Iodine I 131 metaiodobenzylguanidine. A radioactive substance that is used in imaging tests, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.


A drug that is used in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called fluorouracil.

5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA)

A breakdown product of serotonin that is excreted in the urine. Serotonin is a hormone found at high levels in many body tissues. Serotonin and 5-HIAA are produced in excess amounts by carcinoid tumors, and levels of these substances may be measured in the urine to test for carcinoid tumors.


The area of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.


Having to do with the abdomen, which is the part of the body between the chest and the hips that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.

Abdominoperitoneal resection

Surgery to remove the anus, the rectum, and part of the sigmoid colon through an incision made in the abdomen. The end of the intestine is attached to an opening in the surface of the abdomen and body waste is collected in a disposable bag outside of the body. This opening is called a colostomy. Lymph nodes that contain cancer may also be removed during this operation.


In medicine, the removal or destruction of a body part or tissue or its function. Ablation may be performed by surgery, hormones, drugs, radiofrequency, heat, or other methods.


Not normal. In referring to a lesion or growth, may be cancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer).


An enclosed collection of pus in tissues, organs, or confined spaces in the body. An abscess is a sign of infection and is usually swollen and inflamed.

ACE Inhibitor

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. A type of drug that is used to lower blood pressure. ACE inhibitors belong to the family of drugs called antihypertensives.


The application of pressure or localized massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.


A sudden onset of symptoms or disease.

Adenocarcinoma (AD-in-o-kar-sin-O-ma)

"Adeno-" is a prefix that means "gland." In general, glands secrete things and are classified as endocrine or exocrine. Endocrine glands secrete things into the bloodstream, like hormones.The word "carcinoma" means a malignant tumor that starts in epithelial tissue.Put the two words together and you get "adenocarcinoma," which means a malignant tumor in epithelial tissue, specifically in a gland. A malignant cancer that begins in cells that line certain internal organs and that have glandular (secretory) properties.

Adenoma (ad-in-O-ma)

A benign tumor (noncancerous) made up of glandular tissue. For example, an adenoma of the pituitary gland may cause it to produce abnormal amounts of hormones.

Adjunct agent

In cancer therapy, a drug or substance used in addition to the primary therapy.

Adjunctive therapy

Another treatment used together with the primary treatment. Its purpose is to assist the primary treatment.

Adjuvant therapy

Treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or biological therapy.

Adrenal glands

Two small organs near the kidneys that release hormones.


A hormone secreted by the adrenal gland (particularly during intense emotional states) into the circulatory system which stimulates the heart, blood vessels and respiratory system. Also called epinephrine.

Adriamycin (generic name doxorubicin)

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.

AFP (Alpha fetoprotein)

A tumor marker.


A quickly growing cancer.


A drug that lowers high levels of uric acid (a byproduct of metabolism) in the blood caused by some cancer treatments. Allopurinol is in a class of medications called xanthine oxidase inhibitors. Brand names: Aloprim® and Zyloprim®


The loss of hair, which may include all body hair as well as scalp hair.

Alternative medicine

Practices used instead of standard treatments. They generally are not recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches. Alternative medicine includes dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.


A drug used to treat insomnia (inability to sleep), and anxiety. It belongs to a family of drugs known as imidazopyridines (sedative hypnotics). Also called zolpidem.

Amino acid sequence

The arrangement of amino acids in a protein. Proteins can be made from 20 different kinds of amino acids, and the structure and function of each type of protein are determined by the kinds of amino acids used to make it and how they are arranged.

Amino acids

Organic compounds that form the building blocks of proteins.Out of 20 or more, 9 are considered essential , indispensable to life and growth that the body cannot make and must be supplied by diet. They are: threonine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan. They are found in complete protein foods such as eggs, milk, cheese, meats and fish. See complete protein.


An antibiotic drug used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called penicillins or penicillin derivatives.


A sac-like enlargement of a canal or duct.

Ampulla of Vater

An enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas at the point where they enter the small intestine.

Amylase (AM-il-aze)

An enzyme that helps the body digest starches.


Having to do with the anus, which is the posterior opening of the large bowel.


A drug that reduces pain. Analgesics include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.


A derivative of a parent substance to which it is similar but not identical.


A process in which anything complex is separated into simple or less complex parts.

