Words to Know
Also called baclofen/amitriptyline/ketamine gel. A substance being studied in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy (pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in the hands or feet) caused by chemotherapy. It contains three medicines, baclofen, amitriptyline, and ketamine, which relax muscles by blocking nerve receptors. The gel is applied to the skin of affected areas. It is a type of analgesic.
balloon catheter radiation
Also called MammoSite. A system used to deliver internal radiation therapy to the site of the breast cancer after surgery to remove the tumor. Balloon catheter radiation targets only the part of the breast where the cancer was found. After a lumpectomy, a small balloon on the end of a catheter (a thin tube) is inserted into the empty space left by the surgery. The balloon is then filled with liquid and left in place. Using the catheter, radioactive seeds are put into the balloon twice a day for 5 days and removed each time. Once treatment has ended, the catheter and balloon are removed. Balloon catheter radiation is a type of intracavitary brachytherapy and partial breast irradiation therapy (PBRT).
An initial measurement taken at an early point in time to represent a beginning condition. It is used as a point of comparison to look for changes over time. For example, the size of a tumor will be measured before treatment (baseline) and then afterward to see if the treatment had an effect.
A technique used to help people change the way they react to certain triggers in the environment that cause a negative reaction. In breast cancer treatment, behavior modification may be used to help women with breast cancer who have become nauseous during previous cancer treatments cope with nausea they feel when they enter the therapy room to begin a new round of treatment.
The removal of cells or tissues for examination by a pathologist. The pathologist may study the tissue under a microscope or perform other tests on the cells or tissue. There are many different types of biopsy procedures. The most common types include: (1) incisional biopsy, in which only a sample of tissue is removed; (2) excisional biopsy, in which an entire lump or suspicious area is removed; and (3) needle biopsy, in which a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle. When a wide needle is used, the procedure is called a core biopsy. When a thin needle is used, the procedure is called a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.
Treatment to boost or restore the ability of the immune system to fight cancer, infections and other diseases. Also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Monoclonal antibodies, growth factors and vaccines are used in biotherapy and may have a direct antitumor effect.
The necrosis (death) of bone tissue caused by treatment with a bisphosphonate (a medicine or substance used to treat osteoporosis, bone pain caused by some types of cancer, and high blood calcium). It commonly occurs in the jaw bones. There may be pain, swelling and infection in the areas of necrosis.
A network of blood vessels and tissue that is made up of closely spaced cells and helps keep harmful substances from reaching the brain. The blood-brain barrier lets some substances, such as water, oxygen, carbon dioxide and general anesthetics pass into the brain. It also keeps out bacteria and other substances, such as many anticancer medicines. Also called BBB.
blood-brain barrier disruption
The use of medicines to create openings between cells in the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a protective network of blood vessels and tissue that protects the brain from harmful substances, but can also prevent anticancer medicines from reaching the brain. Once the barrier is opened, anticancer medicines may be infused into an artery that goes to the brain, in order to treat brain tumors. Also called BBBD.
A measure of the amount of minerals, mostly calcium and phosphorous, contained in a certain volume of bone. Bone density measurements are used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition marked by decreased bone mass, to see how well osteoporosis treatments are working and to predict how likely the bones are to break. Low bone density can occur in individuals treated for cancer. Also called BMD, bone mass and bone mineral density.
bone mineral density scan
An imaging test that measures bone density (the amount of bone mineral contained in a certain volume of bone) by passing X-rays with two different energy levels through the bone. It is used to diagnose osteoporosis (decrease in bone mass and density). Also called BMD scan, DEXA, DEXA scan, dual energy X-ray absorptiometric scan, dual X-ray absorptiometry and DXA.
A computer program that uses statistics to predict whether a person has an inherited mutation, or change, in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. People who have certain mutations in these genes have a higher than normal risk of breast, ovarian, prostate and other types of cancer. The program is based on personal and family medical histories of breast and ovarian cancer.
breast carcinoma in situ
Also called stage 0 breast carcinoma in situ. There are two types of breast carcinoma in situ: ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). DCIS is a noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct, a tube that carries milk to the nipple. The abnormal cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. In some cases, DCIS may become invasive cancer and spread to other tissues, although it is not known how to predict which lesions will become invasive cancer. LCIS is a condition in which abnormal cells are found in the breast lobules, small sections of tissue involved with making milk. This condition seldom becomes invasive cancer; however, having LCIS in one breast increases the risk of developing breast cancer in either breast.
breast duct endoscopy
A method used to examine the lining of the breast ducts to look for abnormal tissue. A very thin, flexible, lighted tube attached to a camera is inserted through the nipple, and threaded into the breast ducts deep in the breast. Tissue and fluid samples may be removed during the procedure.
Also called breast-sparing surgery. A surgery to remove the breast cancer but not the breast itself. Types of breast-conserving surgery include lumpectomy (removal of the lump), quadrantectomy (removal of one quarter, or quadrant, of the breast), and segmental mastectomy (removal of the cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor, and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor).