Encyclopedia of Cancer and Society

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Edited by: Graham A. Colditz

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      About the General editor

      Graham A. Colditz, M.D., Dr. P.H., is Niess-Gain Professor in the School of Medicine, and Associate Director of Prevention and Control, Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine. He received his B.Sc. and M.B., B.S., and M.D. from the University of Queensland, Ausralia, and his Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard University School of Public Health. From 1986 to 2006 he was the Project Director, Co-Principal Investigator, and Principal Investigator on the Nurses’ Health Study, a cohort study of 121,701 nurses established in 1976 and Principal Investigator on the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), which focuses on the diet and lifestyle of 16,883 adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age. He was appointed Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School in 1998–2006 and Associate Director of Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School from 2005 to 2006.

      From 1998 to 2006, Dr. Colditz served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cancer Causes and Control. In 2004, he was awarded the prestigious American Cancer Society-Cissy Hornung Clinical Research Professorship and most recently (October 2006) on the basis of professional achievement and his commitment to public health, was elected to membership of the Institute of Medicine. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Science of St. Louis. With longstanding interest in the causes and prevention of chronic disease, particularly among women, he has evaluated numerous lifestyle factors including exogenous hormones and breast cancer risk developing statistical models to predict cancer risk. Other areas of his expertise include tobacco and obesity in relation to cancer and other chron-ic diseases. He has developed award-winning web tools, “YourDiseaseRisk” to communicate tailored prevention messages to the public (http://www.yourdiseaserisk.wustl.edu). With a commitment to identifying preventable causes of chronic disease among women and adolescents, he continues to study benign breast disease and other markers for risk of breast cancer leading the efforts in Cancer Prevention and Control at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

      Introduction

      Over 6 Million people around the world die from cancer each year. There is overwhelming evidence that lifestyle factors impact cancer risk and that positive, population-wide changes can significantly reduce the cancer burden. What drives the distribution of these modifiable risk factors and what slows our progress to improving the patterns of risk in our society? Broader social and political forces are a major component and are addressed in this encyclopedia. Not only do health care providers and regulatory approaches each have a role, but individual behavior changes can substantially reduce the burden of cancer in our society. For example, how we design our cities and towns and how governments regulate and tax tobacco sales both play a part in the risk of cancer in society.

      Current epidemiologic evidence links behavioral factors to a variety of diseases, including the most common cancers diagnosed in the developed world—lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer. These four cancers account for over 50 percent of all cancers diagnosed in western countries. Tobacco causes some 30 percent of cancer, lack of physical activity five percent, obesity 15 percent, diet 10 percent, alcohol five percent, viral infections five percent, and excess sun exposure three percent. Because of the tremendous impact of modifiable factors on cancer risk, especially for the most common cancers, it has been estimated that at least 50 percent of cancers are preventable. Currently in the United States not all risk factors are equally distributed across race and social class. Thus we not only address the causes of cancer in this encyclopedia, but we also have entries on the relation between race and ethnicity and cancer risk. Because race and social class also covary with occupation and environmental exposures, these areas are also addressed in detail.

      Exposures at work have been related to cancer risk throughout history—from chimney sweeps and exposure to soot, to asbestos miners, to blast furnace operators. Many of these exposures have been reduced in western society by changing regulations regarding the workplace. Within occupations, many different agents are still generated by manufacturing processes. These are described, and are related to occupations that give rise to carcinogens as they help produce the trappings of modern society. As regulations work to protect workers in the West, are we simply exporting the manufacturing, occupation exposure, and cancer risk?

      Trends in risk factors should also be considered when assessing potential for cancer prevention. To bring about dramatic reductions in cancer incidence, widespread lifestyle changes will be necessary. Which strategies will likely work and how we can achieve these goals are further areas we must consider. To reduce the risk of disease in the population, substantial benefits can be achieved by a small reduction of risk for all members of society rather than just focusing on the high-risk groups.

      When we consider population-wide approaches to cancer prevention, we must address the etiologic process, which covers a different time course and sequence from coronary heart disease. Although cardiovascular disease is the end point of the chronic process of atherosclerosis, treatment focuses on the reversal and subsequent prevention of the acute thrombotic process of myocardial infarction. Cancer, on the other hand, is the result of a long process of accumulating DNA damage, leading ultimately to clinically detectable lesions such as in situ and invasive cancer. For example, studies of the progression in colon cancer from first mutation to invading malignancy suggest that DNA changes accumulate over a period of as long as 40 years. The goal of cancer prevention is to arrest this progression; different interventions interrupt carcinogenesis at different points in the process.

      Age is the dominant factor that drives cancer risk; for all major malignancies, risk rises markedly with age. The importance of age is exemplified by the fact that the aging U.S. population together with projected population growth will result in a doubling of the total number of cancer cases diagnosed each year by the year 2050, assuming that incidence rates remain constant. With this estimated growth in cancer from 1.3 million to 2.6 million cases per year, it is expected that that both the number and proportion of older persons with cancer will also rise dramatically. Entries in this encyclopedia help place this increase in cancer in context.

      Population-wide prevention strategies for cancer do work. For example, reductions in lung cancer rates in the United States mirror changes in cigarette smoking patters, with marked decreases seen first in young men, then older men, and finally in women. Introduction of the Papaniculou test for cervical cancer in the 1950s was followed by a dramatic decline in cervical cancer in those countries that made wide-spread screening available. The decline in Australian melanoma mortality for those born after 1950 is an additional example of effective intervention at the population level. Behavior change is possible and offers great potential for cancer prevention. The recommendations for cancer risk reduction include reducing tobacco use, increasing physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, improving diet, limiting alcohol, avoiding excess sun exposure, utilizing safer sex practices, and obtaining routine cancer screening tests. Emerging science in the prevention of cancer through drugs and vaccines is also promising and must be considered at a local, national, and international level. What are the barriers beyond costs that will limit access to these new preventive strategies for those most at risk of cancer?

      The Encyclopedia

      Some 750 entries, written for this volume by experts from an incredible diversity of fields, is a first step to understanding the emerging knowledge on the burden of cancer in different countries, on cancer causes, strategies for prevention, placing these in a context of societal underlying forces that respond or ignore the role of industry and social structure in driving the burden of cancer in society. This volume brings together an enormous range of topics, from causes of cancer, to the biologic processes and treatment strategies, to places where treatment is delivered, and to organizations working to advance knowledge and conquer cancer. In addition, key contributions by leading international scientists over the past 50 years are summarized in brief biographies. Together these entries provide a sweeping array of insightful perspectives that will be useful for students encountering issues in cancer causes and prevention, for those organizations and providers who are not yet aware of the scope of the problem, and those training in the many disciplines that relate to the challenges of addressing cancer in its full societal context.

      The encyclopedia was designed to include a vast range of different types of entries. This gives the reader the scope of the cancer problem and includes, what the editors believe, an integrated vision of cancer and society. By bringing these entries together in one encyclopedia, we help to place in context the issue of cancer in society and provide a resource that will be useful for readers from around the world. By providing entries for many countries, we also offer the opportunity to compare and contrast the state of cancer and the potential for prevention that varies substantially from region to region.

      The authors have included sample cancer incidence rates for many country articles from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC. Readers are encouraged to visit the IARC website, http://www-dep.iarc.fr, for more information.

      We live in a time when the cancer burden is rising globally, yet advances in understanding the potential for prevention, and the impact of our social structures on the underlying risk of disease rapidly inform strategies to reduce the burden. The editors hope that the Encyclopedia of Cancer and Society helps map out the lessons from past victories and strategies that can be applied to understand the problem and minimize the burden as we move forward.

      Graham A.Colditz

      Reader's Guide

      This list is provided to assist readers in finding articles related by category or theme.

      List of Articles

      List of Contributors

      Achutan, Chandran, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

      Afzal, Amber, Independent Scholar

      Ahmed, Haitham, Dartmouth Medical School

      Ahmed, Ayah, Kuwait University

      Akter, Farhana, Kings College London

      Alam, Sharita, Cornell University

      Alavanja, Michael, National Cancer Institute

      Ali, Muhammad Zeshan, Independent Scholar

      Ali, Syed Mustafa, University of Health Sciences

      Anthony, Navin, Providence Hospital

      Ashing-Giwa, Kimlin, Independent Scholar

      Auerbach, Karl, University of Rochester

      Baharanyi, Hasani, Yale University

      Bajaj, Sheetal, University of Southern California

      Baker, Jin, Health and Food Institute

      Bala, Poonam, University of Delhi

      Bausch-Goldbohm, Sandra, TNO Quality of Life, Netherlands

      Bax, Michael, Stanford University

      Bazhenova, Lyudmila, University of California, San Diego

      Blair, Mary, Independent Scholar

      Boffetta, Paolo, International Agency for Research on Cancer

      Boslaugh, Sarah, Washington University School of Medicine

      Branagan, Andrew, Columbia University Medical Center

      Brandt, Piet van den, Maastricht University, Netherlands

      Brownson, Ross C., Independent Scholar

      Carethers, John, University of California San Diego

      Carpenter, Catherine, Center for Human Nutrition, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

      Castelao, Jose Esteban, University South Carolina Norris Cancer Center

      Chan, R. V. Paul, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

      Chen, Stephen, University of Toronto

      Chen, Susanna, Western University of Health Sciences

      Chen, Wendy, Harvard University

      Chow, Jimmy, University of California, San Diego

      Cipa-Tatum, Jillian, Independent Scholar

      Clark, Cecily, Michigan State University

      Clerkin, Cathleen, University of California, Berkeley

      Clerkin, Michael, Sacramento City College

      Clerkin, Paul, Sacramento City College

      Connolly, Gregory, Harvard School of Public Health

      Corfield, Justin, Geelong Grammar School, Australia

      Coughlin, Steven, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Crammer, Corinne, American Cancer Society

      Curry, Christine, Independent Scholar

      Davidson, Michele, George Mason University

      De Vocht, Frank, International Agency for Research on Cancer

      Ding, Eric, Harvard School of Public Health

      Dunne, Eileen, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Edenfield, Heather, Brigham and Women's Hospital

      Eren, Gülnihan, Ege University Faculty of Medicine Turkey

      Ezra, Navid, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

      Fernandes, Rochelle, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

      Ferrer, Rizaldy, Independent Scholar

      Field, R. William, University of Iowa

      Friedman, Carol, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Freudenheim, Jo, State University of New York, Buffalo

      Frye, Stacy, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

      Gago-Dominguez, Manuela, University of Southern California Norris Cancer Center

      Garg, Sonia, Brown Medical School

      Garland, Cedric, University of California, San Diego

      Garland, Frank C., University of California, San Diego

      Garshick, Eric, Harvard School of Public Health

      Ghafoor, Sana, Independent Scholar

      Gladwin, Rahul, University of Health Sciences, Antigua

      Goldstein, Bradley, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

      Goode, Ellen, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

      Gorham, Edward D., University of California, San Diego

      Grant, William, B., Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center

      Gruenbaum, Benjamin, University of Connecticut

      Gruenbaum, Shaun, Columbia Medical School

      Gupta, Nakul, Ross University School of Medicine

      Gushchin, Anna, University of Pittsburgh

      Hale, Gregory, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

      Hall, Irene, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Hand, Gregory, University of South Carolina

      Handy, Susan L., University of California, Davis

      Haque, Omar Sultan, Harvard Medical School

      Harlston, Lois, Tennessee State University

      Harris, Melanie, Lander College for Women

      Hartge, Patricia, National Institutes of Health

      Hebert, James, University of South Carolina

      Hellawell, Jennifer, Cornell University School of Medicine

      Herrera, Fernando A., Jr., University of California, San Diego

      Hoffmeister, Laura, Harvard University

      Hohman, Donald, Kern Medical Center

      Hu, Stephanie, Harvard Medical School

      Huang, Sherry, University of California, San Diego

      Ilyas, Sadia, University of Missouri, Kansas City

      Ireton, Renee, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

      Jaggers, Jason R., University of South Carolina

      Jeng, H. Anna, Old Dominion University

      Jourabchi, Natanel, Independent Scholar

      Jung, Barbara, University of California, San Diego

      Kalipeni, Ezekiel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      Kawachi, Ichiro, Harvard School of Public Health

      Kasow, Kimberly, St. Jude's Children Research Hospital

      Khanijoun, Harleen K., University of Alabama

      Kilfoy, Briseis, Yale University

      Kim, Daniel, Harvard University

      Kim, Youngmee, American Cancer Society

      Kolonel, Laurence, University of Hawaii

      Krueger, Gretchen, University of California, Berkeley

      Laden, Francine, Harvard Medical School

      La Flair, Lareina, Harvard Medical School

      Land, Charles, National Institutes of Health

      Lawson, Herschel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Lee, Simon, National Cancer Institute

      Lee, Won Jin, Korea University

      Leung, Sonia, University of Michigan

      Liu, Simin, UCLA School of Public Health

      Loscalzo, Mathew J., University of California, San Diego

      Lyerly, G. William, University of South Carolina

      Malone, Ruth E., University of California, San Francisco

      Mariani, Lisa, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Markowitz, Lauri, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Marshall, James, Roswell Park Cancer Institute

      Maruti, Sonia, Harvard University

      Masood, Quratulain, National University of Sciences and Technology

      McElroy, Lisa, Michigan State University

      Mendelsohn, Jacquelyn, University of Arkansas

      Mernitz, Heather, Tufts University

      Messmer, Bradley, University of California, San Diego

      Mikulski, Marek, University of Iowa

      Mills, Paul, Cancer Registry of California

      Mishra, Mark, National Cancer Institute

      Mitra, Anirban, University of Southern California

      Moadel, Alyson, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

      Modelska, Sabina, Western University of Health Sciences

      Mohr, Sharif B., University of California, San Diego

      Mokaya, Kemunto, Yale University School of Medicine

      Moore, Jonathan, University of South Carolina

      Nguyen, Tu-Uyen Ngoc, University of South Carolina

      Nijhawan, Rajiv I., Independent Scholar

      Nnama, Obianuju, Michigan State University

      Novak, Shawna, Independent Scholar

      Novogradec, Ann, York University, United Kingdom

      Olsson, Ann, International Agency for Research on Cancer

      Ouma, Veronica, Hofstra University

      Padula, Alessandra, University of L'Aquila, Italy

      Pandit, Rahul, St. Petersburg State Medical Academy, Russia

      Parascandola, Mark, National Institute of Health

      Park, Crystal, University of Connecticut

      Patel, Alpa, American Cancer Society

      Patel, Krunal, Independent Scholar

      Patel, Shalu, Independent Scholar

      Prabakar, Cheruba, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

      Peethambaram, Prema P., Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

      Quinn, John, University of Illinois, Chicago

      Radhakrishnan, Priya, Catholic Healthcare West

      Ranft, Elizabeth, Western University of Health Sciences

      Rattan, Rishi, University of Illinois, Chicago

      Reid, Mary E., Roswell Park Cancer Institute

      Riedmueller, Lauren, St. Edward's University

      Rodriguez, Jorge, Ponce School of Medicine

      Rozenfeld, Boris, Independent Scholar

      Saleh, Kamal, Independent Scholar

      Salem, Aliasger K., University of Iowa

      Salem, Husein, K., University of Manchester, United Kingdom

      Salem, Murtaza K., University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

      Saraiya, Mona, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Sathya, Chethan, University of Toronto, Canada

      Scott-Connor, Carol, University of Iowa

      Seely, Dugald, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

      Shahverdian, Edwin, Independent Scholar

      Shen, John, Washington University School of Medicine

      Sherry, Mark, University of Toledo

      Shultz, Jennifer, Independent Scholar

      Siano, Maria, Ramapo College of New Jersey

      Singh, Navneet, University of Toronto, Canada

      Smith, Carmela M., New Mexico State University

      Song, Zirui, Harvard Medical School

      Stechschulte, Sarah, Independent Scholar

      Stefanek, Michael, American Cancer Society

      Steinmaus, Craig M., California Environmental Protection Agency

      Sukerkar, Preeti, Northwestern University

      Sullivan, Jaron, Texas A&M Health Science Center

      Tapya, Sara, University of Iowa

      Tavassoly, Iman, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Iran

      Tavassoly, Omid, Tarbiat Modares University, Iran

      Thomas, Christopher, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Thun, Michael, American Cancer Society

      Tsigelny, Igor, University of California, San Diego

      Walsh, John, Shinawatra University, Thailand

      Wang, Xiang-Dong, Tufts University

      Wang, Sophia, National Institutes of Health

      Wang, Y. Claire, Harvard University

      Waskey, Andrew, Dalton State College

      Wellisch, David K., University of California, Los Angeles

      Wills, Richard, Independent Scholar

      Wilkens, Lynne R., University of Hawaii

      Wingo, Phyllis, Harvard University

      Winograd, Claudia, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      Wright, Clark J., University of South Carolina

      Yeh, James, Boston University

      Yonekawa, Yoshihiro, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

      Young, Sara, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

      Zelterman, Daniel, Yale University

      Zeltser, Marina, Independent Scholar

      Chronology

      3000 to 800 B.C.E.

