Glossary of Terms
Brand name, Boniva. A medicine used to prevent and treat osteoporosis. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer that has spread to the bones. It belongs to the family of medicines called bisphosphonates.
Brand names: Advil, Motrin. A medicine used to treat fever, swelling, pain and redness by preventing the body from making a substance that causes inflammation. It is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID).
Describes a disease of unknown cause.
image-guided radiation therapy
Also called IGRT. A procedure that uses a computer to create a picture of a tumor to help guide the radiation beam during radiation therapy. The pictures are made using CT, ultrasound, X-ray or other imaging techniques. Image-guided radiation therapy makes radiation therapy more accurate and causes less damage to healthy tissue.
In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves.
A method of producing pictures of areas inside the body.
A medicine that stimulates the immune system to respond to disease.
Production and action of cells that fight disease or infection.
The activity of the immune system against foreign substances (antigens).
The complex group of organs and cells that defends the body against infections and other diseases.
immune system tolerance
The failure of the immune system to respond to an antigen that previously caused an immune response.
A technique used to trigger an immune response that results in resistance to a specific disease, especially an infectious disease. Studies are underway to find agents that will trigger the body's immune response, with the goal of finding new treatments for breast cancer.
A test that uses the binding of antibodies to antigens to identify and measure certain substances. Immunoassays may be used to diagnose disease. Also, test results can provide information about a disease that may help in planning treatment (for example, when estrogen receptors are measured in breast cancer).
Having a weakened immune system caused by certain diseases or treatments.
The decreased ability of the body to fight infections and other diseases.
A technique used to identify specific molecules in different kinds of tissue. The tissue is treated with antibodies that bind the specific molecule. These are made visible under a microscope by using a color reaction, a radioisotope, colloidal gold or a fluorescent dye. Immunohistochemistry is used to help diagnose diseases, such as breast cancer, and to detect the presence of microorganisms. It is also used in basic research to understand how cells grow and differentiate (become more specialized).
The study of the body's immune system.
Change in the body's immune system, caused by agents that activate or suppress its function.
Suppression of the body's immune system and its ability to fight infections and other diseases. Immunosuppression may be deliberately induced with medicines, as in preparation for bone marrow or other organ transplantation, to prevent rejection of the donor tissue. It may also result from certain diseases or from anticancer medicines.
Treatment to boost or restore the ability of the immune system to destroy cancer, infections and other diseases. Also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Agents used in immunotherapy include monoclonal antibodies, growth factors and vaccines. These agents may also have a direct antitumor effect. Multiple studies are underway to find immunotherapy treatments that will be effective at treating breast cancer. Also called biological response modifier therapy, biological therapy, biotherapy, and BRM therapy.
A substance or object that is put in the body as a prosthesis, or for treatment or diagnosis. Implants are one option for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy (breast removal), a procedure sometimes used as a breast cancer treatment or prevention. Other options besides implants exist for breast reconstruction.
implant displacement views
Also called Eklund displacement views and Eklund views. A procedure used to do a mammogram (X-ray of the breasts) in women with breast implants. The implant is pushed back against the chest wall and the breast tissue is pulled forward and around it so the tissue can be seen in the mammogram.
implant radiation therapy
A type of radiation therapy in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called brachytherapy, internal radiation therapy and radiation brachytherapy.
A small device installed under the skin to administer a steady dose of medicines.
In its original place. For example, in carcinoma in situ, abnormal cells are found only in the place where they first formed. They have not spread.
The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.
A cut made in the body to perform surgery.
A surgical procedure in which a portion of a lump or suspicious area is removed for diagnosis. The tissue is then examined under a microscope to check for signs of disease.
In medicine, a sign, symptom or medical condition that leads to the recommendation of a treatment, test or procedure.
A type of cancer that grows slowly.
Also called first-line therapy, primary therapy and primary treatment. Initial treatment used to reduce a cancer. Induction therapy is followed by other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy to get rid of any breast cancer that remains.
Invasion and multiplication of germs in the body. Infections can occur in any part of the body and can spread throughout the body. The germs may be bacteria, viruses, yeast or fungi. They can cause a fever and other problems, depending on where the infection occurs. When the body's natural defense system is strong, it can often fight the germs and prevent infection. Some breast cancer treatments can weaken the natural defense system.
Unable to produce children.
The inability to produce children.
infiltrating breast cancer
Also called invasive breast cancer. Cancer that has spread from where it started in the breast into surrounding, healthy tissue. Most infiltrating breast cancers start in the ducts, the tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple. Infiltrating breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.
infiltrating ductal carcinoma
The most common type of invasive breast cancer. It starts in the cells that line the milk ducts in the breast, grows outside the ducts, and often spreads to the lymph nodes.
Having to do with inflammation (redness, swelling, pain and a feeling of heat that helps protect tissues affected by injury or disease).
inflammatory breast cancer
A type of breast cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm. The skin of the breast may also show the pitted appearance called peau d'orange (like the skin of an orange). The redness and warmth occur because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin.
Important facts given to an individual who may be partaking in a medical procedure, medical treatment, a clinical trial or a genetic testing procedure. The information is meant to allow that individual a chance to weigh risks against benefits in deciding whether or not to participate. It also includes informing the individual when there is new information that may affect his or her decision to continue, such as in a clinical trial. Informed consent includes information about the possible risks, benefits and limits of the procedure, treatment, trial or genetic testing.
A method of putting fluids, including medicines, into the bloodstream. Also called intravenous infusion.
Taking into the body by mouth.
Transmitted through genes that have been passed from parents to their offspring (children).
A type of PARP inhibitor: poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Iniparib may cause cancer cells to die. It is a substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer medicines and radiation used to treat cancer. Also called BSI-201 and PARP-1 inhibitor BSI-201.
