Words to Know
paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation
A medicine used to treat breast cancer that has spread or that has come back within 6months ofchemotherapy treatment. It is being studied in the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancers. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, protein-bound paclitaxel.
Relief of symptoms and suffering caused by breast cancer and other life-threatening diseases, such as pain and fatigue. Palliation helps an individual feel more comfortable and improves quality of life, but does not cure the disease. Pain medicine, emotional support services and surgery to remove painful tumors are all forms of palliation.
Care given to improve the quality of life of people with serious, long-term or life-threatening diseases. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and the psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management. Pain medicine, emotional support services and surgery to remove painful tumors are all forms of palliation. Palliative care is also available through hospice care for end of life, but may be used at any stage of treatment.
Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by breast cancer and other long-term or life-threatening diseases. Palliative cancer therapies are given together with other cancer treatments, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship, and during recurrent or advanced disease. Palliative therapy is also available through hospice care for end of life, but may be used at any stage of treatment.
Also called carboplatin. A medicine being studied in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer and that is used to treat advanced ovarian cancer. Paraplatin is a form of the anticancer agent cisplatin and causes fewer side effects. It attaches to DNA in cells and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of platinum compound.
A form of nutrition given by vein, usually in a hospital or clinic setting. It is a way of getting nutrients into the body when the body can't absorb them on its own. These problems can be caused by vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal disease or as a side effect of high-dose chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplants. Also called hyperalimentation, total parenteral nutrition, and TPN.
Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. A type of enzyme that helps repair DNA damage caused by normal cell activity, UV light, anticancer medicines and radiation therapy. It is also involved in many other cell functions. Inhibitors of one enzyme, PARP-1, are being studied in the treatment of breast cancer.
Also called accelerated partial-breast irradiation. A type of radiation therapy given either internally or externally, to only the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-breast radiation therapy.
The stage of breast cancer, or the amount of cancer in the body or extent of the cancer's reach. A determination of how much breast cancer is present or how much it has spread is based on how different the cancer cells look when compared to healthy cells, as viewed under a microscope in samples of tissue.
A method used to find out the stage of breast cancer (the amount or extent of cancer in the body) by removing tissue samples during surgery or a biopsy. The pathological stage is based on how much breast cancer is present and how far it has spread in the body, based on how different the cancer cells look when compared with healthy cells as viewed under a microscope in samples of tissue.
A document created when you have your first tests after diagnosis. In breast cancer, your pathology report contains information on the stage of disease, the hormonal and HER2 status of the breast cancer, where the cancer is located, and information about what the cells look like under a microscope, as well as how fast they are dividing. Your pathology report becomes part of your medical record, and you are given a copy for yourself.
A trained professional who helps a person work with others who have an effect on his or her health, including doctors, insurance companies, employers, case managers and lawyers. A patient advocate helps resolve issues about health care, medical bills, and job discrimination related to that individual's medical condition.
The period of time before a woman begins menopause, but during which she experiences some of its symptoms. During perimenopause you may have irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating and infertility. This life stage is generally 3 to 5 years before menopause officially starts.
Also called cyclic neutropenia. A chronic condition that affects neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). In periodic neutropenia, the number of neutrophils in the blood goes in cycles from a healthy level, to low, and back to a healthy level again. Symptoms include fever, inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth, and infections. Periodic neutropenia is sometimes caused by cancer treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
peripheral venous catheter
A small, flexible tube used to deliver fluids into the body. A needle is used to insert the catheter into a vein, usually in the back of the hand or in the forearm. The tubing is then taped to the skin to hold it in place. These catheters are commonly used if you need an IV for treatment.
personal health record
A collection of information about a person's health. It may include information about allergies, illnesses and surgeries, and dates and results of physical exams, tests, screenings, and immunizations. It may also include information about medicines taken and about diet and exercise. Also called personal history and personal medical history.
personal medical history
A collection of information about a person's health. It may include information about allergies, illnesses and surgeries, and dates and results of physical exams, tests, screenings and immunizations. It may also include information about medicines taken, and about diet and exercise. Also called personal health record and personal history.
A monoclonal antibody that is FDA approved for the treatment of metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer and for early-stage breast cancer as neoadjuvant therapy (pre-surgery medicine). It is given together with trastuzumab and docetaxel. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the lab and can locate and bind to breast cancer cells.
Positron emission tomography scan. A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because breast cancer cells often use more glucose than healthy cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.
phase I trial
The first step in testing a new treatment in humans. These studies test the best way to give a new treatment (for example, by mouth, intravenous infusion, or injection) and the best dose. The dose is usually increased a little at a time in order to find the highest dose that does not cause harmful side effects. Because little is known about the possible risks and benefits of the treatments being tested, phase I trials usually include only a small number of individuals who have not been helped by other treatments.
phase III trial
A study to compare the results of people taking a new treatment with the results of people taking the standard treatment: for example, which group has better survival rates or fewer side effects. In most cases, studies move into phase III only after a treatment seems to work in phases I and II. Phase III trials may include hundreds or thousands of people.
photon beam radiation therapy
A type of radiation therapy that uses X-rays or gamma rays that come from a special machine called a linear accelerator (linac). The radiation dose is delivered at the surface of the body and goes into the tumor and through the body. Photon beam radiation therapy is different from proton beam therapy.
Also called CSP and cystosarcoma phyllodes. A rare type of tumor found in breast or prostate tissue that grows quickly and can become very large. Phyllodes tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer), but are usually removed whether they are cancerous or not. Malignant phyllodes tumors are treated with surgery (mastectomy or lumpectomy) and sometimes with radiation therapy. Malignant phyllodes tumors can spread to other parts of the body.