      Egyptian writings mention both benign and malignant tumors. Castor oil (made from the seeds of Castor beans), pigs' ears, and other animal parts were among the ingredients in the treatments these texts describe for fighting tumors.

      Several Egyptian papyrus scrolls, dating from approximately 1600 b.c.e., are among the oldest of the world's writings about medicine and cures. These scrolls are known by the names of the archaeologists and scholars who first studied them in the late 1800s. The “George Ebers” papyrus describes over 700 recipes for medicines and cures. The “Edwin Smith” papyrus is a guide to ancient surgical procedures and is believed to be a copy of a much earlier text from as early as 3000 B.C.E.

      525 B.C.E. to 848 C.E.

      The doctors Hippocrates and Galen began to revolutionize medical thought by thinking about disease as a natural physical process, rather than one caused by magic and the supernatural. They had a profound influence on the treatment and understanding of disease for almost 1,500 years. Hippocrates gave the name karkinos and karkinoma (the ancient Greek words for “crab”) to a group of diseases that he studied, including cancers of the breast, uterus, stomach, and skin. The hard center and spiny projections of the tumors Hippocrates observed reminded him of the crustacean. “Cancer” means “crab” or “crayfish” in Latin. Indeed, cancer became a recognized diagnosis in this time period. Although Galen removed some tumors surgically, he generally believed that cancer was best left untreated.

      1110 to 1478

      When Rome fell, Constantinople emerged as the center of knowledge. Classic Greek and Roman texts, including those of Galen, were translated into Arabic, and influenced physicians in Cairo, Athens, and Alexandria. Disease, including cancer, was stilled viewed in terms of the four Greek bodily fluids—blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. Cancer was thought to arise from an excess of black bile and was only curable in its earliest stages.

      1517 to 1590

      The modern world began to emerge with the embrace of new learning, propelled by voyages of discovery and the printing press. Increasingly, physicians and scholars based medicine on direct observations. The writings of Galen, which had dominated medical thinking in the West, were challenged. Ambroise Paré became the era's best-known surgeon. He recommended surgery for cancer only if tumors could be removed completely. Benivieni, Da Vinci, Durer, and Vesalius made enormous strides in the knowledge of human anatomy. Cancer was still believed to be the result of black bile and largely incurable. Even so, physicians prepared a variety of arsenic pastes for its treatment.

      1609 to 1665

      Inventions and discoveries set a new tone for medicine. The microscope, the telescope, and other instruments were invented. William Harvey first described the continuous circulation of the blood, undermining the humoral theory of disease—that is, the conception of disease as imbalances in special fluids within the body. With cancer no longer attributed to black bile, the understanding and treatment of cancer began taking a new path.

      Robert Hooke described the structure of tissues in plants as “little boxes of cells,” helping to develop the idea of the cell as the basic unit of living organisms. This vision of bodies as collections of cells took firm root in the 1800s. Gaspare Aselli discovered the vessels of the lymphatic system, key to the body's ability to fight infection and disease. Lymph abnormalities began to be examined as possible cancer causes.

      Although surgery was still quite risky given the absence of anesthesia and antiseptics, the famous German surgeon Wilhelm Fabricius Hildanus removed lymph nodes in breast cancer operations, and Johann Scultetus performed total mastectomies.

      An early microscope and other scientific apparatus as illustrated in Robert Hooke's Micrographia, published circa 1665.
      1733 to 1788

      For the first time in history, physicians and scientists performed systematic experiments on cancer, leading to oncology as a medical specialty. Two French scientists—the physician Jean Astruc and the chemist Bernard Peyrilhe—were key to these new investigations. Along with the rise of oncology as the specialized study of cancer, hospitals specializing in cancer treatment were established.

      Researchers also explored connections between factors in the environment as possible causes of cancer. Cancer in chimney sweeps was studied, as well as the carcinogenic effects of tobacco use.

      The French physician Claude Gendron's eight years of investigations led him to conclude that cancer arises locally in the body as a hard, growing mass. He believed that it was untreatable with drugs and that tumors should be removed surgically. The Dutch professor Hermann Boerhaave believed that inflammations could result from a cancer tumor.

      1800 to 1892

      The 19th century was marked by many dramatic developments in science and technology. These developments profoundly changed societies and ways of life, including understandings of the world and humankind's place within it. Many of these developments contributed to the growth of cancer research, such as Darwin and evolution, Pasteur and bacteriology, Virchow and cell pathology, Morton and anesthesia, Lister and antisepsis, Röntgen and X-rays, and the Curies and radium.

      As a result of autopsies performed by Giovanni Margagni and Matthew Baillie, cancers of the breast, stomach, rectum, testes, bladder, pancreas, and esophagus were described in detail. Advances in microscopy allowed scientists to study the differences between normal cells and cancerous cells. Cancer statistics were first collected and analyzed in France and Italy.

      1895 to 1929

      Oncology was established as an experimental science with advances in cell research, chemical carcinogens, and chemotherapy. The relatively new field of chemotherapy wad spurred on by the work of chemists like Paul Ehrlich. These pharmaceutical achievers created “wonder drugs,” new chemical substances—some natural and some synthetic, capable of treating diseases, including cancer. At the crossroads of nuclear chemistry and oncology, X-rays were used effectively to destroy cancer cells. Many different causes of cancer were investigated. Among these causes were viruses, chemical and physical carcinogens, and abnormal chromosomes. The German zoologist Theodor Boveri advanced the idea that cancer is related to abnormal chromosomes. This theory became much more prominent later in the century.

      In 1913, the Ladies Home Journal published the first popular article about the warning signs for cancer. Volunteers established the American Society for the Control of Cancer. In 1944, the ASCC became the American Cancer Society.

      1930 to 1950

      In 1937, Congress passed the National Cancer Institute Act, that authorized annual funding for cancer research. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) was formed in 1939 through the merger of the Office of Cancer Investigations at Harvard University and a pharmacology division at the National Institutes of Health. Research produced by many scientists, including George Hitchings and Gertrude Elion, showed that cancer could be treated with chemical compounds. Cancer chemotherapy joined surgery and radiation as methods of treating cancer. Research on the smoking-cancer link was initiated. Methods for the early diagnosis of cancer were pursued.

      1952 to 1971

      In 1953, James Watson and Frances Crick unleashed a tidal wave of new discoveries with their model of DNA's structure, discoveries contributing to the creation of a molecular understanding of disease and health. Cancer researchers contributed much of this new information as they continued to search for “magic bullets.”

      More recent developments include DNA sequencing that allows scientists to find genes that are responsible for cancer.

      In 1955, Congress funded a National Chemotherapy program to test compounds that might be effective against cancer. By the late 1970s, at least 45 compounds were known to be effective against 29 different forms of cancer. In the 1960s and 1970s, scientists explored the connection between cancer and viruses. In 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General Luther L. Terry issued the report that linked smoking to lung cancer. The search for chemical carcinogens continued. Howard M. Temin and David Baltimore discovered an enzyme called reverse transcriptase and explained how RNA converts genetic information to DNA, thus making genetic engineering possible.

      1972 to 1981

      Using genetic engineering, researchers identified oncogenes. The first was the src gene in chickens. Human oncogenes and proto-oncogenes were also identified. DNA sequencing allowed scientists to study the action of specific genes in the quest for finding genes that are responsible for cancer.

      The human immune system was studied with the goal of using the body's own defenses to fight cancer. The link between cancer and viruses led to an AIDS-cancer connection. The HIV virus is first grown in the laboratory in 1984.

      1982 to 1985

      Transplanting specific cells and genes in animals made possible the transfer of genes in humans. The National Cancer Institute established a program to screen thousands of drugs—both natural and synthetic—for their anticancer properties. Plants such as the mayapple, the rosy periwinkle, and the pacific yew were found to contain compounds that show promise against cancer.

      1986 to 1992

      Researchers show that some genes suppress tumor growth. These suppressor genes were isolated and cloned in humans. Radiation from the sun was shown to produce a change in a tumor suppressor gene in skin cells. Cigarette smoke was shown to produce a similar change in a suppressor gene in lung cells. The U.S. Human Genome project began in 1991. The first gene transfers in humans took place. Using monoclonal antibodies, researchers delivered lethal toxins to a target cancer cell.

      1993 to 2000S

      The National Cancer Institute established links between cancer and nutrition, smoking, and other environmental and lifestyle factors in an effort to encourage cancer prevention. The Institute also established aggressive screening programs for cancer. The possibility of a cancer vaccine was investigated.

      Chemical Heritage Foundation, Adapted from National Cancer Institute
    • Appendix: Cancer Statistics

      Cancer Statistics: Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by Primary Site and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by Primary Site and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by Primary Site and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by Primary Site and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      All Cancer Sites Combined. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      All Cancer Sites Combined. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: All Cancer Sites Combined. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: All Cancer Sites Combined. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Breast. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Divsion, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Breast. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Divsion, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Colon and Rectum. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Colon and Rectum. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Colon and Rectum. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Colon and Rectum. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Hodgkin Lymphoma. Age-Adjusted Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Hodgkin Lymphoma. Age-Adjusted Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Hodgkin Lymphoma. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Hodgkin Lymphoma. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Leukemias. Age-Adjusted Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Leukemias. Age-Adjusted Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Leukemias. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Leukemias. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Lung and Bronchus. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Lung and Bronchus. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Lung and Bronchus. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Lung and Bronchus. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Melanomas of the Skin. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Melanomas of the Skin. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Melanomas of the Skin. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†

      Cancer Statistics: Melanomas of the Skin. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Age-Adjusted Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Age-Adjusted Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Division, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Cancer Statistics: Prostate. Age-Adjusted Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Divsion, State and Metropolitan Area, and Race and Ethnicity, United States†‡

      Cancer Statistics: Prostate. Age-Adjusted Cancer Death Rates∗ and 95% Confidence Intervals, by U.S. Census Region and Divsion, State, and Race and Ethnicity, United States

      Atlas of Cancer

      Normal Appearance vs. Appearance with Spread of Cancer

      Brain Surgery: Removal of Brain Tumor and Cyst

      Bladder Cancer

      Breast Cancer

      Breast Cancer with 45 percent Mortality

      Cervical Cancer Progression

      Colon Cancer

      Lung Cancer with Metastasis to Lymph Nodes and Liver

      Metastasis

      Chemotherapy and Radiation

      Neck Tumor

      Ovarian Cancer Progression

      Prostate Cancer Progression

      Rectal Cancer Progression

      Skin Cancer Melanoma Progression

      Stomach Cancer

      Uterine Cancer Progression

      Testis Cancer, Metastatic

      Pelvic Cancer, Widespread

      Abdominal Tumor Mass

      Bilateral Nasal Cancer with Surgical Removal

      Brain Tumor with Compression of Adjacent Structures

      Resource Guide

      Books

      Abbruzzese, J. and Ebrahimi, B. Myths & Facts About Pancreatic Cancer (PRR, 2002)

      Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education. The Lung Cancer Manual (Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education, 2003)

      American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2007 (ACS, 2007)

      American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2006 (American Cancer Society, 2006)

      American Cancer Society. Good for You: Reducing Your Risk of Developing Cancer (American Cancer Society, 2002)

      American Institute for Cancer Research. Stopping Cancer Before It Starts (St. Martin's Press, 2000)

      Austoker, Joan. A History of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund 1902–1986 (Oxford University Press, 1988)

      Beauchamp, Thomas and Childress, James. Principles of Biomedical Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2001)

      Branverman, Debra. Heal Your Heart with EECP (Celestial Arts, 2005)

      Buckman, Robert. What You Really Need to Know About Cancer. (John Hopkins University Press, 1995)

      Burtis, Carl and Ashwood, Edward. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry (Saunders, 1999)

      Cancer Care. A Helping Hand: The Resource Guide for People With Cancer (Cancer Care, 2002)

      Castleman, Michael. Nature's Cures (Rodale Books, 1996)

      Cefrey, H. Coping with Cancer, Its Side Effects, or Other Serious Illness (Rosen, 2000)

      Chabner, Bruce. Cancer Chemotherapy and Biotherapy: Principles and Practice (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2006)

      Chine Map Press. Atlas of Cancer Mortality in the Peo-ple's Republic of China (China Map Press, 1979)

      Cicala, R. The Cancer Pain Sourcebook (Contemporary Books, 2001)

      Colditz, Graham A. and Hunter, David, eds. Cancer Prevention: The Causes and Prevention of Cancer, Volume I (Kluwer Academic, 2000)

      Colditz, Graham A. and Stein, C.J. Handbook of Cancer Risk Assessment and Prevention. (Jones and Bartlett, 2004).

