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Mesothelioma cancer glossary - B
B cell - A white blood cell that makes antibodies and is an important part of the immune system. B cells come from bone marrow. Also called B lymphocyte.
B lymphocyte - A white blood cell that makes antibodies and is an important part of the immune system. B lymphocytes come from bone marrow. Also called B cell.
Bacillus Calmette Gu?rin - BCG. A type of bacteria used in cancer treatment to stimulate the immune system. It is also used to vaccinate against tuberculosis.
bacteremia - The presence of bacteria in the blood.
bacterial toxin - A toxic substance, made by bacteria, that can be modified to kill specific tumor cells without harming normal cells.
barium enema - A procedure in which a liquid with barium in it is put into the rectum and colon by way of the anus. Barium is a silver-white metallic compound that helps to show the image of the lower gastrointestinal tract on an x-ray.
barium solution - A liquid containing barium sulfate that is used in x-rays to highlight parts of the digestive system.
basal cell carcinoma - A type of skin cancer that arises from the basal cells, small round cells found in the lower part (or base) of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.
benign - Not cancerous. Benign tumors do not spread to tissues around them or to other parts of the body.
benign proliferative breast disease - A group of noncancerous conditions that may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Examples include ductal hyperplasia, lobular hyperplasia, and papillomas.
benign prostatic hyperplasia - BPH. A benign (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.
benign prostatic hypertrophy - BPH. A benign (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 hyperplasia.
benign tumor - A noncancerous growth that does not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body.
beta carotene - A vitamin A precursor. Beta carotene belongs to the family of fat-soluble vitamins called carotenoids.
beta-glucan - A type of polysaccharide (string of sugar molecules) obtained from several types of mushrooms. It is being studied as a treatment for cancer and as an immune system stimulant.
beta-human chorionic gonadotropin - ?-hCG. A hormone normally found in the blood and urine during pregnancy. It may also be produced by some tumor cells. An increased level of ?-hCG may be a sign of cancer of the testis, uterus, ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, or lung. ?-hCG may also be produced in response to certain conditions that are not cancer. ?-hCG is being studied in the treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma.
bias - In a clinical trial, a flaw in the study design or method of collecting or interpreting information. Biases can lead to incorrect conclusions about what the study or trial showed.
biological response modifier - BRM. Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infections and other diseases. Also used to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also known as biological therapy, immunotherapy, or biotherapy.
biological therapy - Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infections and other diseases. Also used to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also known as immunotherapy, biotherapy, or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy.
biomarker - A substance sometimes found in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A high level of biomarker may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Examples of biomarkers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers), and PSA (prostate cancer). Also called tumor marker.
Biopsy - A biopsy refers to a procedure that involves obtaining a tissue specimen for microscopic analysis to establish a precise diagnosis
biopsy specimen - Tissue removed from the body and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present.
biotherapy - Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infections and other diseases. Also used to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also known as biological therapy, immunotherapy, or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy.
blast - An immature blood cell.
blessed thistle - Cnicus benedictus. A plant whose leaves, stems, and flowers have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. Blessed thistle may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called St. Benedict's thistle, cardin, holy thistle, and spotted thistle.
blinded study - A type of study in which the patients (single-blinded) or the patients and their doctors (double-blinded) do not know which drug or treatment is being given. The opposite of a blinded study is an open label study.
blood cell count - A test to check the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a sample of blood. Also called complete blood count (CBC).
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 enter the brain.
blood-brain barrier disruptionBBBD. - The use of drugs to create openings between cells in the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a protective network of blood vessels and tissue that protects the brain from harmful substances, but can also prevent anticancer drugs from reaching the brain. Once the barrier is opened, anticancer drugs may be infused into an artery that goes to the brain, in order to treat brain tumors.
bolus - A single dose of drug usually injected into a blood vessel over a short period of time. Also called bolus infusion.
bone marrow - The soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most large bones. It produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
bone marrow ablation - The destruction of bone marrow using radiation or drugs.
bone marrow aspiration - The removal of a small sample of bone marrow (usually from the hip) through a needle for examination under a microscope.
bone marrow biopsy - The removal of a sample of tissue from the bone marrow with a needle for examination under a microscope.
bone marrow metastases - Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the bone marrow.
bone marrow transplantation - A procedure to replace bone marrow that has been destroyed by treatment with high doses of anticancer drugs or radiation. Transplantation may be autologous (an individual's own marrow saved before treatment), allogeneic (marrow donated by someone else), or syngeneic (marrow donated by an identical twin).
bone metastases - Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the bone.
bone scan - A technique to create images of bones on a computer screen or on film. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel and travels through the bloodstream; it collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.
brachytherapy - A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called internal radiation, implant radiation, or interstitial radiation therapy.
bradycardia - Slowness of the heartbeat.
brain metastasis - Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the brain.
brain stem - The part of the brain that is connected to the spinal cord.
brain stem glioma - A tumor located in the part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord (the brain stem). It may grow rapidly or slowly, depending on the grade of the tumor.
brain stem tumor - A tumor in the part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord (the brain stem).
breast cancer in situ - Abnormal cells that are confined to the ducts or lobules in the breast. There are two forms, called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS).
breast duct endoscopy - A method used to examine the lining of the breast ducts to look for abnormal tissue. A very thin, flexible, lighted tube attached to a camera is inserted through the nipple, and threaded into the breast ducts deep in the breast. Tissue and fluid samples may be removed during the procedure.
bronchoscope - A thin, lighted tube used to examine the inside of the trachea and bronchi, the air passages that lead to the lungs.
bronchoscopy - A procedure in which a thin, lighted tube is inserted through the nose or mouth. This allows examination of the inside of the trachea and bronchi (air passages that lead to the lung), as well as the lung. Bronchoscopy may be used to detect cancer or to perform some treatment procedures.
bryostatin - A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is obtained from a marine organism.
burdock - Arctium lappa. A plant whose seeds and root have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have antioxidant effects. Also called lappa and happy major.
Burkitt's lymphoma - An aggressive (rapidly progressing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that occurs most often in children and young adults. The disease may affect the jaw, central nervous system, bowel, kidneys, ovaries, or other organs. There are three main types of Burkitt’s lymphoma (sporadic, endemic, and immunodeficiency related). Sporadic Burkitt’s lymphoma occurs throughout the world, and endemic Burkitt’s lymphoma occurs in Africa. Immunodeficiency-related Burkitt’s lymphoma is most often seen in AIDS patients.
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