Words to Know


A test to check the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a sample of blood. Also called blood cell count and complete blood count.

cell proliferation

An increase in the number of cells as a result of cell growth and cell division.

cell-cycle regulation

Any process that controls the series of events by which a cell goes through the cell cycle. During the cell cycle, a cell makes a copy of its DNA and other contents, and divides in two. When cell cycle regulation doesn't happen correctly, cells may divide in an uncontrolled way, and diseases such as cancer can occur.


The individual unit that makes up the tissues of the body. All living things are made up of one or more cells.

central nervous system

Also called CNS. The brain and spinal cord.

central nervous system metastasis

Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the central nervous system (CNS). Also called CNS metastasis.

central nervous system prophylaxis

Chemotherapy or radiation therapy given to the central nervous system (CNS) as a preventive treatment. It kills cancer cells that may be in the brain and spinal cord, even though no cancer has been detected there. Also called central nervous system sanctuary therapy, CNS prophylaxis, and CNS sanctuary therapy.

central venous access catheter

A tube surgically placed into a blood vessel for the purpose of giving intravenous fluid and medicines. It also can be used to obtain blood samples. This device avoids the need for separate needle insertions for each infusion or blood test.


Brand name, Erbitux. A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of cancer, including triple negative breast cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the lab and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Cetuximab binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is found on the surface of some types of cancer cells.


Brand name, Evoxac. A medicine that increases production of saliva and tears. It is being studied as a treatment for dry mouth caused by radiation therapy to the head and neck. It belongs to the family of medicines called cholinergic enhancers. Also called cevimeline hydrochloride.


A member of the clergy in charge of a chapel or who works with an institution, such as a hospital.

charged-particle radiation therapy

A type of external radiation therapy that uses a special machine to make invisible, high-energy particles (protons or helium ions) that kill cancer cells. This type of radiation may cause less damage to nearby healthy tissue than radiation therapy with high-energy X-rays.


A procedure in which the blood supply to the tumor is blocked surgically or mechanically and anticancer medicines are administered directly into the tumor. This permits a higher concentration of medicines to be in contact with the tumor for a longer period of time.


Chemotherapy combined with immunotherapy. Chemotherapy uses different agents to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells; immunotherapy uses treatments to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight cancer.


The use of medicines, vitamins or other agents to try to reduce the risk of cancer, or delay its development or recurrence.

chemoprevention study

In cancer prevention, a clinical trial that studies whether taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals or food supplements can prevent cancer. Also called agent study.


A quality of some medicines used in cancer treatment. Chemoprotective agents protect healthy tissue from the toxic effects of anticancer agents.


Treatment that combines chemotherapy with radiation therapy. Also called chemoradiotherapy.


The susceptibility of tumor cells to the cell-killing effects of anticancer medicines.

chemosensitivity assay

A lab test that measures the number of tumor cells that are killed by a cancer medicine. The test is done after the tumor cells are removed from the body. A chemosensitivity assay may help in choosing the best medicine(s) for the cancer being treated.