      Committee on Cancer Survivorship: Improving Care and Quality of Life. From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition, Maria Hewitt, Sheldon Greenfield, and Ellen Stovall, eds. (National Academies Press, 2006)

      Cukier, D. and McCullough, V. Coping With Radiation Therapy (Lowell House, 2000)

      Devita, V. T., Hellman, S., Rosenberg, S. A., eds. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (Lippincott-Raven Publishers, 1997)

      Dollinger, M. Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy (Andrews McMeel, 2002)

      Dooley, J. and Betancourt, M. The Coming Cancer Breakthroughs: What You Need to Know About the Latest Cancer Treatment Options (Kensington Books, 2002)

      Eyre, H., Lange, D., and Morris L. Informed Decisions: The Complete Book of Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery (American Cancer Society, 2002)

      Fanco, Eduardo L., and Rohan, Thomas E., eds. Cancer Precursors: Epidemiology, Detection and Prevention (Springer-Verlag, 2002)

      Fincannon, J. and Bruss, K. Couples Confronting Cancer: Keeping Your Relationship Strong (American Cancer Society, 2003)

      Finn, R. Cancer Clinical Trials: Experimental Treatments & How They Can Help You (O'Reilly & Associates, 1999)

      Fischer, David, and Durivage, Henry M. Tish Knobf and Nancy Beaulieu, The Cancer Chemotherapy Handbook (Mosby, 2003)

      Foley, Kathleen M. and Gelband, Hellen. National Cancer Policy Board/Institute of Medicine, Improving Palliative Care for Cancer (National Academy Press, 2001)

      Fromer, M. The Journey to Recovery: A Complete Guide to Cancer Chemotherapy (Adams Media, 2001)

      Glemser, Bernard. Man Against Cancer: Research & Progress (Bodley Head, 1969)

      Greenwald, P., Kramer, B.F., Weed, D.L. eds. Cancer Prevention and Control (Marcel Dekker, 1995)

      Harpham, W. When a Parent has Cancer: A Guide for Caring for Your Children (HarperCollins, 1997)

      Hartwell, Leland H., Hood, Leroy, Goldberg, Michael L, Reynolds, Ann E., Silver, Lee M. and Veres, Ruth C., Genetics: From Genes to Genomes (McGraw-Hill, 2000)

      Hirshaut, Y. and Pressman, P. Breast Cancer: The Complete Guide (Bantam Books, 2000)

      Hofrichter, Richard ed. Health and Social Justice: Politics, Ideology and Inequity in the Distribution of Disease (Jossey-Bass, 2003)

      Holick M, ed. Vitamin D: Molecular Biology, Physiology, and Clinical Applications (Humana, 1999)

      Howe, D. His Prostate and Me: A Couple Deals With Prostate Cancer (Winedale, 2002)

      Dos Santos Silva, I., ed. Cancer Epidemiology: Principals and Methods (IARC, 1999)

      IARC. Tobacco Smoke and Involuntary Smoking (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2004)

      Iver, Knud and Secher, Assens. The Danish Cancer Researcher, Johannes Fibiger: Professor in the University of Copenhagen (Nyt Nordisk Forlag, 1947)

      Johnston, L. Colon & Rectal Cancer: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients & Families (O'Reilly & Associates, 2000)

      Johnston, L. Lung Cancer: Making Sense of Diagnosis, Treatment & Options (O'Reilly & Associates, 2001)

      Johnston, L. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas: Making Sense of Diagnosis, Treatment & Options. (O'Reilly & Associates, 1999)

      Kaplan, Henry S. and Jones, Patricia T. eds. Cancer in China (A.R. Liss, 1978)

      Keough, Carol. The Complete Book of Cancer Prevention (Rodale Books, 1988)

      Kluger, R. Ashes to ashes: America's hundred-year cigarette war, the public health, and the unabashed triumph of Philip Morris (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, 1996)

      Kneece, J. Your Breast Cancer Treatment Handbook (EdcuCare Publishing, 2001)

      Lackritz, B. Adult Leukemia; A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families (O'Reilly & Associates, 2001)

      Langford, L. Ovarian Cancer: Your Guide to Taking Control (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc, 2003)

      Levin, B. American Cancer Society: Colorectal Cancer, a thorough and compassionate resource for patients and their families (Random House; 1999)

      Love, S. Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book (Perseus Publishing, 2000)

      Lydiatt, W. Cancers of the Mouth & Throat: A Patient's Guide to Treatment (Addicus Books, 2001)

      Marks, S. Prostate & Cancer, a Family Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment & Survival (Perseus Publishing, 2003)

      National Cancer Policy Board. Childhood Cancer Survivorship: Improving Care and Quality of Life, Hewitt, M., Weiner, SL., and Simone, JV., eds. (National Academy of Sciences, 2003)

      New York Cancer Committee. History of the American Society for the Control of Cancer, 1913–1943 (Westchester Cancer Committee, 1943)

      Olson, James S., The History of Cancer: An Annotated Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1989)

      Parkin, D.M., Whelan, S.L., J., Raymond, Ferlay and Young, J. eds. Cancer Incidence in Five Continents Vol VII (International Agency for Research on Cancer and International Association of Cancer Registries, 1997)

      Parkin, DM., Ferlay, J., Hamdi-Cherif, M., Sitas, F., Thomas, JO., Wabinga H. and Whelan, SL., eds., Cancer in Africa: Epidemiology and Prevention (IARC, 2003)

      Patterson, James T. The Dread Disease: Cancer and Modern American Culture (Harvard University Press, 1987)

      Raven, Ronald W. The Theory and Practice of Oncology (Parthenon Publications, 1990)

      Rettig, Richard A., Cancer Crusade: The Story of the National Cancer Act of 1971 (Authors Choice Press, 2005)

      Rosenberg, Steve and Barry, John. The Transformed Cell—Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer (G.P. Putman's Sons, 1992)

      Ross, W. Crusade: The Official History of the American Cancer Society (Arbor House, 1987)

      Rushing, L. and Joste, N. Abnormal Pap Smears: What Every Woman Needs To Know (Prometheus, 2001)

      Schoenberg, M. The Guide to Living with Bladder Cancer (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000)

      Schofield, J. and Robinson, W. What You Really Need to Know About Moles and Melanoma. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000)

      Smedley, Howard and Sikora, Karol. Cancer What It Is and How Its Treated (Basil Blackwell Ltd., 1985)

      Spence, Alexander. Biology of Human Aging (Prentice Hall, 1989)

      Stewart, S. Autologous Stem Cell Transplants: A Handbook for Patients (Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network, 2000)

      Stewart, S. Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplants: A Guide for Patients (Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network, 2002)

      The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Volume 67: Human Immunodeficiency Viruses And Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Viruses (IARC, 1996)

      Tollison, CD., Satterthwaithe, J. R., Tollison, J.W., eds. Practical Pain Management (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2002)

      Turow, Joseph, Playing Doctor (Oxford University Press, 1989)

      US DHHS. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General

      (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office On Smoking and Health, 2006)

      Weed, Douglas L. and Coughlin, Steven S. “Ethics in Cancer Prevention and Control” in Weight Control (CRC Press, 2006)

      Internet

      http://www.iarc.fr–International Agency for Research on

      Cancer http://www.ahrq.gov–Agency for Healthcare Research and

      Quality http://www.cancer.ca–Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.gov–National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.org–American Cancer Society http://www.chemotherapy.com–Chemotherapy Online http://www.clinicaltrials.gov–Developed by the National Library of Medicine http://www.mdsupport.org–Harvard Support Group http://www.nia.nih.org–National Institute of Aging http://www.pnas.org–Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences http://www.who.int–World Health Organization http://www.yourdiseaserisk.wustl.edu–Sitemann Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine

      Journals

      American Journal of Clinical Pathology

      American Journal of Medicine

      American Journal of Preventive Medicine

      Angiogenesis Weekly

      Anticancer Research

      British Journal of Cancer

      British Medical Journal

      CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

      Cancer Biology and Therapy

      Cancer Causes and Control

      Cancer Cell

      Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention

      Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy

      Cancer Journal

      Cancer Research

      Carcinogenesis

      Carotenoids in Health and Disease

      Cell

      Clinical Cancer Research

      Environmental Health Perspective

      European Journal of Cancer Prevention

      Journal of Biological Chemistry

      Journal of Clinical Instigation

      Journal of Clinical Medicine and Research

      Journal of Clinical Oncology

      Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia

      Journal of Medical Sciences Monitor

      Journal of Molecular Diagnostics

      Journal of Nutrition

      Journal of Physical Anthropology

      Journal of the American Medical Association

      Journal of the National Cancer Institute

      Molecular Aspects of Medicine

      Molecular Cancer Research

      Nature Reviews Cancer

      New England Journal of Medicine

      Nucleic Acids Research

      Nutrition and Cancer

      Oncology Reporters

      Oncology Research

      Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

      Pharmacogenetics

      Protein Nucleic Acid

      Science

      Science and Medicine

      Stat Med

      The Medical Clinics of North America

      Toxicology Science

      Glossary

      Adapted from the National Cancer Institute online glossary by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

      Abdomen (AB-do-men): The part of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.

      Accelerated phase (ak-SEL-er-ay-ted): Refers to chronic myelogenous leukemia that is progressing. The number of immature, abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow and blood is higher than in the chronic phase, but not as high as in the blast phase.

      Achlorhydria (a-klor-HY-dree-a): A lack of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid helps digest food.

      Acoustic (ah-KOOS-tik): Related to sound or hearing.

      Actinic keratosis (ak-TIN-ik ker-a-TO-sis): A precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin; also called solar or senile keratosis.

      Acute leukemia: Leukemia that progresses rapidly.

      Adenocarcinoma (AD-in-o-kar-sin-O-ma): Cancer that begins in cells that line certain internal organs.

      Adenoma (AD-in-o-ma): A noncancerous tumor.

      Adjuvant therapy (AD-joo-vant): Treatment given in addition to the primary treatment to enhance the effectiveness of the primary treatment.

      Adrenal glands (a-DREE-nal): A pair of small glands, one located on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands produce hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, the way the body uses food, and other vital functions.

      Aflatoxin (AF-la-TOK-sin): A substance made by a mold that is often found on poorly stored grains and nuts. Aflatoxins are known to cause cancer in animals.

      Agranulocyte (A-gran-yoo-lo-SITE): A type of white blood cell; monocytes and lymphocytes are agranulocytes.

      Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (AL-o-jen-AY-ik): A procedure in which a patient receives bone marrow from a compatible, though not genetically identical, donor.

      Alpha-fetoprotein (AL-fa FEE-to-PRO-teen): A protein often found in abnormal amounts in the blood of patients with liver cancer.

      Alveoli (al-VEE-o-lye): Tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles.

      Amputation (am-pyoo-TAY-shun): Surgery to remove all or some of a body part.

      Amylase (AM-il-aze): An enzyme that helps the body digest starches.

      Anal cancer: Anal cancer, an uncommon cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the anus. The anus is the opening at the end of the rectum (the end part of the large intestine) through which body waste passes.

      Anaplastic (an-ah-PLAS-tik): A term used to describe cancer cells that divide rapidly and bear little or no resemblance to normal cells.

      Anastamosis (an-AS-ta-MO-sis): A procedure to connect healthy sections of the colon or rectum after the diseased portion has been surgically removed.

      Androgen (AN-dro-jenz): A hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.

      Anemia (a-NEE-mee-a): A decrease in the normal amounts of red blood cells.

      Anesthesia (an-es-THEE-zha): Loss of feeling or awareness. A local anesthetic causes loss of feeling in a part of the body. A general anesthetic puts the person to sleep.

      Anesthetic (an-es-THET-ik): A substance that causes loss of feeling or awareness. A local anesthetic causes loss of feeling in a part of the body. A general anesthetic puts the person to sleep.

      Angiogenesis (an-gee-o-GEN-e-sis): Blood vessel formation, which usually accompanies the growth of malignant tissue.

      Angiogram (AN-jee-o-gram): An X-ray of blood vessels; the patient receives an injection of dye to outline the vessels on the X-ray.

      Angiography (an-jee-O-gra-fee): A procedure to X-ray blood vessels. The blood vessels can be seen because of an injection of a dye that shows up in the X-ray pictures.

      Angiosarcoma (AN-jee-o-sar-KO-ma): A type of cancer that begins in the lining of blood vessels.

      Antiandrogen (an-tee-AN-dro-jen): A drug that blocks the action of male sex hormones.

      Antibiotics (an-ti-by-AH-tiks): Drugs used to treat infection.

      Antibody (AN-ti-BOD-ee): A protein produced by certain white blood cells in response to a foreign substance (antigen). Each antibody can bind only to a specific antigen. The purpose of this binding is to help destroy the antigen. Antibodies can work in several ways, depending on the nature of the antigen. Some antibodies disable antigens directly. Others make the antigen more vulnerable to destruction by white blood cells.

      Anticonvulsant (an-ti-kon-VUL-sant): Medicine to stop, prevent, or control seizures (convulsions).

      Antigen: Any foreign or “non-self” substance that, when introduced into the body, causes the immune system to create an antibody.

      Antithymocyte globulin (anti-THIGH-moe-site GLA-bu-lin): A protein preparation used to prevent and treat graft-versus-host disease.

      Anus (AY-nus): The opening of the rectum to the outside of the body.

      Aplastic anemia: A deficiency of certain parts of the blood caused by a failure of the bone marrow's ability to generate cells.

      Apoptosis (ay-paw-TOE-sis): A normal cellular process involving a genetically programmed series of events leading to the death of a cell.

      Areola (a-REE-oe-la): The area of dark-colored skin that surrounds the nipple.

      Arterial embolization (ar-TEE-ree-al EM-bo-lih-ZAY-shun): Blocking an artery so that blood cannot flow to the tumor.

      Arteriogram (ar-TEER-ee-o-gram): An X-ray of blood vessels, which can be seen after an injection of a dye that shows up in the X-ray pictures.

      Asbestos (as-BES-tus): A natural material that is made up of tiny fibers. If the fibers are inhaled, they can lodge in the lungs and lead to cancer.

      Ascites (a-SYE-teez): Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen.

      Aspiration (as-per-AY-shun): Removal of fluid from a lump, often a cyst, with a needle and a syringe.

      Astrocytoma (as-tro-sye-TOE-ma): A type of brain tumor that begins in the brain or spinal chord in small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes.

      Asymptomatic: Presenting no symptoms of disease.

      Ataxic gait (ah-TAK-sik): Awkward, uncoordinated walking.

      Atypical hyperplasia (hy-per-PLAY-zha): A benign (noncancerous) condition in which tissue has certain abnormal features.

      Autologous bone marrow transplantation (aw-TAHL-o-gus): A procedure in which bone marrow is removed from a patient and then is given back to the patient following intensive treatment.

      Axilla (ak-SIL-a): The underarm.

      Axillary (AK-sil-air-ee): Pertaining to the lymph nodes under the arm.

      Axillary dissection (AK-sil-air-ee): Surgery to remove lymph nodes under the arm.

      B cells: White blood cells that develop in the bone marrow and are the source of antibodies. Also known as B lymphocytes.

      Barium enema: A series of X-rays of the lower intestine. The X-rays are taken after the patient is given an enema with a white, chalky solution that contains barium. The barium outlines the intestines on the X-rays.

      Barium solution: A liquid containing barium sulfate that is used in X-rays to highlight parts of the digestive system.

      Barrett's esophagus: A change in the cells of the tissue that lines the bottom of the esophagus. The esophagus may become irritated when the contents of the stomach back up (reflux). Reflux that happens often over a long period of time can lead to Barrett's esophagus.

      Basal cell carcinoma (BAY-sal sel kar-sin-O-ma): A type of skin cancer that arises from the basal cells.

      Basal cells: Small, round cells found in the lower part, or base, of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.

      Basophil: A type of white blood cell. Basophils are granulocytes.

      BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin): A substance that activates the immune system. Filling the bladder with a solution of BCG is a form of biological therapy for superficial bladder cancer.

      Benign (beh-NINE): Not cancerous; does not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body.

      Benign prostatic hyperplasia (hy-per-PLAY-zha): A noncancerous condition in which an overgrowth of prostate tissue pushes against the urethra and the bladder, blocking the flow of urine. Also called benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH.

      Benign tumor (beh-NINE): A noncancerous growth that does not spread to other parts of the body.

      Beta-carotene: A substance from which vitamin A is formed; a precursor of vitamin A.

      Bilateral: Affecting both the right and left side of body.

      Bile: A yellow or orange fluid made by the liver. Bile is stored in the gallbladder. It passes through the common bile duct into the duodenum, where it helps digest fat.

      Bioimmunotherapy: Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease.

      Biological response modifiers (by-o-LOJ-i-kal): Substances that stimulate the body's response to infection and disease. The body naturally produces small amounts of these substances. Scientists can produce some of them in the laboratory in large amounts and use them in cancer treatment. Also called BRMs.

      Biological therapy (by-o-LOJ-i-kul): The use of the body's immune system, either directly or indirectly, to fight cancer or to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also known as immunotherapy, biotherapy, or biological response modifier therapy.

      Biopsy (BYE-ahp-see): The removal of a sample of tissue, which is then examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

      Bladder: The hollow organ that stores urine.

      Bladder cancer: Bladder cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the bladder. The bladder, a hollow organ in the lower part of the abdomen, stores urine.

      Blast phase: Refers to advanced chronic myelogenous leukemia. In this phase, the number of immature, abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow and blood is extremely high. Also called blast crisis.

      Blasts: Immature blood cells.

      Blood-brain barrier: A network of blood vessels with closely spaced cells that makes it difficult for potentially toxic substances (such as anticancer drugs) to penetrate the blood vessel walls and to enter the brain.

