Words to Know

dietary supplement

Also called nutritional supplement. A product that is added to the diet. A dietary supplement is taken by mouth and usually contains one or more dietary ingredient (such as vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid and enzyme).


A health professional with special training in nutrition who can help with dietary choices. Also called nutritionist.


In breast cancer, refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor. Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and tend to grow and spread at a slower rate than undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tumor cells, which lack the structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.


Widely spread; not localized or confined.

digital mammography

The use of a computer, rather than X-ray film, to create a picture of the breast.


An antihistamine medicine sold over the counter under the brand name Benadryl. It is used to treat allergies, and is commonly present in over the counter sleep aids. Diphenhydramine may reduce the effects of tamoxifen, a medicine prescribed to reduce the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence. Talk with your doctor for more information.


Fluid that comes out of the body, sometimes from one or both nipples of the breast. Discharge can be normal or a sign of disease in women, but is a reason to seek medical attention. In men, discharge from the nipples requires medical attention. A second meaning for 'discharge' is the release of an individual from care at a hospital or health care facility.

disease progression

The length of time after treatment for breast cancer during which an individual survives with no sign of the disease. Disease-free survival may be used in a clinical study or trial to help measure how well a new treatment works.

disease-specific survival rate

The percent of people in a study or treatment group who have not died from a specific disease in a defined period of time. The time period usually begins at the time of diagnosis or at the start of treatment and ends at the time of death. Individuals who died from causes other than the disease being studied are not counted in this measurement.

distant cancer

Also known as distant metastasis. Refers to cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to distant organs or distant lymph nodes.

distant metastasis

Also known as distant cancer. Refers to cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to distant organs or distant lymph nodes.


Extreme mental or physical pain or suffering.

DNR order

Also called do not resuscitate order. A type of advance directive in which a person states that healthcare providers should not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to restart the heart if his or her heart or breathing stops.


Also called Taxotere. A medicine used together with other agents to treat certain types of breast cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer and certain types of head and neck cancer. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Docetaxel is a type of mitotic inhibitor.


Brand name Anzemet. Dolasetron is a medicine used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by breast cancer treatment. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called dolasetron mesylate.

dose-dense chemotherapy

A chemotherapy treatment plan in which medicines are given with less time between treatments than in a standard chemotherapy treatment plan.


Refers to the effects of treatment with a medicine. If the effects change when the dose of the medicine is changed, the effects are said to be dose-dependent.


Describes side effects of a medicine or other treatment that are serious enough to prevent an increase in dose or level of that treatment.


The strength of a treatment given over a period of time.


The amount of medicine taken, or radiation given, at one time.