Anaphylactic shock

A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been previously exposed to. The reaction may include itchy skin, edema, collapsed blood vessels, fainting, and difficulty in breathing.


A term used to describe cancer cells that divide rapidly and have little or no resemblance to normal cells


A procedure to connect healthy section of tubular structures in the body after the diseased portion has been surgically removed.


Condition in which a decreased number of red blood cells may cause symptoms including tiredness, shortness of breath, and weakness.


Drugs or substances that cause loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.


A doctor who specializes in giving drugs or other agents to prevent or relieve pain during surgery or other procedures being done in the hospital.


A substance that causes loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.


Blood vessel formation. Tumor angiogenesis is the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. This is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor.

Angiogenesis inhibitor

A substance that may prevent the formation of blood vessels. In anticancer therapy, an angiogenesis inhibitor prevents the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor.


An X ray of blood vessels; the person receives an injection of dye to outline the vessels on the X ray.


A procedure to X-ray blood vessels. The blood vessels can be seen because of an injection of a dye that shows up in the X-ray pictures.


A protein normally made by the body. It can also be made in the laboratory, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiostatin may prevent the growth of new blood vessels from the surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. It belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor)

A type of drug that is used to lower blood pressure. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors belong to the family of drugs called antihypertensives.


An abnormal loss of the appetite for food. Anorexia can be caused by cancer, AIDS, a mental disorder (i.e., anorexia nervosa), or other diseases.


Having to do with reducing inflammation.


A type of protein made by certain white blood cells in response to a foreign substance (antigen). Each antibody can bind to only a specific antigen. The purpose of this binding is to help destroy the antigen. Antibodies can work in several ways, depending on the nature of the antigen. Some antibodies destroy antigens directly. Others make it easier for white blood cells to destroy the antigen.


A drug that helps prevent blood clots from forming. Also called a blood thinner.


A drug used to treat depression.

Antiemetic agent

A drug that prevents or controls nausea and vomiting.

Antifungal agent

A drug used to treat fungal infections.


Any substance that causes the body to produce natural antibodies.

Antineoplastic agent

A drug that prevents, kills, or blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells.


A substance that prevents damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that often contain oxygen. They are produced when molecules are split to give products that have unpaired electrons. This process is called oxidation.


The largest artery in the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to vessels that reach the rest of the body.


A type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell leads to its death. This is the body's normal way of getting rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. The process of apoptosis may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called programmed cell death.


Surgery to remove the appendix (small finger-shaped pouch at the end of the first part of the large intestine).


A small, fingerlike pouch that sticks out from the cecum (the first part of the large intestine near the end of the small intestine).


Any tumor composed of cells with APUD (amine precursor uptake and decarboxylation) cytochemical properties. Ultrastructurally these tumors often display electron-dense granules and they produce multiple regulatory hormones and amines, neuron-specific enolase, synaptophysine and chromogranin A or C. These cells are thought to give rise, in addition to the islet cell tumors of the pancreas, to carcinoid tumors, medullary carcinomas of the thyroid, melanomas and pheochromocytomas. This explains the striking similarities in the histology of these tumors and pancreatic islet cell tumors. See also carcinoid gastrointestinal and islet cell tumor of the pancreas.


Having to do with water.


Irregular heartbeat.

Arterial embolization

The blocking of an artery by a clot of foreign material. This can be done as treatment to block the flow of blood to a tumor. See also hepatic artery embolization (bland embolization) and hepatic artery chemoembolization (HACE).


An X ray of arteries; the person receives an injection of a dye that outlines the vessels on an X ray.

Ascites (ah-SYE-teez)

Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen that may cause swelling. In late-stage cancer, tumor cells may be found in the fluid in the abdomen. Ascites also occurs in patients with liver disease.


The process of removing fluid or tissue, or both, from a specific area.


A laboratory test to find and measure the amount of a specific substance.


Weakness; lack of energy and strength


Loss of muscle coordination.

Atypical carcinoid

Atypical Ccrcinoid is faster growing than typical carcinoid. Atypical carcinoid (AC) is an intermediate form of tumor between low-grade malignant typical carcinoid (TC) and high-grade malignant small cell carcinoma (SCC), which represent the two ends of the spectrum of neuroendocrine tumors. See carcinoid.


