Words to Know


Treatment to boost or restore the ability of the immune system to destroy cancer, infections and other diseases. Also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Agents used in immunotherapy include monoclonal antibodies, growth factors and vaccines. These agents may also have a direct antitumor effect. Multiple studies are underway to find immunotherapy treatments that will be effective at treating breast cancer. Also called biological response modifier therapy, biological therapy, biotherapy, and BRM therapy.

implant displacement views

Also called Eklund displacement views and Eklund 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.

implant radiation therapy

A type of radiation therapy in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called brachytherapy, internal radiation therapy and radiation brachytherapy.

implantable pump

A small device installed under the skin to administer a steady dose of medicines.


A substance or object that is put in the body as a prosthesis, or for treatment or diagnosis. Implants are one option for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy (breast removal), a procedure sometimes used as a breast cancer treatment or prevention. Other options besides implants exist for breast reconstruction.

in situ

In its original place. For example, in carcinoma in situ, abnormal cells are found only in the place where they first formed. They have not spread.


The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.

incisional biopsy

A surgical procedure in which a portion of a lump or suspicious area is removed for diagnosis. The tissue is then examined under a microscope to check for signs of disease.


A cut made in the body to perform surgery.


In medicine, a sign, symptom or medical condition that leads to the recommendation of a treatment, test or procedure.


A type of cancer that grows slowly.

induction therapy

Also called first-line therapy, primary therapy and primary treatment. Initial treatment used to reduce a cancer. Induction therapy is followed by other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy to get rid of any breast cancer that remains.


Invasion and multiplication of germs in the body. Infections can occur in any part of the body and can spread throughout the body. The germs may be bacteria, viruses, yeast or fungi. They can cause a fever and other problems, depending on where the infection occurs. When the body's natural defense system is strong, it can often fight the germs and prevent infection. Some breast cancer treatments can weaken the natural defense system.


Unable to produce children.


The inability to produce children.

infiltrating breast cancer

Also called invasive breast cancer. Cancer that has spread from where it started in the breast into surrounding, healthy tissue. Most infiltrating breast cancers start in the ducts, the tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple. Infiltrating breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.

infiltrating ductal carcinoma

The most common type of invasive breast cancer. It starts in the cells that line the milk ducts in the breast, grows outside the ducts, and often spreads to the lymph nodes.


Having to do with inflammation (redness, swelling, pain and a feeling of heat that helps protect tissues affected by injury or disease).

inflammatory breast cancer

A type of breast cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm. The skin of the breast may also show the pitted appearance called peau d'orange (like the skin of an orange). The redness and warmth occur because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin.

informed consent

Important facts given to an individual who may be partaking in a medical procedure, medical treatment, a clinical trial or a genetic testing procedure. The information is meant to allow that individual a chance to weigh risks against benefits in deciding whether or not to participate. It also includes informing the individual when there is new information that may affect his or her decision to continue, such as in a clinical trial. Informed consent includes information about the possible risks, benefits and limits of the procedure, treatment, trial or genetic testing.