Words to Know

X-ray therapy

The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA, in turn shrinking breast tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy) or from materials called radioisotopes. Radioisotopes give off radiation and can be placed in or near the tumor, or in the area near breast cancer cells. This type of radiation treatment is called internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, interstitial radiation or brachytherapy. Systemic radiation therapy uses a substance that gives off radiation, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that moves throughout the body. X-ray therapy is also called radiation therapy, radiotherapy, and irradiation.


Also called alprazolam. A medicine used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It sometimes given to help reduce nausea and vomiting caused by some cancer treatments by helping a person feel more relaxed. It is a type of benzodiazepine.


Also called capecitabine. Given together with the chemotherapy medicine docetaxel, it is used to treat metastatic breast cancer that has not improved after treatment with certain other anticancer medicines. It is taken up by cancer cells and breaks down into 5-fluorouracil, a substance that kills tumor cells.


Dry mouth. It occurs when the body is not able to make enough saliva and is a side effect of some breast cancer treatments.


Also called denosumab. A medicine used to prevent broken bones and other bone problems caused by solid tumors that have metastasized, or spread, to bone. Under the brand name Prolia, it is used to treat osteoporosis - a decrease in bone mass and density - in postmenopausal women who have a high risk of breaking bones. Xgeva binds to a protein called RANKL, which keeps RANKL from binding to another protein called RANK on the surface of certain bone cells. This may help keep bone from breaking down.