      Bone marrow: The soft, spongy tissue in the center of large bones that produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

      Bone marrow aspiration (as-per-AY-shun) or biopsy (BY-op-see): The removal of a small sample of bone marrow (usually from the hip) through a needle for examination under a microscope to see whether cancer cells are present.

      Bone marrow biopsy (BYE-ahp-see): The removal of a sample of tissue from the bone marrow with a large needle. The cells are checked to see whether they are cancerous. If cancerous plasma cells are found, the pathologist estimates how much of the bone marrow is affected. Bone marrow biopsy is usually done at the same time as bone marrow aspiration.

      Bone marrow transplantation (trans-plan-TAY-shun): A procedure in which doctors replace marrow destroyed by treatment with high doses of anticancer drugs or radiation. The replacement marrow may be taken from the patient before treatment or may be donated by another person.

      Bone scan: A technique to create images of bones on a computer screen or on film. A small amount of radioactive material is injected and travels through the bloodstream. It collects in the bones, especially in abnormal areas of the bones, and is detected by a scanner.

      Bowel: Another name for the intestine. There is both a small and a large bowel.

      Brachytherapy (BRAK-i-THER-a-pee): Internal radiation therapy using an implant of radioactive material placed directly into or near the tumor.

      Brain stem: The stemlike part of the brain that is connected to the spinal cord.

      Brain stem glioma (glee-O-ma): A type of brain tumor that occurs in the lowest, stemlike part of the brain.

      Brain tumor:

      astrocytoma: Astrocytomas are tumors that start in brain cells called astrocytes. There are different kinds of astrocytomas, which are defined by how the cancer cells look under a microscope.

      ependymoma: Ependymal tumors are tumors that begin in the ependyma, the cells that line the passageways in the brain where special fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord (called cerebrospinal fluid) is made and stored. There are different kinds of ependymal tumors, which are defined by how the cells look under a microscope.

      glioblastoma: Glioblastoma multiformes are tumors that grow very quickly and have cells that look very different from normal cells. Glioblastoma multiforme is also called grade IV astrocytoma.

      medulloblastoma: Medulloblastomas are brain tumors that begin in the lower part of the brain. They are almost always found in children or young adults. This type of cancer may spread from the brain to the spine.

      BRCA1: A gene located on chromosome 17 that normally helps to restrain cell growth. Inheriting an altered version of BRCA1 predisposes an individual to breast, ovary, and prostate cancer.

      Breast reconstruction: Surgery to rebuild a breast's shape after a mastectomy.

      Bronchi (BRONK-eye): Air passage that leads from the windpipe to the lungs.

      Bronchioles (BRON-kee-ols): The tiny branches of air tubes in the lungs.

      Bronchitis (BRON-KYE-tis): Inflamation (swelling and reddening) of the bronchi.

      Bronchoscope (BRON-ko-skope): A flexible, lighted instrument used to examine the trachea and bronchi, the air passages that lead into the lungs.

      Bronchoscopy (bron-KOS-ko-pee): A test that permits the doctor to see the breathing passages through a lighted tube.

      Buccal mucosa (BUK-ul myoo-KO-sa): The inner lining of the cheeks and lips.

      Burkitt's lymphoma: A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that most often occurs in young people between the ages of 12 and 30. The disease usually causes a rapidly growing tumor in the abdomen.

      Bypass: A surgical procedure in which the doctor creates a new pathway for the flow of body fluids.

      Calcium (KAL-see-um): A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones.

      Cancer: A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

      Cancer screening: Different tests may show whether a person has a higher than normal risk for getting certain types of cancer. The person's family history and medical history are also key parts of the cancer screening process.

      Carcinogen (kar-SIN-o-jin): Any substance that is known to cause cancer.

      Carcinogenesis: The process by which normal cells are transformed into cancer cells.

      Carcinoma (kar-sin-O-ma): Cancer that begins in the lining or covering of an organ.

      Carcinoma in situ (kar-sin-O-ma in SY-too): Cancer that involves only the cells in which it began and has not spread to other tissues.

      Cartilage (KAR-ti-lij): Firm, rubbery tissue that cushions bones at joints. A more flexible kind of cartilage connects muscles with bones and makes up other parts of the body, such as the larynx and the outside of the ears.

      Catheter (KATH-et-er): A tube that is placed in a blood vessel to provide a pathway for drug or nutrients.

      Cauterization (KAW-ter-i-ZAY-shun): The use of heat to destroy abnormal cells.

      CEA assay: A laboratory test to measure the level of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of patients with certain cancers.

      Cell: The basic unit of any living organism.

      Cell differentiation: The process during which young, immature (unspecialized) cells take on individual characteristics and reach their mature (specialized) form and function.

      Cell motility: The ability of a cell to move.

      Cell proliferation: An increase in the number of cells as a result of cell growth and cell division.

      Cellular adhesion: The close adherence (bonding) to adjoining cell surfaces.

      Central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord. Also called CNS.

      Cerebellum (sair-uh-BELL-um): The portion of the brain in the back of the head between the cerebrum and the brain stem.

      Cerebral hemispheres (seh-REE-bral HEM-iss-feerz): The two halves of the cerebrum.

      Cerebrospinal fluid (seh-REE-bro-spy-nal): The watery fluid flowing around the brain and spinal cord. Also called CSF.

      Cerebrum (seh-REE-brum): The largest part of the brain. It is divided into two hemispheres, or halves.

      Cervical cancer: Cancer of the cervix, a common kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus (womb).

      Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (SER-vih-kul in-tra-eh-pih-THEEL-ee-ul NEE-o-play-zha): A general term for the growth of abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix. Numbers from 1 to 3 may be used to describe how extensive the abnormal cells are and how deeply they penetrate through the epithelium. Also called CIN.

      Cervix (SER-viks): The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.

      Chemoprevention (KEE-mo-pre-VEN-shun): The use of natural or laboratory made substances to prevent cancer.

      Chemotherapy (kee-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment with anticancer drugs.

      Cholangiosarcoma (ko-LAN-jee-o-sar-KO-ma): A type of cancer that begins in the bile ducts.

      Chondrosarcoma (KON-dro-sar-KO-ma): A cancer that forms in cartilage, occurring mainly in the pelvis, femur, and shoulder areas.

      Chordoma (kor-DO-ma): A form of bone cancer that usually starts in the lower spinal column.

      Chromosome (KRO-mo-soam): Part of a cell that contains genetic information. Normally, human cells contain 46 chromosomes that appear as a long thread inside the cell.

      Chronic leukemia (KRON-ik): Leukemia that progresses slowly.

      Chronic phase (KRON-ik): Refers to the early stages of chronic myelogenous leukemia or chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The number of immature, abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow and blood is higher than normal, but lower than in the accelerated or blast phase.

      Clinical trials: Research studies that involve patients. Each study is designed to find better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat cancer and to answer scientific questions.

      CNS (central nervous system): The brain and the spinal cord.

      CNS prophylaxis (pro-fi-LAK-sis): Chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the central nervous system (CNS). This is preventive treatment. It is given to kill cancer cells that may be in the brain and spinal cord, even though no cancer has been detected there.

      Colectomy (ko-LEK-to-mee): An operation to remove all or part of the colon. In a partial colectomy, the surgeon removes only the cancerous part of the colon and a small amount (called a margin) of surrounding healthy tissue.

      Colon (KO-lun): The long, coiled, tubelike organ that removes water from digested food. The remaining material, solid waste called stool, moves through the colon to the rectum and leaves the body through the anus.

      Colon cancer: Cancer of the colon, a common form of cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the colon. The colon is part of the body's digestive system. The last 6 feet of intestine is called the large bowel or colon.

      Colonoscope (ko-LON-o-skope): A flexible, lighted instrument used to view the inside of the colon.

      Colonoscopy (ko-lon-OS-ko-pee): An examination in which the doctor looks at the colon through a flexible, lighted instrument called a colonoscope.

      Colony-stimulating factors: Substances that stimulate the production of blood cells. Treatment with colony-stimulating factors (CSF) can help the blood-forming tissue recover from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

      Colorectal (ko-lo-REK-tul): Related to the colon and/or rectum.

      Colostomy (ko-LOS-to-mee): An opening created by a surgeon into the colon from the outside of the body. A colostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed.

      Colposcopy (kul-POSS-ko-pee): A procedure in which a lighted magnifying instrument (called a colposcope) is used to examine the vagina and cervix.

      Combination chemotherapy: Treatment in which two or more chemicals are used to obtain more effective results.

      Common bile duct: Bile ducts are passageways that carry bile. Two major bile ducts come together into a “trunk,” the common bile duct, which empties into the upper part of the small intestine (the part next to the stomach).

      Computed tomography (tom-OG-rah-fee): An X-ray procedure that uses a computer to produce a detailed picture of a cross section of the body; also called CAT or CT scan.

      Condylomata acuminata (kon-di-LOW-ma-ta a-kyoo-mi-NA-ta): Genital warts caused by certain human papillomaviruses.

      Conization (ko-ni-ZAY-shun): Surgery to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix and cervical canal. Conization may be used to diagnose or treat a cervical condition. Also called cone biopsy.

      Continent reservoir (KAHN-tih-nent RES-er-vwar): A pouch formed from a piece of small intestine to hold urine after the bladder has been removed.

      Corpus: The body of the uterus.

      Craniopharyngioma(KRAY-nee-o-fah-rin-jee-O-ma): A type of brain tumor that develops in the region of the pituitary gland near the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that controls body temperature, hunger, and thirst. These tumors are usually benign but are sometimes considered malignant because they can press on or damage the hypothalamus and affect vital functions.

      Craniotomy (kray-nee-OT-o-mee): An operation in which an opening is made in the skull so the doctor can reach the brain.

      Cryosurgery (KRY-o-SER-jer-ee): Treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal tissues.

      Cryptorchidsm (kript-OR-kid-izm): A condition in which one or both testicles fail to move from the abdomen, where they develop before birth, into the scrotum; also called undescended testicles.

      CT (or CAT) scan: A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine. Also called computed tomography scan or computed axial tomography scan.

      Curettage (kyoo-re-TAHZH): Removal of tissue with a curette.

      Curette (kyoo-RET): A spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge.

      Cutaneous (kyoo-TAY-nee-us): Related to the skin.

      Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a disease in which certain cells of the lymph system (called T lymphocytes) become cancer (malignant) and affect the skin. Lymphocytes are infection-fighting white blood cells that are made in the bone marrow and by other organs of the lymph system. T-cells are special lymphocytes that help the body's immune system kill bacteria and other harmful things in the body.

      Cyst (sist): A sac or capsule filled with fluid.

      Cystectomy (sis-TEK-to-mee): Surgery to remove the bladder.

      Cystoscope (SIS-to-skope): An instrument that allows the doctor to see inside the bladder and remove tissue samples or small tumors.

      Cystoscopy (sist-OSS-ko-pee): A procedure in which the doctor inserts a lighted instrument into the urethra (the tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body) to look at the bladder.

      Dermatologist (der-ma-TOL-o-jist): A doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of skin problems.

      Dermis (DER-mis): The lower or inner layer of the two main layers of cells that make up the skin.

      Diabetes (dye-a-BEE-teez): A disease in which the body does not use sugar properly. (Many foods are converted into sugar, a source of energy for cells.) As a result, the level of sugar in the blood is too high. This disease occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly.

      Diagnosis: The process of indentifying a disease by the signs and symptoms.

      Dialysis (dy-AL-i-sis): The process of cleansing the blood by passing it through a special machine. Dialysis is necessary when the kidneys are not able to filter the blood.

      Diaphanography (DY-a-fan-OG-ra-fee): An exam that involves shining a bright light through the breast to reveal features of the tissues inside. This technique is under study; its value in detecting breast cancer has not been proven. Also called transillumination.

      Diaphragm (DY-a-fram): The thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen.

      Diathermy (DIE-a-ther-mee): The use of heat to destroy abnormal cells. Also cauterization or electrodiathermy.

      Diethylstilbestrol (die-ETH-ul-stil-BES-trol): A drug that was once widely prescribed to prevent miscarriage. Also called DES.

      Differentiation: In cancer, refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor. Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and grow at a slower rate than undifferentiated tumor cells, which lack the structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.

      Digestive system: The organs that take in food and turn it into products that the body can use to stay healthy. Waste products the body cannot use leave the body through bowel movements. The digestive system includes the salivary glands, mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, intestines, and rectum.

      Digestive tract (dye-JES-tiv): The organs through which food passes when we eat. These are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and rectum.

      Digital rectal exam: An exam to detect cancer. The doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels for abnormal areas. Also called DRE.

      Dilation and curettage (di-LAY-shun and KYOO-re-tahzh): A minor operation in which the cervix is expanded enough (dilation) to permit the cervical canal and uterine lining to be scraped with a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette (curettage). This procedure also is called D and C.

      Dilator (DIE-lay-tor): A device used to stretch or enlarge an opening.

      DNA: The protein that carries genetic information; every cell contains a strand of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

      Douching (DOO-shing): Using water or a medicated solution to clean the vagina and cervix.

      Dry orgasm: Sexual climax without the release of semen.

      Duct (dukt): A tube through which body fluids pass.

      Ductal carcinoma in situ (DUK-tal kar-sin-O-ma in SY-too): Abnormal cells that involve only the lining of a duct. The cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. About 15–20 percent of breast cancers are sometimes called carcinoma in situ. They may be either ductal carcinoma in situ (sometimes called intraductal carcinoma) or lobular carcinoma in situ. Even though it is referred to as a cancer, it is not actually cancer. However, patients with this condition have a 25 percent chance of developing breast cancer in either breast in the next 25 years. Also called DCIS or intraductal carcinoma.

      Dumping syndrome: A group of symptoms that occur when food or liquid enters the small intestine too rapidly. These symptoms include cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness.

      Duodenum (doo-o-DEE-num): The first part of the small intestine.

      Dysplasia (dis-PLAY-zha): Abnormal cells that are not cancer.

      Dysplastic nevi: (dis-PLAS-tik NEE-vye): Atypical moles; moles whose appearance is different from that of common moles. Dysplastic nevi are generally larger than ordinary moles and have irregular and indistinct borders. Their color often is not uniform, and ranges from pink or even white to dark brown or black; they usually are flat, but parts may be raised above the skin surface.

      Edema (eh-DEE-ma): Swelling; an abnormal buildup of fluid.

      Ejaculation: The release of semen through the penis during orgasm.

      Electrodesiccation (e-LEK-tro-des-i-KAY-shun): Use of an electric current to destroy cancerous tissue and control bleeding.

      Electrolarynx (e-LEK-tro-LAR-inks): A battery-oper-ated instrument that makes a humming sound to help laryngectomees talk.

      Embolization (EM-bo-li-ZAY-shun): Blocking an artery so that blood cannot flow to the tumor.

      Encapsulated (en-KAP-soo-lay-ted): Confined to a specific area; the tumor remains in a compact form.

      Endocervical curettage (en-do-SER-vi-kul kyoo-re-TAZH): The removal of tissue from the inside of the cervix using a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette.

      Endocrinologist (en-do-kri-NOL-o-jist): A doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating hormone disorders.

      Endometrial cancer: Cancer of the endometrium, a common kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The uterus is the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows. Cancer of the endometrium is different from cancer of the muscle of the uterus, which is called sarcoma of the uterus.

      Endometriosis (en-do-mee-tree-O-sis): A benign condition in which tissue that looks like endometrial tissue grows in abnormal places in the abdomen.

      Endometrium (en-do-MEE-tree-um): The layer of tissue that lines the uterus.

      Endoscope (EN-do-skope): A thin, lighted tube through which a doctor can look at tissues inside the body.

      Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (en-do-SKAH-pik RET-ro-grade ko-LAN-jee-o-PAN-kree-a-TAW-gra-fee): A procedure to X-ray the common bile duct. Also called ERCP.

