Indicates a condition that is not cancerous. Benign growths do not
invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body.
Also see related article -> Benign
These act to boost the immune system. Examples
are: antibodies, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, colony stimulating
Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability
of the immune system to fight infection and disease. Also used to
lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments.
Also called immunotherapy or biological response modifier (BRM)
Biomarkers are defined as cellular, biochemical, molecular, or genetic
alterations by which a normal, abnormal, or simply biologic process
can be recognized, or monitored. These substances are usually in
the blood, other body fluids, or tissues when cancer is present.
CA 15-3 is a common biomarker for breast cancer. New biomarkers
are being researched. They are good diagnostic tools for finding
out if cancer has spread or come back before symptoms appear.
A diagnostic procedure used to obtain cells or tissues in order
to examine them under a microscope to check for signs of disease.
When an entire tumor or lesion is removed, it is called an excisional
biopsy. If only a sample of tissue is removed, it is called an incisional
biopsy biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with
a needle, the procedure is called a core-needle biopsy or fine-needle
aspiration. The core-needle biopsy removes a larger portion of the
cells to be examined than the fine-needle biopsy. Also see in Resources
This class of drugs slows bone loss later in life and strengthen
bones damaged by metastases.
The application of the principles of engineering and technology
to the life sciences, for example, using biological substances to
create new drugs.
A thin membrane that protects the spinal fluid and brain from foreign
substances. It may prevent the use of some chemotherapy drugs in
treating tumors in the central nervous system.
The soft, fatty, sponge like tissue at the center of the long
bones that produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
The diagnostic procedure used to determine whether cancer cells
have invaded the bone marrow. This test is usually done in a doctor's
office under a local anesthetic. It involves inserting a hollow
needle into one of the large bones, usually the hip. The term aspiration
is used when a smaller sample is taken.
Marrow Depression (or Suppression)
A side effect of chemotherapy treatment, where the bone marrow isn't
able to make a normal number of red and white blood cells, and platelets.
This can cause immune system impairment.
Marrow Harvest and Transplantation (HDC/BMT)
Bone marrow withdrawn, or "harvested," from the patient (autologous)
under general anesthesia, frozen, and later transplanted (re-introduced
into the blood stream) to support the patient's own bone marrow,
that has been severely compromised by high dose chemotherapy (HDC).
Peripheral, or circulating stem cells gathered through a process
called "pheresis" are now more commonly used in most autologous
transplants. See also autologous bone marrow transplant and high
Spread of cancer to the bone, a common site of metastatic breast
cancer. Most commonly presents with pain, and can be confirmed by
CT Scan, MRI and x-ray studies. Sometimes a biopsy is done to confirm
the diagnosis. Treatments include radiation and chemo-hormonal therapy.
A harmless radioactive substance is injected prior to this test
to give a picture of the entire skeleton, showing areas of increased
"uptake" of the radioactive substance. These areas are referred
to as "hot spots." Bone metastases, where cells are dividing
rapidly, show on a bone scan. Hot spots may also be caused by arthritis,
infection or injury.
Spread of cancer to the brain, another common site of metastatic
breast cancer. Symptoms may include headaches, visual disturbances,
vomiting, seizures, loss of balances and other neurological signs.
Diagnosed through CT Scans and MRI, and most often treated with
This gene was named for the fact that a mutation is associated with
a higher than normal risk of developing BReast CAncer. Since not
all breast cancer patients have a mutation in this or the BRCA2
gene, these are not the only genes involved in breast cancer. Also
see in Resources -> Genetics
& Breast Cancer.
Another gene, unrelated to BRCA1, which when mutated, is associated
with higher than normal risk of developing breast and/or ovarian
cancer. Also see related article -> Mapping
the Breast Cancer Gene.
Small deposits of calcium in the breast, visible on mammograms,
that are usually not signs of cancer.
Any cancer that starts in the breast. The primary types are: ductal
carcinoma in situ (DCIS), infiltrating ductal carcinoma, invasive
lobular carcinoma, lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), medullary carcinoma,
inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and Paget's disease of the nipple.
Also see -> Breast
Surgery to remove the cancerous area of the breast and only a small
area of normal tissue around it.
Surgery to rebuild a breast after a mastectomy.
Also see in Resources -> Breast
Cancer & Prosthetics.
Self Exam (BSE)
Monthly examination and inspection of a woman's
own breasts -- with breast clinical exam and mammography, an essential
part of breast care. Also see in Features -> How
to Do a Self Breast Exam.