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The Komen Mission:
To eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening, and treatment.

Glossary of Terms

The following are terms you may hear or read while educating yourself about breast health or dealing with breast cancer. This is not a complete list of medical terms. If you have any questions about terms not listed here, ask your health-care provider.

Glossary of Terms by First Letter


Benign: a growth that is NOT cancerous.

Biologic therapy: cancer treatment that works by targeting specific cellular flaws associated with cancer cell growth.

Biopsy: removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to see if cancer is present.
Bone marrow transplant: cells are removed from the patient’s bone marrow and given back to them after they received high doses of chemotherapy.

Bone Scan: used to detect possible bone metastasis.

Breast conserving surgery: a portion of the breast is removed by either lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, usually followed by radiation therapy.

Breast reconstruction: surgery to rebuild a breast after mastectomy with either implants or tissue from another part of the body.

Breast self-examination( BSE): examination of one’s breasts for changes. Any change detected should be brought to the attention of a health-care provider.