Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: A viral disease that destroys the body’s ability to fight infections, leaving the body susceptible to many other diseases.
Acute Leukemia: A rapidly progressing cancer of the blood-forming tissue (bone marrow).
Acute: Having the abrupt onset of symptoms and a short course – not chronic.
Adenocarcinoma: Cancer that starts in the glandular tissue, such as in the ducts or lobules of the breast.
Adenoma: A benign tumor made up of glandular tissue. For example, an adenoma of the pituitary gland may cause it to produce abnormal amounts of hormones.
Adjuvant Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy given to kill any remaining cancer cells, usually after all detectable tumor is removed by surgery or radiotherapy.
Adjuvant Therapy: Treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy.
Adrenal Glands: Two small organs near the kidneys that release hormones.
AFP (Alpha fetoprotein): A tumor marker.
Aggressive: A fast-growing cancer.
Alopecia: The loss of hair, which may include all body hair as well as scalp hair.
Alveoli: Tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles in the lungs.
Analgesic: Any drug that relieves pain. Aspirin and acetaminophen are mild analgesics.
Androgens: A family of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.
Anemia: A condition in which a decreased number of red blood cells may cause symptoms including tiredness, shortness of breath, and weakness.
Angiogenesis: Blood vessel formation. Tumor angiogenesis is the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. This is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor.
Antiangiogenesis: Prevention of the growth of new blood vessels which can feed a tumor.
Antibody Therapy: Treatment with an antibody, a substance that can directly kill specific tumor cells or stimulate the immune system to kill tumor cells.
Antibody: A substance formed by the body to help defend it against infection.
Antiemetic Agent: A drug that prevents or controls nausea and vomiting.
Antifungal Agent: A drug used to treat fungal infections.
Antigen: Any substance that causes the body to produce natural antibodies.
Antineoplastic Agent: A drug that prevents, kills, or blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Apoptosis: Programmed cell death. Apoptosis is controlled by genes that cause a cell to die at a certain time. This type of cell death is different from the process of cell death by decay. Apoptosis can be brought about by some drugs used to treat cancer.
Arrhythmia: An irregular heartbeat.
Asbestos: A natural material that is made up of tiny fibers used in insulations against fire and in tire brake liners. The fibers can cause cancer.
Ascites: Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen.
Aspiration: Removal of fluid from a cyst or cells from a lump, using a needle and syringe.
Atypical hyperplasia: Cells that are both abnormal (atypical) and increased in number.
Autoimmunity: Conditions in which the body’s immune system mistakenly fights and rejects the body’s own tissues.
Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation: A procedure in which bone marrow is removed from a person, stored, and then given back to the person after intensive treatment.
Autologous: Taken from an individual’s own tissues, cells, or DNA.
Average Risk: A measure of the chances of getting cancer without the presence of any specific factors known to be associated with the disease.
Axilla: The armpit.
Axillary Nodes: Lymph Nodes also called lymph glands found in the axilla (armpit).