Words to Know

PA

Physician assistant. A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a doctor. A PA may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds, and give injections and immunizations.

paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation

A medicine used to treat breast cancer that has spread or that has come back within 6months ofchemotherapy treatment. It is being studied in the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancers. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, protein-bound paclitaxel.

paclitaxel-loaded polymeric micelle

A form of the anticancer agent paclitaxel used to treat breast cancer. Paclitaxel is mixed with very tiny particles of a substance that makes it easier to dissolve in water. This allows higher doses of paclitaxel to be given.

paclitaxel

Also called Taxol. A medicine used to treat breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may kill cancer cells.

Paget disease of the nipple

A form of breast cancer in which a tumor grows from the ducts beneath the nipple onto the surface of the nipple. Symptoms commonly include itching and burning, redness, and an eczema-like condition around the nipple, and sometimes oozing or bleeding.

pain threshold

The point at which a person becomes aware of pain.

palliation

Relief of symptoms and suffering caused by breast cancer and other life-threatening diseases, such as pain and fatigue. Palliation helps an individual feel more comfortable and improves quality of life, but does not cure the disease. Pain medicine, emotional support services and surgery to remove painful tumors are all forms of palliation.

palliative care

Care given to improve the quality of life of people with serious, long-term or life-threatening diseases. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and the psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management. Pain medicine, emotional support services and surgery to remove painful tumors are all forms of palliation. Palliative care is also available through hospice care for end of life, but may be used at any stage of treatment.

palliative therapy

Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by breast cancer and other long-term or life-threatening diseases. Palliative cancer therapies are given together with other cancer treatments, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship, and during recurrent or advanced disease. Palliative therapy is also available through hospice care for end of life, but may be used at any stage of treatment.

palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia

A side effect of some cancer treatments that causes pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or redness of the hands or feet. Also called hand-foot syndrome.

palonosetron hydrochloride

Also called Aloxi. A medicine used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic.

palpable disease

Cancer that can be felt by touch, as you would feel a lump in the breast. These cancers are usually in the lymph nodes, skin, or other organs of the body such as the breast.

palpation

Examination by pressing on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath, as in a clinical breast exam (a breast exam performed by hand by your doctor).

palpitation

A rapid or irregular heartbeat that a person can feel.

pamidronate

A type of bisphosphonate, a medicine used to treat hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood), as well as cancer that has spread to the bones. It belongs to the family of medicines called bisphosphonates.

panic

Sudden, extreme anxiety or fear that may cause irrational thoughts or actions, include rapid heart rate, flushing (a hot, red face), sweating and trouble breathing.

papillary tumor

A tumor shaped like a small mushroom, with its stem attached to the epithelial layer (inner lining) of an organ.

Paraplatin

Also called carboplatin. A medicine being studied in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer and that is used to treat advanced ovarian cancer. Paraplatin is a form of the anticancer agent cisplatin and causes fewer side effects. It attaches to DNA in cells and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of platinum compound.

parenteral nutrition

A form of nutrition given by vein, usually in a hospital or clinic setting. It is a way of getting nutrients into the body when the body can't absorb them on its own. These problems can be caused by vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal disease or as a side effect of high-dose chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplants. Also called hyperalimentation, total parenteral nutrition, and TPN.

paroxetine hydrochloride

Also called Paxil. A medicine used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).