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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


724 results found for:       P



P-32      
A radioactive form of the element phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer.

p-glycoprotein    listen   (… GLY-koh-PROH-teen)
A protein that pumps substances out of cells. Cancer cells that have too much p-glycoprotein may not be killed by anticancer drugs.

p-value    listen   (... VAL-yoo)
A term in statistics. It helps show whether a difference found between groups that are being compared is due to chance. A small p-value usually means that the difference between groups is not due to chance alone, but is due to some other factor, such as a treatment one of the groups received. A large p-value usually means that the difference between groups is probably due to chance alone.

P30 Cancer Center Support Grant    listen   (… KAN-ser SEN-ter suh-PORT …)
Funds awarded to certain U.S. institutions by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for them to become cancer centers in the United States, based on scientific merit. The funds help the cancer centers improve the way they are run and develop new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. To receive the award, one goal of the cancer center must be to turn clinical and basic research into better health care. Also called CCSG.

p53 gene    listen   (… jeen)
A tumor suppressor gene that normally inhibits the growth of tumors. This gene is altered in many types of cancer.

PA      
A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a doctor. A PA may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds, and give injections and immunizations. Also called physician assistant.

PABA    listen  
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need PABA to survive. PABA is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called aminobenzoic acid and para-aminobenzoic acid.

pacemaker    listen   (PAYS-may-ker)
An electronic device that is implanted in the body to monitor heart rate and rhythm. It gives the heart electrical stimulation when it does not beat normally. It runs on batteries and has long, thin wires that connect it to the heart. Also called artificial pacemaker and cardiac pacemaker.

Pacific valerian    listen   (puh-SIH-fik vuh-LEER-ee-un)
A plant whose roots are used as a sedative and to treat certain medical conditions. It is being studied as a way to improve sleep in cancer patients undergoing treatment. Also called garden heliotrope, garden valerian, Indian valerian, Mexican valerian, valerian, Valeriana officinalis, and Valerianae radix.

pack year    listen   (pak yeer)
A way to measure the amount a person has smoked over a long period of time. It is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked. For example, 1 pack year is equal to smoking 1 pack per day for 1 year, or 2 packs per day for half a year, and so on.

paclitaxel    listen   (PA-klih-TAK-sil)
A drug used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also used together with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimitotic agent. Also called Taxol.

paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation    listen   (PA-klih-TAK-sil al-BYOO-min-STAY-bih-lized NA-noh-PAR-tih-kul for-myoo-LAY-shun)
A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

paclitaxel liposome    listen   (PA-klih-TAK-sil LY-poh-some)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. It may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Paclitaxel liposome blocks the ability of cells to divide and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called LEP-ETU, liposomal paclitaxel, LipoTaxen, and PNU-93914.

paclitaxel poliglumex    listen   (PA-klih-TAK-sil PAH-lee-GLOO-mex)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel combined with a protein called poliglumex that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CT-2103, paclitaxel polyglutamate, and Xyotax.

paclitaxel polyglutamate    listen   (PA-klih-TAK-sil PAH-lee-GLOO-tuh-mayt)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel combined with a protein called poliglumex that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CT-2103, paclitaxel poliglumex, and Xyotax.

paclitaxel-loaded polymeric micelle    listen   (PA-klih-TAK-sil-LOH-ded PAH-lih-MAYR-ik MY-sel)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also used with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel is mixed with very tiny particles of a substance that makes it easier to dissolve in water. This allows higher doses of paclitaxel to be given. It is a type of antimitotic agent.

PAD      
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat multiple myeloma. It includes the drugs bortezomib, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone. Also called PAD regimen.

PAD regimen    listen   (... REH-jih-men)
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat multiple myeloma. It includes the drugs bortezomib, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone. Also called PAD.

Paget disease of bone    listen   (PA-jet dih-ZEEZ ...)
A chronic condition in which both the breakdown and regrowth of bone are increased. Paget disease of bone occurs most frequently in the pelvic and leg bones, skull, and lower spine. It is most common in older individuals, and may lead to bone pain, deformities, and fractures. Also called osteitis deformans.

Paget disease of the nipple    listen   (PA-jet dih-ZEEZ ...)
A condition in which abnormal cells are found in the nipple. Symptoms commonly include itching and burning and an eczema-like condition around the nipple. There may also be oozing or bleeding from the nipple.

PAH      
A type of chemical formed when coal, oil, gas, garbage, tobacco, meat, and other substances are burned. These chemicals are also made for use in many products, including coal tar, creosote, roofing tar, pesticides, mothballs, dandruff shampoos, and some medicines. Being exposed to one of these chemicals over a long time may cause cancer. Also called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.

pain threshold    listen   (payn THRESH-holde)
The point at which a person becomes aware of pain.

PALA      
A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase the effectiveness of the anticancer drug fluorouracil.

palate    listen   (PAL-et)
The roof of the mouth. The front portion is bony (hard palate), and the back portion is muscular (soft palate).

palatine uvula    listen   (PA-luh-teen YOO-vyoo-luh)
The soft flap of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth (at the edge of the soft palate). Also called uvula.

palifermin    listen   (pa-lee-FER-min)
A form of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) that is made in the laboratory. KGF stimulates the growth of cells that line the surface of the mouth and intestinal tract. Palifermin is used to prevent and treat oral mucositis (mouth sores) caused by high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy in leukemia and lymphoma. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) in other types of cancer. Palifermin is a type of recombinant human keratinocyte growth factor. Also called Kepivance.

palliation    listen   (PA-lee-AY-shun)
Relief of symptoms and suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliation helps a patient feel more comfortable and improves the quality of life, but does not cure the disease.

palliative care    listen   (PA-lee-uh-tiv kayr)
Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.

palliative sedation    listen   (PA-lee-uh-tiv seh-DAY-shun)
The use of special drugs called sedatives to relieve extreme suffering by making a patient calm, unaware, or unconscious. This may be done for patients who have symptoms that cannot be controlled with other treatment. Palliative sedation may be used in patients who are near the end of life to make them more comfortable. It is not meant to shorten life or cause death.

palliative therapy    listen   (PA-lee-uh-tiv THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliative cancer therapies are given together with other cancer treatments, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship, recurrent or advanced disease, and at the end of life.

palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia    listen   (PAL-mer-PLAN-ter eh-RITH-roh-DIS-es-THEE-zhuh)
A condition marked by pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or redness of the hands or feet. It sometimes occurs as a side effect of certain anticancer drugs. Also called hand-foot syndrome.

palonosetron hydrochloride    listen   (pa-loh-NOH-seh-tron HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is also used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery. Palonosetron hydrochloride blocks the action of the chemical serotonin in the brain, which may help lessen nausea and vomiting. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called Aloxi.

palpable disease    listen   (PAL-puh-bul dih-ZEEZ)
A term used to describe cancer that can be felt by touch, usually present in lymph nodes, skin, or other organs of the body such as the liver or colon.

palpation    listen   (pal-PAY-shun)
Examination by pressing on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath.

palpitation    listen   (PAL-pih-TAY-shun)
A rapid or irregular heartbeat that a person can feel.

Pamelor    listen   (PA-meh-lor)
A drug used to treat depression. It may also be used to treat panic or anxiety disorders and certain types of pain, and to help people quit smoking. Pamelor increases the levels of norepinephrine and other natural chemicals in the brain. This helps improve mood and may reduce a person’s craving for nicotine. It is a type of tricyclic antidepressant. Also called Aventyl and nortriptyline.

pamidronate disodium    listen   (puh-MIH-droh-nayt dy-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat hypercalcemia (high blood levels of calcium) caused by certain types of cancer. It is also used with other anticancer drugs to treat multiple myeloma and breast cancer that has spread to bone. It is also used to treat Paget disease of the bone. Pamidronate disodium may help keep bone from breaking down and prevent the loss of calcium from the bones. It is a type of bisphosphonate. Also called Aredia.

panacea    listen   (PA-nuh-SEE-uh)
A cure-all.