      Endoscopy (en-DOS-ko-pee): An examination of the esophagus and stomach using a thin, lighted instrument called an endoscope.

      Ependymoma (eh-PEN-dih-MO-ma): A type of brain tumor that usually develops in the lining of the ventricles but may also occur in the spinal chord.

      Enterostomal therapist (en-ter-o-STO-mul): A health professional trained in the care of urostomies and other stomas.

      Environmental tobacco smoke: Smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette and smoke that is exhaled by smokers. Also called ETS or second-hand smoke. Inhaling ETS is called involuntary or passive smoking.

      Enzyme: A substance that affects the rate at which chemical changes take place in the body.

      Ependymoma (eh-PEN-di-MO-ma): Ependymal tumors are tumors that begin in the ependyma, the cells that line the passageways in the brain where special fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord (called cerebrospinal fluid) is made and stored. There are different kinds of ependymal tumors, which are defined by how the cells look under a microscope.

      Epidermis (ep-i-DER-mis): The upper or outer layer of the two main layers of cells that make up the skin.

      Epidermoid carcinoma (ep-i-DER-moyd): A type of lung cancer in which the cells are flat and look like fish scales. Also called squamous cell carcinoma.

      Epiglottis (ep-i-GLOT-is): The flap that covers the trachea during swallowing so that food does not enter the lungs.

      Epithelial carcinoma (ep-i-THEE-lee-ul kar-si-NO-ma): Cancer that begins in the cells that line an organ.

      Epithelium (EP-i-THEE-lee-um): A thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands, and other structures in the body.

      ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) (en-do-SKOP-ik RET-ro-grade ko-LAN-gee-o-PAN-kree-a-TOG-ra-fee): A procedure to X-ray the common bile duct.

      Erythrocytes (e-RITH-ro-sites): Cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called red blood cells (RBCs).

      Erythroleukemia (e-RITH-ro-loo-KEE-mee-a): Leukemia that develops in erythrocytes. In this rare disease, the body produces large numbers of abnormal red blood cells.

      Erythroplakia (eh-RITH-ro-PLAY-kee-a): A reddened patch with a velvety surface found in the mouth.

      Esophageal (e-soff-a-JEE-al): Related to the esophagus.

      Esophageal cancer: Cancer of the esophagus is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the esophagus. The esophagus is the hollow tube that carries food and liquid from the throat to the stomach.

      Esophageal speech (e-SOF-a-JEE-al): Speech produced with air trapped in the esophagus and forced out again.

      Esophagectomy (e-soff-a-JEK-to-mee): An operation to remove a portion of the esophagus.

      Esophagoscopy (e-soff-a-GOSS-ko-pee): Examination of the esophagus using a thin, lighted instrument.

      Esophagram (e-SOFF-a-gram): A series of X-rays of the esophagus. The X-ray pictures are taken after the patient drinks a solution that coats and outlines the walls of the esophagus. Also called a barium swallow.

      Esophagus (e-SOF-a-gus): The muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.

      Estrogen (ES-tro-jin): A female hormone.

      Etiology: The study of the causes of abnormal condition or disease.

      Ewing's sarcoma (YOO-ingz sar-KO-ma): Ewing's sarcoma/primitive neuroepithelial tumor is a rare disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the bone. The most common areas in which it occurs are the pelvis, the thigh bone (femur), the upper arm bone (humerus), and the ribs. Ewing's sarcoma/primitive neuroepithelial tumor most frequently occurs in teenagers.

      External radiation: Radiation therapy that uses a machine to aim high-energy rays at the cancer.

      Fallopian tubes (fa-LO-pee-in): Tubes on each side of the uterus through which an egg moves from the ovaries to the uterus.

      Familial polyposis (pol-i-PO-sis): An inherited condition in which several hundred polyps develop in the colon and rectum.

      Fecal occult blood test (FEE-kul o-KULT): A test to check for hidden blood in stool. (Fecal refers to stool. Occult means hidden.)

      Fertility (fer-TIL-i-tee): The ability to produce children.

      Fetus (FEET-us): The unborn child developing in the uterus.

      Fiber: The parts of fruits and vegetables that cannot be digested. Also called bulk or roughage.

      Fibroid (FY-broid): A benign uterine tumor made up of fibrous and muscular tissue.

      Fibrosarcoma: A type of soft tissue sarcoma that begins in fibrous tissue, which holds bones, muscles, and other organs in place.

      Fluoroscope (FLOOR-o-skope): An X-ray machine that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion.

      Fluoroscopy (Floor-OS-ko-pee): An X-ray procedure that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion

      Fluorouracil (floo-ro-YOOR-a-sil): An anticancer drug. Its chemical name is 5-fluorouracil, commonly called 5-FU.

      Follicles (FAHL-ih-kuls): Shafts through which hair grows.

      Fractionation: Dividing the total dose of radiation therapy into several smaller, equal doses delivered over a period of several days.

      Fulguration (ful-gyoor-AY-shun): Destroying tissue using an electric current.

      Gallbladder (GAWL-blad-er): The pear-shaped organ that sits below the liver. Bile is stored in the gallbladder.

      Gamma knife: Radiation therapy in which high-energy rays are aimed at a tumor from many angles in a single treatment session.

      Gastrectomy (gas-TREK-to-mee): An operation to remove all or part of the stomach.

      Gastric (GAS-trik): Having to do with the stomach.

      Gastric atrophy (GAS-trik AT-ro-fee): A condition in which the stomach muscles shrink and become weak. It results in a lack of digestive juices.

      Gastric cancer: Cancer of the stomach, also called gastric cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the stomach.

      Gastroenterologist (GAS-tro-en-ter-OL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the digestive system.

      Gastrointestinal tract (GAS-tro-in-TES-ti-nul): The part of the digestive tract where the body processes food and eliminates waste. It includes the esophagus, stomach, liver, small and large intestines, and rectum.

      Gastroscope (GAS-tro-skope): A thin, lighted instrument to view the inside of the stomach.

      Gastroscopy (gas-TROS-ko-pee): An examination of the stomach with a gastroscope, an instrument to view the inside of the stomach.

      Gene: The biological or basic unit of heredity found in all cells in the body.

      Gene deletion: The total loss or absence of a gene.

      Gene therapy: Treatment that alters genes (the basic units of heredity found in all cells in the body). In studies of gene therapy for cancer, researchers are trying to improve the body's natural ability to fight the disease or to make the tumor more sensitive to other kinds of therapy.

      Genetic: Inherited; having to do with information that is passed from parents to children through DNA in the genes.

      Genetic testing: Specific tests can be done to see whether a person has changes in certain genes that are known to be associated with cancer.

      Genitourinary system (GEN-i-toe-YOO-rin-air-ee): The parts of the body that play a role in reproduction, in getting rid of waste products in the form of urine, or in both.

      Germ cells: The reproductive cells of the body specifically, either egg or sperm cells.

      Germ cell tumors: A type of brain tumor that arises from primitive (developing) sex cells, or germ cells.

      Germinoma (jer-mih-NO-ma): The most frequent type of germ cell tumor in the brain.

      Germline mutation: See hereditary mutation.

      Gestational trophoblastic disease: Gestational trophoblastic tumor, a rare cancer in women, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells grow in the tissues that are formed following conception (the joining of sperm and egg). Gestational trophoblastic tumors start inside the uterus, the hollow, muscular, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows. This type of cancer occurs in women during the years when they are able to have children.

      Gland: An organ that produces and releases one or more substances for use in the body. Some glands produce fluids that affect tissues or organs. Others produce hormones or participate in blood production.

      Glioblastoma multiforme (glee-o-blast-TO-ma mul-tih-FOR-may): A type of brain tumor that forms in the nervous (glial) tissue of the brain. They grow very quickly and have cells that look very different from normal cells. Glioblastoma multiforme is also called grade IV astrocytoma.

      Glioma (glee-O-ma): A name for brain tumors that begin in the glial cells, or supportive cells, in the brain. “Glia” is the Greek word for glue.

      Glottis (GLOT-is): The middle part of the larynx; the area where the vocal cords are located.

      Grade: Describes how closely a cancer resembles normal tissue of its same type, and the cancer's probable rate of growth.

      Grading: A system for classifying cancer cells in terms of how malignant or aggressive they appear microscopically. The grading of a tumor indicates how quickly cancer cells are likely to spread and plays a role in treatment decisions.

      Graft: Healthy skin, bone, or other tissue taken from one part of the body to replace diseased or injured tissue removed from another part of the body.

      Graft-versus-host disease: A reaction of donated bone marrow against a patient's own tissue. Also called GVHD.

      Granulocyte (GRAN-yoo-lo-site): A type of white blood cell. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are granulocytes.

      Groin: The area where the thigh meets the hip.

      GVHD (graft-versus-host disease): A reaction of donated bone marrow against a patient's own tissue.

      Gynecologic oncologists (guy-ne-ko-LA-jik on-KOL-o-jists): Doctors who specialize in treating cancers of the female reproductive organs.

      Gynecologist (guy-ne-KOL-o-jist): A doctor specializing in treating diseases of the female reproductive organs.

      Hair follicles (FOL-i-kuls): The sacs in the scalp from which hair grows.

      Hairy cell leukemia: A rare type of chronic leukemia in which the abnormal white blood cells appear to be covered with tiny hairs.

      Helicobacter pylori (HEEL-i-ko-BAK-ter pie-LOR-ee): Bacteria that cause inflammation and ulcers in the stomach.

      Hematogenous: Orginating in the blood, or disseminated by the circulation or through the bloodstream.

      Hematologist (hee-ma-TOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the blood.

      Hepatitis (hep-a-TYE-tis): Inflammation of the liver.

      Hepatitis B: A type of hepatitis that is carried and passed on through the blood. It can be passed on through sexual contact or through the use of “dirty” (bloody) needles.

      Hepatoblastoma (HEP-a-to-blas-TO-ma): A type of liver tumor that occurs in infants and children.

      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HEP-a-to-SEL-yoo-ler kar-si-NO-ma): The most common type of primary liver cancer.

      Hepatocyte (HEP-a-to-site): A liver cell.

      Hepatoma (HEP-a-TO-ma): A liver tumor.

      Hereditary mutation: A gene change in the body's reproductive cells (egg or sperm) that becomes incorporated into the DNA of every cell in the body of offspring; hereditary mutations are passed on from parents to offspring.

      Herpes virus (HER-peez-VY-rus): A member of the herpes family of viruses. One type of herpesvirus is sexually transmitted and causes sores on the genitals.

      HER-2/neu: Oncogene found in some breast and ovarian cancer patients that is associated with a poor prognosis.

      Hodgkin's disease: Hodgkin's disease is a type of lymphoma. Lymphomas are cancers that develop in the lymph system, part of the body's immune system.

      Hormonal therapy: Treatment of cancer by removing, blocking, or adding hormones.

      Hormone receptor test: A test to measure the amount of certain proteins, called hormone recptors, in breast cancer tissue. Hormones can attach to these proteins. A high level of hormone receptors means hormones probably help the cancer grow.

      Hormone therapy: Treatment that prevents certain cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.

      Hormones: Chemicals produced by glands in the body and circulate in the bloodstream. Hormones control the actions of certain cells or organs.

      Human papillomaviruses (pap-i-LOW-ma VY-rus-ez): Viruses that generally cause warts. Some papillomaviruses are sexually transmitted. Some of these sexually transmitted viruses cause wartlike growths on the genitals, and some are thought to cause abnormal changes in cells of the cervix.

      Humidifier (hyoo-MID-ih-fye-er): A machine that puts moisture in the air.

      Hydrocephalus (hy-dro-SEF-uh-lus): The abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain.

      Hypercalcemia (hy-per-kal-SEE-mee-a): A higher-than-normal level of calcium in the blood. This condition can cause a number of symptoms, including loss of appetite, nausea, thirst, fatigue, muscle weakness, restlessness, and confusion.

      Hyperfractionation: A way of giving radiation therapy in smaller-than-usual doses two or three times a day.

      Hyperplasia (hye-per-PLAY-zha): A precancerous condition in which there is an increase in the number of normal cells lining the uterus.

      Hyperthermia (hy-per-THER-mee-a): Treatment that involves heating a tumor.

      Hypothalamus (hy-po-THAL-uh-mus): The area of the brain that controls body temperature, hunger, and thirst.

      Hysterectomy (hiss-ter-EK-to-mee): An operation in which the uterus and cervix are removed.

      Ileostomy (il-ee-OS-to-mee): An opening created by a surgeon into the ileum, part of the small intestine, from the outside of the body. An ileostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the intestine has been removed.

      Imaging: Tests that produce pictures of areas inside the body.

      Immune system (im-YOON): The complex group of organs and cells that defends the body against infection or disease.

      Immunodeficiency: A lowering of the body's ability to fight off infection and disease.

      Immunology: A science that deals with the study of the body's immune system.

      Immunosuppression: The use of drugs or techniques to suppress or interfere with the body's immune system and its ability to fight infections or disease. Immunosuppression may be deliberate, such as in preparation for bone marrow or other organ transplantation to prevent rejection by the host of the donor tissue, or incidental, such as often results from chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

      Immunotherapy (IM-yoo-no-THER-a-pee): Treatment that uses the body's natural defenses to fight cancer. Also called biological therapy.

      Implant (or internal) radiation: Internal radiation therapy that places radioactive materials in or close to the cancer.

      Impotent (IM-po-tent): Inability to have an erection and/or ejaculate semen.

      Incidence: The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.

      Incision (in-SI-zhun): A cut made in the body during surgery.

      Incontinence (in-kON-ti-nens): Inability to control the flow of urine from the bladder.

      Infertility: The inability to produce children.

      Infiltrating cancer: See invasive cancer.

      Inflammatory breast cancer: A rare type of breast cancer in which cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. The breast becomes red, swollen, and warm, and the skin of the breast may appear pitted or have ridges.

      Inguinal orchiectomy (IN-gwin-al or-kee-EK-to-mee): Surgery to remove the testicle through the groin.

      Insulin (IN-su-lin): A hormone made by the islet cells of the pancreas. Insulin controls the amount of sugar in the blood.

      Interferon (in-ter-FEER-on): A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease). It stimulates the growth of certain disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system.

      Interleukin (in-ter-LOO-kin): A substance used in biological therapy. Interleukins stimulate the growth and activities of certain kinds of white blood cells.

      Interleukin 2 (in-ter-LOO-kin): A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease). It stimulates the growth of certain blood cells in the immune system that can fight cancer. Also called IL-2.

      Internal radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): Radiation therapy that uses radioactive materials placed in or near the tumor.

      Intestine (in-TES-tin): The long, tube-shaped organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. It consists of the small and large intestines.

      Intraepithelial (in-tra-eh-pih-THEEL-ee-ul): Within the layer of cells that forms the surface or lining of an organ.

      Intrahepatic (in-tra-hep-AT-ik): Within the liver.

      Intrahepatic bile duct (in-tra-hep-AT-ik): The bile duct that passes through and drains bile from the liver.

      Intraoperative radiation therapy: Radiation treatment given during surgery. Also called IORT.

      Intraperitoneal chemotherapy (IN-tra-per-i-to-NEE-al): Treatment in which anticancer drugs are put directly into the abdomen through a thin tube.

      Intrathecal chemotherapy (in-tra-THEE-cal KEE-mo-THER-a-pee): Chemotherapy drugs infused into the thin space between the lining of the spinal cord and brain to treat or prevent cancers in the brain and spinal cord.

      Intravenous (in-tra-VEE-nus): Injected in a vein. Also called IV.

      Intravenous pyelogram (in-tra-VEE-nus PIE-el-o-gram): A series of X-rays of the kidneys and bladder. The X-rays are taken after a dye that shows up on X-ray film in injected into a vein. Also called IVP.