A condition in which the body's immune system mistakenly fights and rejects the body's own tissues.


See Bevacizumab.


The armpit.

Axillary nodes

Lymph nodes, also called lymph glands, found in the armpit (axilla).

Barium enema

A procedure in which a liquid with barium in it is put into the rectum and colon by way of the anus. Barium is a silver-white metallic compound that helps to show the image of the lower gastrointestinal tract on an X ray.

Barium swallow

A series of X rays of the esophagus. The x-ray pictures are taken after the person drinks a solution that contains barium. The barium coats and outlines the esophagus on the X ray. Also called an esophagram.

Barrett’s esphogus

A condition in which the cells lining the lower part of the esophagus have changed or been replaced with abnormal cells that could lead to cancer of the esophagus. The backing up of stomach contents (reflux) may irritate the esophagus and, over time, cause Barrett's esophagus.

Benign (tumor)

A noncancerous growth that does not invade nearby tissue or spread from one part of the body to another.

Beta carotene

A vitamin A precursor. Beta carotene belongs to the family of fat-soluble vitamins called carotenoids.

Bevacizumab (brand name Avastin®)

• Avastin is a cancer (antineoplastic) medication. Avastin interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body. • Avastin is used in the treatment of cancers of the colon and rectum.


In a clinical trial, a flaw in the study design or method of collecting or interpreting information. Biases can lead to incorrect conclusions about what the study or trial showed.


A fluid made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile is excreted into the small intestine, where it helps digest fat.

Bile duct

A tube through which bile passes in and out of the liver.


Having to do with the liver, bile ducts, and/or gallbladder.


Substance formed when red blood cells are broken down. Bilirubin is part of the bile, which is made in the liver and is stored in the gallbladder. The abnormal buildup of bilirubin causes jaundice.


The ability of a drug or other substance to be absorbed and used by the body. Orally, bioavailable means that a drug or other substance that is taken by mouth can be absorbed and used by the body.


A method of learning to voluntarily control certain body functions such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and muscle tension with the help of a special machine. This method can help control pain.


A substance sometimes found in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A high level of biomarker may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Examples of biomarkers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers), and PSA (prostate cancer). Also called tumor marker. See neuroendocrine markers.


The removal of cells or tissues for examination under a microscope. When only a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an incisional biopsy or core biopsy. When an entire lump or suspicious area is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, the procedure is called a needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration.


Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infections and other diseases. Also used to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also known as biological therapy, immunotherapy, or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy. Examples of biotherapy drugs are Octreotide and alpha interferon.

Blinded study

A type of study in which the patients (single-blinded) or the patients and their doctors (double-blinded) do not know which drug or treatment is being given. The opposite of a blinded study is an open label study.

Blood cells

Minute structures produced in the bone marrow; they consist of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Blood count

The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a sample of blood.

Blood transfusion

The administration of blood or blood products into a blood vessel.

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)

A chemical in the blood produced by the breakdown of protein. Urea nitrogen is removed from the blood by the kidneys. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) tests are sometimes done to see how well the kidneys are working.

Blood-brain barrier

A network of blood vessels with closely spaced cells that makes it difficult for potentially toxic substances (such as anticancer drugs) to penetrate the blood vessel walls and enter the brain.


A single dose of drug usually injected into a blood vessel over a short period of time. Also called bolus infusion.

Bone marrow

The spongy material found inside the bones. Most blood cells are made in the bone marrow.

Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration

The procedure by which a needle is inserted into a bone to withdraw a sample of bone marrow.

Bone marrow suppression

A decrease in the production of blood cells.

Bone metastases

Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the bone.

Bone scan

A picture of the bones using a radioactive dye that shows any injury, disease, or healing. This is a valuable test to determine if cancer has spread to the bone, if anticancer therapy has been successful, and if affected bony areas are healing.


In medicine, refers to a vaccination given after a previous vaccination. A booster helps maintain or increase a protective immune response.

Booster shot

Medication given to enhance already given medical substance. Example: A person taking long-acting octreotide may need to supplement with short-acting octreotide under certain circumstamces.


The long tube-shaped organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. There is both a small and a large bowel. Also called the intestine.

Brain tumor

The growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. Brain tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).


The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs.