A health professional who teaches exercises and physical activities that help condition muscles and restore strength and movement. Some doctors recommend an appointment with a physical therapist after breast cancer surgery, with the goal of preventing or preparing to manage a condition called lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition that may include the swelling of the arms, due to the buildup of lymph fluid. It can occur after breast cancer surgery.
During a clinical trial, the group of participants not taking the trial medicine are often given a placebo, or inactive substance, that looks the same and is taken the same way as the trial medicine. Giving a placebo prevents the participants and the doctors in the trial from knowing which participants are taking the trial medicine and which participants are not. These kinds of trails are called double-blind. Keeping the participant from knowing whether they are on the new medicine or not is a way for researchers to better test the effect of the medicine, because the participant won't think they feel better simply because they know they are taking it, which is known as placebo effect.
Refers to a clinical study in which the individuals in the control group receive a placebo. A placebo is an inactive substance or treatment that looks the same and is administered in the same way as an active medicine or treatment, usually during a clinical trial intended to test a not-yet-approved medicine for its ability to treat a specific illness or medical condition.
In breast cancer treatment, a plastic surgeon helps with reconstruction after mastectomy or lumpectomy. Some plastic surgeons specialize in the various types of reconstruction surgeries. Plastic surgeons may also perform surgeries to reduce scarring or disfigurement caused by accidents, birth defects, or other disease treatments.
positron emission tomography scan
Also called PET scan. A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.
post-traumatic stress disorder
An anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events. Symptoms interfere with day-to-day living and include reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks; avoiding people, places, and things connected to the event; feeling alone and losing interest in daily activities; and having trouble concentrating and sleeping. Having cancer may also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Also called PTSD.
Also called consolidation therapy and intensification therapy. Treatment that is given after breast cancer has disappeared following the initial therapy. Postremission therapy is used to kill any cancer cells that may be left in the body. It may include radiation therapy, a stem cell transplant, or treatment with medicines that kill cancer cells.
Also called Lyrica. A medicine being studied in the prevention and treatment of nerve pain in the hands and feet of individuals being treated with chemotherapy, and for use in post-operative pain for those who have undergone a breast cancer surgery called axillary lymph node dissection. It is currently used to treat nerve pain caused by diabetes or herpes zoster infection and certain types of seizures. Pregabalin is a type of anticonvulsant.
A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn't had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating and infertility. Premature menopause can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called early menopause, premature ovarian failure, and primary ovarian insufficiency.
In medicine, action taken to decrease the chance of getting a disease or condition. For example, cancer prevention includes avoiding risk factors (such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and radiation exposure) and increasing protective factors (such as getting regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet).
Health services that meet most basic health care needs over time. Primary care includes physical exams, treatment of common medical conditions, and preventive care such as immunizations and screenings. Primary care doctors are usually the first health professionals an individual will see for basic medical care. Primary care doctors may refer to a specialist, if treatment for breast cancer is needed.
The original tumor, which determines how doctors will refer to the illness and what medicines they'll use to treat it. For example, when the original tumor is found in the breast, the cancer is referred to as 'breast cancer.' Specific medicines are considered standard for treatment of the various types of breast cancer.
Also called PR-. Describes cells that do not have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Breast cancer cells that are progesterone receptor negative do not need progesterone to grow, and usually do not stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding.
Also called PR+. Describes cells that have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Breast cancer cells that are progesterone receptor positive need progesterone to grow and will usually stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding.
Also called denosumab and Xgeva. Under the brand name Xgeva, the medicine is used to prevent broken bones and other bone problems caused by solid tumors that have metastasized (spread) to bone. Under the brand name Prolia, it is used to treat osteoporosis (a decrease in bone mass and density) in postmenopausal women who have a high risk of breaking bones. Prolia binds to a protein called RANKL, which keeps RANKL from binding to another protein called RANK on the surface of certain bone cells. This may help keep bone from breaking down. Prolia is a type of monoclonal antibody.
A medicine given during chemotherapy to increase blood cell regeneration. Promegapoietin is a colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets. It is a cytokine and belongs to the family of medicines called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents.
Also called preventive mastectomy. Surgery to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by removing one or both breasts before disease develops. Women at high risk for breast cancer, such as BRCA (breast cancer) gene mutation carriers, are sometimes advised to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy surgery.
Surgery to remove an organ or gland that shows no signs of cancer, in an attempt to prevent development of cancer of that organ or gland. Prophylactic surgery is sometimes chosen by people who know they are at high risk for developing cancer. Preventative mastectomy and oophorectomy in BRCA (breast cancer) gene mutation carriers are examples of prophylactic surgeries.
protein expression profile
Also called protein signature and proteomic profile. Information about all proteins that are made at certain times in blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A protein expression profile may be used to find and diagnose a disease or condition, and to see how well the body responds to treatment.
A medicine used to treat breast cancer that has spread or come back within 6 months after chemotherapy ends. It is also being studied in the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancer and other types of cancer. Protein-bound paclitaxel is a type of mitotic inhibitor. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, and paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation.
A detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment, treatment or procedure. In clinical trials, it states what the study will do, how it will be done, and why it is being done. It explains how many people will be in the study, who is eligible to take part in it, what study medicines or other interventions will be given, what tests will be done and how often, and what information will be collected.
proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging
A noninvasive imaging method that provides information about cellular activity (metabolic information). It is used along with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which provides information about the shape and size of the tumor (spatial information). Also called 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, MRSI.
An anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events. Having cancer may also lead to PTSD. Symptoms interfere with day-to-day living and include reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks; avoiding people, places, and things connected to the event; feeling alone and losing interest in daily activities; and having trouble concentrating and sleeping. Also called post-traumatic stress disorder.