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Mesothelioma cancer glossary - L
laparoscopy - The insertion of a thin, lighted tube (called a laparoscope) through the abdominal wall to inspect the inside of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.
laparotomy - A surgical incision made in the wall of the abdomen.
large cell carcinoma - Lung cancer in which the cells are large and look abnormal when viewed under a microscope.
Latency period - The period from initial exposure to the onset of the disease.
lentinan - A beta-glucan (a type of polysaccharide) from the mushroom Lentinus edodes (shiitake mushroom). It has been studied in Japan as a treatment for cancer.
leptomeningeal - Having to do with the two innermost layers of tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.
leptomeningeal cancer - A tumor that involves the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.
leptomeningeal metastases - Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.
lesion - An area of abnormal tissue. A lesion may be benign (noncancercous) or malignant (cancerous).
leucopenia - See leucopenia.
leukapheresis - Removal of the blood to collect specific blood cells; the remaining blood is returned to the body.
leukemia - Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream.
leukocyte - A white blood cell. Refers to a blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin. White blood cells include lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, macrophages, and mast cells. These cells are made by bone marrow and help the body fight infection and other diseases.
leukopenia - A condition in which the number of leukocytes (white blood cells) in the blood is reduced.
lignan - A member of a group of substances found in plants that have shown estrogenic and anticancer effects. Lignans have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems.
limited-stage small cell lung cancer - Cancer is found in one lung, the tissues between the lungs, and nearby lymph nodes only.
linac - A machine that creates high-energy radiation to treat cancer, using electricity to form a stream of fast-moving subatomic particles. Also called mega-voltage (MeV) linear accelerator or a linear accelerator.
linear accelerator - A machine that creates high-energy radiation to treat cancer, using electricity to form a stream of fast-moving subatomic particles. Also called mega-voltage (MeV) linear accelerator or a linac.
linseed - The seed of the flax plant. It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid, fiber, and a compound called lignin. It is being studied in the prevention of prostate cancer. Also called flaxseed.
liver metastases - Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the liver.
local cancer - An invasive malignant cancer confined entirely to the organ where the cancer began.
local therapy - Treatment that affects cells in the tumor and the area close to it.
localized - Restricted to the site of origin, without evidence of spread.
locally advanced cancer - Cancer that has spread only to nearby tissues or lymph nodes.
low grade - When referring to cancerous and precancerous growths, a term used to describe cells that look nearly normal under a microscope. These cells are less likely to grow and spread quickly than cells in high-grade cancerous or precancerous growths.
lower GI series - X-rays of the colon and rectum (lower gastrointestinal tract) that are taken after a person is given a barium enema.
lumbar puncture - A procedure in which a needle is put into the lower part of the spinal column to collect cerebrospinal fluid or to give anticancer drugs intrathecally. Also called a spinal tap.
lymph - The clear fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infections and other diseases. Also called lymphatic fluid.
lymph gland - A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph glands filter lymph (lymphatic fluid), and they store lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are located along lymphatic vessels. Also called a lymph node.
lymph node - A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph nodes filter lymph (lymphatic fluid), and they store lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are located along lymphatic vessels. Also called a lymph gland.
lymphocyte - A type of white blood cell. Lymphocytes have a number of roles in the immune system, including the production of antibodies and other substances that fight infection and diseases.
lymphocytic leukemia - A type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (white blood cells).
lymphoma - Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One kind is Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slowly progressing) course and those that have an aggressive (rapidly progressing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer.
lytic - Having to do with lysis. In biology, lysis refers to the disintegration of a cell by disruption of its plasma membrane. Lysis can be caused by chemical or physical means (e.g., high-energy sound waves) or by a virus infection.
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