Words to Know

3-dimensional radiation therapy

A procedure in which a computer is used to create a 3-dimensional picture of the tumor. This allows radiologists to give the highest possible dose of radiation to the tumor, while protecting healthy tissue as much as possible. Also called 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy and 3D-CRT.

4-hydroxytamoxifen

A form of the medicine tamoxifen that the body makes after a woman has taken tamoxifen. It can also be made in the lab, and may help decrease breast density.

ablation

Removing a body part or tissue or stopping its function. Ablation may be done with surgery, hormones, medicines, radiofrequency, heat, or other methods. Ovarian ablation means removing the ovaries with surgery, or using medicines to stop the ovaries from working.

abnormal

Describes a lesion or growth that does not appear healthy, or normal. An abnormal lesion or growth may be cancer, premalignant (likely to become cancer) or benign (not cancer).

Abraxane

A chemotherapy medicine used to treat metastatic breast cancer. It is also being studied in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Abraxane is a type of mitotic inhibitor. Also called ABI-007, nanoparticle paclitaxel, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

absolute risk

A measure of the risk of a certain event happening. In cancer research, an example of an 'absolute risk' can include the statistical likelihood that a cancer-free person of a given age will develop that cancer over a certain period of time. For example, a woman 35 years of age with no known risk factors for breast cancer has a 13.5 percent absolute risk of getting breast cancer, over a lifetime of 90 years.

AC regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination treatment used with other types of therapy in all stages of breast cancer. It contains doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide. Also called AC.

AC-T regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination treatment used in breast cancer. It contains doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called AC-T and AC-Taxol regimen.

AC-T-T regimen

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

AC-Taxol regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination treatment in breast cancer. It contains doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called AC-T and AC-T regimen.

AC-TH regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination treatment used in breast cancer. It contains doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). Also called AC-T-T, AC-T-T regimen, and sequential AC/Taxol-Trastuzumab regimen.

accelerated partial-breast irradiation

A type of radiation therapy given only to the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Accelerated partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-breast radiation therapy. Accelerated partial-breast irradiation may be given with internal or external sources of radiation. Also called partial-breast irradiation.

action study

In breast cancer prevention clinical trials, a study that focuses on finding out whether actions people take can prevent cancer. Actions that have been tested in 'action study' trials include diet, exercise and alcohol intake.

acupoint

A specific spot on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms. Also called acupuncture point.

acupressure

Applying pressure or local massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. It is a type of complementary or integrative medicine, meaning a treatment used in addition to standard therapies. Some women affected by breast cancer find acupressure helpful in decreasing nausea and other side effects of treatment.

acupuncture

A type of complementary or integrative medicine, meaning a treatment used in addition to standard therapies. Treatment with acupuncture involves inserting thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain or make other symptoms of breast cancer treatment or of the disease itself go away. Some women affected by breast cancer find it useful in controlling nausea and other side effects of chemotherapy treatment.

acupuncture needle

A stainless steel needle that is slightly thicker than a human hair. Acupuncture needles are inserted through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms.

acupuncture point

A specific spot on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms. Also called acupoint.

acupuncture point injection

Using mild electric currents on certain acupuncture points (spots on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms) on the skin. It is being studied in the treatment of dry mouth caused by radiation therapy for cancer. Also called acupuncture-like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (ALTENS).

acupuncturist

A person trained in acupuncture, a therapy that uses thin needles inserted through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms. Acupuncture is a type of complementary medicine.