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Glossary of Terms

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salpingo-oophorectomy

Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. This surgery is sometimes recommended to women at high risk of developing ovarian cancer because of a known BRCA mutation, or to stop the creation of estrogen in the body that fuels the growth of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

salvage therapy

Treatment that is given after the breast cancer has not responded to other treatments.

samarium 153

A radioactive substance used in the treatment of bone cancer and bone metastases (cancers that have spread from the original tumor to the bone). Samarium 153 is a radioactive form of the element samarium. It collects in bone, where it releases radiation that may kill cancer cells. It is a type of radioisotope.

sargramostim

Also called GM-CSF, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancer. Sargramostim helps make more white blood cells, especially granulocytes, macrophages, and cells that become platelets.

scalpel

A small, thin knife used for surgery.

scan

A picture of structures inside the body. Scans often used in diagnosing, staging, and monitoring breast cancer include liver scans, bone scans, and computed tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans, positron emission tomograhy (PET) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. In liver scanning and bone scanning, radioactive substances that are injected into the bloodstream collect in these organs. A scanner that detects the radiation is used to create pictures. In CT scanning, an X-ray machine linked to a computer is used to produce detailed pictures of organs inside the body. MRI scans use a large magnet connected to a computer to create pictures of areas inside the body.

scanner

In medicine, an instrument that takes pictures of the inside of the body.

schedule

In a clinical setting, the step-by-step plan for how individuals are to be treated; for example, the medicine or type of radiation therapy that is to be given, the method by which it is to be given, the amount of time between courses, and the total length of treatment.

scintigraphy

Also called radionuclide scanning. A procedure that produces pictures (scans) of structures inside the body, including areas where there are cancer cells. Scintigraphy is used to diagnose, stage, and monitor disease. A small amount of a radioactive chemical (radionuclide) is injected into a vein or swallowed. Different radionuclides travel through the blood to different organs. A machine with a special camera moves over the person lying on a table and detects the type of radiation given off by the radionuclides. A computer forms an image of the areas where the radionuclide builds up. These areas may contain cancer cells.

scintimammography

Also called Miraluma test and sestamibi breast imaging. A type of breast imaging test that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of some women who have had mammograms with cause for follow-up testing, or who have dense breast tissue. It 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.

sclerosing adenosis

A benign condition in which scar-like tissue is found in a gland, such as the breast lobules. A biopsy may be needed to tell the difference between the unhealthy tissue and a diagnosis of cancer. Women with sclerosing adenosis of the breast may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.

screening

Checking for breast cancer when there are no symptoms. Preventative mammograms are an example of screening.

screening mammogram

X-rays of the breasts taken to check for breast cancer in the absence of signs or symptoms. Results from randomized clinical trials and other studies show that screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women age 40 or older should have screening mammograms every 1 to 2 years.

second primary cancer

Refers to a new primary cancer in a person with a history of cancer.

second-line therapy

Treatment that is given when initial treatment (first-line therapy) doesn't work, or stops working.

second-look surgery

Surgery performed after primary treatment to determine whether tumor cells remain.

secondary cancer

A term that is used to describe either a new primary cancer or cancer that has spread from the place in which it started to other parts of the body.

secrete

To form and release a substance. In the body, cells secrete substances, such as sweat that cools the body or hormones that act in other parts of the body.

sedative

A medicine or substance used to calm a person down, relieve anxiety, or help a person sleep.

segmental mastectomy

Also called partial mastectomy. The removal of cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor. Usually some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out.

selection bias

An error in choosing the individuals or groups to take part in a study. Ideally, the subjects in a study should be very similar to one another and to the larger population from which they are drawn (for example, all individuals with the same disease or condition). Some differences between individuals in a study could invalidate the results.

selective estrogen receptor modulator

Also called SERM. A medicine that acts like estrogen on some tissues but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen and raloxifene (brand name, Evista) are selective estrogen receptor modulators.

selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

Also called SSRI. A type of medicine used to treat depression. SSRIs slow the process by which serotonin (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another) is reused by nerve cells that make it. This increases the amount of serotonin available for stimulating other nerves. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed during breast cancer treatment.

