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GLOSSARY OF TERMS
(Image-1998 Breast Cancer 101)

Ablation: Destruction by means of X-rays or laser beam.

Abscess: A pocket of pus that forms as the body's defenses attempt to wall off infection-causing germs>

Areola: The colored tissue that encircles the nipple

Aspiration: Removal of fluid from a cyst or cells from a lump, using a needle and syringe

Atypical hyperplasia: Cells taht are both abnormal (atypical) and increased in number. Benign microscopic breast changes known as atypical hyperplasia moderately increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer

Axilla: The armpit

Benign: Not cancerous; cannot invade neighboring tissues or spread to other parts of the body

Benign breast changes: Noncancerous changes in the breast. Benign breast conditions can cause pain, lumpiness, nipple discharge, and other problems

Bilateral: Both sides, as in affecting both breasts

Biopsy: Taking a specimen of tisue to make a precise diagnosis

BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes: The principal genes that, when altered, indicate an inherited susceptibility to breast cancer. These gene alterations are present in 80 to 90 percent of hereditary cases of breast cancer

Breast density: Glandular tissue in the breast common in younger women, making it difficult for mammography to detect breat cancer

Breast implants: Silicone rubber sacs, which are filled with silicone gel or sterile saline, used for breast reconstruction after mastectomy

Calcification: Deposits of calcium in a breast lump that show up on mammogram as white dots

Cancer: A general name for more than 100 diseases in which abnormal cells grow out of control. Cancer cells can invade and destroy healthy tissues, and they can spread through the bloodsteram and the lymphatic system to other parts of the body

Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in tissues lining or covering the surfaces (epithelial tissues) of organs, glands, or other body structures. Most cancers are carcinomas

Carcinoma in situ: Cancer that is confined to the cells where it began, and has not spread into surroundign tissues

Chemoprevention: The use of drugs or vitamins to prevent cancer in people who hve precancerous conditions or at a high risk of cancer, or to prevent the recurrence of cancer in people who have already been treated for it

Chromosomes: Structures located in the nucleus of a cell, containing genes

Clinical breast exam: A physical exam by a doctor or nurse of the breast, underarm, and collarbone area, first on one side, then the other

Computed tomography (CT) scanning: An imaging technique that uses a computer to organize the information from multiple x-ray vies and construct a cross-sectional image of areas of the body

Computer-aided diagnosis (CAD): The use of special computer programs to scan mammographic images and flag areas that look suspicious

Contracture: Hardening of scar tissue around a breast implant

Core needle biopsy: The use of a small cutting needle to remove a core of tissue for microscopic examination

Cyclic breast changes: Normal tissue changes that ocur in response to the changing levels of female hormones during the menstrual cycle. Cyclic breast changes can produce swelling, tenderness, and pain.

Cyst: A benign, fluid-filled lump

Cytology: Examining cells from a lump or cyst for any evidence of cancer

Ectasia: Dilation of the milk ducts behind the nipple

Fibroadenoma: A harmless lump formed during natural growth cycle of a breast lobule

Fistula: A abnormal opening, such as from a chronic abscess to the skin or into a milk duct (as in nipple fistula)

Galactorrhea: The production of milk by a woman who isn't pregnant or lactating

Granuloma: A small lump resulting from chronic inflammation

Histology: The study of tissues under a microscope. The tissue comes from a biopsy specimen

Hormone: A chemical messenger fromone part of the body that circulates int he bloodstream and exerts an effect on another part

Hyperplasia: Excessive cell growth

Impalable: Cannot be felt

In situ cancer: Noninvasive cancer confined to where it arises. It does not spread and is not fatal

Involution: Dying back, shrinking

Lesion: Any newly formed abnormal structure in the body

Lobule: The glandular part of the breast where milk is produced

Luteal phase: The second half of the menstral cycle, after ovulation

Lymph nodes or glands: The junctions of the lymphatic system that become enlarged if fighting an infection or cancer

Lymphedema: Swelling, pain and stiffness of the arm nd hand, due to interference with the lymphatic drainage of the axilla following surgery and more often radiotherapy It is now fairly rate.

Mastitis: Inflammation of breast tissue

Metastasis: Spread of a cancer to a distant part of the body where it forms a secondary tumor

Microcalcifications: Minute calcium deposits that have a white speckled appearance on mammography

Micrometastasis: A secondary tumor formed from only one or two cells that have escaped from the primary tumor

Oncogene: A cancer-promoting gene

Oncology: The study of cancer. An oncologist is a specialist in cancer and cancer treatments

Peau d'orange: Litterally "orange peel". Dimpling of the skin caused by a breast tumor spreading upward to tether the skin

Pedicle: A stalk

Prosthesis: An artificial or replacement body part

Quadrantectomy: An operation that removes a quarter of the breast

Radiologist: A specialist who takes and reads x-rays

Tamoxifen (trade name Nolvadex) - is a drug in pill form, taken orally, that interferes with the activity of estrogen (a female hormone). Tamoxifen has been used to treat both advanced and early stage breast cancer. It has been used for nearly 20 years to treat patients with advanced breast cancer. More recently, it also is being used as adjuvant, or additional, therapy following primary treatment for early stage breast cancer.

TumorA new lump, which can be benign or malignant

Wide excision: Cutting out a lump with a minimum of 1 centimeter of tissue around it

(Image-1998 Breast Cancer 101)