      Intravenous pyelography (om-tra-VEE-nus py-LOG-ra-fee): X-ray study of the kidneys and urinary tract. Structures are made visible by the injection of a substance that blocks X-rays. Also called IVP.

      Intravesical (in-tra-VES-ih-kal): Within the bladder.

      Invasion: As related to cancer, the spread of cancer cells into healthy tissue adjacent to the tumor.

      Invasive cancer: Cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed. Invasive breast cancer is also called infiltrating cancer or infiltrating carcinoma.

      Invasive cervical cancer: Cancer that has spread from the surface of the cervix to tissue deeper in the cervix or to other parts of the body.

      IORT (intraoperative radiation therapy): Radiation treatment given during surgery.

      Islet cell cancer (EYE-let): Cancer arising from cells in the islets of Langerhans.

      Islets of Langerhans (EYE-lets of LANG-er-hanz): Hormone-producing cells in the pancreas.

      IV (intravenous) (in-tra-VEE-nus): Injected in a vein.

      IVP (intravenous pyelogram) (in-tra-VEE-nus PYE-el-o-gram): X-ray study of the kidneys, uterus, and urinary tract. Structures are made visible by the injection of a substance that blocks X-rays.

      Jaundice (JAWN-dis): A condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes become yellow and the urine darkens. Jaundice occurs when the liver is not working properly or when a bile duct is blocked.

      Kaposi's sarcoma (KAP-o-seez-sar-KO-ma): A relatively rare type of cancer that develops on the skin of some elderly persons or those with a weak immune system, including those with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

      Kidney cancer: Renal cell cancer (also called cancer of the kidney or renal adenocarcinoma) is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in certain tissues of the kidney. Renal cell cancer is one of the less common kinds of cancer. It occurs more often in men than in women.

      Kidneys (KID-neez): A pair or organs in the abdomen that remove waste from the blood. The waste leaves the blood as urine.

      Krukenberg tumor (KROO-ken-berg): A tumor of the ovary caused by the spread of stomach cancer.

      Laparoscopy (lap-a-ROS-ko-pee): A surgical procedure in which a lighted instrument shaped like a thin tube is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen. The doctor can look through the instrument and see inside the abdomen.

      Laparotomy (lap-a-ROT-o-mee): An operation that allows the doctor to inspect the organs in the abdomen.

      Large cell carcinomas: A group of lung cancers in which the cells are large and look abnormal.

      Laryngeal (lair-IN-jee-al): Having to do with the larynx.

      Laryngectomee (lair-in-JEK-toe-mee): A person who has had his or her voice box removed.

      Laryngectomy (lair-in-JEK-toe-mee): An operation to remove all or part of the larynx.

      Laryngoscope (lair-IN-jo-skope): A flexible lighted tube used to examine the larynx.

      Laryngoscopy (lair-in-GOS-ko-pee): Examination of the larynx with a mirror (indirect laryngoscopy) or with a laryngoscope (direct laryngoscopy).

      Larynx (LAIR-inks): An organ in the throat used in breathing, swallowing, and talking. It is made of cartilage and is lined by a mucous membrane similar to the lining of the mouth. Also called the “voice box.”

      Larynx cancer: Cancer of the larynx (or voice box) is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the larynx. Your larynx is a short passageway shaped like a triangle that is just below the pharynx in the neck. The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and goes down to the neck to become part of the tube that goes to the stomach (the esophagus).

      Laser (LAY-zer): A powerful beam of light used in some types of surgery to cut or destroy tissue.

      Leiomyosarcoma: Leiomyosarcoma is a tumor of smooth muscle tissue. This cancer affects the uterus, lower abdomen, and extremities (hands and feet) most often.

      Lesion (LEE-zhun): An area of abnormal tissue change.

      Leukemia (loo-KEE-mee-a): Cancer of the blood cells.

      acute lymphoblastic: Acute lymphocytic leuke mia (also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL) is a disease in which too many infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes are found in the blood and bone marrow.

      acute myeloblastic: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)is a disease in which cancer(malignant)cells are found in the blood and bone marrow. Normally, the bone marrow makes cells called blasts that develop (mature) into several different types of blood cells that have specific jobs to do in the body. AML affects the blasts that are developing into white blood cells called granulocytes. In AML, the blasts do not mature and become too numerous.

      chronic myelogenous: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (also called CML or chronic granulocytic leukemia) is a disease in which too many white blood cells are made in the bone marrow. CML affects the blasts that are developing into white blood cells called granulocytes.

      Leukocytes (LOO-ko-sites): Cells that help the body fight infections and other diseases. Also called white blood cells (WBCs).

      Leukoplakia (loo-ko-PLAY-kee-a): A white spot or patch in the mouth

      Li-Fraumeni Syndrome: A rare family predisposition to multiple cancers, caused by an alteration in the p53 tumor suppressor gene.

      Ligation (lye-GAY-shun): The process of tying off blood vessels so that blood cannot flow to a part of the body or to a tumor.

      Limb perfusion (per-FYOO-zhun): A chemotherapy technique that may be used when melanoma occurs on an arm or leg. The flow of blood to and from the limb is stopped for a while with a tourniquet, and anticancer drugs are put directly into the blood of the limb. This allows the patient to receive a high dose of drugs in the area where the melanoma occurred.

      Liver: A large, glandular organ, located in the upper abdomen, that cleanses the blood and aids in digestion by secreting bile.

      Liver cancer: Liver cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells start to grow in the tissues of the liver. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, filling the upper right side of the abdomen and protected by the rib cage.

      Liver scan: An image of the liver created on a computer screen or on film. For a liver scan, a radioactive substance is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. It collects in the liver, especially in abnormal areas, and can be detected by the scanner.

      Lobe: A portion of the liver, lung, breast, or brain.

      Lobectomy (lo-BEK-to-mee): The removal of a lobe.

      Lobular carcinoma in situ (LOB-yoo-lar-sin-O-ma in SY-too): Abnormal cells in the lobules of the breast. This condition seldom becomes invasive cancer. However, having lobular carcinoma in situ is a sign that the woman has an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Also called LCIS.

      Lobule (LOB-yule): A small lobe.

      Local: Reaching and affecting only the cells in a specific area.

      Local therapy: Treatment that affects cells in the tumor and the area close to it.

      Lower GI series: A series of X-rays of the colon and rectum that is taken after the patient is given a barium enema. (Barium is a white, chalky substance that outlines the colon and rectum on the X-ray.)

      Lubricant (LOO-brih-kant): An oily or slippery substance. A vaginal lubricant may be helpful for women who feels pain during intercourse because of vaginal dryness.

      Lumbar puncture: The insertion of a needle into the lower part of the spinal column to collect cerebrospinal fluid or to give intrathecal chemotherapy. Also called a spinal tap.

      Lumpectomy (lump-EK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove only the cancerous breast lump; usually followed by radiation therapy.

      Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist (LOO-tin-eye-zing … AG-o-nist): A substance that closely resembles LHRH, which controls the production of sex hormones. However, LHRH agonists affect the body differently than does LHRH. LHRH agonists keep the testicles from producing hormones.

      Lymph (limf): The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infection and disease.

      Lymph nodes: Small, bean-shaped organs located along the channels of the lymphatic system. The lymph nodes store special cells that can trap bacteria or cancer cells traveling through the body in lymph. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the underarms, groin, neck, chest, and abdomen. Also called lymph glands.

      Lymphangiogram (lim-FAN-jee-o-gram): An X-ray of the lymphatic system. A dye is injected to outline the lymphatic vessels and organs.

      Lymphangiography (imf-an-jee-OG-ra-fee): X-ray study of lymph nodes and lymph vessels made visible by the injection of a special dye.

      Lymphatic system (lim-FAT-ik): The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infection and disease. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes and a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells. These tubes branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.

      Lymphedema (LIMF-eh-DEE-ma): A condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. It may occur in the arm or leg after lymph vessels or lymph nodes in the underarm or groin are removed.

      Lymphoma: Cancer that arises in cells of the lymphatic system.

      Lymphocytes (LIMF-o-sites): White blood cells that fight infection and disease.

      Lymphocytic (lim-fo-SIT-ik): Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

      Lymphoid (LIM-foyd): Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Also refers to tissue in which lymphocytes develop.

      M proteins: Antibodies or parts of antibodies found in unusually large amounts in the blood or urine of multiple myeloma patients.

      Magnetic resonance imaging (mag-NET-ik REZ-o-nan IM-a-jing): A procedure in which a magnet linked to a computer is used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. Also called MRI.

      Maintenance therapy: Chemotherapy that is given to leukemia patients in remission to prevent a relapse.

      Malignant (ma-LIG-nant): Cancerous; can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

      Mammogram (MAM-o-gram): An X-ray of the breast.

      Mammography (mam-OG-ra-fee): The use of X-rays to create a picture of the breast.

      Mastecomy (mas-TEK-to-mee): Surgery to remove the breast (or as much of the breast as possible).

      Mediastinoscopy (MEE-dee-a-stin-AHS-ko-pee): A procedure in which the doctor inserts a tube into the chest to view the organs in the mediastinum. The tube is inserted through an incision above the breastbone.

      Mediastinotomy (MEE-dee-a-stin-AH-toe-mee): A procedure in which the doctor inserts a tube into the chest to view the organs in the mediastinum. The tube is inserted through an incision next to the breastbone.

      Mediastinum (mee-dee-a-STY-num): The area between the lungs. The organs in this area include the heart and its large veins and arteries, the trachea, the esophagus, the bronchi, and lymph nodes.

      Medical oncologist (on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation.

      Medulloblastoma (MED-yoo-lo-blas-TOE-ma): A type of brain tumor that recent research suggests develops from primitive (developing) nerve cells that normally do not remain in the body after birth. Medulloblastomas are sometimes called primitive neuroectodermal tumors. They are almost always found in children or young adults.

      Melanin (MEL-a-nin): A skin pigment (substance that gives the skin its color). Dark-skinned people have more melanin than light-skinned people.

      Melanocytes (mel-AN-o-sites): Cells in the skin that produce and contain the pigment called melanin.

      Melanoma: Cancer of the cells that produce pigment in the skin. Melanoma usually begins in a mole.

      Membrane: A thin layer of tissue that covers a surface.

      Meninges (meh-NIN-jeez): The three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

      Meningioma (meh-nin-jee-O-ma): A type of brain tumor that develops in the meninges. Because these tumors grow very slowly, the brain may be able to adjust to their presence; meningiomas often grow quite large before they cause symptoms.

      Menopause (MEN-o-pawz): When a woman's menstrual periods permanently stop. Also called “change of life.”

      Menstrual cycle (MEN-stroo-al): The hormone changes that lead up to a woman's having a period. For most women, one cycle takes 28 days.

      Mesothelioma: Malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura) or abdomen (the peritoneum). Most people with malignant mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos.

      Metastasize (meh-TAS-ta-size): To spread from one part of the body to another. When cancer cells metastasize and form secondary tumors, the cells in the metastatic tumor are like those in the original (primary) tumor.

      Microcalcifications (MY-krow-kal-si-fi-KA-shunz): Tiny deposits of calcium in the breast that cannot be felt but can be detected on a mammogram. A cluster of these very small specks of calcium may indicate that cancer is present.

      Mole: An area on the skin (usually dark in color) that contains a cluster of melanocytes.

      Monoclonal antibodies (MON-o-KLO-nul AN-ti-BOD-eez): Substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells wherever they are in the body. They can be used alone, or they can be used to deliver drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to tumor cells.

      Monocyte: A type of white blood cell.

      Morphology: The science of the form and structure of organisms (plants, animals, and other forms of life).

      MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure in which a magnet linked to a computer is used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body.

      Mucus: A thick fluid produced by the lining of some organs of the body.

      Multiple myeloma (mye-eh-LO-ma): Cancer that affects plasma cells. The disease causes the growth of tumors in many bones, which can lead to bone pain and fractures. In addition, the disease often causes kidney problems and lowered resistance to infection.

      Mutations: Changes in the way cells function or develop, caused by an inherited genetic defect or an environmental exposure. Such changes may lead to cancer.

      Mycosis fungoides (my-KO-sis fun-GOY-deez): A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that first appears on the skin. Also called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

      Myelin (MYE-eh-lin): The fatty substance that covers and protects nerves.

      Myelodysplastic syndrome (MYE-eh-lo-dis-PLAS-tik Sindrome): Myelodysplastic syndromes, also called pre-leukemia or “smoldering” leukemia, are diseases in which the bone marrow does not function normally and not enough normal blood cells are made. (See Preleukemia)

      Myelogenous (mye-eh-LAH-jen-us): Referring to myelocytes, a type of white blood cell. Also called myeloid.

      Myelogram (MYE-eh-lo-gram): An X-ray of the spinal cord and the bones of the spine.

      Myeloid (MYE-eh-loyd): Referring to myelocytes, a type of white blood cell. Also called myelogenous.

      Myometrium (my-o-MEE-tree-um): The muscular outer layer of the uterus.

      Nasopharynx cancer: Cancer of the nasopharynx is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the nasopharynx. The nasopharynx is behind the nose and is the upper part of the throat (also called the pharynx). The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and goes down to the neck to become part of the tube that goes to the stomach (the esophagus).

      Neck dissection (dye-SEK-shun): Surgery to remove lymph nodes and other tissues in the neck.

      Neoplasia (NEE-o-play-zha): Abnormal new growth of cells.

      Neoplasm: A new growth of tissue. Can be referred to as benign or malignant.

      Nephrectomy (nef-REK-to-mee): Surgery to remove the kidney. Radical nephrectomy removes the kidney, the adrenal gland, nearby lymph nodes, and other surrounding tissue. Simple nephrectomy removes just the affected kidney. Partial nephrectomy removes the tumor, but not the entire kidney.

      Nephrotomogram (nef-ro-TOE-mo-gram): A series of special X-rays of the kidneys. The X-rays are taken from different angles. They show the kidneys clearly, without the shadows of the organs around them.

      Neuroblastoma: Neuroblastoma is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in certain nerve cells in the body. Neuroblastoma most commonly starts in the abdomen, either in the adrenal glands (located just above the kidney in back of the upper abdomen) or around the spinal cord. Neuroblastoma can also start around the spinal cord in the chest, neck, or pelvis.

      Neurologist (noo-ROL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.

      Neuroma (noo-RO-ma): A tumor that arises in nerve cells.

      Neurosurgeon (NOO-ro-SER-jun): A doctor who specializes in surgery on the brain and other parts of the nervous system.

      Neutrophil (NOO-tro-fil): A type of white blood cell.

      Nevus (NEE-vus): The medical term for a spot on the skin, such as a mole. A mole is a cluster of melanocytes that usually appears as a dark spot on the skin. The plural of nevus is nevi (NEE-vye).

      Nitrosoureas (nye-TRO-so-yoo-REE-ahz): A group of anticancer drugs that can cross the blood–brain barrier. Carmustine (BCNU) and lomustine (CCNU)are nitrosoureas.

      Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: Adult non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the lymph system. There are many types of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Some types spread more quickly than others. The type is determined by how the cancer cells look under a microscope.

      Nonmelanoma skin cancer: Skin cancer that does not involve melanocytes. Basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer are nonmelanoma skin cancers.

      Nonseminoma (non-sem-i-NO-ma): A classification of testicular cancers that arise in specialized sex cells called germ cells. Nonseminomas include embryonal carcinoma, teratoma, choriocarcinoma, and yolk sac tumor.

      Non-small cell lung cancer: A form of lung cancer associated with smoking, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, or exposure to radon. Non-small cell lung cancer is classified as squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma depending on what type of cells are in the cancer.

      Oat cell cancer: A type of lung cancer in which the cells look like oats. Also called small cell lung cancer.