sensitivity

When referring to a medical test, sensitivity refers to the percent of people who test positive for a specific disease among a group of people who have the disease. No test has 100 percent sensitivity because some people who have the disease will test negative for it (false negatives).

sentinel lymph node

The first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. When cancer spreads, the cancer cells may appear first in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes. The sentinel lymph nodes for breast cancer are usually located under the armpits.

sentinel lymph node biopsy

Surgery and removal of the first lymph nodes in the armpit where breast cancer is likely to travel. Surgeons identify the sentinel lymph nodes by injecting a radioactive substance, blue dye, or both near the breast tumor. The surgeon then uses a probe to find the sentinel lymph node or nodes containing the radioactive substance, or looks for lymph nodes that are stained with dye. The surgeon then removes the sentinel node or nodes to check for the presence of cancer cells.

sentinel lymph node mapping

The use of dyes and radioactive substances to identify the first lymph nodes to which breast cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. Cancer cells may appear first in the sentinel nodes before spreading to other lymph nodes and other places in the body.

sepsis

The presence of bacteria or their toxins in the blood or tissues that may lead to fever, chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, rash, confusion and disorientation. People affected with cancer, or those with weakened immune systems, are at an increased risk for sepsis, which is a serious condition requiring immediate medical attention. A healthcare professional can diagnose sepsis by testing bodily fluids for infectious agents. Additional tests, such as chest X-ray and CT scan, can help locate the site of the infection.

sequential AC/Taxol-Trastuzumab regimen

Also called AC-T-T, AC-T-T regimen, AC-TH regimen. An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol) and trastuzumab (Herceptin).

sequential treatment

One treatment after the other.

SERM

Selective estrogen receptor modulator. A medicine that acts like estrogen on some tissues but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are SERMs.

sertraline

Also called Zoloft. A medicine used to treat depression. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Serzone

Also called nefazodone. A medicine used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of medicines called antidepressant agents.

sestamibi breast imaging

Also called Miraluma test, scintimammography. A type of breast imaging test that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of some women who have had mammograms with cause for follow-up testing, or who have dense breast tissue. It 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.

sexuality

A person's behaviors, desires, and attitudes related to sex and physical intimacy with others. Sexuality can be impacted by breast cancer treatment, due to premature menopause or the fatigue and depression conditions sometimes triggered by breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Body image issues can occur as a result of surgery, side effects of breast cancer treatment, and a change in appearance due to hair loss. A change in body confidence can impact sexuality. Healthcare professionals can provide resources to help address sexuality issues related to breast cancer.

sibling

A person's brother or sister who has the same parents.

side effect

A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some common side effects of breast cancer treatment are fatigue, pain, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores.

significant

Also called statistically significant. In statistics, describes a mathematical measure of difference between groups. The difference is said to be significant if it is greater than what might be expected to happen by chance alone. In breast cancer clinical trials, researchers measure the success of a proposed treatment if the results are significant or statistically significant in favor of the new treatment versus the standard treatment.

silicone

A synthetic gel that is used as an outer coating on breast implants and as the inside filling of some implants. Silcone-gel-filled breast implants are one of two options approved in the United States - saline-filled implants are also available. Both types of implants have an outer shell made of silicone.

simple mastectomy

Removal of the breast, but not the axillary lymph nodes. Also called total mastectomy.

simulation

A process used to plan radiation therapy after breast cancer surgery so that the target area is precisely located and marked.

Single-agent therapy

When one medicine is given at a time.