Pancoast tumor    listen   (PAN-koste TOO-mer)
A type of lung cancer that begins in the upper part of a lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Most Pancoast tumors are non-small cell cancers. Also called pulmonary sulcus tumor.

pancreas    listen   (PAN-kree-us)
A glandular organ located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion, and it produces several hormones, including insulin. The pancreas is surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and other organs.

pancreatectomy    listen   (PAN-kree-uh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all or part of the pancreas. In a total pancreatectomy, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.

pancreatic    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik)
Having to do with the pancreas.

pancreatic cancer    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik KAN-ser)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. Also called exocrine cancer.

pancreatic duct    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik dukt)
Part of a system of ducts in the pancreas. Pancreatic juices containing enzymes are released into these ducts and flow into the small intestine.

pancreatic endocrine cancer    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik EN-doh-krin KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic endocrine cancers make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic endocrine cancers do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell carcinoma.

pancreatic endocrine tumor    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik EN-doh-krin TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Pancreatic endocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic endocrine tumors make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic endocrine tumors do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell tumor and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.

pancreatic enzyme    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik EN-zime)
A protein secreted by the pancreas that aids in the digestion of food.

pancreatic function test    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik FUNK-shun …)
A test used to help diagnose problems in the pancreas, such as gastrinomas and pancreatitis. It measures the ability of the pancreas to respond to the hormone secretin (a hormone that causes other substances to be released by the stomach, liver, and pancreas). Secretin is given to the patient by a tube put through the nose or throat into the small intestine and stomach or by injection into a vein. After a certain amount of time, samples are taken to be sent to a laboratory for testing. It is a type of pancreatic function test. Also called secretin stimulation test.

pancreatic insulin-producing tumor    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik IN-suh-lin-proh-DOO-sing TOO-mer)
An abnormal mass that grows in the beta cells of the pancreas that make insulin. Pancreatic insulin-producing tumors are usually benign (not cancer). They secrete insulin and are the most common cause of low blood sugar caused by having too much insulin in the body. Also called beta cell neoplasm, beta cell tumor of the pancreas, and insulinoma.

pancreatic juice    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik joos)
Fluid made by the pancreas. Pancreatic juices contain proteins called enzymes that aid in digestion.

pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik NOOR-oh-EN-doh-krin TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell tumor and pancreatic endocrine tumor.

pancreatic polypeptide    listen   (PAN-kree-A-tik PAH-lee-PEP-tide)
A small protein made by the pancreas that helps control the release of other substances made by the pancreas. The amount of pancreatic polypeptide in the blood increases after a person eats. It may also increase with age, and in certain diseases, such as diabetes and pancreatic cancer. Also called PP.

pancreatitis    listen   (PAN-kree-uh-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis may cause diabetes and problems with digestion. Pain is the primary symptom.

pancreatoduodenectomy    listen   (PAN-kree-uh-toh-DOO-ah-deh-NEK-toh-mee)
A type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. The head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and other nearby tissues are removed. Also called Whipple procedure.

panhypopituitarism    listen   (pan-HY-poh-pih-TOO-ih-tuh-rih-zum)
A rare condition in which the pituitary gland stops making most or all hormones. Pituitary hormones help control the way many parts of the body work. Symptoms of the condition depend on the hormones that are missing. They include growth problems (in children), obesity (in adults), hair loss, slow heart rate, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, fatigue, and problems with reproduction. This condition may be caused by a tumor on or near the pituitary gland, infection, stroke, injury, surgery, or radiation therapy. It may also be inherited. Also called PHP.

panic    listen   (PA-nik)
Sudden extreme anxiety or fear that may cause irrational thoughts or actions. Panic may include rapid heart rate, flushing (a hot, red face), sweating, and trouble breathing.

panitumumab    listen   (PAN-ih-TOO-myoo-mab)
A human monoclonal antibody that is being used to treat colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose disease has not gotten better during or after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Panitumumab binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and may block tumor cell growth. Also called ABX-EGF and Vectibix.

panobinostat    listen   (PA-noh-BIH-noh-stat)
A drug being studied in the treatment of cancer. It blocks enzymes needed for cells to grow and divide and may kill cancer cells. Panobinostat may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of histone deacetylase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called Faridak and LBH589.

pantothenic acid    listen   (PAN-toh-THEH-nik A-sid)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Pantothenic acid helps some enzymes use foods and make many substances used in the body and protects cells against damage from peroxides. It is found in almost all plant and animal foods. Pantothenic acid is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Also called vitamin B5.

PANVAC-V    listen  
A cancer vaccine made with a form of vaccinia virus that does not cause disease in humans. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. The virus is changed in the laboratory to make human proteins, including the tumor markers called CEA and MUC-1, that may help immune cells in the body kill tumor cells. Also called inalimarev and recombinant vaccinia-CEA-MUC-1-TRICOM vaccine.

PAP      
An enzyme produced by the prostate. It may be found in increased amounts in men who have prostate cancer. Also called prostatic acid phosphatase.

Pap smear    listen   (pap smeer)
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Pap smear may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap test and Papanicolaou test.

Pap test    listen  
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Pap test may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap smear and Papanicolaou test.

Pap/HPV cotest      
A procedure in which a human papillomavirus (HPV) test and a Pap test are done at the same time to check for cervical cancer. The HPV test looks for DNA or RNA from certain high-risk types of HPV in samples of cells taken from the cervix. The Pap test checks for cervical cancer cells and cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. The same cell sample may be used for both the HPV test and the Pap test. Women aged 30 to 65 years may have a Pap/HPV cotest every 5 years. Cotesting is more likely to find abnormal cells or cervical cancer than a Pap test alone is. Also called HPV/Pap cotest.

Papanicolaou test    listen   (PA-puh-NIH-koh-low...)
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Papanicolaou test may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap smear and Pap test.

papillary dermis    listen   (PA-pih-LAYR-ee DER-mis)
The thin top layer of the dermis (the inner layer of the skin). The papillary dermis has connective tissue and blood vessels that give nutrients to the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and that help control the temperature of the skin.

papillary serous carcinoma    listen   (PA-pih-LAYR-ee SEER-us KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
An aggressive cancer that usually affects the uterus/endometrium, peritoneum, or ovary.

papillary thyroid cancer    listen   (PA-pih-LAYR-ee THY-royd KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in follicular cells in the thyroid and grows in small finger-like shapes. It grows slowly, is more common in women than in men, and often occurs before age 45. It is the most common type of thyroid cancer.

papillary tumor    listen   (PA-pih-LAYR-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor shaped like a small mushroom, with its stem attached to the epithelial layer (inner lining) of an organ.

papillary-reticular dermal interface    listen   (PA-pih-LAYR-ee-reh-TIH-kyoo-ler DER-mul IN-ter-fays)
The layer of the skin between the papillary dermis (the thin top layer of the dermis) and the reticular dermis (the thick bottom layer of the dermis). The dermis is the layer of skin below the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin).

papilledema    listen   (PA-pil-eh-DEE-muh)
Swelling around the optic disk, the area where the optic nerve (the nerve that carries messages from the eye to the brain) enters the eyeball. Papilledema occurs when increased brain pressure caused by tumors or other problems results in swelling of the optic nerve.

papule    listen   (PA-pyool)
A small, solid, raised bump on the skin that has a border with edges that are easy to see. Papules may be red, purple, brown, or pink.

