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
search for disease before there are symptoms in the hope of
finding it early and at a more treatable phase. Screening
includes breast self-exam, clinical breast exam and mammography.
opinion: seeking the advice of another medical doctor
with similar credentials to assist in the decision-making
lymph node procedure: the tumor site is injected with
a blue dye and/or a radioisotope which flows to the sentinel
node. This node is removed and examined by a pathologist.
If there are no cancer cells in the sentinel node, no further
nodes are removed.
fraction (SPF): the percentage of cells that are replicating
their DNA. DNA replication usually indicates that a cell is
getting ready to split into two cells. A low SPF indicates
a slow-growing tumor; a high SPF indicates a rapidly growing
Stage: the extent of the cancer. Stage is determined
by the size of the tumor and the presence or absence of cancer
cells in the lymph nodes or at other body sites.
cell: immature cells in the bone marrow and blood that
produce new bone marrow and blood cells.
image-guided procedure that helps locate breast abnormalities
and obtain tissue samples for diagnosis.
a doctor who performs biopsies and other surgical procedures
such as removal of a lump (lumpectomy) or a breast (mastectomy).
Support groups: people with a common experience, such
as a breast cancer diagnosis, who meet to discuss their personal
experiences and to support and educate each other.
therapy: treatment, such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy,
that affects the entire body.
a hormone blocker used to treat breast cancer.
Flap (Transverse Rectus Abdominus Muscle Flap): reconstruction
with tissue from the stomach that is used to replace a breast
that has been removed by mastectomy.
an abnormal growth of cells which is either benign or malignant.
marker: levels in the blood that are monitored to determine
if cancer cells are
present. An elevated level may also be caused by other conditions.
an imaging technique that uses sound waves to distinguish
between breast cysts and tumors.
a type of radiation. Low doses of X rays are used to diagnose
disease; high doses of x rays are used to treat cancer. The
term is frequently used to refer to the picture created with