Words to Know

early menopause

A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before the age of 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn't had a period for one full year. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating and infertility. Early menopause can be caused by some breast cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called premature menopause, premature ovarian failure and primary ovarian insufficiency.

early-stage breast cancer

Breast cancer that has not traveled beyond the breast or the axillary lymph nodes. This includes ductal carcinoma in situ, stage I, stage IIA, stage IIB and stage IIIA breast cancers.


Swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues.

EEG biofeedback

Also called neurofeedback. A treatment being studied to improve brain function in certain brain disorders and in individuals treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer, who may suffer from chemobrain. Chemobrain is a diminished ability to remember or concentrate, following breast cancer therapy. In EEG biofeedback, sensors are placed on a person's head, which allows brain activity to be shown as patterns on a computer screen. A beep or a tone may be used as a reward to a person for changing certain brain activities. EEG biofeedback may help individuals who are affected with cancer deal with the stress and mental side effects of chemotherapy.


Effectiveness. In medicine, the ability of an intervention (for example, a medicine or surgery) to produce the desired beneficial effect.

Eklund displacement views

A procedure used to do a mammogram (X-ray of the breasts) in women with breast implants. The implant is pushed back against the chest wall and the breast tissue is pulled forward and around it so the tissue can be seen in the mammogram. Also called Eklund views and implant displacement views.


A procedure in which pulses of weak electrical current are sent through acupuncture needles into acupuncture points in the skin. This procedure is being studied in the prevention of nausea and vomiting in individuals undergoing chemotherapy.

electron beam

A stream of electrons (small negatively charged particles found in atoms) that can be used for radiation therapy.

eligibility criteria

Requirements that must be met for an individual to be included in a clinical trial. These requirements help make sure that participants are similar to each other in terms of specific factors such as age, type and stage of cancer, general health and previous treatment. When all participants meet the same eligibility criteria, it gives researchers greater confidence that results of the study are caused by the treatment being tested and not by other factors.


Also called epirubicin and epirubicin hydrochloride. A medicine used together with other agents to treat early breast cancer that has spread to lymph nodes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Ellence is a type of anthracycline antibiotic.




Describes a substance that causes vomiting. Also called emetogenic.

endocrine therapy

Also called hormonal therapy, hormone therapy and hormone treatment. Treatment that adds, blocks or removes hormones. For certain conditions, such as menopause, hormones are given to adjust low hormone levels. To slow or stop the growth of breast cancer, synthetic hormones or other medicines may be given to block the body's natural hormones. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the gland that makes a certain hormone.


Refers to tissue that makes and releases hormones that travel in the bloodstream and control the actions of other cells or organs. Some examples of endocrine tissues are the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands.


In clinical trials, an event or outcome that can be measured objectively to determine whether the intervention being studied is beneficial. The endpoints of a clinical trial are usually included in the study objectives. Some examples of endpoints are survival, improvements in quality of life, relief of symptoms and disappearance of the tumor.

energy healing

Also called energy therapy, hands-on-healing or reiki. A form of complementary and alternative medicine based on the belief that a vital energy flows through the human body. The goal of energy healing is to balance the energy flow in the individual. It is used to reduce stress and anxiety and promote well-being. Energy healing is being studied in individuals receiving cancer therapy, to find out if it can improve quality of life, boost the immune system, or reduce side effects.

enteral nutrition

A form of nutrition that is delivered into the digestive system as a liquid. Drinking nutrition beverages or formulas and tubefeeding are forms of enteral nutrition.


The study of the patterns, causes and control of disease in groups of people.


A medicine used together with other medicines to treat early breast cancer that has spread to lymph nodes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of breast cancer and with other agents. Epirubicin is a type of anthracycline antibiotic. Also called Ellence and epirubicin hydrochloride.


Also called estrogen receptor-positive. Describes cells that have a receptor protein that binds the hormone estrogen. Cancer cells that are ER+ may need estrogen to grow and may stop growing or die when treated with substances that block the binding and actions of estrogen.