PAR-101      
A substance being studied in the treatment of diarrhea caused by infection with Clostridium difficile (a type of bacteria that can grow without oxygen) in cancer patients. PAR-101 is a type of antibiotic. Also called OPT-80 and tiacumicin B.

para-aminobenzoic acid    listen   (PAYR-uh-uh-MEE-noh-ben-ZOH-ik A-sid)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need para-aminobenzoic acid to survive. Para-aminobenzoic acid is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called aminobenzoic acid and PABA.

paracentesis    listen   (PAYR-uh-sen-TEE-sis)
A procedure in which a thin needle or tube is put into the abdomen to remove fluid from the peritoneal cavity (the space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver).

paraganglia    listen   (PAYR-uh-GANG-glee-uh)
A collection of cells that came from embryonic nervous tissue, and are found near the adrenal glands and some blood vessels and nerves. Most paraganglia secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine.

paraganglioma    listen   (PAYR-uh-GANG-glee-OH-muh)
A rare, usually benign tumor that develops from cells of the paraganglia. Paraganglia are a collection of cells that came from embryonic nervous tissue, and are found near the adrenal glands and some blood vessels and nerves. Paragangliomas that develop in the adrenal gland are called pheochromocytomas. Those that develop outside of the adrenal glands near blood vessels or nerves are called glomus tumors or chemodectomas.

parageusia    listen   (PAYR-uh-GOO-see-uh)
A bad taste in the mouth. Also called dysgeusia.

paralysis    listen   (puh-RA-lih-sis)
Loss of ability to move all or part of the body.

paralytic ileus    listen   (PAYR-uh-LIH-tik IH-lee-us)
A condition in which the muscles of the intestines do not allow food to pass through, resulting in a blocked intestine. Paralytic ileus may be caused by surgery, inflammation, and certain drugs.

parametrium    listen   (payr-uh-MEE-tree-um)
The fat and connective tissue that surrounds the uterus. The parametrium helps connect the uterus to other tissues in the pelvis.

paramyxovirus    listen   (PAYR-uh-MIK-suh-VY-rus)
A type of virus that has hemagglutinin-neuraminidase proteins in the outer coat and RNA as the genetic material. Measles (rubeola) virus, mumps virus, and Newcastle disease virus are paramyxoviruses.

paranasal sinus    listen   (PAYR-uh-NAY-zul SY-nus)
One of many small hollow spaces in the bones around the nose. Paranasal sinuses are named after the bones that contain them: frontal (the lower forehead), maxillary (cheekbones), ethmoid (beside the upper nose), and sphenoid (behind the nose). The paranasal sinuses open into the nasal cavity (space inside the nose) and are lined with cells that make mucus to keep the nose from drying out during breathing.

paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer    listen   (PAYR-uh-NAY-zul SY-nus ... NAY-zul KA-vuh-tee KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the paranasal sinuses (small hollow spaces in the bones around the nose) or nasal cavity (the inside of the nose). The most common type of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in flat cells lining these tissues and cavities).

paraneoplastic syndrome    listen   (PAYR-uh-NEE-oh-PLAS-tik SIN-drome)
A group of symptoms that may develop when substances released by some cancer cells disrupt the normal function of surrounding cells and tissue.

paranoia    listen   (PAYR-uh-noy-uh)
A mental disorder in which a person has an extreme fear and distrust of others. A paranoid person may have delusions that people are trying to harm him or her.

Paraplatin    listen   (PAYR-uh-PLA-tin)
A drug that is used to treat advanced ovarian cancer that has never been treated or symptoms of ovarian cancer that has come back after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also used with other drugs to treat advanced, metastatic, or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Paraplatin is a form of the anticancer drug cisplatin and causes fewer side effects in patients. It attaches to DNA in cells and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of platinum compound. Also called carboplatin.

parasite    listen   (PAYR-uh-SITE)
An animal or plant that gets nutrients by living on or in an organism of another species. A complete parasite gets all of its nutrients from the host organism, but a semi-parasite gets only some of its nutrients from the host.

parasitic    listen   (PAYR-uh-SIH-tik)
Having to do with or being a parasite (an animal or plant that gets nutrients by living on or in an organism of another species).

parasomnia    listen   (PAYR-uh-SOM-nee-uh)
An abnormal disruption of sleep, such as sleep walking, sleep talking, nightmares, bedwetting, sleep apnea (problems with breathing that cause loud snoring), or nighttime seizures.

parasympathetic nervous system    listen   (PAYR-uh-SIM-puh-THEH-tik NER-vus SIS-tem)
The part of the nervous system that slows the heart, dilates blood vessels, decreases pupil size, increases digestive juices, and relaxes muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.

parathormone    listen   (PAYR-uh-THOR-mone)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathormone causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathyrin, parathyroid hormone, and PTH.

parathyrin    listen   (PAYR-uh-THY-rin)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathyrin causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathormone, parathyroid hormone, and PTH.

parathyroid cancer    listen   (PAYR-uh-THY-royd KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in tissues of one or more of the parathyroid glands (four pea-sized glands in the neck that make parathyroid hormone, which helps the body store and use calcium).

parathyroid gland    listen   (PAYR-uh-THY-royd...)
One of four pea-sized glands found on the surface of the thyroid. The parathyroid hormone made by these glands increases the calcium level in the blood.

parathyroid hormone    listen   (PAYR-uh-THY-royd HOR-mone)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathyroid hormone causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathormone, parathyrin, and PTH.

parathyroidectomy    listen   (PAYR-uh-THY-roy-DEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove one or more parathyroid glands (four pea-sized organs found on the thyroid).

parenchyma    listen   (puh-REN-kih-muh)
The essential or functional elements of an organ.

parenteral nutrition    listen   (puh-REN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun)
A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Parenteral nutrition does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using parenteral nutrition. Also called hyperalimentation, total parenteral nutrition, and TPN.

paresthesia    listen   (payr-es-THEE-zhuh)
An abnormal touch sensation, such as burning or prickling, that occurs without an outside stimulus.

paricalcitol    listen   (PAYR-ih-KAL-sih-tol)
A substance that is being used to treat overactive parathyroid glands in patients with kidney failure. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. Paricalcitol belongs to the family of drugs called vitamin D analogs.

parietal cell vagotomy    listen   (puh-RY-uh-tul sel vay-GAH-toh-mee)
Surgery to cut the parts of the vagus nerve that cause gastric acid to be made in the stomach. It is done to treat stomach ulcers or other conditions in which the stomach makes too much acid.

parietal pericardium    listen   (puh-RY-uh-tul PAYR-ih-KAR-dee-um)
The outer layer of the pericardium, which is a thin sac of tissue that surrounds the heart.

parietal peritoneum    listen   (puh-RY-uh-tul PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The layers of tissue that line the abdominal wall and the pelvic cavity.

Parkinson disease    listen   (PAR-kin-sun dih-ZEEZ)
A progressive disorder of the nervous system marked by muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, decreased mobility, stooped posture, slow voluntary movements, and a mask-like facial expression.

parotid gland cancer    listen   (puh-RAH-tid gland KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in a parotid gland, the largest of the salivary glands, which make saliva and release it into the mouth. There are 2 parotid glands, one in front of and just below each ear. Most salivary gland tumors begin in parotid glands.

parotidectomy    listen   (puh-RAH-tih-DEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all or part of the parotid gland (a large salivary gland located in front of and just below the ear). In a radical parotidectomy, the entire gland is removed.

paroxetine hydrochloride    listen   (puh-ROK-suh-teen HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Also called Paxil.

paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria    listen   (PAYR-ok-SIZ-mul nok-TER-nul HEE-moh-GLOH-bih-NOO-ree-uh)
A rare disorder in which red blood cells are easily destroyed by certain immune system proteins. Symptoms include blood clots, and red or brownish urine in the morning. Aplastic anemia (decreased production of blood cells) may lead to PNH, and people with PNH are at increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia. Also called PNH.

PARP    listen  
A type of enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. Inhibitors of one enzyme, PARP-1, are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase.

PARP inhibitor    listen   (... in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. It may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of targeted therapy. Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor.

PARP inhibitor AZD2281    listen   (... in-HIH-bih-ter ...)
A substance being studied in the treatment of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. PARP inhibitor AZD2281 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of targeted therapy agent and a type of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called AZD2281 and olaparib.

