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Mesothelioma cancer glossary - A
ABCD rating - A staging system for prostate cancer that uses ABCD. “A” and “B” refer to cancer that is confined to the prostate. “C” refers to cancer that has grown out of the prostate but has not spread to lymph nodes or other places in the body. “D” refers to cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or to other places in the body. Also called the Jewett staging system or the Whitmore-Jewett staging system.
ablation - In medicine, the removal or destruction of a body part or tissue or its function. Ablation may be performed by surgery, hormones, drugs, radiofrequency, heat, or other methods.
abscess - An enclosed collection of pus in tissues, organs, or confined spaces in the body. An abscess is a sign of infection and is usually swollen and inflamed.
action study - In cancer prevention clinical trials, a study that focuses on finding out whether actions people take can prevent cancer.
acute - Symptoms or signs that begin and worsen quickly; not chronic.
acute lymphoblastic leukemia - ALL. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells (called lymphoblasts) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphocytic leukemia.
acute lymphocytic leukemia - ALL. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells (called lymphoblasts) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
acute myelogenous leukemia - AML. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells (not lymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute myeloid leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.
acute myeloid leukemia - AML. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells (not lymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute myelogenous leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.
acute nonlymphocytic leukemia - A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature blood-forming cells are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute myeloid leukemia or acute myelogenous leukemia.
adenocarcinoma - Cancer that begins in cells that line certain internal organs and that have glandular (secretory) properties.
adjunct agent - In cancer therapy, a drug or substance used in addition to the primary therapy.
adjunctive therapy - Another treatment used together with the primary treatment. Its purpose is to assist the primary treatment.
adjuvant therapy - Treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or biological therapy.
adverse effect - An unwanted side effect of treatment.
agent study - In cancer prevention clinical trials, a study that tests whether taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements can prevent cancer. Also a called chemoprevention study.
aggressive - A quickly growing cancer.
agranulocyte - A type of white blood cell; monocytes and lymphocytes are agranulocytes.
AJCC staging system - A system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer for describing the extent of cancer in a patient’s body. The descriptions include TNM: T describes the size of the tumor and if it has invaded nearby tissue, N describes any lymph nodes that are involved, and M describes metastasis (spread of cancer from one body part to another).
alkaloid - A member of a large group of chemicals that are made by plants and have nitrogen in them.
alkylating agent - A drug that is used in the treatment of cancer. It interferes with the cell's DNA and inhibits cell growth.
ALL - Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells called lymphoblasts are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphocytic leukemia.
allogeneic - Taken from different individuals of the same species. Also called allogenic.
allogeneic bone marrow transplantation - A procedure in which a person receives stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, donor.
allogeneic stem cell transplantation - A procedure in which a person receives stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, donor.
allogenic - Taken from different individuals of the same species. Also called allogeneic.
all-trans retinoic acid - A form of vitamin A that is used in the treatment of acne. It is also being studied in cancer prevention and as a treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia, usually in combination with other drugs. Also called tretinoin.
alpha-fetoprotein - AFP. A protein normally produced by a fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy adult men or women (who are not pregnant). An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor.
AML - Acute myelogenous leukemia. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature blood-forming cells are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute myeloid leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.
analgesic - A drug that reduces pain. Analgesics include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
analog - In chemistry, a substance that is similar, but not identical, to another.
anaphylactic shock - A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been previously exposed to. The reaction may include itchy skin, edema, collapsed blood vessels, fainting, and difficulty in breathing.
anaplastic - A term used to describe cancer cells that divide rapidly and have little or no resemblance to normal cells.
androgen - A type of hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.
androgen ablation - Treatment to suppress or block the production of male hormones. Androgen suppression is achieved by surgical removal of the testicles, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking other drugs (antiandrogens). Also called androgen suppression.
androgen suppression - Treatment to suppress or block the production of male hormones. Androgen suppression is achieved by surgical removal of the testicles, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking other drugs, antiandrogens. Also called androgen ablation.
androgen-independent - Describes the ability of tumor cells to grow in the absence of androgens (hormones that promote the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics). Many early prostate cancers require androgens for growth, but advanced prostate cancers are often androgen-independent.
anemia - A condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal.
anesthesia - Drugs or substances that cause loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.
anesthesiologist - A doctor who specializes in giving drugs or other agents to prevent or relieve pain during surgery or other procedures being done in the hospital.
anesthetic - A substance that causes loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.
angiogenesis - Blood vessel formation. Tumor angiogenesis is the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. This is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor.