Having to do with the bronchi, which are the larger air passages of the lungs, including those that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs and those within the lungs.


A tiny branch of air tubes in the lungs.


Inflammation (swelling and reddening) of the bronchi.

Bronchoscopy (bron-KOS-ko-pee)

A procedure in which a thin, lighted tube is inserted through the nose or mouth. This allows examination of the inside of the trachea and bronchi (air passages that lead to the lung), as well as the lung. Bronchoscopy may be used to detect cancer or to perform some treatment procedures.


A large air passage that leads from the trachea (windpipe) to the lung.


See Blood urea nitrogen.


A surgical procedure in which the doctor creates a new pathway for the flow of body fluids.


A type of cell in the thyroid. C cells make calcitonin, a hormone that helps control the calcium level in the blood.

C-kit (Ckit, CD117)

An abbreviation of the chemical name of an enzyme (protein) necessary for proliferation of certain cancers (GIST tumors, CML, a few neuroendocrine tumors and possibly other uncommon cancers).

CA 19-9 assay

A test that measures the level of CA 19-9 in the blood. CA 19-9 is a tumor marker released into the bloodstream from both cancer cells and normal cells. Higher than normal amounts of CA 19-9 in the blood can be a sign of gallbladder or pancreatic cancer or other conditions.CA 19-9

CA-125 test

A blood test that measures the level of CA-125, a substance found in blood, other body fluids and some tissues. Increased levels of CA-125 may be a sign of cancer.


Loss of body weight and muscle mass, and weakness that may occur in patients with cancer, AIDS, or other chronic diseases.


A hormone formed by the C cells of the thyroid gland. It helps maintain a healthy level of calcium in the blood. When the calcium level is too high, calcitonin lowers it.


A mineral found in teeth, bones, and other body tissues.

Calcium carbonate

A mineral taken primarily as a supplement to prevent osteoporosis. It is also being studied for cancer prevention


A measurement of the energy content of food. The body needs calories as "fuel" to perform all of its functions, such as breathing, circulating the blood, and physical activity. When a person is sick, his or her body may need extra calories to fight fever or other problems.

CAM (Complementary and alternative medicine)

Forms of treatment that are used in addition to (complementary) or instead of (alternative) standard treatments. These practices are not considered standard medical approaches. CAM includes dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.


Cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that have mutated from normal tissues. This growth can kill when these cells prevent normal function of vital organs or spread throughout the body, damaging essential systems. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. There are at least 200 different kinds of cancers.

Cancer in situ

The stage where the cancer is still confined to the tissue in which it started.


A condition in which Candida albicans, a type of yeast, grows out of control in moist skin areas of the body. It is usually a result of a weakened immune system, but can be a side effect of chemotherapy or treatment with antibiotics. Thrush usually affects the mouth (oral thrush); however, rarely, it spreads throughout the entire body. Also called candidosis, moniliasis, or thrush.

Capecitabine (brand name Xeloda® tablets)

An anticancer drug.

Capsule; Wireless Capsule Endoscopy

"The Camera in a Pill" Wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE) is a noninvasive procedure in which a small capsule containing a video camera, light, transmitter, and batteries is swallowed and passed through the GI tract while video recording the mucosa of the small bowel. These images are transmitted by a radiofrequency signal to a data recorder attached to the patient’s waist. After approximately eight hours the capsule is excreted and the recorded data is downloaded to a computer where, with the use of software, it can be viewed, edited and reported. Wireless capsule endoscopy is intended for patients with small bowel disease who have obscure bleeding, in addition to GI symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, and whose diagnosis remains unknown following standard radiology and endoscopy.


A sugar molecule. Carbohydrates can be small and simple (for example, glucose) or they can be large and complex (for example, polysaccharides such as starch, chitin or cellulose).

Carbon-11 acetate

A radioactive form of carbon that is used in positron emission tomography (PET) scanning.

Carboplatin (brand name Paraplatin®)

Carboplatin (KAR-boe-pla-tin) belongs to the group of medicines known as alkylating agents. It is used to treat cancer of the ovaries. It may also be used to treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor. Carboplatin interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which eventually are destroyed.


A substance that causes cancer. For example, nicotine in cigarettes is a carcinogen that causes lung cancer.