PARP-1    listen  
An enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. Inhibitors of PARP-1 are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1.

PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888    listen   (… in-HIH-bih-ter …)
A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called ABT-888 and veliparib.

PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699    listen   (… in-HIH-bih-ter …)
A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called AG014699.

partial cystectomy    listen   (PAR-shul sis-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of the bladder (the organ that holds urine). Also called segmental cystectomy.

partial hysterectomy    listen   (PAR-shul HIS-teh-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the uterus, but not the cervix. Also called subtotal hysterectomy.

partial laryngectomy    listen   (PAR-shul LAYR-in-JEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove part of the larynx (voice box).

partial mastectomy    listen   (PAR-shul ma-STEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the part of the breast that has cancer and some of the normal tissue around it. The lining over the chest muscles below the cancer and some of the lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed. It is a type of breast-conserving surgery. Also called segmental mastectomy.

partial nephrectomy    listen   (PAR-shul neh-FREK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of one kidney or a kidney tumor, but not an entire kidney.

partial oophorectomy    listen   (PAR-shul oh-oh-foh-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of one ovary or part of both ovaries.

partial radical vulvectomy    listen   (PAR-shul RA-dih-kul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove most, but not all, of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina). The clitoris may not be removed. Sometimes lymph nodes in the groin area are also removed. Also called modified radical vulvectomy.

partial remission    listen   (PAR-shul reh-MIH-shun)
A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment. Also called partial response.

partial response    listen   (PAR-shul reh-SPONTS)
A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment. Also called partial remission.

partial vulvectomy    listen   (PAR-shul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove an affected area of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina) along with a small amount of surrounding normal tissue.

partial-breast irradiation    listen   (PAR-shul-brest ih-RAY-dee-AY-shun)
A type of radiation therapy given only to the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-breast radiation therapy. Partial-breast irradiation may be given using internal or external sources of radiation. Also called accelerated partial-breast irradiation.

passive antibody therapy    listen   (...AN-tee-BAH-dee THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with injections of antibodies made in another animal or in the laboratory.

pastoral counselor    listen   (PAS-tuh-rul KOWN-seh-ler)
A person who is trained to give spiritual and mental health advice.

patchouli    listen   (puh-CHOO-lee)
A bushy herb that is a member of the mint family. A strong-smelling oil taken from the leaves is used in perfumes, incense, detergents, and hair conditioners. It has been used in some cultures to prevent disease. The scientific name is Pogostemon cablin

paternal    listen   (puh-TER-nul)
Having to do with the father, coming from the father, or related through the father.

Paterson-Kelly syndrome    listen   (PA-ter-sun-KEH-lee SIN-drome)
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having Paterson-Kelly syndrome may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Plummer-Vinson syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.

pathognomonic    listen   (PA-thog-noh-MAH-nik)
Having to do with a sign or symptom that is specific to a certain disease.

pathologic fracture    listen   (PA-thuh-LAH-jik FRAK-sher)
A broken bone caused by disease, often by the spread of cancer to the bone.

pathological stage    listen   (PA-thuh-LAH-jih-kul stayj)
The stage of cancer (amount or spread of cancer in the body) that is based on how different from normal the cells in samples of tissue look under a microscope.

pathological staging    listen   (PA-thuh-LAH-jih-kul STAY-jing)
A method used to find out the stage of cancer (amount or spread of cancer in the body) by removing tissue samples during surgery or a biopsy. The pathological stage is based on how different from normal the cells in the samples look under a microscope.

pathologist    listen   (puh-THAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

pathology report    listen   (puh-THAH-loh-jee ...)
The description of cells and tissues made by a pathologist based on microscopic evidence, and sometimes used to make a diagnosis of a disease.

patient advocate    listen   (PAY-shunt AD-vuh-kut)
A person who helps a patient work with others who have an effect on the patient's health, including doctors, insurance companies, employers, case managers, and lawyers. A patient advocate helps resolve issues about health care, medical bills, and job discrimination related to a patient's medical condition. Cancer advocacy groups try to raise public awareness about important cancer issues, such as the need for cancer support services, education, and research. Such groups work to bring about change that will help cancer patients and their families.

patient-controlled analgesia    listen   (PAY-shunt-kun-TROLD AN-ul-JEE-zee-uh)
A method of pain relief in which the patient controls the amount of pain medicine that is used. When pain relief is needed, the person can receive a preset dose of pain medicine by pressing a button on a computerized pump that is connected to a small tube in the body. Also called PCA.

Paxil    listen   (PAK-sil)
A drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Also called paroxetine hydrochloride.

pazopanib hydrochloride    listen   (puh-ZOH-puh-nib HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma, which is the most common type of kidney cancer. It is also used to treat advanced soft tissue sarcoma that has been treated with other anticancer drugs. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pazopanib hydrochloride may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called GW786034 and Votrient.

PC regimen    listen   (… REH-jih-men)
A chemotherapy combination used to treat endometrial, ovarian, and head and neck cancers, and non-small cell lung cancer that has spread. It includes the drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called Carbo-Tax regimen, carboplatin-Taxol, carboplatin-Taxol regimen, and CaT regimen.

PC-SPES    listen  
A mixture of eight herbs that has been sold as a dietary supplement and promoted as a way to keep the prostate healthy and to treat prostate cancer. PC-SPES has been studied in the treatment of prostate cancer, but has been taken off the market in the U.S. because of safety concerns.

PCA      
A method of pain relief in which the patient controls the amount of pain medicine that is used. When pain relief is needed, the person can receive a preset dose of pain medicine by pressing a button on a computerized pump that is connected to a small tube in the body. Also called patient-controlled analgesia.

PCNSL      
Primary CNS lymphoma. Cancer that forms in the lymph tissue of the brain, spinal cord, meninges (outer covering of the brain), or eye (called ocular lymphoma). Also called primary central nervous system lymphoma and primary CNS lymphoma.

PCOS      
A condition marked by infertility, enlarged ovaries, menstrual problems, high levels of male hormones, excess hair on the face and body, acne, and obesity. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and endometrial cancer. Also called polycystic ovary syndrome.

PCR      
A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific DNA sequence. Also called polymerase chain reaction.

PDGF      
A family of molecules released from platelets (tiny pieces of cells that are found in the blood and that help the blood clot). Forms of PDGF help to heal wounds and to repair damage to blood vessel walls. They also help blood vessels grow. Also called platelet-derived growth factor.

PDQ      
PDQ is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute. Designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public, PDQ contains peer-reviewed summaries on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, complementary and alternative medicine, and supportive care; a registry of cancer clinical trials from around the world; and directories of physicians, professionals who provide genetics services, and organizations that provide cancer care. Most of this information, and more specific information about PDQ, can be found on the NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq. Also called Physician Data Query.

peak exposure    listen   (peek ek-SPOH-zher)
The largest amount of a substance or radiation that a person is exposed to at one time. Peak exposure to a harmful substance or radiation may increase the risk of certain diseases or conditions.

peau d'orange    listen   (poh duh-RANJ)
A dimpled condition of the skin of the breast, resembling the skin of an orange, sometimes found in inflammatory breast cancer.

