What is cancer? There are lots of medical words used in this website and it is not always easy to understand what medical jargon means. We have listed explanations for some of the words used in this website below. If you would like an explanation of any other words included in this website please email us.
- Advanced breast cancer
- When cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones or the lungs.
- Not malignant, not cancer. A benign tumour is not capable of spreading.
- Cancer is the name given to a disease in the cells within your body.
- Tiny masses that make up tissue. Cells are the fundamental, structural, and functional units of living things.
- The use of medications (drugs) that are toxic to cancer cells. These drugs kills the cells, or prevent or slow their growth.
- An infectious condition which may be transmitted from person to person.
- A pervasive and sustained lowering of mood. Other features include tearfulness, guilt, irritability, loss of interest in life, loss of energy, poor concentration, poor sleep and loss of appetite.
- Early breast cancer
- When cancerous cells are only located in the breast and the armpit area.
- An organ or tissue which discharges and/or eliminates substances from the body.
- Hormone receptors
- Proteins in a cell which bind to specific hormones. This binding stimulates the cell to act in a certain way. These receptors are present in about 50% of all women with breast cancer. Women with plenty of hormone receptors are likely to respond to hormone treatments, and are more likely to do well than women without hormone receptors.
- Hormone therapy
- The use of drugs or hormones which specifically inhibit the growth of hormone responsive cancer cells.
- Surgical removal of a lump from the breast.
- Lymph node
- A small collection of tissue along the lymphatic system which acts as a filter. White cells and cancer cells, in particular, collect in lymph nodes. They are found in the neck, the armpit, the groin and many other places. Lymph nodes are also known as glands.
- Surgical removal of the breast. May be total (all of the breast) or partial.
- Metastatic cancer
- Cancer which has spread to a site distant from the original site.
- People who receive care at a hospital or medical facility without room and board being provided.
- The use of radiation, usually x-rays or gamma rays, to kill tumour cells.
- A reduction or disappearance of the symptoms of cancer.
- Support group
- A group of people you can turn to for emotional support. The group may also provide practical help, information, guidance and feedback about your stressful experiences and ways of coping.
- A medically qualified doctor who specialises in the removal of organs, masses, tumours, the repair of ruptures, the diversion of channels etc using the knife.
- An abnormal growth of tissue. It may be localised (benign) or invade nearby tissues (malignant) or distant tissues (metastatic).
- A picture of the inside of a person's body.