Medical Glossary

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Term Definition
Acute An abrupt or sudden onset of a symptom.
Adenocarcinoma Is a type of cancer that arises in a cell with gland-like properties.
Adenoma A non-cancerous or benign tumor arising made up of glandular tissue.
Adjuvant Treatment A treatment used “in addition to” the main treatment. It commonly refers to chemotherapy treatments given after surgery to increase the chances of cure or control of the disease.
Advance Directives “Advance" means you tell your doctor ahead of time and “Directives” means that you direct your medical care. An advance directive is a form that you sign now to direct your future medical care in the event that you cannot speak for yourself in the future. You decide if you want to use artificial treatments to keep you alive for a long time. This legal document must be signed by you and witnessed by two people.
Allogeneic transplant A donor transplant; using the stem cells from another person’s blood, bone marrow or umbilical cord. Allogeneic transplants can be from a related family member or from an unrelated donor.
Alopecia Hair loss. It is most common to lose the scalp hair but it can also include facial hair, eye brows, underarms, legs and/or pubic area.
Analgesic A drug that relieves pain
ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) The number of neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are the most active white blood cell against infection. The ANC tells the doctor how well you can fight infection.
Anemia Is a decreased number of red blood cells. This may result in fatigue or if severe enough, shortness of breath, chest pain or dizziness. Some patients may experience a ringing in the ears. There are many causes of anemia but in cancer patients, it is most often caused by the disease and the treatments.
Angiogenesis Is the process of the formation of new blood vessels. Some cancer treatments target and block this process to prevent blood from reaching the tumor.
Anorexia Loss of appetite related to cancer treatments or from the cancer itself.
Antibiotic A medication used to treat bacterial infections.
Antibody A substance formed in the body to help fight against infection
Antiemetic A medicine to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting.
Antifungal A medicine used to treat fungal infections.
Antigen A substance the causes the body to form an antibody
Antineoplastic A drug that stops the growth or spread of cancer cells.
Antioxidants Agents that may prevent damage to the cell's DNA to prevent cancer.
Antiviral A medicine used to prevent or treat viral infections.
Apheresis Most commonly used in the stem cell transplant process. It is the process of collecting stem cells from the blood. Blood circulates through the apheresis machine and filters out the stem cells and collects them. This is a painless procedure.
Aplastic Anemia A disease of the bone marrow where it cannot produce normal amounts of blood cells.
Apoptosis The death of a cell.
Arrhythmia An irregular heart beat.
Ascites An abnormal collection of fluid in the abdominal space.
Aspiration The removal of fluid or tissue from a part of the body.
Asymptomatic Not having any symptoms.
Autologous The infusion of one’s own stem cells which were previously removed and stored.
Autologous transplant A transplant using your own stem cells.
Axillary Dissection A surgical procedure most commonly done in breast cancer patients where a sampling of lymph nodes are removed to be examined under the microscope to see if there are any cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
Axillary lymph nodes Lymph nodes found under each armpit area.