Breast Cancer: Terms You Need to Know

Health Monitor Staff
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Port: A device inserted under the skin that allows medications (such as chemo), blood products and nutrients to be given intravenously. A port eliminates the need for repeated needle sticks to start an IV line or draw blood.

Prognosis: The chance of recovery versus recurrence

Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors

Receptors: Sites on or in cells where particular substances can attach, causing cells to react—in the case of cancer, usually to grow.

Remission: When cancer symptoms disappear or are significantly reduced

Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs): Drugs that reduce the female hormone estrogen; often given to premenopausal women with hormone-dependent breast cancer.

Sentinel lymph node:
 First node in line as fluid drains from a primary breast tumor. It is the site where cancer is likely to spread first.

Thrombocytopenia: A shortage of platelets (cells that help blood clot). Symptoms include easy bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums and/or small dots on the skin.

Tissue margin: Tissue around a cancer site. A negative tissue margin test means no cancer cells were found; a positive test means cancer cells remain and more surgery is needed.

January 2013