Words to Know

heteronormative

of, relating to, or based on the attitude that relationships between people of opposite sexes (for example, between a man and woman) are the only normal and natural expression of sexuality.

Halaven

Also called E7389 and eribulin mesylate. A medicine used to treat metastatic breast cancer in individuals who have already been treated with other chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Halaven may block cancer cell growth by stopping cell division. It belongs to the family of medicines called antitubulin agents.

hazard ratio

A measure of how often a particular event happens in one group compared to how often it happens in another group, over time. In cancer research, hazard ratios are often used in clinical trials to measure survival at any point in time in a group of trial participants who have been given a specific treatment compared to a control group given another treatment or a placebo. A hazard ratio of one means that there is no difference in survival between the two groups. A hazard ratio of greater than one or less than one means that survival was better in one of the groups.

healing touch

Also called therapeutic touch. A form of complementary medicine based on the belief that vital energy flows through the human body. This energy is said to be balanced or made stronger by practitioners who pass their hands over, or gently touch, a person's body. Healing touch is being studied in individuals receiving breast cancer therapy, to find out if it can improve quality of life, boost the immune system or reduce side effects. Healing touch is a type of energy therapy.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Also called HIPAA and Kassebaum Kennedy Act. A 1996 U.S. law that allows workers and their families to keep their health insurance when they change or lose their jobs. The law also includes standards for setting up secure electronic health records and to protect the privacy of a person's health information and to keep it from being misused.

healthcare provider

A licensed person or organization that provides healthcare services.

healthcare proxy

healthy control

In a clinical study, a person who does not have the disorder or disease being studied. Results from healthy controls are compared to results from the group being studied.

helical computed tomography

Also called spiral CT scan. 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.

HER2/neu

Also called human EGF receptor 2 and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. A protein involved in normal cell growth. It is found on some types of cancer cells, including breast and ovarian. Cancer cells removed from the body may be tested for the presence of HER2/neu to help decide the best type of treatment.

Herceptin

Also called trastuzumab. A monoclonal antibody that binds to HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) and can kill HER2-positive cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the lab and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Herceptin is used to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive and has spread after treatment with other medicines. It is also used with other anticancer medicines to treat HER2-positive breast cancer after surgery. Herceptin is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer.

hereditary

Transmitted from parent to child by information contained in the genes.

hereditary mutation

Also called germline mutation. A gene change in a body's reproductive cell (egg or sperm) that becomes incorporated into the DNA of every cell in the body of the offspring. Hereditary mutations are passed on from parents to offspring. Some breast cancer genes are hereditary.

high grade

A term used to describe cells that look abnormal under a microscope. These cells are more likely to grow and spread quickly than cells in low-grade cancer or in growths that may become breast cancer.

high-dose chemotherapy

An intensive treatment that uses medicine to kill cancer cells, but that also destroys the bone marrow and can cause other severe side effects. High-dose chemotherapy is usually followed by bone marrow or stem cell transplantation to rebuild the bone marrow.

high-dose radiation

Also called HDR. An amount of radiation that is greater than that given in typical radiation therapy. High-dose radiation is precisely directed at the tumor to avoid damaging healthy tissue and may kill more cancer cells in fewer treatments.

high-energy proton therapy

A type of radiation therapy that uses high-energy photons (units of light energy). High-energy photons penetrate deeply into tissues to reach tumors while giving less radiation to superficial tissues such as the skin.

high-risk cancer

Breast cancer that is likely to recur (come back), or spread.

HIPPA

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or Kassebaum Kennedy Act. A 1996 U.S. law that allows workers and their families to keep their health insurance when they change or lose their jobs. The law also includes standards for setting up secure electronic health records and to protect the privacy of a person's health information and to keep it from being misused.

histologic examination

The examination of tissue specimens under a microscope.