Carcinoid (cancer, tumor)

A type of cancer that is usually slow growing and arises from special endocrine cells widely scattered throughout the body. These cells are most commonly found in the gastrointestinal system and the lungs and in other sites. Carcinoid tumors are potentially malignant and can, at times, spread to nearby lymph nodes, the liver, and elsewhere. They may secrete potent substances such as serotonin, prostaglandins, histamine, and other hormones which can affect the cardiovascular and digestive systems causing the carcinoid syndrome. See below for information about typical vs atypical carcinoids. The two types are distinguished from each other by their appearance under the microscope. Typical carcinoid (TC): Typical carcinoids are nine times as common as atypical ones. Typical carcinoids grow slowly. Atypical carcinoid (AC): Atypical carcinoid is faster growing than typical carcinoid. Atypical carcinoid (AC) is an intermediate form of tumor between low-grade malignant typical carcinoid (TC) and high-grade malignant small cell carcinoma (SCC), which represent the two ends of the spectrum of neuroendocrine tumors.Nonfunctioning carcinoids can be detected similarly to other space-occupying lesions, eg, by angiography, CT, or MRI, depending on the site. Small-bowel carcinoids may exhibit filling defects or other abnormalities on barium X-ray studies. Definitive diagnosis is made histologically. Functioning carcinoidsare suspected on the basis of the symptoms and signs, and diagnosis is confirmed by demonstrating increased urinary excretion of the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA).

Carcinoid crisis

Carcinoid crisis and pseudoanaphylactic reactions: Carcinoid crisis is when all of the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome come at the same time. Carcinoid crisis is the most serious and life-threatening complication of carcinoid syndrome, and is generally found in people who already have carcinoid syndrome.The crisis may occur suddenly, or it can be associated with stress, chemotherapy, or anesthesia. It is characterized by abrupt flushing of face and sometimes upper body, usually severe falls in blood pressure and even bronchospasm with wheezing can (infrequently) occur. The attack may look like an anaphylactic attack. Diarrhea is an important part of carcinoid syndrome but is not usually simultaneous with the carcinoid crisis. It more commonly occurs as part of the anaphylactic reaction of an allergic or pseudoallergic reaction. Standard allergy tests are not usually positive in such cases. 24-hour urine histamine, blood histamine and blood tryptase tests, particularly if obtained at time of attack or just afterwards will establish diagnosis. Of allergic or pseudo allergic so called idiopathic anaphylactic attacks and mast cell disease.Epinephrine will provoke - not help carcinoid attacks. Urine 5HIAA is helpful when positive but if depended on as the sole chemical test for carcinoid syndrome will miss 50% of cases! Better also to measure blood serotonin, tryptophan and chromogranin A. Other blood markers associated with rare cases of severe attacks of flushing, diarrhea and fall in blood pressure are VIP, calcitonin and gastrin. They too should be measured. If any or all of the above are positive, further elaborate tests and treatment will be needed with details depending on which test(s) are positive. A carcinoid crisis may be prevented and successfully treated with octreotide, a therapy that can increase low blood pressure and control the production of hormones.

Carcinoid heart disease

Cardiac manifestation of malignant carcinoid syndrome. It is a unique form of fibrosis involving the endocardium, primarily of the right heart. The fibrous deposits tend to cause constriction of the tricuspid and pulmonary valves. Serotonin excretion plays a role in the development of carcinoid heart disease (CHD), but the exact pathogenesis is not known.

Carcinoid syndrome

A combination of symptoms caused by release into the circulation of excessive amounts of serotonin and other hormonal substances from some carcinoid tumors. Symptoms may include flushing of the face, diarrhea, bronchial spasms (wheezing), rapid pulse, and sudden blood pressure changes (usually a fall) along with other symptoms of heart failure. Carcinoid syndrome is often mistaken for common diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer, lupus, asthma, or menopause.


A malignant tumor that arises from epithelium, found in skin and the lining of body organs; for example, breast, prostate, lung, stomach or bowel. Carcinomas tend to infiltrate into adjacent tissue and spread (metastasize) to distant organs, such as bones, liver, lung, or the brain.

Carcinomatosis (Carcinosis)

A condition in which cancer is spread widely throughout the body, or, in some cases, to a relatively large region of the body. Also called carcinosis.