PediaSure    listen   (PEE-dee-uh-sher)
A nutritional drink that helps children who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be given through a small tube that is inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a tube that is put into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. Also called pediatric polymeric enteral nutrition formula.

pediatric    listen   (pee-dee-A-trik)
Having to do with children.

pediatric hematologist    listen   (PEE-dee-A-trik HEE-muh-TAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who specializes in treating blood disorders in children.

pediatric nurse specialist    listen   (pee-dee-A-trik ... SPEH-shuh-list)
A registered nurse with an advanced degree in nursing who specializes in the care of children.

pediatric oncologist    listen   (pee-dee-A-trik on-KAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer.

pediatric polymeric enteral nutrition formula    listen   (pee-dee-A-trik PAH-lih-MAYR-ik EN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun FOR-myoo-luh)
A nutritional drink that helps children who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be given through a small tube that is inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a tube that is put into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. Also called PediaSure.

pediatric surgeon    listen   (pee-dee-A-trik SER-jun)
A surgeon who specializes in the treatment of children. A surgeon removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on the patient.

pediatrician    listen   (PEE-dee-uh-TRIH-shun)
A doctor who specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and injuries in children. Pediatricians also help manage other problems that affect children, such as developmental disorders and behavioral, emotional, and social problems.

pedicle flap    listen   (PEH-dih-kul …)
A type of surgery used to rebuild the shape of the breast after a mastectomy. Tissue, including skin, fat, and muscle, is moved from one area of the body, such as the back or abdomen, to the chest to form a new breast mound. The tissue flap, along with its blood vessels, stays connected to the body and is passed through a tunnel under the skin to the chest. A pedicle flap is a type of breast reconstruction.

pedigree    listen   (PEH-dih-gree)
A diagram that shows relationships among family members. In medicine, a pedigree may also show the pattern of certain genes or diseases within a family.

pedunculated    listen   (peh-DUN-kyoo-LAY-ted)
In the body, a structure that has a peduncle (a stalk or stem) or is attached to another structure by a peduncle.

peer review process    listen   (peer ree-VYOO PRAH-ses)
The process by which original articles and grants written by researchers are evaluated for technical and scientific quality and correctness by other experts in the same field.

peer-reviewed scientific journal    listen   (peer-ree-VYOOD SY-en-TIH-fik JER-nul)
A publication that contains original articles that have been written by scientists and evaluated for technical and scientific quality and correctness by other experts in the same field.

PEG      
A polymer made by joining molecules of ethylene oxide and water together in a repeating pattern. PEG can be a liquid or a waxy solid. In medicine, forms of PEG can be used in ointments, in drugs or substances to make them stay in the body longer, or in laxatives. Also called polyethylene glycol.

PEG tube    listen   (…toob)
A tube inserted through the wall of the abdomen directly into the stomach. It allows air and fluid to leave the stomach and can be used to give drugs and liquids, including liquid food, to the patient. Giving food through a PEG tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called gastrostomy tube and percutaneous endoscopic tube.

PEG-asparaginase    listen   (... as-PAYR-uh-jih-NAYS)
A drug used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is a form of the drug asparaginase that is linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Asparaginase is an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid asparagine and may block the growth of tumor cells that need asparagine to grow. It is a type of protein synthesis inhibitor. Also called Oncaspar and pegaspargase.

PEG-Intron    listen   (… IN-tron)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. PEG-Intron is a brand name for peginterferon alfa-2b. It is a type of cytokine and a type of biological response modifier.

PEG-MGDF      
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. PEG-MGDF is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-rhMGDF and polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor.

PEG-rhMGDF      
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. PEG-rhMGDF is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-MGDF and polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor.

pegaspargase    listen   (peg-A-spar-jays)
A drug used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is a form of the drug asparaginase that is linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Asparaginase is an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid asparagine and may block the growth of tumor cells that need asparagine to grow. It is a type of protein synthesis inhibitor. Also called Oncaspar and PEG-asparaginase.

Pegasys    listen   (PEH-guh-sis)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called peginterferon alfa-2a.

pegfilgrastim    listen   (peg-fil-GRAS-tim)
A drug used to increase numbers of white blood cells in patients who are receiving chemotherapy. It is a type of colony-stimulating factor. Also called filgrastim-SD/01 and Neulasta.

peginterferon alfa-2a    listen   (peg-IN-ter-FEER-on AL-fuh ...)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called Pegasys.

peginterferon alfa-2b    listen   (peg-IN-ter-FEER-on AL-fuh ...)
A drug used to treat melanoma and hepatitis C. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It is used under the brand name Sylatron to treat melanoma in patients who have had surgery to remove cancer that has spread to lymph nodes. It is used under the brand name PEG-Intron to treat hepatitis C infections. Peginterferon alfa-2b is a form of interferon alfa (a substance normally made by cells in the immune system) linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Peginterferon alfa-2b is made in the laboratory. It is a type of cytokine and a type of biological response modifier. Also called SCH 54031.

pegylated arginine deiminase    listen   (PEH-guh-LAY-ted AR-jih-neen DEE-IH-mih-nays)
A substance being studied in the treatment of melanoma, liver cancer, and other types of cancer. It breaks down the amino acid arginine and may block the growth of cancer cells that need arginine to grow. It is a type of iminohydrolase. Also called ADI-PEG 20.

PEI      
An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound or a CT scan is used to guide the needle into the tumor. Also called alcohol ablation, ethanol ablation, and percutaneous ethanol injection.

PEITC      
A substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables. Also called phenethyl isothiocyanate.

pelargonium    listen   (PEH-lar-GOH-nee-um)
A type of plant that is native to southern Africa and has white, pink, purple, or red flowers and 3- to 5-lobed leaves. An essential oil that smells like roses is taken from the leaves and used in perfume, in mosquito repellants, and in aromatherapy to treat skin problems and to reduce stress. The scientific name is Pelargonium graveolens. Also called geranium.

peldesine    listen   (PEL-deh-seen)
A substance that is being studied for the treatment of cancer.

pelitinib    listen   (peh-LIH-tih-nib)
A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It blocks the action of certain proteins that are part of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family of proteins. These proteins may be found in increased amounts on the surface of some types of cancer cells. Blocking the action of these proteins may stop cancer cells from growing and may kill cancer cells. Pelitinib is a type of EGFR inhibitor. Also called EKB-569.

pelvic    listen   (PEL-vik)
Having to do with the pelvis (the lower part of the abdomen located between the hip bones).

pelvic exam    listen   (PEL-vik eg-ZAM)
A physical exam of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. First, the area outside the vagina is checked for signs of disease. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina to widen it so the vagina and cervix can be checked for signs of disease. Cell samples may be taken for a Pap test, or to test for sexually transmitted diseases or other infections. The doctor or nurse then inserts one or two lubricated, gloved fingers of one hand into the vagina and presses on the lower abdomen with the other hand to feel for lumps and check the size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries. The rectum may also be checked for lumps or abnormal areas. Also called internal exam.

pelvic exenteration    listen   (PEL-vik eg-ZEN-teh-RAY-shun)
Surgery to remove the lower colon, rectum, and bladder, and create stomata (openings) through which urine and stool are passed out of the body. In women, the cervix, vagina, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes are also removed.

pelvic inflammatory disease    listen   (PEL-vik in-FLA-muh-TOR-ee dih-ZEEZ)
A condition in which the female reproductive organs are inflamed. It may affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and certain ligaments. Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It may cause infertility and an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tubes). Also called PID.

pelvic lymphadenectomy    listen   (PEL-vik LIM-fa-deh-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove lymph nodes in the pelvis for examination under a microscope to see if they contain cancer.

pelvic wall    listen   (PEL-vik ...)
The muscles and ligaments that line the part of the body between the hips.

pelvis    listen   (PEL-vus)
The area of the body below the abdomen that contains the hip bones, bladder, and rectum. In females, it also contains the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In males, it also contains the prostate.

pembrolizumab    listen   (pem-broh-LIH-zoo-mab)
A drug used to treat melanoma that cannot be removed by surgery or has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients who got worse after being treated with ipilimumab and who may have also been treated with a BRAF inhibitor (a type of anticancer drug). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pembrolizumab binds to a substance called PD-1, which is found on T cells (a type of white blood cell). Pembrolizumab may block PD-1 and help the immune system kill cancer cells. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called Keytruda.

pemetrexed disodium    listen   (peh-meh-TREK-sed dy-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used alone or with another drug to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pemetrexed disodium blocks DNA synthesis and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of folate antagonist. Also called Alimta and LY231514.