      Oligodendroglioma (OL-ih-go-den-dro-glee-O-ma): A rare, slow-growing type of brain tumor that occurs in the cells that produce myelin, the fatty covering that protects nerves.

      Ommaya reservoir (o-MYE-a REZ-er-vwahr): A device implanted under the scalp and used to deliver anticancer drugs to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

      Oncogene: The part of the cell that normally directs cell growth, but which can also promote or allow the uncontrolled growth of cancer if damaged (mutated) by an environmental exposure to carcinogens, or damaged or missing because of an inherited defect.

      Oncologist (on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation.

      Oncology: The study of tumors encompassing the physical, chemical, and biologic properties.

      Oophorectomy (oo-for-EK-to-mee): The removal of one or both ovaries.

      Ophthalmoscope (off-THAL-mo-skope): A lighted instrument used to examine the inside of the eye, including the retina and the optic nerve.

      Optic nerve: The nerve that carries messages from the retina to the brain.

      Oral cavity cancer: Cancer of the lip and oral cavity is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the lip or mouth. The oral cavity includes the front two-thirds of the tongue, the upper and lower gums (the gingiva), the lining of the inside of the cheeks and lips (the buccal mucosa), the bottom (floor) of the mouth under the tongue, the bony top of the mouth (the hard palate), and the small area behind the wisdom teeth (the retromolar trigone).

      Oral surgeon: A dentist with special training in surgery of the mouth and jaw.

      Orchiectomy (or-kee-EK-to-mee): Surgery to remove the testicles.

      Organisms: Plants, animals, and other forms of life that are made up of complex and interconnected systems of cells and tissue.

      Oropharynx (or-o-FAIR-inks): The area of the throat at the back of the mouth.

      Osteosarcoma (OSS-tee-o-sar-KO-ma): A cancer of the bone that is most common in children. Also called osteogenic sarcoma. It is the most common type of bone cancer.

      Ostomy (AHS-toe-mee): An operation to create an opening from an area inside the body to the outside. See Colostomy.

      Otolaryngologist (AH-toe-lar-in-GOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the ear, nose, and throat.

      Ovarian cancer: Cancer of the ovary is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the ovary. Approximately 25,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with this disease each year. The ovary is a small organ in the pelvis that makes female hormones and holds egg cells that, when fertilized, can develop into a baby.

      Ovaries (O-var-eez): The pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. The ovaries are located in the lower abdomen, one on each side of the uterus.

      p53: A gene in the cell that normally inhibits the growth of tumors, which can prevent or slow the spread of cancer.

      Palate (PAL-et): The roof of the mouth. The front portion is bony (hard palate), and the back portion is muscular (soft palate).

      Palliative treatment: Treatment that does not alter the course of a disease but improves the quality of life.

      Palpation (pal-PAY-shun): A technique in which a doctor presses on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath.

      Pancreas: A gland located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, and it produces several hormones, including insulin. The pancreas is surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and other organs.

      Pancreatic cancer: Cancer of the pancreas is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. The pancreas is about 6 inches long and is shaped something like a thin pear, wider at one end and narrowing at the other. The pancreas lies behind the stomach, inside a loop formed by part of the small intestine.

      Pancreatectomy (pan-kree-a-TEK-to-mee): Surgery to remove the pancreas. In a total pancreatectomy, the duodenum, common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.

      Pancreatic juices: Fluids made by the pancreas. Pancreatic juices contain proteins called enzymes that aid in digestion.

      Papillary tumor (PAP-i-lar-ee): A tumor shaped like a small mushroom with its stem attached to the inner lining of the bladder.

      Papilledema (pap-il-eh-DEE-ma): Swelling around the optic nerve, usually caused by pressure on the nerve by a tumor.

      Pap test: Microscopic examination of cells collected from the cervix. It is used to detect changes that may be cancer or may lead to cancer, and it can show noncancerous conditions, such as infection or inflammation. Also called Pap smear.

      Paralysis (pa-RAL-ih-sis): Loss of ability to move all or part of the body.

      Paraneoplastic syndrome (pair-a-nee-o-PLAS-tik): A group of symptoms that may develop when substances released by some cancer cells disrupt the normal function of surrounding cells and tissue. Such symptoms do not necessarily mean that the cancer has spread beyond the original site.

      Parotid cancer: Cancer of the salivary gland is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the salivary glands. Your salivary glands make saliva, the fluid that is released into your mouth to keep it moist and to help dissolve your food. Major clusters of salivary glands are found below your tongue (sublingual glands), on the sides of your face just in front of your ears (parotid glands), and under your jawbone (submaxillary glands).

      Pathologist (pa-THOL-o-jist): A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

      Pediatric (pee-dee-AT-rik): Pertaining to children.

      Pelvis: The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones.

      Penile cancer: Cancer of the penis, a rare kind of cancer in the United States, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found on the skin and in the tissues of the penis.

      Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (per-kyoo-TAN-ee-us trans-heh-PAT-ik ko-LAN-jee-AH-gra-fee): A test sometimes used to help diagnose cancer of the pancreas. During this test, a thin needle is put into the liver. Dye is injected into the bile ducts in the liver so that blockages can be seen on X-rays.

      Perfusion: The process of flooding fluid through the artery to saturate the surrounding tissue. In regional perfusion, a specific area of the body (usually an arm or a leg) is targeted, and high doses of anticancer drugs are flooded through the artery to reach the surrounding tissue and kill as many cancer cells as possible. Such a procedure is performed in cases in which the cancer is not thought to have spread past a localized area.

      Perineal prostatectomy (pe-ri-NEE-al): Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus.

      Peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (per-IF-er-al): A procedure that is similar to bone marrow transplantation. Doctors remove healthy immature cells (stem cells) from a patient's blood and store them before the patient receives high-dose chemotherapy and possibly radiation therapy to destroy the leukemia cells. The stem cells are then returned to the patient, where they can produce new blood cells to replace cells destroyed by the treatment.

      Peripheral stem cell support (per-IF-er-ul): A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Certain cells (stem cells) in the blood that are similar to those in the bone marrow are removed from the patient's blood before treatment. The cells are given back to the patient after treatment.

      Peristalsis (pair-ih-STAL-sis): The rippling motion of muscles in the digestive tract. In the stomach, this motion mixes food with gastric juices, turning it into a thin liquid.

      Peritoneal cavity: The lower part of the abdomen that contains the intestines (the last part of the digestive tract), the stomach, and the liver. It is bound by thin membranes.

      Peritoneum (PAIR-i-to-NEE-um): The large membrane that lines the abdominal cavity.

      Pernicious anemia (per-NISH-us a-NEE-mee-a): A blood disorder caused by a lack of vitamin B12. Patients who have this disorder do not produce the substance in the stomach that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12.

      Petechiae (peh-TEE-kee-a): Tiny red spots under the skin; often a symptom of leukemia.

      Pharynx (FAIR-inks): The hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach).

      Photodynamic therapy (fo-to-dy-NAM-ik): Treatment that destroys cancer cells with lasers and drugs that become active when exposed to light.

      Pigmemt: A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the color of skin, eyes, and hair.

      Pineal gland (PIN-ee-al): A small gland located in the cerebrum.

      Pineal region tumors: Types of brain tumors that occur in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain. The pineal region is very difficult to reach therefore these tumors often cannot be removed.

      Pineoblastoma (PIN-ee-o-blas-TOE-ma): A fast-growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.

      Pineocytoma (PIN-ee-o-sye-TOE-ma): A slow-growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.

      Pituitary cancer: Pituitary tumors are tumors found in the pituitary gland, a small organ about the size of a pea in the center of the brain just above the back of the nose. Your pituitary gland makes hormones that affect your growth and the functions of other glands in your body. Most pituitary tumors are benign. This means that they grow very slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body.

      Pituitary gland (pih-TOO-ih-tair-ee): The main endocrine gland; it produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions, especially growth.

      Plasma: The liquid part of the blood.

      Plasma cells: Special white blood cells that produce antibodies.

      Plasmacytoma: A tumor that is made up of cancerous plasma cells.

      Plasmapheresis (plas-ma-fer-EE-sis): The process of removing certain proteins from the blood. Plasmapheresis can be used to remove excess antibodies from the blood of multiple myeloma patients.

      Plastic surgeon: A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may occur as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment for diseases (such as melanoma).

      Platelets (PLAYT-lets): Blood cells that help clots form to help control bleeding. Also called thrombocytes.

      Pleura (PLOOR-a): The thin covering that protects and cushions the lungs. The pleura is made up of two layers of tissue that are separated by a small amount of fluid.

      Pleural cavity: A space enclosed by the pleura, thin tissue covering the lungs and lining the interior wall of the chest cavity. It is bound by serous membranes.

      Pneumatic larynx (noo-MAT-ik): A device that uses air to produce sound to help a laryngectomee talk.

      Pneumonectomy (noo-mo-NEK-to-mee): An operation to remove an entire lung.

      Pneumonia (noo-MONE-ya): An infection that occurs when fluid and cells collect in the lung.

      Polyp (POL-ip): A mass of tissue that projects into the colon.

      Positron emission tomography scan: For this type of scan, a person is given a substance that reacts with tissues in the body to release protons (parts of an atom). Through measuring the different amounts of protons released by healthy and cancerous tissues, a computer creates a picture of the inside of the body. Also called PET scan.

      Postremission therapy: Chemotherapy to kill leukemia cells that survive after remission induction therapy.

      Precancerous (pre-KAN-ser-us): A term used to describe a condition that may or is likely to become cancer.

      Precancerous polyps: Growths in the colon that often become cancerous.

      Prednisone: A drug often given to multiple myeloma patients along with one or more anticancer drugs. Prednisone appears to act together with anticancer drugs in helping to control the effects of the disease on the body.

      Preleukemia (PREE-loo-KEE-mee-a): A condition in which the bone marrow does not function normally. It does not produce enough blood cells. This condition may progress and become acute leukemia. Preleukemia also is called myelodysplastic syndrome or smoldering leukemia.

      Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (NOO-ro-ek-toe-DER-mul): A type of brain tumor that recent research suggests develops from primitive (developing) nerve cells that normally do not remain in the body after birth. Primitive neuroectodermal tumors are often called medulloblastomas.

      Proctoscopy (prok-TOS-ko-pee): An examination of the rectum and the lower end of the colon using a thin lighted instrument called a sigmoidoscope.

      Proctosigmoidoscopy (PROK-toe-sig-moid-OSS-ko-pee): An examination of the rectum and the lower colon using a thin, lighted instrument called a sigmoidoscope.

      Progesterone (pro-JES-ter-own): A female hormone.

      Prognosis (prog-NO-sis): The probable outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery.

      Prophylactic cranial irradiation (pro-fi-LAK-tik KRAY-nee-ul ir-ray-dee-AY-shun): Radiation therapy to the head to prevent cancer from spreading to the brain.

      Prostatectomy (pros-ta-TEK-to-mee): An operation to remove part or all of the prostate.

      Prostate cancer: Cancer of the prostate, a common form of cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the prostate. The prostate is one of the male sex glands and is located just below the bladder (the organ that collects and empties urine) and in front of the rectum (the lower part of the intestine). The prostate is about the size of a walnut. It surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The prostate makes fluid that becomes part of the semen, the white fluid that contains sperm.

      Prostate gland (PROS-tate): A gland in the male reproductive system just below the bladder. It surrounds part of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder. It produces a fluid that forms part of semen.

      Prostate-specific antigen: A protein whose level in the blood goes up in some men who have prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia. Also called PSA.

      Prostatic acid phosphatase (FOS-fa-tase): An enzyme produced by the prostate. Its level in the blood goes up in some men who have prostate cancer. Also called PAP.

      Prosthesis (pros-THEE-sis): An artificial replacement for a body part.

      Prosthodontist (pros-tho-DON-tist): A dentist with special training in making replacements for missing teeth or other structures of the oral cavity to restore the patient's appearance, comfort, and/or health.

      Proteins (PRO-teenz): Substances that are essential to the body's structure and proper functioning.

      PTC (percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography) (per-kyoo-TAN-ee-us trans-heh-PAT-ik ko-LAN-jee-AH-gra-fee): A test sometimes used to help diagnose cancer of the pancreas. During this test, a thin needle is put into the liver. Dye is injected into the bile ducts in the liver so that blockages can be seen on X-rays.

      Radiation fibrosis (ray-dee-AY-shun-fye-BRO-sis): The formation of scar tissue as a result of radiation therapy to the lung.

      Radiation therapy (ray-dee-AY-shun): Treatment with high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.

      Radiation oncologist (ray-dee-AY-shun on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.

      Radiation therapy (ray-dee-AY-shun): Treatment with high-energy rays (such as X-rays) to kill cancer cells. The radiation may come from outside the body (external radiation) or from radioactive materials placed directly in the tumor (implant radiation). Also called radiotherapy.

      Radical cystectomy (RAD-i-kal sis-TEK-to-mee): Surgery to remove the bladder as well as nearby tissues and organs.

      Radical prostatectomy: Surgery to remove the entire prostate. The two types of radical prostatectomy are retropubic prostatectomy and perineal prostatectomy.

      Radioactive (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv): Giving off radiatiion.

      Radiologist: A doctor who specializes in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are produced with X-rays, sound waves, or other types of energy.

      Radionuclide scanning: An exam that produces pictures (scans) of internal parts of the body. The patient is given an injection or swallows a small amount of radioactive material. A machine called a scanner then measures the radioactivity in certain organs.

      Radiosensitizers: Drugs that make cells more sensitive to radiation.

      Radon (RAY-don): A radioactive gas that is released by uranium, a substance found in soil and rock. When too much radon is breathed in, it can damage lung cells and lead to lung cancer.

      Rectal cancer: Cancer of the rectum, a common form of cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the rectum. The rectum is part of the body's digestive system. The last 6 feet of intestine is called the large bowel or colon. The last 8 to 10 inches of the colon is the rectum.

      Rectum: The last 8 to 10 inches of the large intestine. The rectum stores solid waste until it leases the body through the anus.

      Recur: To occur again. Recurrence is the reappearance of cancer cells at the same site or in another location.

      Red blood cells: Cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called erythrocytes.

      Reed-Sternberg cell: A type of cell that appears in patients with Hodgkin's disease. The number of these cells increases as the disease advances.

      Reflux: The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.

      Regional chemotherapy: Treatment with anticancer drugs that affects mainly the cells in the treated area.

      Relapse: The return of signs and symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement.

      Remission: Disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer. When this happens, the disease is said to be “in remission.” A remission can be temporary or permanent.

      Remission induction therapy: The initial chemotherapy a patient with acute leukemia receives to bring about a remission.

      Renal capsule: The fibrous connective tissue that surrounds each kidney.

      Renal cell cancer: Cancer that develops in the lining of the renal tubules, which filter the blood and produce urine.

      Renal pelvis: The area at the center of the kidney. Urine collects here and is funneled into the ureter.

      Reproductive cells: Egg and sperm cells. Each mature reproductive cell carries a single set of 23 chromosomes.

      Reproductive system: The group of organs and glands involved with having a child. In women, these are the uterus (womb), the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and the vagina (birth canal). The reproductive system in men includes the testes, the prostate, and the penis.

      Resection (ree-SEK-shun): Surgical removal of part of an organ.

      Respiratory system (RES-pi-ra-tor-ee): The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.

      Respiratory therapy (RES-pi-ra-tor-ee): Exercises and treatments that help patients recover lung function after surgery.

      Retinoblastoma: An eye cancer caused by the loss of both gene copies of the tumor-suppressor gene RB; the inherited form typically occurs in childhood, because one gene is missing from the time of birth.

      Retropubic prostatectomy (re-tro-PYOO-bik): Surgical removal of the prostate through an incision in the abdomen.