angiogenesis inhibitor - A substance that may prevent the formation of blood vessels. In anticancer therapy, an angiogenesis inhibitor prevents the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor.
angiostatin - A protein normally made by the body. It can also be made in the laboratory, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiostatin may prevent the growth of new blood vessels from the surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. It belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.
antiangiogenesis - Prevention of the growth of new blood vessels.
antibiotic - A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms.
antibody - A type of protein made by certain white blood cells in response to a foreign substance (antigen). Each antibody can bind to only 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 destroy antigens directly. Others make it easier for white blood cells to destroy the antigen.
antibody therapy - Treatment with an antibody, a substance that can directly kill specific tumor cells or stimulate the immune system to kill tumor cells.
antiestrogen - A substance that blocks the activity of estrogens, the family of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female sex characteristics.
antifolate - A substance that blocks the activity of folic acid. Antifolates are used to treat cancer. Also called folate antagonist.
antifungal - A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.
antigen - A substance that causes the immune system to make a specific immune response.
antigen-presenting cell - APC. A cell that shows antigen on its surface to other cells of the immune system. This is an important part of an immune response.
antigen-presenting cell vaccine - A vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Also called APC vaccine.
antihormone therapy - Treatment with drugs, surgery, or radiation in order to block the production or action of a hormone. Antihormone therapy may be used in cancer treatment because certain hormones are able to stimulate the growth of some types of tumors.
antimetabolite - A drug that is very similar to natural chemicals in a normal biochemical reaction in cells but different enough to interfere with the normal division and functions of cells.
antimicrotubule agent - A drug that inhibits cell growth by stopping cell division. Antimicrotubule agents are used as treatments for cancer. Also called antimitotic agents, mitotic inhibitors, and taxanes. Docetaxel and paclitaxel are antimicrotubule agents.
antimitotic agent - A drug that inhibits cell growth by stopping cell division. Antimitotic agents are used as treatments for cancer. Also called antimicrotubule agents, mitotic inhibitors, and taxanes. Docetaxel and paclitaxel are antimitotic agents.
antineoplaston - A substance isolated from normal human blood and urine that is being tested as a type of treatment for some tumors and AIDS.
antiparasitic - A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and parasites. It is also used in the treatment of some cancers.
apheresis - A procedure in which blood is collected, part of the blood such as platelets or white blood cells is taken out, and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. Also called pheresis.
apnea - cessation of breathing
apoptosis - A normal series of events in a cell that leads to its death.
arctigenin - A substance found in certain plants, including burdock. It has shown antiviral and anticancer effects. Arctigenin belongs to a group of substances called lignans.
arctiin - A substance found in certain plants, including burdock. It has shown anticancer effects. Arctiin belongs to a group of substances called lignans.
arginine butyrate - A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.
aromatase inhibitor - A drug that prevents the formation of estradiol, a female hormone, by interfering with an aromatase enzyme. Aromatase inhibitors are used as a type of hormone therapy for postmenopausal women who have hormone-dependent breast cancer.
arsenic - A poisonous chemical used to kill weeds and pests. Also used in cancer therapy.
arsenic trioxide - A substance that induces programmed cell death (apoptosis) in certain cancer cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastics.
arterial embolization - The blocking of an artery by a clot of foreign material. This can be done as treatment to block the flow of blood to a tumor.
arthralgia - Pain in a joint.
Asbestos - The commercial name given to a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral commonly used in construction materials and other products because of its high heat resistance, strength and durability. Over time, exposure to asbestos may lead to asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Asbestos bodies - Inhaled asbestos particles that are imbedded in lung tissue. They are usually drum shaped. Their presence in is considered strong evidence that the person has experienced exposure to asbestos.
Asbestosis - Form of lung cancer caused by inhaling airborne asbestos fiber involving the scarring of the lung tissue biopsy
Ascites - An accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity
astrocytoma - A tumor that begins in the brain or spinal cord in small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes.
ataxia - Loss of muscle coordination.
ataxic gait - Awkward, uncoordinated walking.
athymic, nude mouse - A type of laboratory mouse that is hairless, lacks a normal thymus gland, and has a defective immune system because of a genetic mutation. Athymic, nude mice are often used in cancer research because they do not reject tumor cells, from mice or other species.
atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor - ATT/RHT or AT/RT. An aggressive cancer of the central nervous system, kidney, or liver that occurs in very young children.
autologous - Taken from an individual's own tissues, cells, or DNA.
autologous bone marrow transplantation - A procedure in which bone marrow is removed from a person, stored, and then given back to the person after intensive treatment.
autologous stem cell transplantation - A procedure in which stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) are removed, stored, and then given back to the same person.
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