Definitions

Adjuvant therapy:
Treatment given after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent the cancer from coming back in the breast or to treat cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.
Anesthesia:
Drugs given before and during surgery so you won't feel the surgery. You may be awake or asleep.
Axillary nodes:
The lymph nodes in the armpit.
Axillary node dissection:
Removal of the lymph nodes in the armpit.
Breast surgeon:
A surgeon who specializes in operating on the breast.
Breast conservation therapy:
A treatment of early-stage breast cancer involving surgery (usually lumpectomy), followed by radiation therapy.
Cancer survivor:
Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of his or her life.
Chemotherapy:
Treatment with drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer.
Clinical nurse specialist:
A nurse with special training who can help answer questions and provide information on resources and support services.
Clinical trial:
A study done with cancer patients to find out whether promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are safe and effective.
Deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap:
Fat, skin and blood vessels from the lower belly are surgically moved to the chest to reconstruct a breast, creating a new one.
Ducts:
Tubes or channels that transport breast milk from the lobules to the nipples.
Estrogen:
An important hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle and contributes to the development of female sexual characteristics, such as breasts.
Genetic counselor:
A health professional with training in genetics and counseling who can help review your family history, understand your risk of having an inherited gene mutation for cancer, describe your options, and help you decide if genetic testing is right for you.
Hormonal therapy:
A breast cancer treatment that is used to block female hormones (estrogen and progesterone). These hormones promote the growth of some types of breast cancer tumors.
Hormone receptors:
Tell the body to "turn on" breast cell growth, both normal and abnormal growth.
Hormones:
Substances produced by various glands in the body that affect the function of body organs and tissues.
Implant:
A silicone or saline-filled sac inserted under the chest muscle to restore breast shape.
In Situ Cancer:
Very early or noninvasive growths that are confined to the ducts or lobules in the breast.
Inflammatory breast cancer:
A rare type of cancer where the skin of the breast is bright red and swollen.
Intravenous (IV):
Medicine or fluids are given directly into the vein.
Lobules:
The glands that produce breast milk.
Lumpectomy:
Surgical removal of breast cancer, a small amount of normal tissue surrounding the cancer, and lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes:
Part of the immune system that filters fluids and removes germs and other materials from the body. Lymph nodes in the armpit are usually removed to find out whether the breast cancer has spread.
Lymphedema:
Swelling in the arm caused by fluid that can build up when the lymph nodes are removed during surgery or damaged by radiation.
Mammogram:
An x-ray of the breast.
Mastectomy:
Surgery to remove the breast.
Medical oncologist:
A doctor who is specially trained to diagnose and treat cancer with chemotherapy or other drugs.c
Neoadjuvant therapy:
Treatment to shrink cancer before surgery.
Nutritionist:
A health professional with training in nutrition who can offer help with choices about the foods you eat during cancer treatment.
Physical therapist:
A health professional who teaches exercises that help restore arm and shoulder movements after surgery.
Plastic surgeon:
A doctor who can rebuild (reconstruct) your breast.
Progesterone:
A female hormone produced by the ovaries, placenta and adrenal glands.
Prosthesis:
Can either refer to a breast form that may be worn in a bra after a mastectomy or to the technical name of a breast form that is placed under the skin in breast reconstruction.
Radiation:
Energy carried by waves or by streams of particles. Various forms of radiation can be used in low doses to diagnose cancer and in high doses to treat breast cancer.
Radiation oncologist:
A doctor who uses radiation therapy to treat cancer.
Radiation therapy:
Treatment that uses radiation to kill cancer cells.
Radiologist:
A doctor who reads mammograms and performs other tests, such as x-rays or ultrasound.
Saline:
Salt water used to fill some breast implants.
Sentinel node biopsy:
Addition of dye during breast surgery to help locate the first lymph node into which the tumor drains; the node is then removed to prevent spread of cancer and tested to determine whether cancer cells are present.
Silicone:
A liquid gel that is used as an outer coating on implants and to make up the inside filling of some breast implants.
Social worker:
A professional who can talk with you about your emotional or physical needs.
Staging/Stage:
Classifying breast cancer according to its size and spread.
Support group:
A group of people with similar concerns or experiences who gather to share feelings, problems, and information with each other.
Surgical oncologist:
A doctor who specializes in performing surgeries to treat cancer such as the removal of your lump (lumpectomy) or your breast (mastectomy).
Targeted therapy:
Targeted cancer therapies use drugs or other substances to specifically target changes in cells that cause cancer.
Transverse rectus abdominis muscle (TRAM) flap:
A muscle from the lower belly, along with skin and fat, is surgically moved to the mastectomy site and shaped like a breast.
Tumor:
An abnormal growth of tissue. Tumors may be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
Tumor Markers:
Substances that can be found in abnormal amounts in the blood, urine or tissues of some people with cancer.

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