Also called Wilms’ tumor or nephroblastoma. A rare type of cancer that starts in the kidney and mainly affects young children. See also kidney.
 Search  [LO-cull-ih-ZAY-shun]
A method used when doing surgery to take out tissue for testing (surgical biopsy) and the lump is hard to find or there’s an area that looks suspicious on the x-ray. A thin, hollow needle is placed in the tissue and x-rays are used to guide the needle to the area of concern. A fine wire is put through the center of the needle. A small hook at the end of the wire keeps it in place. The hollow needle is then removed, and the surgeon uses the path of the wire as a guide to find the area to be removed. See also biopsy, surgical biopsy.