15 words for the newly diagnosed

abstract display of letters of the alphabet

Understanding this vocabulary may help you understand your cancer

Active surveillance – a treatment plan that involves closely watching a patient’s condition but not giving any treatment unless there are changes in test results that show the condition is getting worse.

Adjunct therapy – treatment used together with the primary treatment.

Adjuvant therapy – additional treatment given to lower the risk that cancer will return.

Acute – symptoms that begin and worsen quickly; opposite of chronic.

Biopsy – a procedure in which cells are removed from a suspicious area, so they can be looked at in a laboratory to see if cancer cells are present.

Chemotherapy – treatment using drugs that stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or stopping them from dividing. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, drugs may be given by mouth, injection, infusion, or absorbed through the skin.

Clinical trial – a research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people.

Combination therapy – therapy that combines more than one method of treatment; also known as multimodality therapy.

Immunotherapy – treatment that stimulates or suppresses the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection or other diseases.

Metastasize – to spread from one part of the body to another.

Oncology – the branch of medicine specializing in diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Prognosis – likely outcome or course of a disease.

Radiation therapy – killing cancer cells or shrinking tumors through the use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources.

Stage – the extent of cancer in the body, usually based on tumor size and whether nearby lymph nodes contain cancer.

Tumor – also known as neoplasms, tumors are abnormal masses of tissue that result when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Some are benign (not cancerous), and others are malignant (cancerous).

Source: National Cancer Institute

Cancer Care magazine summer 2018 coverThis article appears in the summer 2018 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

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