How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

41 terms

Glossary for Cancer

modified from the glossary on the National Cancer Institute's Web Stie, available from http://www.nci.hih.gov
STUDY
PLAY
adenoma
noncancerous tumor
Ames test
Mutagenesis assay (a measure of mutagenic ability) that involves specially engineered strains of bacteria.
benign
not cancerous; does not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body
benign tumor
a noncancerous growth that dos not spread to other parts of the body
biopsy
removal of a sample of tissue, which is then examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells
bone marrow
soft, spongy tissue in the center of large bones that produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets
bone marrow aspiration
removal of a samall sample of bone marrow (usually from the hip) through a needle for examination under a microscope to see whether cancer cells are present
cancer
term for a group of more than 100 diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissuews and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphocytic system to other parts of the body
carcinogen
any substance that is known to cause cancer
cell cycle
sequence of events by which cells enlarge and divide. Includes stages typically named G1, S, G2, and M
chemotherapy
treatment with anticancer drugs
colonscopy
procedure that uses a flexible fiber optic endoscope to examine the internal surface of teh colon along its entire length
dysplasia
abnormal cells that are not cancer
estrogen
female hormone produced by the ovary. Responsible for secondary sex characteristics and cyclic changes in the lining of the uterus and vagina
etiology
study of the casues of abnormal condition or disease
fecal occult blood test
test to reveal blood hidden in the feces, which may be a sign of colon cancer
fibroid
benign uterine turmor made up of fibrous and muscular tissue
herpes virus
member of the herpes family of viruses. One type of herpes virus is sexually transmitted and causes sores on the genitals
human papillomaviruses
viruses that generally cause warts. Some papillomaviruses are sexually transmitted. Some of tese sexually tramsmitted viruses casue wartlike growths on the genitals, and some are thought to cause abnormal changes in cells of the cervix
incidence
number of new cases of a disease diagnosesd each year
incidence rate
number of new cases per year per 100,000 persons
malignant
cancerous; can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body
melanin
skin pigment (substance that gives the skin its color) Dark skinned people have more melanin than light skinned people
melanoma
cancer of the cells that produce pigment in teh skin. Melanoma usually begins in a mole.
metastasis
cancer growth (secondary tumors) that is anatomically separated from the site at which the original cancer developed
metastasize
to spread from one part of the body to anotehr. When cancer cells matastasize and form secondary tumors, the cells in the metastatic tumor are like those in the original (primary) tumor
morbidity
disease
mortality
death
mortality rate
number of deaths per 100,000 persons per year
mutation
change in the way cells function or develop, caused by an inherited genetic defect or an environmental exposure. Such changes may lead to cancer
oncogene
gene that normally directs cell growth but also can promote or allow the uncontrolled growth of cancer if damaged (mutated) by an environmental exposure to carcinogens or if damaged or missing because of an inherited defect
oncology
study of tumors encompassing their physical, chemical, and biologic properties
proto-oncogene
gene that, when converted to an oncogene by a mutation or other change, can cause a normal cell to become malignant. Normal oncogenes function to control normal cell growth and differentiation
relative risk
comparison of the risk of developing cancer in persons with a certain type of exposure or characteristic with the risk in persons who do ot have this exposure or characteristic
retinoblastoma
eye cancer caused by the loss of both copies of the tumor suppressor gene RB; the inherited form typically occurs in childhood because one gene is missing from the time of birth
screening
checking for disease when there are no symptoms
SPF (sun protection factor)
scale for rating sunscreens. Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher provide the best protection from the sun's harmful rays
staging
doing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer, especially whether it has spread from its original site to other parts of the body
tumor
abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may be either benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous)
tumor suppressor gene
gene in the body thant can suppress or block the development of cancer
ultraviolet (UV) radiation
invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. UV radiation can burn the skin and cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer. UV radiation that reaches the earth's surface is made up of 2 types of rays UVA and UVB rays.