penclomedine    listen   (pen-KLOH-meh-deen)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

penectomy    listen   (pee-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part or all of the penis (an external male reproductive organ).

penetrance    listen   (PEH-neh-trunts)
Describes how likely it is that a person who has a certain disease-causing mutation (change) in a gene will show signs and symptoms of the disease. Not everyone who has the mutation will develop the disease. For example, some people who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will develop cancer during their lifetime, but others will not. Currently, there is no way to know which people who have a cancer-causing mutation will develop cancer. Complete penetrance means that every person who has the mutation will show signs and symptoms of the disease.

penicillamine    listen   (PEH-nih-SIH-luh-MEEN)
A drug that removes copper from the body and is used to treat diseases in which there is an excess of copper. It is also being studied as a possible angiogenesis inhibitor in the treatment of brain tumors.

penicillin    listen   (PEH-nih-SIH-lin)
A drug that is used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics.

penile cancer    listen   (PEE-nile KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in the penis (an external male reproductive organ). Most penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the penis).

penile implant    listen   (PEE-nile IM-plant)
A firm rod or inflatable device that is placed in the penis (an external male reproductive organ) during a surgical procedure. The implant makes it possible to have and keep an erection. Penile implants are used to treat erectile dysfunction or impotence.

penis    listen   (PEE-nis)
An external male reproductive organ. It contains a tube called the urethra, which carries semen and urine to the outside of the body.

Pentam    listen   (PEN-tam)
A drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor. Also called pentamidine isethionate.

pentamidine    listen   (pen-TA-mih-deen)
The active ingredient in a drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor.

pentamidine isethionate    listen   (pen-TA-mih-deen I-seh-THY-oh-nayt)
A drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor. Also called Pentam.

pentetic acid calcium    listen   (pen-TEH-tik A-sid KAL-see-um)
A drug that protects healthy tissues from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.

pentosan polysulfate    listen   (PEN-tuh-SAN PAH-lee-SUL-fayt)
A drug used to relieve pain or discomfort associated with chronic inflammation of the bladder. It is also being evaluated for its protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract in people undergoing radiation therapy.

pentostatin    listen   (PEN-toh-STA-tin)
The active ingredient in a drug that is used to treat hairy cell leukemia and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pentostatin blocks a protein needed for cell growth and may kill cancer cells. It is made by a bacterium. It is a type of adenosine deaminase inhibitor. Also called Nipent.

pentoxifylline    listen   (PEN-tok-SIH-fuh-lin)
A drug used to prevent blood clotting and as a treatment that may help decrease weight loss in people with cancer.

PEP02      
A form of the anticancer drug irinotecan hydrochloride that is contained inside very tiny, fat-like particles. It is being studied in the treatment of colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and in other types of cancer. Irinotecan hydrochloride blocks cell division and DNA repair, and it may kill cancer cells. PEP02 may have fewer side effects and work better than irinotecan hydrochloride. It is a type of topoisomerase inhibitor and a type of camptothecin analog. Also called liposome-encapsulated irinotecan hydrochloride PEP02.

pepsin    listen   (PEP-sin)
An enzyme made in the stomach that breaks down proteins in food during digestion. Stomach acid changes a protein called pepsinogen into pepsin.

pepsinogen    listen   (pep-SIH-noh-jen)
A substance made by cells in the stomach. Acid in the stomach changes pepsinogen to pepsin, which breaks down proteins in food during digestion.

peptic ulcer    listen   (PEP-tik UL-ser)
A break in the lining of the lower part of the esophagus, the stomach, or the upper part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers form when cells on the surface of the lining become inflamed and die. They are usually caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria and by certain medicines, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic ulcers may be linked to cancer and other diseases.

peptide    listen   (PEP-tide)
A molecule that contains two or more amino acids (the molecules that join together to form proteins). Peptides that contain many amino acids are called polypeptides or proteins.

peptide 946    listen   (PEP-tide …)
A piece of a protein found only on melanoma (a type of skin cancer) cells. It is being used in vaccines to help the immune system kill melanoma cells.

percutaneous    listen   (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us)
Passing through the skin, as an injection or a topical medicine.

percutaneous endoscopic tube    listen   (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us en-doh-SKAH-pik gas-TROS-toh-mee toob)
A tube inserted through the wall of the abdomen directly into the stomach. It allows air and fluid to leave the stomach and can be used to give drugs and liquids, including liquid food, to the patient. Giving food through a percutaneous endoscopic tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called gastrostomy tube and PEG tube.

percutaneous ethanol injection    listen   (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us EH-thuh-nol in-JEK-shun)
An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound or a CT scan is used to guide the needle into the tumor. Also called alcohol ablation, ethanol ablation, and PEI.

percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage    listen   (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik BIH-lee-ayr-ee DRAY-nij)
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage and PTCD.

percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage    listen   (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik koh-lan-jee-oh-DRAY-nij)
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage and PTCD.

percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography    listen   (per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik koh-lan-jee-AH-gruh-fee)
A procedure to x-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected through the skin into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction. Also called PTC.

performance status    listen   (per-FOR-munts STA-tus)
A measure of how well a patient is able to perform ordinary tasks and carry out daily activities.

perfusion    listen   (per-FYOO-zhun)
Bathing an organ or tissue with a fluid. In regional perfusion, a specific area of the body (usually an arm or a leg) receives high doses of anticancer drugs through a blood vessel. Such a procedure is performed to treat cancer that has not spread.

perfusion magnetic resonance imaging    listen   (per-FYOO-zhun mag-NEH-tik REH-zuh-nunts IH-muh-jing)
A special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that uses an injected dye in order to see blood flow through tissues. Also called magnetic resonance perfusion imaging.

periampullary cancer    listen   (PAYR-ee-AM-puh-LAYR-ee KAN-ser)
A cancer that forms near the ampulla of Vater (an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine).

pericardial effusion    listen   (PAYR-ih-KAR-dee-ul eh-FYOO-zhun)
An abnormal collection of fluid inside the sac that covers the heart.

perifosine    listen   (PAYR-ih-FAH-seen)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylphospholipids.

perillyl alcohol    listen   (PAYR-ih-lil AL-kuh-hol)
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of plant drugs called monoterpenes.

perimenopausal    listen   (PAYR-ee-MEH-nuh-PAW-zul)
Describes the time in a woman’s life when menstrual periods become irregular as she approaches menopause. This is usually three to five years before menopause and is often marked by many of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility.

perineal colostomy    listen   (PAYR-ih-NEE-ul koh-LOS-toh-mee)
An opening made surgically to allow the colon to exit the body through the perineum (the area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males). A colostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed.

perineal prostatectomy    listen   (PAYR-ih-NEE-ul PROS-tuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus.

perineum    listen   (PAYR-ih-NEE-um)
The area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males.

perineural    listen   (payr-ih-NOOR-ul)
Around a nerve or group of nerves.

periodic neutropenia    listen   (PEER-ee-AH-dik noo-troh-PEE-nee-uh)
A chronic condition that affects neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). In periodic neutropenia, the number of neutrophils in the blood goes in cycles from normal to low and back to normal again. Symptoms include fever, inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth, and infections. Also called cyclic neutropenia.

perioperative    listen   (PAYR-ee-AH-pruh-tiv)
Around the time of surgery. This usually lasts from the time the patient goes into the hospital or doctor's office for surgery until the time the patient goes home.

peripheral blood    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul blud)
Blood circulating throughout the body.

peripheral blood lymphocyte therapy    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul blud LIM-foh-site THAYR-uh-pee)
A treatment for Epstein-Barr virus infection or overgrowth of white blood cells (lymphocytes) after an organ or bone marrow transplant. Specific lymphocytes from a sibling donor are infused into the patient to try and reverse these conditions.

