Glossary of Terms
false-negative test result
A test result that indicates a person does not have a specific disease or condition, when in fact the person actually does have the disease or condition.
false-positive test result
A test result that indicates a person has a specific disease or condition, when in fact the person actually does not have the disease or condition.
Cancer that occurs in families more often than would be expected by chance. These cancers often occur at an early age, and may indicate the presence of a gene mutation that increases the risk of cancer. They may also be a sign of shared environmental or lifestyle factors.
family medical history
A record of the relationships among family members along with their medical histories. This includes current and past illnesses. A family medical history may show a pattern of certain diseases in a family. Also called family history.
Also called fulvestrant and ICI 182780. A medicine used to treat certain types of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Faslodex blocks estrogen activity in the body and is a type of antiestrogen.
fast-neutron beam radiation
A type of radiation therapy that uses tiny particles called neutrons made by a machine called a cyclotron.
A condition marked by extreme tiredness and inability to function due lack of energy. Fatigue may be acute or chronic.
Food and Drug Administration. An agency in the U.S. federal government whose mission is to protect public health by making sure that food, cosmetics and nutritional supplements are safe to use and truthfully labeled. The FDA also makes sure that medicines, medical devices and equipment are safe and effective, and that blood for transfusions and transplant tissue are safe.
A condition marked by fever and a lower-than-normal number of neutrophils in the blood. A neutrophil is a type of white blood cell that helps fight infection. Having too few neutrophils increases the risk of infection.
Also called FEC. An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with other types of therapy to treat breast cancer, including breast cancer that has spread or come back. It includes the medicines fluorouracil, epirubicin hydrochloride and cyclophosphamide.
Also called letrozole. A medicine used to treat advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Femara causes a decrease in the amount of estrogen made by the body. It is a type of aromatase inhibitor.
A medicine used to treat severe cancer pain in that occurs even though the individual is already taking opioids. It is also used during anesthesia for surgery. Fentanyl citrate binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. It is a type of analgesic agent and a type of opioid.
fentanyl sublingual spray
A form of the medicine fentanyl that is sprayed under the tongue and then absorbed into the blood. It is being studied in the treatment of breakthrough pain (pain that occurs even when pain-control medicine is already being used) in cancer individuals. Fentanyl is a type of opioid analgesic.
The ability to produce children.
Brand name, Allegra. Allegra is an antihistamine used to treat certain allergy symptoms by blocking a chemical released during an allergic response that causes itching, sneezing, runny nose, wheezing and watery eyes. Antihistamines are advised as pretreatment when using paclitaxel, a chemotherapy agent. Antihistamines can prevent hypersensitivity reactions with paclitaxel use, which include decrease in blood pressure and impaired breathing.
A benign (not cancerous) tumor that usually forms in the breast from both fibrous and glandular tissue. Fibroadenomas are the most common benign breast tumors.
fibrocystic breast changes
Also called benign breast disease, fibrocystic breast disease, and mammary dysplasia. A common condition marked by benign (not cancerous) changes in breast tissue. These changes may include irregular lumps or cysts, breast discomfort, sensitive nipples and itching. These symptoms may change throughout the menstrual cycle and usually stop after menopause.
A medical device or small object placed in or on the body to mark an area for radiation treatment or surgery. For example, implantable soft-tissue markers may be put around a breast tumor before biopsy to clarify the precise area for the surgeon, if a tumor needs to be removed at a later date.
The use of X-rays to create a picture of the breast on a film.
fine-needle aspiration biopsy
Also called FNA biopsy. The removal of tissue or fluid with a thin needle for examination under a microscope. Fine-needle aspirations are sometimes used to test for breast cancer, determining whether a lump in the breast is cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).
Also called FDR. The parents, brothers, sisters, or children of an individual. Breast cancer that affects a first degree relative may indicate risk for that illness in another relative within that same immediate family.
Initial treatment used to reduce breast cancer. First-line therapy is followed by other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy to get rid of cancer that remains. Also called induction therapy, primary therapy and primary treatment.
five-year survival rate
The percent of people in a study or treatment group who are alive 5 years after they were diagnosed with or treated for breast cancer. The breast cancer may or may not have come back.
A medicine used to treat symptoms of breast cancer, as well as cancers of the colon, stomach, and pancreas. It is also used in a cream to treat certain skin conditions. Fluorouracil stops cells from making DNA and it may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called 5-fluorouracil and 5-FU.
A medicine used to treat depression, which can include feelings marked by ongoing sadness, despair, loss of energy, and difficulty dealing with normal daily life. Some individuals affected by breast cancer experience depression. Fluoxetine is a type of antidepressant.
Also called fine-needle aspiration biopsy. The removal of tissue or fluid with a thin needle for examination under a microscope. Fine-needle aspirations are sometimes used to test for breast cancer, determining whether a lump in the breast is cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).
In terms of cancer, limited to a specific area.
Food and Drug Administration
Also called FDA. An agency in the U.S. federal government whose mission is to protect public health by making sure that food, cosmetics, and nutritional supplements are safe to use and truthfully labeled. The Food and Drug Administration also makes sure that medicines, medical devices and equipment are safe and effective, and that blood for transfusions and transplant tissue are safe.
Also called alendronate sodium. Fosamax is a medicine prescribed to prevent bone loss in individuals treated with certain medicines for breast cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood) and bone pain caused by cancer. It is also used to treat certain bone conditions. Fosamax slows the breakdown of bone and prevents the loss of calcium. It is a type of bisphosphonate.
Dividing the total dose of radiation therapy into several smaller, equal doses delivered over a period of several days.
Also called Faslodex and ICI 182780. A medicine used to treat certain types of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Fulvestrant blocks estrogen activity in the body and is a type of antiestrogen.
functional magnetic resonance imaging
A noninvasive tool used to observe functioning in the brain or other organs by detecting changes in chemical composition, blood flow or both.