Adjuvant therapy:

Chemotherapy drugs (including hormones) given after surgery or radiation or both to help prevent the cancer from coming back.

Alopecia:

Hair loss, usually temporary. Results from the use of chemotherapy drugs.

Anemia:

Having too few red blood cells. Symptoms of anemia include feeling tired, weak, and short of breath.

Anorexia:

Poor appetite, you are unable to eat.

Antiemetic:

A medicine to prevent or control nausea and vomiting.

Benign:

Describes a tumor that is not cancerous.

Biologic therapy:

Treatment that stimulates the body’s immune defense system to fight infection and disease. Also called immunotherapy. Some doctors consider this a type of chemotherapy, but it is usually classified as a separate type of treatment.

Blood cell count:

The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a sample of blood. This is also called complete blood count (CBC).

Bone marrow:

The inner, spongy tissue of bones where blood cells are made.

Cancer:

A general term for more than 100 diseases in which abnormal cells grow out of control. Also used to refer to a malignant or cancerous tumor.

Catheter:

A thin, flexible tube. Doctors use these to place fluids in your body or as a way for fluids to leave your body.

Central venous catheter:

A special thin, flexible tube placed in a large vein, usually in the chest or neck. It can remain there for as long as it is needed to deliver and withdraw fluids.

Chemotherapy:

The use of drugs to treat disease. The term most often refers to drugs used to treat cancer.

Chromosomes:

Threadlike bodies that carry genetic information. They are found in the nucleus, or center part, of a cell.

Clinical trials:

Medical research studies conducted with volunteers. Each study is designed to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to detect, prevent, or treat cancer.

Combination chemotherapy:

The use of more than one drug to treat cancer.

Gastrointestinal:

Having to do with the digestive tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.

Growth factors:

Also known as colony-stimulating factors, growth factors are substances that stimulate the production of blood cells in the bone marrow. They can help the blood-forming tissue recover from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Hormones:

Natural substances released by an organ that can influence the function of other organs in the body and growth of some types of cancer.

Infusion:

Slow and/or prolonged IV delivery of a drug or fluids.

Injection:

Using a syringe and needle to push fluids or drugs into the body; often called a “shot.”

Intra-arterial:

Into an artery.

Intracavitary:

Into a cavity or space, specifically the abdomen, pelvis, or the chest.

Intralesional:

Into a tumor.

Intramuscular (IM):

Into a muscle.

Intrathecal (IT):

Into the spinal fluid.

Intravenous (IV):

Into a vein.

Malignant:

Cancerous.

Metastasis/Metastasized:

The spread of cancer cells to distant areas of the body through the lymph system or bloodstream.

Neoadjuvant therapy:

Chemotherapy drugs (including hormones) given before surgery and/or radiation to shrink a tumor.

Neutropenia:

A decrease in the number of neutrophils (white blood cells that respond quickly to infection) in the blood. If a person has less than 1500/mm3 neutrophils, he or she is considered to be neutropenic and at risk for infection. With less than 500 cells/mm3 the risk of infection is high.

Oncologist:

A physician who specializes in caring for people who have cancer.

Palliative care:

Treatment to relieve symptoms caused by incurable cancer. Palliative care can help people live more comfortably.

Peripheral neuropathy:

A condition of the nervous system that usually begins in the hands and/or feet with symptoms of numbness, tingling, burning and/or weakness. Can be caused by certain anticancer drugs.

Platelets:

Special blood cells that plug up damaged blood vessels and help blood clots to stop bleeding.

Port:

A small plastic or metal container surgically placed under the skin and attached to a central venous catheter inside the body. Blood and fluids can enter or leave the body through the port using a special needle.

Radiation therapy:

The use of high-energy rays or subatomic particles to treat disease. Types of radiation include x-ray, electron beam, alpha and beta particle, and gamma ray.

Red blood cells:

Cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body.

Remission:

The partial or complete disappearance of signs and symptoms of disease
.
Stomatitis:

Sores on the lining of the mouth.

Topical (TOP):

Applied directly to the skin.

Tumor:

An abnormal growth of cells or tissues. Tumors are either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Venous access device (VAD):

A catheter that is surgically implanted under the skin.

White blood cells:

The blood cells that fight infection.

Source: American Cancer Society