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    Breast Cancer Glossary




    Hair Follicles
    Shafts or openings on the surface of the skin from which hair grows.

    Halsted Radical Mastectomy
    Removes the breast, chest muscles, all of the lymph nodes under the arm, and some additional fat and skin. Also see in Resources -> Breast Cancer Surgery.

    A physician specializing in blood diseases. Many medical oncologists specialize in hematology.

    Also known as c-erB-2, this gene is thought to contribute to some breast cancers. Anti-HER-2/neu humanized monoclonal antibody (Herceptin) has been effective in combating breast cancer.

    HER2 Positivity
    A phrase used to describe the presence of HER2 protein overexpression in a cell or tissue.

    HER2 Protein Overexpression
    The excess production of the HER2 growth factor receptor (cell-surface receptor) that results from a change in the HER2 gene in cancerous cells.

    HER2 Receptor
    Also called the HER2 growth factor receptor, it is one of the many proteins on a cellís surface that signals the cell to divide

    The anti-HER-2/neu drug developed to treat breast cancer patients who over-express HER-2/neu.

    Referring to the fact that there are many different types of cells with differing properties in any breast cancer.

    Hickman Catheter
    An external line (tubing) with one end outside of the chest and the other inserted into a large chest vein and threaded to the heart, used for drawing blood and administering medications painlessly. It can be left in place for many months or years, but must be carefully cared for to avoid infections.

    High-Dose Chemotherapy
    A form of treatment, still in clinical trials, used with high risk (Stage III) and metastatic breast cancer patients in which the goal is to eradicate all the cancer cells in the body by using very high doses of chemotherapy. Without the use of growth factors and transplantation of the patient's own stem cells, patients could not survive the treatment. Also referred to by the rescue procedures such as bone marrow transplant (HDC/BMT) or autologous bone marrow transplant (HDC/ABMT). Also see in Resources -> Treating Breast Cancer.

    Hormone Receptor Test
    A test to measure the amount of certain proteins, called hormone receptors, in cancer tissue. Hormones can attach to these proteins. A high level of hormone receptors may mean that hormones are needed for the cancer to grow making the tumor more sensitive to hormonal therapy.
    Also see in Resources -> Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

    Hormonal Therapy
    Treatment of cancer by removing, blocking, or adding hormones. Also called endocrine therapy.

    Chemicals produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Hormones control the actions of many cells and organs.

    First begun in England, these programs are usually in the home or in a special hospital or unit of a hospital. They provide services by a team of professionals for the care of terminally ill patients and their families. The goal is to improve quality of life, pain control and care of other symptoms. One aspect is to provide emotional support and make the dying process easier for the patient and caregivers.
    Also see in Resources -> Facing a Loss.

    Also called total perenteral nutrition (TPN), this means giving nutrition intravenously, for patients unable to eat normally.

    Bone loss from progressing bone metastases can result in higher levels of calcium in the blood, causing this metabolic disorder, characterized by fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea, anorexia, constipation, and, in severe, cases disorientation and coma. New medications like Aredia are used in its treatment.





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