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Glossary of Terms

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obese

Having a higher-than-ideal amount of body fat. Obesity is generally determined by a body mass index (BMI) calculation that defines whether and individual is underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese based on the person's height and weight. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, and a BMI of greater than 30 is considered obese. Experts concluded in 2001 that several cancers are associated with obesity, including postmenopausal breast cancer.

objective improvement

An improvement that can be measured by the health care provider (for example, when a tumor shrinks or there are fewer cancer cells in the blood). In contrast, a 'subjective' improvement is based on how one person perceives her own health, or someone else's health.

objective response

A measurable response. In contrast, a 'subjective' response is based on how one person perceives her own health, or someone else's health.

observation

Also called watchful waiting. Closely monitoring a person's condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change.

observational study

A type of study in which individuals are observed or certain outcomes are measured. No attempt is made to affect the outcome (for example, no treatment is given).

obstruction

Blockage of a passageway.

off-label

Describes the legal use of a prescription medicine to treat a disease or condition when the agent has not yet been approved for that use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

olaparib

Olaparib is a type of targeted therapy agent called a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, as well as ovarian and cancer 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, and it may kill cancer cells. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer agents, as well as radiation used to treat cancer. Also called AZD2281 and PARP inhibitor AZD2281.

oncologist

A doctor who specializes in treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation.

oncology

The study of cancer.

oncology nurse

A nurse who specializes in treating and caring for people who have cancer.

oncology pharmacy specialist

Also called BCOP and board certified oncology pharmacy specialist. A licensed pharmacist with special training in how to design, give, monitor, and change chemotherapy for individuals being treated for cancer.

oncolysis

The lysis (breakdown) of cancer cells. This can be caused by chemical or physical means (for example, strong detergents or high-energy sound waves) or by infection with a strain of virus that can lyse cells.

ondansetron

The active ingredient in a medicine used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment. Ondansetron is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic.

onset of action

The length of time it takes for a medicine to start to work.

oophorectomy

Surgery to remove one or both ovaries. Women at high risk for breast cancer are, such as those with the BRCA1 (breast cancer 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer 2) genes, are sometimes advised to undergo oophorectomy. This surgery can reduce the risk of both breast and ovarian cancers. BRCA gene carriers are at a much higher risk for breast and ovarian cancers than the average person.

open biopsy

A lumpectomy to remove a breast tumor is a type of open biopsy. Open biopsy is a procedure in which a surgical incision (cut) is made through the skin to expose and remove tissues. The biopsy tissue is examined under a microscope by a pathologist. An open biopsy may be done in the doctor's office or in the hospital, and may use local anesthesia or general anesthesia.

open label study

A type of study in which both the health providers and the individuals are aware of the medicine or treatment being given.

open resection

Surgery to remove part or all of an organ or a tumor and nearby lymph nodes. The incision is large enough to let the surgeon see into the body.

operable

Describes a condition that can be treated by surgery.

opiate

A substance used to treat pain or cause sleep. Opiates are made from opium or have opium in them. Opiates bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Examples of opiates are codeine and morphine. An opiate is a type of analgesic agent.

opioid

A substance used to treat moderate to severe pain. Opioids are similar to opiates, such as morphine and codeine, but are not made from opium. Opioids bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Opioids used to be called narcotics. An opioid is a type of alkaloid.

opportunistic infection

An infection caused by an organism that does not normally cause disease. Opportunistic infections occur in people with weakened immune systems.

oral

By or having to do with the mouth.

organ

A part of the body that performs a specific function. For example, the heart is an organ.

orthodox medicine

A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using medicines, radiation or surgery. Also called allopathic medicine, biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine and Western medicine.

osteolytic

Causing the breakdown of bone.

osteonecrosis of the jaw

Also called "dead jaw," jaw necrosis. Painful exposed bone in the jaw. Women who undergo radiation or chemotherapy or who receive steroids as part of breast cancer treatment are at increased risk for this condition. Women who take bisphosphonates may also be at risk for jaw necrosis.

osteopenia

A condition in which there is a lower-than-normal bone mass or bone mineral density (the amount of bone mineral contained in a certain amount of bone). Osteopenia is a less severe form of bone loss than osteoporosis.

osteoporosis

A condition that is marked by a decrease in bone mass and density, causing bones to become fragile.

OTC

Over-the-counter. Also called nonprescription. A medicine that can be bought without a prescription (doctor's order). Examples include analgesics (pain relievers) such as aspirin and acetaminophen (brand name, Tylenol).

outcome

A specific result or effect that can be measured. Examples of outcomes include decreased pain, reduced tumor size, and improvement of disease.

outpatient

An individual who visits a health care facility for diagnosis or treatment without spending the night. Sometimes called a day patient.

ovarian

Having to do with the ovaries, the female reproductive glands in which the ova (eggs) are formed. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.

ovarian ablation

Also called ovarian suppression. Surgery, radiation therapy, or treatment with medicines to stop the functioning of the ovaries.

ovarian cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the ovary (one of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed). Most ovarian cancers are either ovarian epithelial carcinomas (cancer that begins in the cells on the surface of the ovary) or malignant germ cell tumors (cancer that begins in egg cells).

ovarian suppression

Also called ovarian ablation. Surgery, radiation therapy, or a treatment with medicine to stop the functioning of the ovaries.

ovary

One of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.

over-the-counter

Also called OTC, or nonprescription. A medicine that can be bought without a prescription (doctor's order). Examples include analgesics (pain relievers) such as aspirin and acetaminophen (brand name, Tylenol).

overall survival rate

Also called survival rate. The percent of people in a study or treatment group who are alive for a certain period of time after they were diagnosed with or treated for a disease, such as breast cancer. The overall survival rate is often stated as a 5-year survival rate, which is the percent of people in a study or treatment group who are alive 5 years after diagnosis or treatment.

overdose

An amount of medicine that is more than what should be taken at one time.

overexpress

In biology, to make too many copies of a protein or other substance. Overexpression of certain proteins or other substances may play a role in cancer development.

overweight

Being too heavy for one's height. Excess body weight can come from fat, muscle, bone, and/or water retention. Being overweight does not always mean being obese.

ovulation

The release of an egg from an ovary during the menstrual cycle.

oxycodone hydrochloride

A medicine used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is made from morphine and binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system.

Denver, CO  ·  September 13, 2014

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