Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

An infectious disease caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) that destroys the body's immune cells, leaving the body susceptible to many other diseases, such as cancer and infection.


The American College of Radiology, the professional organization for radiology and radiation oncology and the certifying organization for many sub-specialties (e.g. Mammography, MRI, Radiation Oncology)


A cancer that develops in the lining or inner surface of an organ. Most pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer, for example, are adenocarcinoma


A tumor made up of glandular tissue. Adenoma is benign. Its malignant counterpart is called Adenocarcinoma.

Adjuvant Treatment

Treatment that is added to increase effectiveness of primary treatment. For example, chemotherapy and radiation after surgical resection of the primary cancer.

Adrenal glands

Two small organs superior to the kidneys. They release hormones such as corticosteroid, etc.

Alkaline Phosphatase

An Enzyme active in an alkaline medium such as blood plasma or serum, bone, kidney, spleen, lungs, etc. which can be used to detect bone or liver metastasis.


The loss of hair, which may include scalp hair and/or other body hair.


Medications that relieves pain.

Alpha Fetoprotein (AFP)

A tumor marker found in blood. Increased AFP level may indicate the presence of certain types of testicular tumors, liver cancer (hepatoma), or other GI tumors.


An artificial compound similar to the one manufactured by the body.

Androgen Hormone

Any hormone that produces male physical characteristics. In men the main hormone is testosterone.


A condition in which a decreased number of red cells may cause symptoms including fatigue (tiredness), weakness, and/or shortness of breath.


Loss of feeling or sensation resulting from use of certain drugs or gasses


The loss of appetite.

Anti-androgen Drug

A drug that blocks the effect of an androgen hormone, either by reducing the manufacturing from the body or by blocking the androgen receptor sites in target organ cells.


A substance formed by the human immune system to help defend it against foreign body, such as virus, bacteria, and cancer cells.

Antiemetic agent

A medicine that controls nausea and vomiting. For example, Reglan, Zofran, and Compazine.

Antifungal agent

A medication used to treat fungal infections.


Any substance that causes the body to produce natural antibodies.


A condition in which the patient breath in solid or fluid (i.e., saliva, food, drinks)


Without obvious symptoms or signs of disease. Cancer patients are mostly asymptomatic at early stage.

Autoimmune disease

A disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly fights and rejects the body's own normal tissue. For example, Lupus is an autoimmune disease.

Autologous Transfusion

When one donates blood for himself/herself before an operation in case he/she will need it during the operation.


The armpit. It is a lymphatic rich area.

Axillary nodes

Lymph nodes found in armpits. Those nodes are commonly involved in breast cancer and lymphoma.


Barium enema

The use of a special solution (barium sulfate) given by an enema to allow X ray examination of the lower intestinal tract.

Barium swallow

The use of special solution (barium sulfate) given orally to allow X ray examination of the upper intestinal tract.

Benign growth/tumor

A non-cancerous mass or growth. It will not spread to other parts of the body.

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)

A non-cancerous condition in which the prostate grows and pushes against the urethra and the bladder blocking the flow of urine. BPH does not progress into prostate cancer, generally.


The surgical removal of tissue for pathological study to aid in diagnosis.

Blastic lesion

Refers to the increased density of bone seen on X-rays when there is extensive new bone formation due to cancerous destruction of the bone.

Blood cells

Minute structures produced in the bone marrow; they consist of white cells, red cells, and platelets.

Blood count

The number of white cells, red cells and platelets in a sample of blood.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)

A blood test that helps measure kidney function.

Bone marrow

The spongy material found in the cavities of bones. Most blood cells are made in the bone marrow.

Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration

The procedure by which a needle is inserted into a bone to withdraw a sample of bone marrow.

Bone marrow suppression

A decrease in the production of blood cells by bone marrow.

Bone marrow transplant

The infusion of bone marrow into a patient who has been treated with high dose radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Patients may use their own marrow or bone marrow of another genetically matched person.
The transplant of bone marrow from one individual (donor) to another.
The transplant of a patient's own bone marrow previously removed and stored.
The transplant of bone marrow from one identical twin into another.

Bone scan

A picture of the bones using a radioactive dye that shows any injury, disease, or healing. This is a valuable test to determine if cancer has metastasized to the bone.


The insertion of a flexible, lighted tube through the mouth into the lungs to examine the lungs and airways.

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