peripheral blood smear    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul blud smeer)
A procedure in which a sample of blood is viewed under a microscope to count different circulating blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc.) and see whether the cells look normal.

peripheral blood stem cell transplant    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul ... stem sel TRANZ-plant)
A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the bloodstream are given to the patient after treatment. This helps the bone marrow recover and continue to make healthy blood cells. A stem cell transplant may be autologous (a patient’s own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral stem cell support.

peripheral neuropathy    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul noor-AH-puh-thee)
A nerve problem that causes pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, or muscle weakness in different parts of the body. It usually begins in the hands or feet and gets worse over time. Peripheral neuropathy may be caused by cancer or cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy. It may also be caused by physical injury, infection, toxic substances, or conditions such as diabetes, kidney failure, or malnutrition. Also called neuropathy.

peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul PRIH-muh-tiv NOOR-oh-EK-toh-DER-mul TOO-mer)
A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called Ewing sarcoma and pPNET.

peripheral stem cell    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul stem sel)
An immature cell found circulating in the bloodstream. New blood cells develop from peripheral stem cells.

peripheral stem cell support    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul stem sel …)
A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the bloodstream are given to the patient after treatment. This helps the bone marrow recover and continue to make healthy blood cells. A stem cell transplant may be autologous (a patient’s own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral blood stem cell transplant.

peripheral T-cell lymphoma    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul ... lim-FOH-muh)
One of a group of aggressive (fast-growing) non-Hodgkin lymphomas that begin in mature T lymphocytes (T cells that have matured in the thymus gland and gone to other lymphatic sites in the body, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen.) Also called mature T-cell lymphoma.

peripheral venous catheter    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-rul VEE-nus KA-theh-ter)
A thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a large vein, usually in the back of the hand, the lower part of the arm, or the foot. It is used to give intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy and other drugs, and for taking blood samples. It avoids the need for repeated needle sticks.

peripherally inserted central catheter    listen   (peh-RIH-feh-ruh-lee in-SER-ted SEN-trul KA-theh-ter)
A thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein near the heart called the vena cava. It is used to give intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy and other drugs, and for taking blood samples. It avoids the need for repeated needle sticks. It is a type of central venous access device. Also called PICC.

peristalsis    listen   (payr-ih-STAL-sis)
The rippling motion of muscles in the intestine or other tubular organs characterized by the alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscles that propel the contents onward.

peritoneal    listen   (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul)
Having to do with the parietal peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and pelvic cavity) and visceral peritoneum (the tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdomen, including the intestines).

peritoneal cavity    listen   (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul KA-vuh-tee)
The space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver. It is bound by thin membranes.

peritoneal fluid    listen   (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul FLOO-id)
A liquid that is made in the abdominal cavity to lubricate the surface of the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and pelvic cavity and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.

peritoneal infusion    listen   (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul in-FYOO-zhun)
A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly into the abdominal cavity through a thin tube. Also called intraperitoneal infusion.

peritoneal perfusion    listen   (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul per-FYOO-zhun)
A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly to tumors in the peritoneal cavity.

peritoneal washing    listen   (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul WAH-shing)
A procedure in which a salt-water solution is used to wash the peritoneal cavity and then is removed to check for cancer cells. The peritoneal cavity is the space in the abdomen that contains the intestines, stomach, and liver. Peritoneal washings are commonly done during surgery for cancer of the ovary and uterus, to see if cancer has spread to the peritoneal cavity.

peritoneum    listen   (PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.

peritonitis    listen   (PAYR-ih-tuh-NY-tis)
Inflammation of the peritoneum (tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen). Peritonitis can result from infection, injury, or certain diseases. Symptoms may include swelling of the abdomen, severe pain, and weight loss.

Perjeta    listen   (per-JEH-tuh)
A drug used with other drugs to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive. It is used in patients whose disease has spread to other parts of the body and has not been treated with anticancer drugs. It is also used before surgery in certain patients who are at high risk for their disease to recur (come back) or spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Perjeta binds to HER2 on the surface of some cancer cells, and may kill them. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called pertuzumab.

pernicious anemia    listen   (per-NIH-shus uh-NEE-mee-uh)
A type of anemia (low red blood cell count) caused by the body's inability to absorb vitamin B12.

peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma pathway    listen   (peh-ROK-sih-some proh-LIH-feh-RAY-ter-AK-tih-vay-ted reh-SEP-ter GA-muh PATH-way)
Describes a group of proteins in a cell that work together to help control how certain genes are expressed and the use of lipids (fats) and glucose (sugar) in the body. Changes in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma pathway may lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Drugs or substances that affect this pathway are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases. Also called PPAR gamma pathway.

personal health record    listen   (PER-suh-nul helth REH-kurd)
A collection of information about a person’s health. It may include information about allergies, illnesses and surgeries, and dates and results of physical exams, tests, screenings, and immunizations. It may also include information about medicines taken and about diet and exercise. Also called personal history and personal medical history.

personal history    listen   (PER-suh-nul HIH-stuh-ree)
A collection of information about a person’s health. It may include information about allergies, illnesses and surgeries, and dates and results of physical exams, tests, screenings, and immunizations. It may also include information about medicines taken and about diet and exercise. Also called personal health record and personal medical history.

personal medical history    listen   (PER-suh-nul MEH-dih-kul HIH-stuh-ree)
A collection of information about a person’s health. It may include information about allergies, illnesses and surgeries, and dates and results of physical exams, tests, screenings, and immunizations. It may also include information about medicines taken and about diet and exercise. Also called personal health record and personal history.

personalized medicine    listen   (PER-suh-nuh-LIZED MEH-dih-sin)
A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. In cancer, personalized medicine uses specific information about a person’s tumor to help diagnose, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, or make a prognosis. Examples of personalized medicine include using targeted therapies to treat specific types of cancer cells, such as HER2-positive breast cancer cells, or using tumor marker testing to help diagnose cancer. Also called precision medicine.

perturbation    listen   (PER-ter-BAY-shun)
A disruption or disturbance.

pertussis    listen   (per-TUH-sis)
A serious bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes that spreads easily. Pertussis begins like a cold, but develops into severe coughing and gasping for air. Long spells of coughing may cause vomiting, and broken blood vessels in the eyes and on the skin. Also called whooping cough.

pertuzumab    listen   (per-TOO-zoo-mab)
A drug used with other drugs to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive. It is used in patients whose disease has spread to other parts of the body and has not been treated with anticancer drugs. It is also used before surgery in certain patients who are at high risk for their disease to recur (come back) or spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pertuzumab binds to HER2 on the surface of some cancer cells, and may kill them. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called Perjeta.

pesticide    listen   (PES-tih-side)
Any substance that is used to kill insects and other pests.

PET scan    listen   (… skan)
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is taken up. Because cancer cells often take up more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called positron emission tomography scan.

PET-CT scan    listen   (… skan)
A procedure that combines the pictures from a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan. The PET and CT scans are done at the same time with the same machine. The combined scans give more detailed pictures of areas inside the body than either scan gives by itself. A PET-CT scan may be used to help diagnose disease, such as cancer, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working. Also called positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan.

pet-facilitated therapy    listen   (…fuh-SIH-lih-tay-ted THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of therapy that uses dogs or other pets to improve the physical and mental health of patients with certain acute or chronic diseases. It is being studied as a way to relieve distress in cancer patients undergoing treatment for pain. Also called animal-assisted therapy.

petechiae    listen   (peh-TEE-kee-ee)
Pinpoint, unraised, round red spots under the skin caused by bleeding.

petrolatum    listen   (PEH-troh-LAY-tum)
A thick, greasy, substance with no odor or taste made from petroleum (mixture of oily liquids found in the earth). Petrolatum is used on the skin to prevent drying and to help heal scrapes and burns. It is also used as a base for some ointments. Also called petroleum jelly.

petroleum jelly    listen   (peh-TROH-lee-um …)
A thick, greasy, substance with no odor or taste made from petroleum (mixture of oily liquids found in the earth). Petroleum jelly is used on the skin to prevent drying and to help heal scrapes and burns. It is also used as a base for some ointments. Also called petrolatum.

