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Mesothelioma cancer glossary - M
magnetic resonance imaging - MRI. A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. MRI makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as CT or x-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.
maintenance therapy - Treatment that is given to help a primary (original) treatment keep working. Maintenance therapy is often given to help keep cancer in remission.
malignant - Cancerous. Malignant tumors can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
malignant ascites - A condition in which fluid containing cancer cells collects in the abdomen.
malignant meningioma - A rare, quickly growing tumor that occurs in the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord (meninges).
malignant mesothelioma - A rare type of cancer in which malignant cells are found in the sac lining the chest or abdomen. Exposure to airborne asbestos particles increases one's risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.
mammogram - An x-ray of the breast.
mammography - The use of x-rays to create a picture of the breast.
margin - The edge or border of the tissue removed in cancer surgery. The margin is described as negative or clean when the pathologist finds no cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, suggesting that all of the cancer has been removed. The margin is described as positive or involved when the pathologist finds cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, suggesting that all of the cancer has not been removed.
mastectomy - Surgery to remove the breast (or as much of the breast tissue as possible).
matrix metalloproteinase - A member of a group of enzymes that can break down proteins, such as collagen, that are normally found in the spaces between cells in tissues (i.e., extracellular matrix proteins). Because these enzymes need zinc or calcium atoms to work properly, they are called metalloproteinases. Matrix metalloproteinases are involved in wound healing, angiogenesis, and tumor cell metastasis.
measurable disease - A tumor that can be accurately measured in size. This information can be used to judge response to treatment.
median - A statistics term. The middle value in a set of measurements.
median survival time - The time from either diagnosis or treatment at which half of the patients with a given disease are found to be, or expected to be, still alive. In a clinical trial, median survival time is one way to measure how effective a treatment is.
medulloblastoma - A malignant brain tumor that begins in the lower part of the brain and that can spread to the spine or to other parts of the body. Medulloblastomas are a type of primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET).
mega-voltage linear accelerator - MeV 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 linear accelerator or a linac.
meningeal - Refers to the meninges, the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.
meningeal metastases - Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the tissue covering the brain, spinal cord, or both.
meninges - The three membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord.
meningioma - A type of tumor that occurs in the meninges, the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas usually grow slowly.
mesothelioma - A benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumor affecting the lining of the chest or abdomen. Exposure to asbestos particles in the air increases the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.
Mesothelium - A thin membrane that lines the chest and abdomen
Metastases(s)/Metastasis - spread of disease from original site in the body to remote sites.
Metastasis - the spreading of a cancerous tumour to another part of the body through lymph, blood, or across a cavity
metastasize - 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.
metastatic - Having to do with metastasis, which is the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another.
metastatic cancer - Cancer that has spread from the place in which it started to other parts of the body.
micrometastases - Small numbers of cancer cells that have spread from the primary tumor to other parts of the body and are too few to be picked up in a screening or diagnostic test.
microwave thermotherapy - A type of treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperatures to damage and kill cancer cells or to make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs. Also called microwave therapy.
milk thistle - A plant that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, including stomach, liver, and gallbladder disorders. The active extract of milk thistle seeds is called silymarin. It is being studied in the prevention of liver damage caused by some cancer treatments. Also called Silybum marianum.
Miraluma test - A type of breast imaging test that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of some women who have had abnormal mammograms, or who have dense breast tissue. The Miraluma test is not used for screening, or in place of a mammogram. In this test, a woman receives an injection of a small amount of a radioactive substance called technetium 99, which is taken up by cancer cells, and a gamma camera is used to take pictures of the breasts. Also called scintimammography and sestamibi breast imaging.
mistletoe - A semiparasitic plant that grows on some types of trees. Mistletoe extracts are being studied as treatments for cancer.
mixed glioma - A brain tumor that occurs in more than one type of brain cell, including astrocytes, ependymal cells, and oligodendrocytes.
modality - A method of treatment. For example, surgery and chemotherapy are treatment modalities.
modified radical mastectomy - Surgery for breast cancer in which the breast, most or all of the lymph nodes under the arm, and the lining over the chest muscles are removed. Sometimes the surgeon also removes part of the chest wall muscles.
monoclonal antibody - A laboratory-produced substance that can potentially locate and bind to cancer cells wherever they are in the body. Many monoclonal antibodies are used in cancer detection or therapy; each one recognizes a different protein on certain cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies can be used alone, or they can be used to deliver drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to a tumor.
morbidity - A disease or the incidence of disease within a population. Morbidity also refers to adverse effects caused by a treatment.
Morinda citrifolia - A tropical shrub. An extract from the fruit is being studied as a treatment for cancer, and extracts from the fruit, leaves, or roots have been used in some cultures to treat other diseases. Also called noni.
MRI - Magnetic resonance imaging (mag-NET-ik REZ-o-nans IM-a-jing). A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. MRI makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as CT or x-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.
mucositis - A complication of some cancer therapies in which the lining of the digestive system becomes inflamed. Often seen as sores in the mouth.
multicenter study - A clinical trial that is carried out at more than one medical institution.
mutate - To change the genetic material of a cell. The changes (mutations) can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect.
mutation - Any change in the DNA of a cell. Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment. Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited. Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases.
myalgia - Pain in a muscle or group of muscles.
myelin - The fatty substance that covers and protects nerves.
myelogram - An x-ray of the spinal cord after an injection of dye into the space between the lining of the spinal cord and brain.
myeloid - Having to do with or resembling the bone marrow. May also refer to certain types of hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells found in the bone marrow. Sometimes used as a synonym for myelogenous; for example, acute myeloid leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia are the same disease.
myelosuppression - A condition in which bone marrow activity is decreased, resulting in fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Myelosuppression is a side effect of some cancer treatments. When myelosuppression is severe, it is called myeloablation.
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