Having to do with the heart


An enlargement of the heart.


Having to do with the heart and lungs.


Having to do with the heart and blood vessels.

CAT scan (CT scan)

A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine. Also called computerized axial tomography, computed tomography (CT scan), or computerized tomography.


Any of several compounds occurring naturally in the body that serve as hormones or as neurotransmitters in the sympathetic nervous system . The catecholamines include such compounds as epinephrine or adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine


A flexible tube used to deliver fluids into or withdraw fluids from the body.


Complete blood count. A test to check the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a sample of blood. Also called blood cell count.

CCNU® (generic name lomustin)

Lomustine (loe-MUS-teen) belongs to the group of medicines known as alkylating agents. It is used to treat some kinds of cancer. Lomustine is available as capsules.

CEA (Carcinoembryonic antigen)

Carcinoembryonic antigen. A substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of people who have certain cancers, other diseases, or who smoke. It is used as a tumor marker for colorectal cancer.

CEA assay

A laboratory test to measure carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of people who have certain cancers.


A pouch that forms the first part of the large intestine. It connects the small intestine to the colon, which is part of the large intestine.

Celiac disease

A digestive disease that is caused by an immune response to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Celiac disease damages the lining of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. A person with celiac disease may become malnourished no matter how much food is consumed.

Cell proliferation

An increase in the number of cells as a result of cell growth and cell division.


An acute, spreading infection of the deep tissues of the skin and muscle that causes the skin to become warm and tender and may also cause fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and blisters.


A measure of length in the metric system. A centimeter is one hundredth of a meter. There are 2½ centimeters in an inch.

Central nervous system (CNS)

The brain and spinal cord.

Central venous catheter

A special intravenous tubing that is surgically inserted into a large vein near the heart and exits from the chest or abdomen. The catheter allows medications, fluids, or blood products to be given and blood samples to be taken.

Cervical nodes

Lymph nodes in the neck.


The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.


A procedure in which the blood supply to the tumor is blocked surgically or mechanically and anticancer drugs are administered directly into the tumor. This permits a higher concentration of drug to be in contact with the tumor for a longer period of time. If done in the liver it is called hepatic artery chemo embolization (also known as HACE).


The treatment of cancer with drugs. Adjuvant chemotherapy Chemotherapy given to kill any remaining cancer cells, usually after all  detectable tumor is removed by surgery or radiotherapy. Combination chemotherapy The use of more than one drug during cancer treatment.


Any condition in which the release of bile from the liver is blocked. The blockage can occur in the liver (intrahepatic cholestasis) or in the bile ducts (extrahepatic cholestasis).

Chromogranin A (CgA)

A blood tumor marker used for detection of certain cancers. Chromogranin A is considered the best general neuroendocrine serum or plasma marker available both for diagnosis and therapeutic evaluation and is increased in 50-100% of patients with various neuroendocrine tumors. Chromogranin A serum or plasma levels reflect tumor load, and it may be an independent marker of prognosis in patients with midgut carcinoids. The measurement of CgA is considered "the gold standard" of chemical tests for confirming the diagnosis of carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumors and following their course.


Persisting over a long period of time.


A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It is also being studied in the treatment of bladder cancer. Cipro belongs to the family of drugs called fluoroquinolones. Also called ciprofloxacin.

Circulatory system

The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood throughout the body. This system helps tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, and it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system.

Cisplatin (brand name Platinol®)

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.

Clinical trial

A type of research study that uses volunteers to test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. The trial may be carried out in a clinic or other medical facility. Also called a clinical study.


Central nervous system. The brain and spinal cord.

Cobalamine (B12)

A vitamin that is needed to make red blood cells and DNA (the genetic material in cells), and to keep nerve cells healthy. It is found in eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish, milk, and milk products. Cobalamine, along with folate, may be given to help reduce side effects in cancer patients being treated with drugs called antimetabolites. Also called vitamin B12.

Coenzyme Q10

A substance found in most tissues in the body, and in many foods. It can also be made in the laboratory. It is used by the body to produce energy for cells, and as an antioxidant. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and in the relief of side effects caused by some cancer treatments. Also called Q10, CoQ10, vitamin Q10, and ubiquinone.


