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Glossary of Terms

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watchful waiting

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

wedge resection

Surgery to remove a triangle-shaped slice of tissue. It may be used to remove a breast tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it.

Wellcovorin

A medicine used to lessen the toxic effects of substances that block the action of folic acid, especially the anticancer medicine methotrexate. Wellcovorin, a form of folic acid, is a type of chemoprotective agent that shields healthy cells from the toxic effects of anticancer medicines and a type of chemosensitizing agent that helps tumor cells respond better to chemotherapy.

Western medicine

Also called allopathic medicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, and 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 therapy or surgery. Western medicine is based on the notion of a risk-benefit analysis: a benefit must outweigh the risks of a treatment before it is considered a reasonable option. Western medicine is distinct from alternative medicine, a term used for treatment systems opposed to pharmaceutical and surgical methods. Alternative treatments can make their way into Western medicine's partnership with complementary or integrative medicine when those treatments are proven safe and effective through scientific means, or when the benefits outweigh the risk of a treatment.

WGA study

Whole genome association study. A study that compares the complete DNA, or genomes, of people with a disease or health condition to the DNA of people without the disease or condition. These studies find the genes involved in the development of a disease, and may lead to better strategies to help prevent, diagnose and treat the illness. Also called genome-wide association study, GWAS.

white blood cell

Also called leukocyte and WBC. A type of immune cell. Most white blood cells are made in the bone marrow and are found in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells help the body fight infections and other diseases. Granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes are white blood cells.

whole cell vaccine

Vaccine made from whole tumor cells that have been changed in the lab.

whole genome association study

WGA study. A study that compares the complete DNA, or genomes, of people with a disease or health condition to the DNA of people without the disease or condition. These studies find the genes involved in the development of a disease and may lead to better strategies to help prevent, diagnose and treat the illness. Also called genome-wide association study, GWAS.

wide local excision

Surgery to cut out the breast cancer and some healthy tissue around it.

will

A legal document in which a person states what is to be done with his or her property after death, who is to carry out the terms of the will, and who is to care for any minor children.

wire localization

A procedure performed right before an operation during which a needle (wire) is inserted, with mammographic or ultrasonographic guidance, into an area in the breast to mark the location of a lesion that cannot be easily found by the surgeon often due to its small size. The procedure guides the surgeon to what tissue should be removed in a surgical biopsy or lumpectomy.

wound

A break in the skin or other body tissues caused by injury or surgical incision (cut).

Denver, CO  ·  September 13, 2014

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