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
dorsi flap: a type of reconstruction done after mastectomy,
using muscle and skin from the back.
carcinoma: cancer that arises in the lobules of the breast.
milk-producing glands within the breast.
breast cancer: cancer that is confined to the breast.
surgery to remove a breast tumor and a small amount of surrounding
swelling of the arm and hand caused by excess fluid that collects
after lymph nodes are removed by surgery or after radiation
system: tissue and organs that produce and store lymphocytes,
and the channels that carry the lymph fluid.
nodes: small structures throughout the body that filter
out and destroy bacteria and toxic substances. The lymph nodes
are connected by a system of vessels called lymphatics. The
lymph nodes can collect cancer cells.
(magnetic resonance imaging): an imaging technique that
uses a powerful magnet to transmit radio waves through the
body. The images appear on a computer screen as well as on
film. The procedure is painless.
cancer or cancerous.
a low-dose radiation x ray technique designed to detect changes
in breast tissue which may be breast cancer.
partial or segmental mastectomy - surgery to remove
the tumor and a small amount of surrounding breast tissue.
Sometimes lymph nodes in the armpit are removed at the same
or simple mastectomy - removal of only the breast tissue.
Sometimes the lymph nodes in the armpit are removed at the
radical mastectomy - all the breast tissue is removed,
including the lining of the chest muscle and the underarm
oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and hormones
to treat cancer.
cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
a time in a womans life when monthly cycles of menstruation
cease forever and the level of hormones produced by the ovaries
antibody: a type of antibody, produced in a laboratory,
which seeks out and attaches to foreign bodies, such as cancer