Single-blind study

A type of clinical trial in which only the doctor knows whether an individual is taking the standard treatment or the new treatment being tested. This helps prevent bias in treatment studies.

sleep disorder

A disturbance of normal sleep patterns. There are a number of sleep disorders that include trouble falling asleep, nightmares, sleepwalking, and sleep apnea (problems with breathing that lead to loud snoring). Poor sleep may also be caused by diseases such as heart disease, lung disease or nerve disorders. It can also be triggered by the emotional impact of a breast cancer diagnosis, or side effects of breast cancer treatment. Multiple studies are examining the sleep disturbances in those being treated for breast cancer, and those who have completed treatment.

social service

A community resource that helps people in need. Services may include help getting to and from medical appointments, home delivery of medicines and meals, in-home nursing care, help paying medical costs not covered by insurance, loaning medical equipment and housekeeping help.

social support

A network of family, friends, neighbors, and community members that is available in times of need to give psychological, physical and financial help.

social worker

A professional trained to talk with people and their families about emotional or physical needs, and to find them support services.

sodium thiosulfate

A substance that is used in medicine as an antidote to cyanide poisoning and to decrease side effects of the anticancer medicine cisplatin.

soft tissue

Refers to muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body.

solid tumor

A lump of breast tissue that is not fluid-filled. Solid breast tumors may be benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous). Different types of solid tumors are named for the type of cells that form them. Examples of solid tumors are sarcomas, carcinomas and lymphomas.

somatic

Having to do with the body.

somatic mutation

An alteration in DNA that occurs after conception. Somatic mutations can occur in any of the cells of the body except the germ cells (sperm and egg) and therefore are not passed on to children. These alterations can (but do not always) cause cancer or other diseases.

sorafenib

Also called BAY 43-9006, Nexavar, sorafenib tosylate. A medicine being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, as well as other types of cancer. Sorafenib stops cells from dividing and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent.

specialist

In medicine, a doctor or other health care professional who is trained and licensed in a special area of practice. Examples of medical specialists include oncologists (cancer specialists) and hematologists (blood specialists).

specificity

When referring to a medical test, specificity refers to the percent of people who test negative for a specific disease among a group of people who do not have the disease. No test is 100 percent specific because some people who do not have the disease will test positive for it (false positive).

spiculated mass

An abnormal finding on a mammogram that appears as a dense region with lines that radiate from its center.

spinal anesthesia

Also called SAB, spinal block, subarachnoid block. A temporary loss of feeling in the abdomen and/or the lower part of the body. Special medicines called anesthetics are injected into the fluid in the lower part of the spinal column to cause the loss of feeling. The individual stays awake during the procedure. It is a type of regional anesthesia.

spinal block

Also called SAB, spinal anesthesia, subarachnoid block. A temporary loss of feeling in the abdomen and/or the lower part of the body. Special medicines called anesthetics are injected into the fluid in the lower part of the spinal column to cause the loss of feeling. The individual stays awake during the procedure. It is a type of regional anesthesia.

spiral CT scan

Also called helical computed tomography. 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.

spirituality

Having to do with deep, often religious, feelings and beliefs, including a person's sense of peace, purpose, connection to others, and beliefs about the meaning of life. Studies show that exploring one's spirituality during and after breast cancer treatment can provide a resource for dealing with the physical and psychological responses to cancer.

sporadic cancer

Cancer that occurs in people who do not have a family history of that cancer or an inherited change in their DNA that would increase their risk for that cancer.

SSRI

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. A type of medicine used to treat depression. SSRIs slow the process by which serotonin (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another) is reused by nerve cells that make it. This increases the amount of serotonin available for stimulating other nerves. SSRIs are sometimes prescribed after a breast cancer diagnosis.

stable disease

Breast cancer that is neither decreasing nor increasing in extent or severity.

stage

The extent of a breast cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain breast cancer, and whether the breast cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body.

stage 0 breast carcinoma in situ

There are two types of stage 0 breast carcinoma in situ: ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). DCIS is a noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct (a tube that carries milk to the nipple) where the cancer abnormal cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. In some cases, DCIS may become invasive cancer and spread to other tissues, although it is not known how to predict which lesions will become invasive cancer. LCIS is a condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lobules (small sections of tissue involved with making milk) of the breast. This condition seldom becomes invasive cancer; yet, having LCIS in one breast increases the risk of developing breast cancer in either breast. Also called breast carcinoma in situ.

stage 0 disease

A group of abnormal cells that remain in the place where they first formed. They have not spread. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Also called carcinoma in situ.

