Words to Know


A procedure in which a person is given an infusion of whole blood or parts of blood. The blood may be donated by another person, or it may have been taken from the individual earlier and stored until needed. Also called blood transfusion.

transitional care

Support given to individuals when they move from one phase of disease or treatment to another, such as from hospital care to home care. It involves helping individuals and families with medical, practical, and emotional needs as they adjust to different levels and goals of care.

translational research

A term used to describe the process by which the results of research done in the lab are used to develop new ways to diagnose and treat disease.


Also called Herceptin. A monoclonal antibody that binds to HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), and can kill HER2-positive breast cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Trastuzumab is used to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive and has spread after treatment with other medicines. It is also used with other anticancer medicines to treat HER2-positive breast cancer after surgery. Trastuzumab is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer.


Injury to the body, or an event that causes long-lasting mental or emotional damage.

treatment field

In radiation therapy, the place on the body where the radiation beam is aimed.


In medicine, a specific event that starts a process or that causes a particular outcome. For example, chemotherapy, painful treatments - or the smells, sounds, and sights that go with them - may trigger anxiety and fear in an individual affected with breast cancer.

trigger point acupuncture

Use of acupuncture to treat pain by inserting needles into trigger points on the body. Trigger points are places on the body where injury has occurred, but the pain has been sent along nerves and is felt in another place in the body.

triple-negative breast cancer

Describes breast cancer cells that do not have estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, or large amounts of HER2/neu protein. Also called ER-negative PR-negative HER2/neu-negative and ER-PR-HER2/neu-. Studies are underway to find additional treatments for triple-negative breast cancer.

tumescent mastectomy

A type of surgery to remove the breast. The breast is injected with a liquid mixture of salts and small amounts of two medicines. These medicines are lidocaine, to numb the area, and epinephrine, to narrow blood vessels and reduce bleeding. Tumescent mastectomy is usually used to treat elderly women affected with breast cancer.

tumor antigen vaccine

A vaccine made of cancer cells, parts of cancer cells, or pure tumor antigens (substances isolated from tumor cells). A tumor antigen vaccine may stimulate the body's immune system to find and kill cancer cells.

tumor board review

A treatment planning approach in which a number of doctors who are experts in different specialties (disciplines) review and discuss the medical condition and treatment options of an individual. In cancer treatment, a tumor board review may include that of a medical oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with medicines) a surgical oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with surgery), and a radiation oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with radiation). Also called multidisciplinary opinion.

tumor burden

Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumor, or the amount of cancer in the body. Also called tumor load.

tumor debulking

Also called debulking. Surgical removal of as much of a tumor as possible. Tumor debulking may increase the chance that chemotherapy or radiation therapy will kill all the tumor cells. It may also be done to relieve symptoms or help the individual live longer.

tumor load

Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumor, or the amount of cancer in the body. Also called tumor burden.

tumor marker

A substance that may be found in tumor tissue or released from a tumor into the blood or other body fluids. A high level of a tumor marker may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Examples of tumor markers include CA 15-3 (in breast cancer) and CEA (in ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers).

tumor volume

The size of a cancer measured by the amount of space taken up by the tumor.


Also called neoplasm. An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumors may be benign (noncancerous), or malignant (cancerous).


Also called lapatinib, lapatinib ditosylate. A medicine used with another anticancer agent to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive and has advanced or metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) after treatment with other medicine.