Breast Cancer Glossary

Educate yourself on these terms when your doctor talks to you about breast cancer

Adjuvant therapy: Treatment such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or radiation used following surgery to cure, reduce, or control cancer.

Aspiration: The use of a hollow needle and syringe to suction out fluid or cells from a cyst or tumor.

Atypical lobular hyperplasia: Abnormally shaped cells multiplying excessively in the normal tissue of a breast lobule.

Axillary: In the armpit.

Benign: Not cancerous.

Biopsy: Tissue or cells removed from the body and examined microscopically to determine whether cancer is present.

Calcifications: Small calcium deposits in breast tissue that can be seen by mammography.

Carcinoma: Cancer that arises from epithelial tissue (tissue that lines a cavity or surface); occurs often in the breast.

Chemo-prevention: The use of drugs or chemicals to prevent cancer.

Chemotherapy: Treatment of cancer with powerful drugs that destroy cancer cells.

Core needle biopsy: Use of a hollow needle to extract a sample of a lump or other suspicious tissue for examination.

Cyst: A lump or swelling filled with fluid or semifluid material.

Duct: A channel in the breast that carries milk from the lobule to the nipple during lactation.

Estrogen: A female sex hormone produced chiefly by the ovaries.

Estrogen receptor: A site on the surface of some cells to which estrogen molecules attach.

False negative: Test results that incorrectly indicate that the tested disease or substance is not present.

Fibroadenoma: A benign, fibrous tumor commonly found in the breast.

Free radicals: Toxic atoms produced by chemical reactions within a cell.

Hematoma: A swelling formed of blood. Infrequently occurs at the site of surgery, such as in a biopsy cavity after a lumpectomy.

Hyperplasia: Excessive cell growth.

Infiltrating cancer: A cancer that has spread from its site of origin into surrounding tissue.

In situ: Latin for “in place.” As part of the term “ductal carcinoma in situ,” it means that cancer cells exist and are still contained within the ducts of the milk-producing gland.

Lobules: Milk-producing glands of the breast.

Lymphedema: An accumulation of lymph fluid in the arm, hand, or breast that may develop when lymphatic vessels or nodes have been removed or blocked by surgery, or after radiation therapy. It can appear immediately after treatment or many years later.

Lymph nodes: Small, bean-shaped organs linked by lymphatic vessels. As part of the immune system, they filter out germs and foreign matter. Also called lymph glands.

Malignant: Cancerous.

Metastasis: The spread of cancer cells from the site of origin to another part of the body.

Metastases: Secondary cancers that form after cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.

Neoadjuvant therapy: Therapy with anticancer drugs or radiation given before surgery in order to shrink a tumor.

Palpable: Able to be felt.

Progesterone: A hormone produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands; essential for healthy functioning of the female reproductive system.

Radiation therapy: The use of x-rays at very high doses to treat or control disease.

Seroma: An accumulation of lymphatic fluid under an incision.

Content provided by MammoSite Breast Cancer Information.www.mammosite.com

Screening saves lives by helping find breast cancer early.

Finding cancer early may give you more treatment options, including Breast Conserving Therapy instead of a mastectomy.

Get your mammogram. Tell your friends, mothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters to do the same. Be a Friend. Tell a Friend. Get Your Mammogram.

Information from American Cancer Society

 

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