stage I breast cancer

The tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has not spread outside the breast. Stage I breast cancer is divided into stages IA and IB. In stage IA, the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has not spread outside the breast. In stage IB, (1) no tumor is found in the breast, but small clusters of cancer cells (larger than 0.2 millimeter but not larger than 2 millimeters) are found in the lymph nodes; or (2) the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and small clusters of cancer cells (larger than 0.2 millimeter but not larger than 2 millimeters) are found in the lymph nodes.

stage II breast cancer

Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB based on tumor size and whether it has spread to the axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under the arm). In stage IIA, the cancer is either no larger than 2 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or between 2 and 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes. In stage IIB, the cancer is either between 2 and 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

stage IA breast cancer

Stage I breast cancer is divided into stages IA and IB. In stage IA, the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has not spread outside the breast.

stage IB breast cancer

Stage I breast cancer is divided into stages IA and IB. In stage IB, (1) no tumor is found in the breast, but small clusters of cancer cells (larger than 0.2 millimeter but not larger than 2 millimeters) are found in the lymph nodes; or (2) the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and small clusters of cancer cells (larger than 0.2 millimeter but not larger than 2 millimeters) are found in the lymph nodes.

stage II breast cancer

Stage II breast cancer is divided into stages IIA and IIB. In stage IIA, (1) no tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is found in the axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes; or (2) the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes; or (3) the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes. In stage IIB, the tumor is (1) larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes; or (2) larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

stage IIA breast cancer

Stage II breast cancer is divided into stages IIA and IIB. In stage IIA, (1) no tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is found in the axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes; or (2) the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes; or (3) the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes

stage IIB breast cancer

Stage II breast cancer is divided into stages IIA and IIB. In stage IIB, (1) the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes; or (2) the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

stage III breast cancer

Stage III breast cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIA, (1) no tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is found in axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may be found in lymph nodes near the breastbone; or (2) the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone; or (3) the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone; or (4) the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters and cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone. In stage IIIB, the tumor may be any size and cancer (1) has spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast; and (2) may have spread to axillary lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone. In stage IIIC, there may be no sign of cancer in the breast or the tumor may be any size and may have spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast. Also, cancer (1) has spread to lymph nodes above or below the collarbone, and (2) may have spread to axillary lymph nodes or to lymph nodes near the breastbone. In operable stage IIIC, the cancer is found (1) in ten or more axillary lymph nodes; or (2) in the lymph nodes below the collarbone; or (3) is found in axillary lymph nodes and in lymph nodes near the breastbone. In inoperable stage IIIC, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above the collarbone.

stage III lymphedema

A condition in which tissue or a limb becomes very swollen and thick, and changes color. It is caused by a block in the flow of lymph and a buildup of fluid in tissues. Also called lymphostatic elephantiasis.

stage IIIA breast cancer

Stage III breast cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIA, (1) no tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is found in axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may be found in lymph nodes near the breastbone; or (2) the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone; or (3) the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures.

stage IIIB breast cancer

Stage III breast cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIB, the tumor may be any size and cancer (1) has spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast; and (2) may have spread to axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.

stage IIIC breast cancer

Stage III breast cancer is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC. In stage IIIC, there may be no sign of cancer in the breast or the tumor may be any size and may have spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast. Also, cancer (1) has spread to lymph nodes above or below the collarbone and (2) may have spread to axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes or to lymph nodes near the breastbone. In operable stage IIIC, the cancer is found (1) in ten or more axillary lymph nodes; or (2) in the lymph nodes below the collarbone; or (3) in axillary lymph nodes and in lymph nodes near the breastbone. In inoperable stage IIIC, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above the collarbone.

stage IV breast cancer

Cancer has spread to other organs of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain.

staging

Performing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer within the body, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. It is important to know the stage of the disease in order to plan the best treatment.

stamina

The energy and strength to endure physical activity, stress or illness over time.

standard of care

In medicine, treatment that experts agree is appropriate, accepted and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide individuals with the standard of care. Also called best practice and standard therapy.

standard therapy

In medicine, treatment that experts agree is appropriate, accepted and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide individuals with standard therapy. Also called best practice and standard of care.