      Rhabdomyosarcoma: Rhabdomyosarcoma is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells begin growing in muscle tissue somewhere in the body. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of a sarcoma, which means a cancer of the bone, soft tissues, or connective tissue (e.g., tendon or cartilage). Rhabdomyosarcoma begins in the soft tissues in a type of muscle called striated muscle. It can occur anywhere in the body.

      Risk factor: Something that increases the chance of developing a disease.

      RNA (ribonucleic acid): One of the two nucleic acids found in all cells. The other is DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). RNA transfers genetic information from DNA to proteins produced by the cell.

      Salivary glands (SAL-i-vair-ee): Glands in the mouth that produce saliva.

      Salpingo-oophorectomy (sal-PING-o-OO-for-EK-to-mee): Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

      Sarcoma (sar-KO-ma): A malignant tumor that begins in connective and supportive tissue.

      Scans: Pictures of organs in the body. Scans often used in diagnosing, staging, and monitoring patients include liver scans, bone scans, and computed tomography (CT) or computed axial tomography (CAT) scans. In liver scanning and bone scanning, radioactive substances that are injected into the bloodstream collect in these organs. A scanner that detects the radiation is used to create pictures. In CT scanning, an X-ray machine linked to a computer is used to produce detailed pictures of organs inside the body.

      Schiller test (SHIL-er): A test in which iodine is applied to the cervix. The iodine colors healthy cells brown; abnormal cells remain unstained, usually appearing white or yellow.

      Schwannoma (shwah-NO-ma): A type of benign brain tumor that begins in the Schwann cells, which produce the myelin that protects the acoustic nerve the nerve of hearing.

      Screening: Checking for disease when there are no symptoms.

      Scrotum (SKRO-tum): The external pouch of skin that contains the testicles.

      Sebum (SEE-bum): An oily substance produced by certain glands in the skin.

      Seizures (SEE-zhurz): Convulsions; sudden, involuntary movements of the muscles.

      Semen: The fluid that is released through the penis during orgasm. Semen is made up of sperm from the testicles and fluid from the prostate and other sex glands.

      Seminal vesicles (SEM-in-al VES-i-kulz): Glands that help produce semen.

      Seminoma (sem-in-O-ma): A type of testicular cancer that arises from sex cells, or germ cells, at a very early stage in their development.

      Shunt: A catheter (tube) that carries cerebrospinal fluid from a ventricle in the brain to another area of the body.

      Side effects: Problems that occur when treatment affects healthy cells. Common side effects of cancer treatment are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss, and mouth sores.

      Sigmoidoscope (sig-MOY-da-skope): An instrument used to view the inside of the colon.

      Sigmoidoscopy (sig-moid-OSS-ko-pee): A procedure in which the doctor looks inside the rectum and the lower part of the colon (sigmoid colon) through a lighted tube. The doctor may collect samples of tissue or cells for closer examination. Also called proctosigmoidoscopy.

      Sinus cancer: Cancer of the paranasal sinus and nasal cavity is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the paranasal sinuses or nasal cavity. Your paranasal sinuses are small hollow spaces around your nose. The sinuses are lined with cells that make mucus, which keeps the nose from drying out; the sinuses are also a space through which your voice can echo to make sounds when you talk or sing.

      Skin cancer: Skin cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the outer layers of your skin. The skin has two main layers and several kinds of cells. The top layer of skin is called the epidermis. It contains three kinds of cells: flat, scaly cells on the surface called squamous cells; round cells called basal cells; and cells called melanocytes, which give your skin its color.

      Skin graft: Skin that is moved from one part of the body to another.

      Small cell lung cancer: A type of lung cancer in which the cells are small and round. Also called oat cell lung cancer.

      Small intestine: The part of the digestive tract that is located between the stomach and the large intestine.

      Smoldering leukemia: (See Preleukemia.)

      Soft tissue sarcoma: A sarcoma that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body.

      Somatic cells: All the body cells except the reproductive cells.

      Somatic mutations: See mutation.

      Speech pathologist: A specialist who evaluates and treats people with communication and swallowing problems. Also called a speech therapist.

      Speculum (SPEK-yoo-lum): An instrument used to widen the opening of the vagina so that the cervix is more easily visible.

      Sperm banking: Freezing sperm before cancer treatment for use in the future. This procedure can allow men to father children after loss of fertility.

      SPF (Sun protection factor): A scale for rating sunscreens. Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher provide the best protection from the sun's harmful rays.

      Spinal tap: A test in which a fluid sample is removed from the spinal column with a thin needle. Also called a lumbar puncture.

      Spleen: An organ that produces lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys those that are aging. It is located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach.

      Splenectomy (splen-EK-toe-mee): An operation to remove the spleen.

      Sputum (SPYOO-tum): Mucus from the lungs.

      Squamous cell carcinoma (SKWAY-mus): Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells resembling fish scales. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts.

      Squamous cells (SKWAY-mus): Flat cells that look like fish scales; they make up most of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.

      Squamous intraepithelial lesion (SKWAY-mus in-tra-eh-pih-THEEL-ee-ul LEE-zhun): A general term for the abnormal growth of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix. The changes in the cells are described as low grade or high grade, depending on how much of the cervix is affected and how abnormal the cells are. Also called SIL.

      Stage: The extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spread to other parts of the body.

      Staging: Doing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer, especially whether it has spread from its original site to other parts of the body.

      Stem cells: The cells from which all blood cells develop.

      Stereotaxis (stair-ee-o-TAK-sis): Use of a computer and scanning devices to create three-dimensional pictures. This method can be used to direct a biopsy, external radiation, or the insertion of radiation implants.

      Sterile: The inability to produce children.

      Steroids (STEH-roidz): Drugs used to relieve swelling and inflammation.

      Stoma: An opening in the abdominal wall; also called an ostomy or urostomy.

      Stool: The waste matter discharged in a bowel movement; feces.

      Stool test: A test to check for hidden blood in the bowel movement.

      Subglottis (SUB-glot-is): The lowest part of the larynx; the area from just below the vocal cords down to the top of the trachea.

      Sun Protection Factor (SPF): A scale for rating sunscreens. Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher provide the best protection from the sun's harmful rays.

      Sunscreen: A substance that blocks the effect of the sun's harmful rays. Using lotions or creams that contain sunscreens can protect the skin from damage that may lead to cancer.

      Supportive care: Treatment given to prevent, control, or relieve complications and side effects and to improve the patient's comfort and quality of life.

      Supraglottis (SOOP-ra-GLOT-is): The upper part of the larynx, including the epiglottis; the area above the vocal cords.

      Surgery: A procedure to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out if disease is present.

      Systemic (sis-TEM-ik): Reaching and affecting cells all over the body.

      Systemic therapy (sis-TEM-ik): Treatment that uses substances that travel through the bloodstream, reaching and affecting cancer cells all over the body.

      Systemic treatment (sis-TEM-ik): Treatment using substances that travel through the bloodstream, reaching and affecting cancer cells all over the body.

      T-cell lymphoma (lim-FO-ma): A cancer of the immune system that appears in the skin; also called mycosis fungoides.

      Testicles (TES-ti-kuls): The two egg-shaped glands that produce sperm and male hormones.

      Testicular cancer: Cancer of the testicle (also called the testis), a rare kind of cancer in men, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of one or both testicles. The testicles are round and a little smaller than golf balls. Sperm (the male germ cells that can join with a female egg to develop into a baby) and male hormones are made in the testicles. There are two testicles located inside of the scrotum (a sac of loose skin that lies directly under the penis).

      Testosterone (tes-TOS-ter-own): A male sex hormone.

      Thermography (ther-MOG-ra-fee): A test to measure and display heat patterns of tissues near the surface of the breast. Abnormal tissue generally is warmer than healthy tissue. This technique is under study; its value in detecting breast cancer has not been proven.

      Thoracentesis (thor-a-sen-TEE-sis): Removal of fluid in the pleura through a needle.

      Thoracic (thor-ASS-ik): Pertaining to the chest.

      Thoracotomy (thor-a-KOT-o-mee): An operation to open the chest.

      Thrombocytes (THROM-bo-sites): See Platelets.

      Thrombophlebitis (throm-bo-fleh-BYE-tis): Inflammation of a vein that occurs when a blood clot forms.

      Thymoma: Malignant thymoma is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the thymus. The thymus is a small organ that lies under the breastbone. It makes white blood cells called lymphocytes, which travel through your body and fight infection. People with malignant thymoma often have other diseases of their immune system. The most common disease in people with thymoma is one in which the muscles are weak, called myasthenia gravis.

      Thymus: An organ in which lymphocytes mature and multiply. It lies behind the breastbone.

      Thyroid cancer: Cancer of the thyroid is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland is at the base of your throat. It has two lobes, one on the right side and one on the left. Your thyroid gland makes important hormones that help your body to function normally.

      Tissue (TISH-oo): A group or layer of cells that together perform specific functions.

      Tonsils: Small masses of lymphatic tissue on either side of the throat.

      Topical chemotherapy (kee-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment with anticancer drugs in a lotion or cream.

      Total pancreatectomy (pan-cree-a-TEK-to-mee): Surgery to remove the entire pancreas.

      Toxins: Poisons produced by certain animals, plants, or bacteria.

      Trachea (TRAY-kee-a): The airway that leads from the larynx to the lungs. Also called the windpipe.

      Tracheoesophageal puncture (TRAY-kee-o-eh-SOF-a-JEE-al PUNK-chur): A small opening made by a surgeon between the esophagus and the trachea. A valve keeps food out of the trachea but lets air into the esophagus for esophageal speech.

      Tracheostomy (TRAY-kee-AHS-toe-mee): Surgery to create an opening (stoma) into the windpipe. The opening itself may also be called a tracheostomy.

      Tracheostomy button (TRAY-kee-AHS-toe-mee): A small plastic tube placed in the stoma to keep it open.

      Tracheostomy tube (TRAY-kee-AHS-toe-mee): A 2- to 3-inch-long metal or plastic tube that keeps the stoma and trachea open. Also called a trach (“trake”) tube.

      Transformation: The change that a normal cell undergoes as it becomes malignant.

      Transfusion (trans-FYOO-zhun): The transfer of blood or blood products from one person to another.

      Transitional cell carcinoma: Cancer that develops in the lining of the renal pelvis. This type of cancer also occurs in the ureter and the bladder.

      Transitional cells: Cells lining some organs.

      Transplantation (trans-plan-TAY-shun): The replacement of an organ with one from another person.

      Transrectal ultrasound: The use of sound waves to detect cancer. An instrument is inserted into the rectum. Waves bounce off the prostate and the pattern of the echoes produced is converted into a picture by a computer.

      Transurethral resection (TRANZ-yoo-REE-thral ree-SEK-shun): Surgery performed with a special instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called TUR.

      Transurethral resection of the prostate (TRANZ-yoo-REE-thral): The use of an instrument inserted through the penis to remove tissue from the prostate. Also called TUR or TURP.

      Transvaginal ultrasound: Sound waves sent out by a probe inserted in the vagina. The waves bounce off the ovaries, and a computer uses the echoes to create a picture called a sonogram. Also called TVS.

      Tumor (TOO-mer): An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may either be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

      Tumor debulking: Surgically removing as much of the tumor as possible.

      Tumor marker: A substance in blood or other body fluids that may suggest that a person has cancer.

      Tumor necrosis factor (ne-KRO-sis): A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease). Scientists are still learning how this substance causes cancer cells to die.

      Tumor-suppressor gene: Genes in the body that can suppress or block the development of cancer.

      Tumors of unknown primary origin: This is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found somewhere in the body, but the place where they first started growing (the origin or primary site) cannot be found.

      Ulcerative colitis: A disease that causes long-term inflammation of the lining of the colon.

      Ultrasonography: A test in which sound waves (called ultrasound) are bounced off tissues and the echoes are converted into a picture (sonogram).

      Ultrasound: A test that bounces sound waves off tissues and internal organs and changes the echoes into pictures (sonograms). Tissues of different densities reflect sound waves differently.

      Ultraviolet (UV) radiation (ul-tra-VYE-o-let ray-dee-AY-shun): Invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. UV radiation can burn the skin and cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer. UV radiation that reaches the earth's surface is made up of two types of rays, called UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are more likely than UVA rays to cause sunburn, but UVA rays pass further into the skin. Scientists have long thought that UVB radiation can cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer. They now think that UVA radiation also may add to skin damage that can lead to cancer. For this reason, skin specialists recommend that people use sunscreens that block or absorb both kinds of UV radiation.

      Upper GI series: A series of X-rays of the upper digestive system that are taken after a person drinks a barium solution, which outlines the digestive organs on the X-rays.

      Ureter (yoo-REE-ter): The tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.

      Urethra (yoo-REE-thra): The tube that empties urine from the bladder.

      Urinalysis: A test that determines the content of the urine.

      Urinary tract (YUR-in-air-ee): The organs of the body that produce and discharge urine. These include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

      Urine (YUR-in): Fluid containing water and waste products. Urine is made by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and leaves the body through the urethra.

      Urologist (yoo-RAHL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary organs in females and the urinary and sex organs in males.

      Urostomy (yoo-RAHS-toe-mee): An operation to create an opening from inside the body to the outside, making a new way to pass urine.

      Uterine cancer: Cancer of the endometrium, a common kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The uterus is the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows. Cancer of the endometrium is different from cancer of the muscle of the uterus, which is called sarcoma of the uterus. Sarcoma of the uterus, a very rare kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells start growing in the muscles or other supporting tissues of the uterus.

      Uterus (YOO-ter-us): The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which an unborn child develops. Also called the womb.

      Vagina (vah-JYE-na): The muscular canal extending from the uterus to the exterior of the body.

      Vaginal cancer: Cancer of the vagina, a rare kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the vagina. The vagina is the passageway through which fluid passes out of the body during menstrual periods and through which a woman has babies. It is also called the “birth canal.”

      Vasectomy (vas-EK-to-mee): An operation to cut or tie off the two tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles.

      Ventricles (VEN-trih-kulz): Four connected cavities (hollow spaces) in the brain.

      Vinyl chloride (VYE-nil KLO-ride): A substance used in manufacturing plastics. It is linked to liver cancer.

      Viruses (VYE-rus-ez): Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. Infection with a virus can cause a person to develop symptoms. The disease and symptoms that are caused depend on the type of virus and the type of cells that are infected.

      Vital: Necessary to maintain life. Breathing is a vital function.

      Vocal cords: Two small bands of muscle within the larynx. They close to prevent food from getting into the lungs, and they vibrate to produce the voice.

      Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia: This is a rare, chronic cancer that affects white blood cells called B lymphocytes, or B cells. These cells form in the lymph nodes and the bone marrow, the soft, spongy tissue inside bones, and are an important part of the body's immune (defense) system. Some B cells become plasma cells, which make, store, and release antibodies. Antibodies help the body fight viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances. In Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, abnormal B cells multiply out of control. They invade the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen and produce excessive amounts of an antibody called IgM.

      Wart: A raised growth on the surface of the skin or other organ.

      Whipple procedure: A type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. The surgeon removes the head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and other nearby tissues.

      White blood cells: Cells that help the body fight infection and disease. These cells begin their development in the bone marrow and then travel to other parts of the body.

      Wilms' tumor: Wilms' tumor is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in certain parts of the kidney. The kidneys are a “matched” pair of organs found on either side of the backbone. Inside each kidney are tiny tubes that filter and clean the blood, taking out unneeded products, and making urine. Wilms' tumor occurs most commonly in children under the age of 15 and is curable in the majority of affected children.

      Xerogram: An X-ray of soft tissue.

      Xeroradiography (ZEE-roe-ray-dee-OG-ra-fee): A type of mammography in which a picture of the breast is recorded on paper rather than on film.

      X-ray: High-energy radiation used in low doses to diagnose diseases and in high doses to treat cancer.

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