Adapted from the National Cancer Institute dictionary of cancer terms.
A type of drug used to treat many types of cancer. Anthracyclines are designed to damage the DNA in cancer cells, causing them to die.
Treatment with drugs that are designed to kill cancer cells.
A condition or trait present at birth. It may be the result of genetic or nongenetic factors.
A line graph that shows changes in the electrical activity of the heart over time. It can show if there are abnormal conditions, such as blocked arteries. It is made by an instrument called an electrocardiograph.
Estrogen receptor positive/negative (ER +/-)
Estrogen receptors are found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue, some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone estrogen will bind to receptors inside cells and may cause cells to grow. Certain cancers can be ER+, meaning they need estrogen to grow, or ER-, meaning they do not need estrogen to grow. Knowing if a cancer is ER+ or ER- can help decide the best type of treatment.
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive/negative (HER2 +/-)
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 is a protein involved in normal cell growth. It is found on some types of cancer cells. Cancer cells can be tested for the presence of HER2 to help decide the best type of treatment.
A method of putting fluids, including drugs, into the bloodstream.
Intravenous infusion. A way of giving a drug or other substance through a needle or tube inserted in a vein.
Also known as “advanced.” The spread of cancer from where the cancer started to other places in the body.
A condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. “Febrile” neutropenia is neutropenia with the presence of fever.
A nerve problem that causes pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, or muscle weakness in different parts of the body. Also called neuropathy.
Progesterone receptor positive/negative (PR +/-)
Progesterone receptors are found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue, some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone progesterone will bind to receptors inside cells and may cause cells to grow. Certain cancers can be PR+, meaning they need progesterone to grow, or PR-, meaning they do not need progesterone to grow. Knowing if a cancer is PR+ or PR- can help decide the best type of treatment.
The course of a disease, such as cancer, as it becomes worse or spreads in the body.
A molecule inside or on the surface of a cell that binds to a specific substance and causes a specific effect in the cell.
A type of drug used to treat cancer. It is designed to block cell growth by stopping cells from dividing (mitosis).
An abnormal mass of tissue that is the result of cells dividing more than they should, or cells not dying when they should. Tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).