Describes a condition that cannot be treated by surgery.
Difficulty in going to sleep or getting enough sleep.
Institutional Review Board
Also called IRB. A group of scientists, doctors, clergy and consumers that reviews and approves the action plan for every clinical trial. There is an Institutional Review Board at every healthcare facility that does clinical research. Institutional Review Boards are designed to protect the people who take part in a clinical trial. Institutional Review Boards check to see that the trial is well designed, legal, ethical, does not involve unneccesary risks, and includes safeguards for participants.
internal mammary lymph nodes
Lymph nodes near your breastbone.
Treatment that is given after breast cancer has disappeared following the initial therapy. Intensification therapy is used to kill any cancer cells that may be left in the body. It may include radiation therapy, a stem cell transplant, or treatment with medicines that kill cancer cells. Also called consolidation therapy and postremission therapy.
intensity-modulated radiation therapy
Also called IMRT. A type of 3-dimensional radiation therapy that uses computer-generated images to show the size and shape of the tumor. Thin beams of radiation of different intensities are aimed at the tumor from many angles. This type of radiation therapy reduces the damage to healthy tissue near the tumor.
Also called intrusive thought. An unpleasant memory or idea that occurs often in a person's everyday thoughts and keeps him or her from thinking about other things. Interfering thoughts can make sleep difficult and make a person unable to carry out daily activities.
internal radiation therapy
A type of radiation therapy in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called brachytherapy, implant radiation therapy and radiation brachytherapy.
Also called IU. A unit used to measure the activity of many vitamins, hormones, enzymes and medicines. An International Unit is the amount of a substance that has a certain biological effect. For each substance there is an international agreement on the biological effect that is expected for one International Unit.
A doctor who specializes in internal medicine. An internist works with adults, to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases without using surgery.
interstitial radiation therapy
A type of internal radiation therapy in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters is placed directly into a tumor or body tissue.
In medicine, a treatment or action taken to prevent or treat disease, or improve health in other ways.
The group receiving the study medicine that is being tested in a clinical trial or clinical study.
Within an artery (blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body).
The introduction of fluids and medicines directly into the carotid artery, the main artery in the neck that carries blood from the heart to the brain.
Within the skin. Also called intracutaneous.
intraductal breast papilloma
Also called intraductal papilloma. A benign (not cancer), wart-like growth in a milk duct of the breast. It is usually found close to the nipple and may cause a discharge from the nipple. It may also cause pain and a lump in the breast that can be felt. It usually affects women aged 35-55 years. Having a single papilloma does not increase the risk of breast cancer. When there are multiple intraductal breast papillomas, they are usually found farther from the nipple. There may not be a nipple discharge and the papillomas may not be felt. Having multiple intraductal breast papillomas may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Also called DCIS and ductal carcinoma in situ. A noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct. The abnormal cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. In some cases, intraductal carcinoma may become invasive cancer and spread to other tissues, although it is not known at this time how to predict which lesions will become invasive.
Within the liver.
The delivery of anticancer mediciness directly to the blood vessels of the liver.
Also called IM. Within or into muscle. Some injections are given intramuscularly, as opposed to subcutaneous (under the skin) or interdermal (within or between layers of skin) injections.
Injection into muscle.
intraoperative radiation therapy
Also called IORT. Radiation treatment aimed directly at a tumor during surgery.
Also called IOUS. A procedure that uses ultrasound (high-energy sound waves that are bounced off internal tissues and organs) during surgery. Sonograms (pictures made by ultrasound) of the inside of the body are viewed on a computer to help a surgeon find tumors or other problems during the operation.
Within a tumor.
The movement of a cell or a foreign substance through the wall of a blood or lymph vessel into the vessel itself. In cancer, this is how cancer cells pass through a vessel wall and enter the blood or lymph systems. It is one way that cancer spreads in the body.
Also called IV. Into or within a vein. Intravenous usually refers to a way of giving a medicine or other substance through a needle or tube inserted into a vein.
A method of putting fluids, including medicines, into the bloodstream. Also called infusion.
Injection into a vein.
Also called interfering thought. An unpleasant memory or idea that occurs often in a person's everyday thoughts and keeps him or her from thinking about other things. Interfering thoughts can make sleep difficult and make a person unable to carry out daily activities.
invasive breast cancer
Also called infiltrating breast cancer. Cancer that has spread from where it started in the breast into surrounding, healthy tissue. Most invasive breast cancers start in the ducts (tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple). Invasive breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.
Also called infiltrating cancer. Cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues.
A medical procedure that invades (enters) the body, usually by cutting or puncturing the skin or by inserting instruments into the body.
A researcher in a clinical trial or clinical study.
A type of radiation made (or given off ) by X-ray procedures, radioactive substances, rays that enter the Earth's atmosphere from outer space and other sources. At high doses, ionizing radiation increases chemical activity inside cells and can lead to health risks, including cancer.
On the same side of the body as another structure or a given point.
Also called Institutional Review Board. A group of scientists, doctors, clergy and consumers that reviews and approves the action plan for every clinical trial. There is an IRB at every health care facility that does clinical research. IRBs are designed to protect the people who take part in a clinical trial. IRBs check to see that the trial is well designed, legal, ethical, does not involve unnecessary risks and includes safeguards for participants.
Treated with radiation.
Also called radiation therapy and radiotherapy. The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy). Systemic irradiation uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body.
Side effects that are caused by toxic substances or something harmful to the body and do not go away.
Also called intravenous. Into or within a vein. IV usually refers to a way of giving a medicine or other substance through a needle or tube inserted into a vein.
Brand name, IXEMPRA. A medicine used to treat metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer that has not improved after treatment with other anticancer agents. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Ixabepilone stops the growth of tumor cells by blocking cell division. Also called BMS-247550.