statistically significant

Also called significant. Describes a mathematical measure of difference between groups. The difference is said to be statistically significant if it is greater than what might be expected to happen by chance alone.

stent

A device placed in a body structure (such as a blood vessel) to keep the structure open.

stereotactic biopsy

A biopsy procedure using a computer and a 3-dimensional scanning device to find a tumor site, and guide the removal of tissue for examination under a microscope.

stereotactic radiosurgery

A type of external radiation therapy that uses special equipment to position the individual and precisely give a single large dose of radiation to a tumor. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders that cannot be treated by regular surgery. It is also being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, as well as other types of cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotaxic radiosurgery.

sterile

Unable to produce children. Also means free from germs.

sternum

Also called breastbone. The long flat bone that forms the center front of the chest wall. The sternum is attached to the collarbone and the first seven ribs.

steroid

A type of medicine used to relieve swelling and inflammation. Some steroid medicines may also have antitumor effects.

stress

The response of the body to physical, mental or emotional pressure. This may make a person feel frustrated, angry, or anxious, and may cause unhealthy chemical changes in the body. Untreated, long-term stress may lead to many types of mental and physical health problems.

strontium

A metal often used in a radioactive form for imaging tests and in the treatment of breast cancer.

study agent

A medicine, vitamin, mineral, food supplement, or a combination of them that is being tested in a clinical trial.

subcutaneous

Beneath the skin.

subcutaneous port

A tube surgically placed into a blood vessel and attached to a disk placed under the skin. It is used for the administration of IV fluids and medicines; it can also be used to obtain blood samples.

subjective improvement

An improvement that is reported by the a person receiving treatment, but cannot be measured by the healthcare provider (for example, "I feel better").

subset analysis

In a clinical study, the evaluation of results for some but not all participants. The selected individuals have one or more characteristics in common, such as the same stage of disease or the same hormone receptor status.

supplemental nutrition

A substance or product that is added to a person's diet to make sure they get all the nutrients they need. It may include vitamins, minerals, protein, or fat, and may be given by mouth, by tube feeding or into a vein.

supplementation

Adding nutrients to the diet.

support group

A group of people with similar disease or concerns who help each other cope by sharing experiences and information.

supportive care

Care given to improve the quality of life of individuals who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of supportive care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, palliative care, symptom management.

supraclavicular lymph node

A lymph node located above the clavicle (collarbone).

surgeon

A doctor who removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on a person.

surgery

A procedure to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out whether disease is present. An operation.

surgical biopsy

The removal of tissue by a surgeon for examination by a pathologist. The pathologist may study the tissue under a microscope.

surgical menopause

Describes a stop in a woman's menstrual periods that is caused by surgical removal of her ovaries. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating and infertility.

surgical oncologist

A physician who removes cancerous tissue during surgery. Surgical oncologists are general surgeons who receive special training in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of cancer. In some cases, the surgical oncologist serves as the main doctor in charge of an individual's breast cancer treatment.

survival rate

Also called overall 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. This is commonly expressed as a 5-year survival rate, meaning the percent of people in a study or treatment group who are alive 5 years after diagnosis or treatment.

symptom

An indication that a person has a condition or disease. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and pain.

symptom management

Also called comfort care, palliative care, supportive care. Care given to improve the quality of life of those who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of symptom management is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment.

symptomatic

Having to do with symptoms, which are signs of a condition or disease.

synergistic

In medicine, describes the interaction of two or more medicines when their combined effect is greater than the sum of the effects seen when each one is given alone.

synthetic

Having to do with substances that are man-made instead of taken from nature.

syringe

A small hollow tube used for injecting or withdrawing liquids. It may be attached to a needle in order to withdraw fluid from the body or inject medicines into the body.

systemic

Affecting the entire body.

systemic chemotherapy

Treatment with anticancer agents that travel through the blood to cells all over the body.

systemic disease

Disease that affects the whole body.

systemic therapy

Treatment using substances that travel through the bloodstream, reaching and affecting cells all over the body.

Denver, CO  ·  September 13, 2014

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