An operation to remove all or part of the colon. When only part of the colon is removed, it is called a partial colectomy. In an open colectomy, one long incision is made in the wall of the abdomen and doctors can see the colon directly. In a laparoscopic-assisted colectomy, several small incisions are made and a thin, lighted tube attached to a video camera is inserted through one opening to guide the surgery. Surgical instruments are inserted through the other openings to perform the surgery.


Inflammation of the colon.

Collision tumors

An area of mixing of malignant cells from two distinct tumors (such as a carcinoma and a sarcoma) that have developed separately but near each other.


An examination of the inside of the colon using a thin, lighted tube (called a colonoscope) inserted into the rectum. If abnormal areas are seen, tissue can be removed and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present.


A surgical procedure by which an opening is created between the colon and the outside of the abdomen to allow stool to be emptied into a collection bag.

Common bile duct

Carries bile from the liver and gallbladder into the duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine).


The condition of having two or more diseases at the same time.

Compassionate use trial

A way to provide an investigational therapy to a patient who is not eligible to receive that therapy in a clinical trial, but who has a serious or life-threatening illness for which other treatments are not available. Also called expanded access trial.

Complete protein

A "complete" protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids in sufficient amount for maintenance of of body and for a normal rate of growth. Animal foods are the best source of complete proteins.

Complete remission

The disappearance of all signs of cancer in response to treatment. This does not always mean the cancer has been cured. Also called a complete response.

Computed tomography (CT scan)

A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine. Also called computerized tomography and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.

Congestive heart failure

A buildup of fluid in the lungs or extremities, or both (especially the legs). This occurs if the heart cannot pump the blood adequately.

Core biopsy

The removal of a tissue sample with a needle for examination under a microscope.


A hormone that has antitumor activity in lymphomas and lymphoid leukemias. Corticosteroids (steroids) may also be used for hormone replacement and for the management of some of the complications of cancer and its treatment.


A natural steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland. It can also be made in the laboratory. Cortisone reduces swelling and can suppress immune responses.

COX-2 inhibitor

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve pain and inflammation. COX-2 inhibitors are being studied in the prevention of colon polyps, and as anticancer drugs.

CPT 111 / irinotecan (Camptosar®)

An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. It is a camptothecin analogue. Also called irinotecan.


A compound that is excreted from the body in urine. Creatinine levels are measured to monitor kidney function

Crohn’s disease (IBD)

Crohn's disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. The disease most commonly occurs in the ileum (the area where the small and large intestine joins the colon), but the colon and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract may be affected as well; includes thickening of the intestinal wall. Crohn's disease increases the risk for colorectal and small intestine cancer.


Treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal tissues.


Having to do with the skin.


Blue-colored skin caused by too little oxygen in the blood.


A drug used to help reduce the risk of rejection of organ and bone marrow transplants by the body. It is also used in clinical trials to make cancer cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs.


A drug that is used to treat asthma, allergies, and colds, and to relieve itching caused by certain skin disorders. It has also been used to stimulate appetite and weight gain, and is being studied in the treatment of weight loss caused by cancer and its treatment. Cyproheptadine belongs to the family of drugs called antihistamines.


An accumulation of fluid or semisolid material within a sac.

Cytoreductive (surgery,therapy) (debulking)

Surgery done when cancer has spread in the pelvic/abdominal area, to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Example of such procedures are: embolization; chemoembolization; thermo- or cryotherapy, or radio-receptor therapy.

Dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome®)

An anticancer drug. DTIC-Dome, a trademark for a drug used to treat cancer (dacarbazine) belongs to the group of medicines called alkylating agents. It is used to treat cancer of the lymph system and malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer). It may also be used to treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor.


A condition caused by the loss of too much water from the body. Severe diarrhea or vomiting can cause dehydration.

Desmoid tumor

A tumor of the tissue that surrounds muscles, usually in the abdomen. A desmoid tumor rarely metastasizes (spreads to other parts of the body). Also called aggressive fibromatosis, especially when the tumor is outside the abdomen.

Dexamethasone (brand names Decadron®; Dexameth®; Dexone®; Hexadrol®)

A synthetic steroid (similar to steroid hormones produced naturally in the adrenal gland). Dexamethasone is used to treat leukemia and lymphoma and may be used to treat some of the problems caused by other cancers and their treatment.