Words to Know

normative

conforming to or based on norms, widely-accepted beliefs or standards in a community. Norms often guide, control or regulate what society sees as proper or acceptable behavior. 

nanoparticle paclitaxel

Brand name, Abraxane. A medicine used to treat breast cancer that has spread or that has come back within six months after chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancer and other types of cancer. Nanoparticle paclitaxel is a type of mitotic inhibitor. Also called ABI-007, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

narcotic

A substance used to treat moderate to severe pain. Narcotics are similar to opiates such as morphine and codeine, but are not made from opium. They bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Narcotics are now called opioids.

National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research. The National Cancer Institute conducts, coordinates, and funds cancer research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer. Access the National Cancer Institute Web site at http://www.cancer.gov. Also called NCI.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

A federal agency that uses science to explore complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices, trains CAM researchers, and provides authoritative information about CAM to professionals and the public. NCCAM awards grants for research projects, training, and career development in CAM; sponsors conferences, educational programs, and exhibits; studies ways to use proven CAM practices along with conventional medical practice; and supports adding CAM to medical, dental, and nursing school programs. NCCAM is part of the National Institutes of Health. Also called NCCAM.

National Institutes of Health

A federal agency in the U.S. that conducts biomedical research in its own labs; supports the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helps in the training of research investigators; and fosters communication of medical information. Access the National Institutes of Health Web site at http://www.nih.gov. Also called NIH.

natural history study

A study that follows a group of people over time who have, or are at risk of developing, a specific medical condition or disease. A natural history study collects health information in order to understand how the medical condition or disease develops and how to treat it.

naturopathy

A system of complementary medicine that emphasizes disease prevention and treatment, and the notion of treating 'the whole person,' rather than a specific region affected by disease. Naturopathy favors methods of healing that assist the body in healing itself. Those methods can include dietary supplements and herbal medicines, some of which are not approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Naturopathy also utilizes nutrition, acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, exercise, and body work such as yoga, as forms of treatment. It steers away from pharmaceutical medicines and surgery, whenever possible. In the United States, naturopathic physicians are trained in natural health care at accredited medical colleges. Because of an increased demand for natural medicine from consumers, integrative partnerships have formed between conventional medical doctors and licensed Naturopathic Doctors (NDs). Individuals affected by breast cancer who receive naturopathic treatments should take an integrative approach by consulting a general practitioner or oncologist before using any complementary therapies. An integrative approach helps the individual in breast cancer treatment to avoid any interactions between pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements, or any therapies that could slow or prevent the healing process.

nausea

A feeling of sickness or discomfort in the stomach that may come with an urge to vomit. Nausea is a side effect of some types of breast cancer treatments.

NCCAM

A federal agency that uses science to explore complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices, trains CAM researchers, and provides authoritative information about CAM to professionals and the public. NCCAM awards grants for research projects, training, and career development in CAM; sponsors conferences, educational programs, and exhibits; studies ways to use proven CAM practices along with conventional medical practice; and supports adding CAM to medical, dental, and nursing school programs. NCCAM is part of the National Institutes of Health. Also called National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

NCI

NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research. It conducts, coordinates, and funds cancer research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer. Access the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov. Also called National Cancer Institute.

NCI clinical trials cooperative group

A group of researchers, cancer centers, and community doctors who are involved in studies of new cancer treatment, prevention, early detection, quality of life, and rehabilitation. Clinical trials carried out by cooperative groups are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and large numbers of participants take part in many locations. Examples include the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), and Children's Oncology Group (COG).

needle biopsy

The removal of tissue or fluid with a needle for examination under a microscope. When a wide needle is used, the procedure is called a core biopsy. When a thin needle is used, the procedure is called a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.

needle localization

Also called needle/wire localization and wire localization. A procedure used to mark a small area of abnormal tissue so it can be removed by surgery. An imaging device is used to guide a thin wire with a hook at the end through a hollow needle to place the wire in or around the unhealthy area. Once the wire is in the right place, the needle is removed and the wire is left in place so the doctor will know where the unhealthy tissue is. The wire is removed when a biopsy is done.

needle-localized biopsy

A procedure to mark and remove abnormal tissue when the doctor cannot feel a lump. An imaging device is used to guide a thin wire with a hook on the end through a hollow needle to place the wire in or around the unhealthy area. Once the wire is in the right place, the needle is removed and the wire is left in so the doctor will know where the unhealthy tissue is. The wire is removed at the time the biopsy is done.

negative axillary lymph node

A lymph node in the armpit that is free of breast cancer.

negative test result

A test result that does not show the specific disease, condition, or biomarker for which the test is being done.

neoadjuvant therapy

Treatment given as a first step to shrink a tumor before the main treatment, which is usually surgery, is given. Examples of neoadjuvant therapy include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy. It is a type of induction therapy.

neoplasm

Also called tumor. An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (noncancerous), or malignant (cancerous).

nerve

A bundle of fibers that receives and sends messages between the body and the brain. The messages are sent by chemical and electrical changes in the cells that make up the nerves.