2015-10-11 / Health

Cancer terms to know

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing event, and the impacts are both immediate and long-term. Upon being diagnosed with cancer, men and women may find themselves perusing their dictionaries to learn the meanings of certain terms related to their disease and treatments. The following are a handful of terms that men and women may encounter when they or someone they love is diagnosed with cancer.

• Acute: When cancer symptoms are acute, they begin and worsen quickly but do not last over an extended period of time.

• Benign: Describes tumors that are not cancerous.

• Carcinoma: A cancer that starts in the epithelial tissue of the skin or a cancer of the lining of the internal organs.

• Chemotherapy: The use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are often used in combination to fight cancer.

• In situ: Also called “noninvasive cancer,” “in situ” refers to cancer that has not spread to nearby tissue.

• Invasive cancer: Cancer that has spread outside the layer of tissue in which it started.

Such cancer may grow into other tissues or parts of the body.

• Malignant: A term that describes tumors that are cancerous and capable of invading nearby tissue or spreading to other parts of the body.

• Metastasis: The development of secondary malignant growths away from the primary site of the cancer. When cancer has metastasized, that means it has begun to spread to others part of the body.

• Oncologist: Doctors who specialize in treating patients with cancer.

• Pathologist: Doctors who specialize in interpreting lab tests and evaluating cells, tissues and organs to diagnose disease.

• Sarcoma: A type of cancer that develops in the tissues that support and connect the body, including fat and muscle.

• Stage: A term used to describe how advanced a cancer is. Stages differ for each type of cancer, and the stage may shed light on where in the body the cancer is, whether or not is has spread and its effects on the body at the time of diagnosis.

• Tumor: Masses that form when cells start to change and grow uncontrollably.

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