Words to Know
A legal document that states the treatment or care a person wishes to receive or not receive if she becomes unable to make medical decisions (for example, because of being unconscious or in a coma). Some types of advance directives are living wills and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders.
advanced practice nurse
A registered nurse with additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. Advanced practice nurses are licensed by the state and certified by national nursing organizations. In cancer care, an advanced practice nurse may manage the primary care of an individual and her or his family, based on a practice agreement with a doctor. Also called APN, NP, and nurse practitioner.
Physical activity that increases the heart rate and the body's use of oxygen. It helps improve physical fitness. Aerobic exercise has been shown to help with treatment-related fatigue and insomnia. Exercise during breast cancer treatment has been shown to improve self-esteem and is being studied for its effectiveness in helping with other side effects such as chemobrain, or problems with thinking and memory.
In cancer prevention, a clinical trial that studies whether taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals or food supplements can prevent cancer. Also called chemoprevention study. Examples of agent studies include clinical trials for tamoxifen and letrozole, as well as lifestyle changes such as diet.
AJCC staging system
A system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer in which TNM is used to describe the extent of cancer in the body. T describes the size of the tumor and whether it has invaded nearby tissue. N describes whether cancer has traveled to nearby lymph nodes, and M describes whether cancer has metastasized (spread to distant parts of the body, such as the bone, liver, lungs or brain). Also called TNM staging system.