Glossary of Terms
Also called E7389 and eribulin mesylate. A medicine used to treat metastatic breast cancer in individuals who have already been treated with other chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Halaven may block cancer cell growth by stopping cell division. It belongs to the family of medicines called antitubulin agents.
A measure of how often a particular event happens in one group compared to how often it happens in another group, over time. In cancer research, hazard ratios are often used in clinical trials to measure survival at any point in time in a group of trial participants who have been given a specific treatment compared to a control group given another treatment or a placebo. A hazard ratio of one means that there is no difference in survival between the two groups. A hazard ratio of greater than one or less than one means that survival was better in one of the groups.
Also called therapeutic touch. A form of complementary medicine based on the belief that vital energy flows through the human body. This energy is said to be balanced or made stronger by practitioners who pass their hands over, or gently touch, a person's body. Healing touch is being studied in individuals receiving breast cancer therapy, to find out if it can improve quality of life, boost the immune system or reduce side effects. Healing touch is a type of energy therapy.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Also called HIPAA and Kassebaum Kennedy Act. A 1996 U.S. law that allows workers and their families to keep their health insurance when they change or lose their jobs. The law also includes standards for setting up secure electronic health records and to protect the privacy of a person's health information and to keep it from being misused.
A licensed person or organization that provides healthcare services.
In a clinical study, a person who does not have the disorder or disease being studied. Results from healthy controls are compared to results from the group being studied.
helical computed tomography
Also called spiral CT scan. A detailed picture of areas inside the body. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine that scans the body in a spiral path.
Also called human EGF receptor 2 and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. A protein involved in normal cell growth. It is found on some types of cancer cells, including breast and ovarian. Cancer cells removed from the body may be tested for the presence of HER2/neu to help decide the best type of treatment.
Also called trastuzumab. A monoclonal antibody that binds to HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) and can kill HER2-positive cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the lab and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Herceptin is used to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive and has spread after treatment with other medicines. It is also used with other anticancer medicines to treat HER2-positive breast cancer after surgery. Herceptin is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer.
Transmitted from parent to child by information contained in the genes.
Also called germline mutation. A gene change in a body's reproductive cell (egg or sperm) that becomes incorporated into the DNA of every cell in the body of the offspring. Hereditary mutations are passed on from parents to offspring. Some breast cancer genes are hereditary.
A term used to describe cells that look abnormal under a microscope. These cells are more likely to grow and spread quickly than cells in low-grade cancer or in growths that may become breast cancer.
An intensive treatment that uses medicine to kill cancer cells, but that also destroys the bone marrow and can cause other severe side effects. High-dose chemotherapy is usually followed by bone marrow or stem cell transplantation to rebuild the bone marrow.
Also called HDR. An amount of radiation that is greater than that given in typical radiation therapy. High-dose radiation is precisely directed at the tumor to avoid damaging healthy tissue and may kill more cancer cells in fewer treatments.
high-energy proton therapy
A type of radiation therapy that uses high-energy photons (units of light energy). High-energy photons penetrate deeply into tissues to reach tumors while giving less radiation to superficial tissues such as the skin.
Breast cancer that is likely to recur (come back), or spread.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or Kassebaum Kennedy Act. A 1996 U.S. law that allows workers and their families to keep their health insurance when they change or lose their jobs. The law also includes standards for setting up secure electronic health records and to protect the privacy of a person's health information and to keep it from being misused.
The examination of tissue specimens under a microscope.
The study of tissues and cells under a microscope
historic cohort study
Also called retrospective cohort study. A research study in which the medical records of groups of individuals who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic (for example, female nurses who smoke and those who do not smoke) are compared for a particular outcome (such as breast cancer).
historical control subject
An individual treated in the past and used in a comparison group when researchers analyze the results of a clinical study that had no control group. The use of a control group, or comparison group, helps researchers determine the effects of a new treatment more accurately.
Also called homeopathy. An alternative approach to medicine based on the belief that natural substances, prepared in a special way and used most often in very small amounts, restore health. According to these beliefs, in order for a remedy to be effective, it must cause in a healthy person the same symptoms being treated in the individual.
One of many chemicals made by glands in the body. Hormones circulate in the bloodstream and control the actions of certain cells or organs. Some hormones can also be made in the lab.
A cell protein that binds a specific hormone. The hormone receptor may be on the surface of the cell or inside the cell. Many changes take place in a cell after a hormone binds to its receptor.
hormone receptor test
A test to measure the amount of certain proteins, called hormone receptors, in cancer tissue. Hormones can attach to these proteins. A high level of hormone receptors may mean that hormones help the cancer grow.
hormone replacement therapy
Also called HRT and menopausal hormone therapy. Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, or both) given to women after menopause to replace the hormones no longer produced by the ovaries.
In oncology, describes cancer that responds to hormone treatment.
Treatment that adds, blocks or removes hormones. To slow or stop the growth of certain types of breast cancer, synthetic hormones or other medicines may be given to block the body's natural hormones. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the gland that makes a certain hormone. Also called endocrine therapy, hormonal therapy and hormone treatment.
A program that provides special care for people who are near the end of life and for their families, either at home, in freestanding facilities or within hospitals.
A sudden, temporary onset of body warmth, flushing and sweating that is often associated with menopause.
human epidermal growth factor receptor 2
Also called HER2/neu and human EGF receptor 2. A protein involved in normal cell growth. It is found on some types of cancer cells, including breast and ovarian. Cancer cells removed from the body may be tested for the presence of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 to help decide the best type of treatment.
human participant protection regulations
Laws set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to protect a person from risks in research studies that any federal agency or department has a part in. Also called 45 CFR 46, 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46 and Protection of Human Subjects.
Also called Adriamycin PFS, Adriamycin RDF, doxorubicin, doxorubicin hydrochloride and Rubex. A medicine that is used to treat many types of cancer, including breast cancer. Hydroxydaunorubicin comes from the bacterium Streptomyces peucetius. It damages DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic.
A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Hyperalimentation does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using hyperalimentation. Also called parenteral nutrition, total parenteral nutrition and TPN.
Higher than normal levels of calcium in the blood. Some types of cancer increase the risk of hypercalcemia.
hyperfractionated radiation therapy
Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into small doses and treatments are given more than once a day. Also called hyperfractionation and superfractionated radiation therapy.
Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into small doses and treatments are given more than once a day. Also called hyperfractionated radiation therapy and superfractionated radiation therapy.
An abnormal increase in the number of normal cells in an organ or tissue.
An exaggerated response by the immune system to a medicineor other substance.
hypofractionated radiation therapy
Also called hypofractionation. Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into large doses and treatments are given less than once a day.
Also called hypofractionated radiation therapy. Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into large doses and treatments are given less than once a day.
A condition in which there is a decrease in the oxygen supply to a tissue. In cancer treatment, the level of hypoxia in a tumor may help predict the response of the tumor to the treatment.