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome    listen   (putz-JAY-gerz SIN-drome)
A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having Peutz-Jeghers syndrome increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal and many other types of cancer. Also called PJS.

PF-00299804      
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

PF-02341066      
A drug used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer that has a mutated (changed) form of a gene called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PF-02341066 blocks the protein made by the mutated ALK gene. Blocking this protein may stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. PF-02341066 may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called crizotinib, MET tyrosine kinase inhibitor PF-02341066, and Xalkori.

PF-3512676      
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called CpG 7909 and ProMune.

PFIC      
A rare, inherited disorder marked by a buildup in the liver of bile (fluid that helps digest fat). This can lead to liver disease and liver failure. It may also increase the risk of liver cancer. PFIC is caused by mutations (changes) in certain genes that make proteins needed to help the liver work the way it should. It usually occurs in infants and children. Also called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis.

PFS      
The length of time during and after the treatment of a disease, such as cancer, that a patient lives with the disease but it does not get worse. In a clinical trial, measuring the PFS is one way to see how well a new treatment works. Also called progression-free survival.

PFT      
A test used to measure how well the lungs work. It measures how much air the lungs can hold and how quickly air is moved into and out of the lungs. It also measures how much oxygen is used and how much carbon dioxide is given off during breathing. A PFT can be used to diagnose a lung disease and to see how well treatment for the disease is working. Also called lung function test and pulmonary function test.

PG      
One of several hormone-like substances made by the body. Different PGs control blood pressure, contraction of smooth muscles, and other processes within tissues where they are made. Certain PGs are being studied as cancer biomarkers. Also called prostaglandin.

PGE1      
A drug that is used to treat impotence (inability to have an erection) and is being studied in the treatment of sexual problems in men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. It is a type of vasodilator. Also called alprostadil and prostaglandin E1.

pH      
A measure of how acidic or basic a substance or solution is. pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. On this scale, a pH value of 7 is neutral, which means it is neither acidic nor basic. A pH value of less than 7 means it is more acidic, and a pH value of more than 7 means it is more basic. In medicine, having the right pH in the blood and other body fluids is important for the body to work the way it should.

PHA-739358      
A substance being studied in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. PHA-739358 may stop tumor growth by blocking certain enzymes needed for cancer cells to divide and causing them to die. It is a type of kinase inhibitor.

phagocyte    listen   (FA-goh-site)
A type of immune cell that can surround and kill microorganisms, ingest foreign material, and remove dead cells. It can also boost immune responses. Monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils are phagocytes. A phagocyte is a type of white blood cell.

phagocytosis    listen   (FA-goh-sy-TOH-sis)
The process by which a phagocyte (a type of white blood cell) surrounds and destroys foreign substances (such as bacteria) and removes dead cells.

phantom limb pain    listen   (FAN-tum lim payn)
The sensation of pain or other unpleasant feelings in the place of a missing (phantom) limb.

pharmacist    listen   (FAR-muh-sist)
A person licensed to prepare and dispense (give out) prescription drugs and who has been taught how they work, how to use them, and their side effects.

pharmacogenetics    listen   (FAR-muh-koh-jeh-NEH-tix)
The study of how a person’s genes affect the way he or she responds to drugs. Pharmacogenetics is being used to learn ahead of time what the best drug or the best dose of a drug will be for a person. Also called pharmacogenomics.

pharmacogenomics    listen   (FAR-muh-koh-jeh-NOH-mix)
The study of how a person’s genes affect the way he or she responds to drugs. Pharmacogenomics is being used to learn ahead of time what the best drug or the best dose of a drug will be for a person. Also called pharmacogenetics.

pharmacokinetics    listen   (FAR-muh-koh-kih-NEH-tix)
The activity of drugs in the body over a period of time, including the processes by which drugs are absorbed, distributed in the body, localized in the tissues, and excreted.

pharmacology    listen   (FAR-muh-KAH-loh-jee)
The study of the origin, chemistry, and uses of drugs and their effects on the body.

pharmacopoeia    listen   (FAR-muh-koh-PEE-uh)
A book describing chemicals, drugs, and other substances and how they are used as medicines. It is prepared by a recognized authority.

pharyngeal cancer    listen   (fuh-RIN-jee-ul KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). Pharyngeal cancer includes cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Cancer of the larynx (voice box) may also be included as a type of pharyngeal cancer. Most pharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells that look like fish scales). Also called throat cancer.

pharynx    listen   (FAYR-inx)
The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The pharynx is about 5 inches long, depending on body size. Also called throat.

phase I detoxification    listen   (fayz ... dee-TOK-sih-fih-KAY-shun)
A process in which the liver uses one of two major enzyme pathways to change a toxic substance, such as an anticancer drug, into a less toxic substance that is easier for the body to excrete.

phase I trial    listen   (fayz … TRY-ul)
The first step in testing a new treatment in humans. These studies test the best way to give a new treatment (for example, by mouth, intravenous infusion, or injection) and the best dose. The dose is usually increased a little at a time in order to find the highest dose that does not cause harmful side effects. Because little is known about the possible risks and benefits of the treatments being tested, phase I trials usually include only a small number of patients who have not been helped by other treatments.

phase I/II trial    listen   (fayz … TRY-ul)
A trial to study the safety, dosage levels, and response to a new treatment.

phase II detoxification    listen   (fayz ... dee-TOK-sih-fih-KAY-shun)
A process in which the liver uses one of two major enzyme pathways to change a toxic substance, such as an anticancer drug, into a less toxic substance that is easier for the body to excrete. In phase II detoxification, liver cells add a substance (such as cysteine, glycine, or a sulfur molecule) to a toxic chemical or drug, to make it less harmful.

phase II trial    listen   (fayz … TRY-ul)
A study to test whether a new treatment has an anticancer effect (for example, whether it shrinks a tumor or improves blood test results) and whether it works against a certain type of cancer.

phase II/III trial    listen   (fayz … TRY-ul)
A trial to study response to a new treatment and the effectiveness of the treatment compared with the standard treatment regimen.

phase III trial    listen   (fayz … TRY-ul)
A study to compare the results of people taking a new treatment with the results of people taking the standard treatment (for example, which group has better survival rates or fewer side effects). In most cases, studies move into phase III only after a treatment seems to work in phases I and II. Phase III trials may include hundreds of people.

phase IV trial    listen   (fayz … TRY-ul)
A type of clinical trial that studies the side effects of a treatment after it has been approved and is being marketed. These trials include thousands of people and look for side effects that were not seen in earlier trials. Also called post-marketing surveillance trial.

phenethyl isothiocyanate    listen   (feh-NEH-thul I-soh-THY-oh-SY-uh-nayt)
A substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables. Also called PEITC.

phenobarbital    listen   (FEE-noh-BAR-bih-tal)
A drug that is used to treat seizures and as a sedative. It is being studied in the treatment of diarrhea and for its ability to increase the antitumor effect of other therapies. It belongs to the family of drugs called barbiturates.

phenol    listen   (FEE-nol)
A very poisonous chemical substance made from tar and also found in some plants and essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants). Phenol is used to make plastics, nylon, epoxy, medicines, and to kill germs. Also called carbolic acid.

phenothiazine    listen   (FEE-noh-THY-uh-zeen)
A type of drug that is used to treat severe mental and emotional disorders, severe nausea and vomiting, and certain other conditions. It belongs to the families of drugs called antipsychotics and antiemetics.

phenoxodiol    listen   (fih-NOK-soh-DY-ol)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called signal transduction inhibitors.

phenylacetate    listen   (FEH-nil-A-seh-tayt)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

phenylbutyrate    listen   (FEH-nil-BYOO-tuh-rayt)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called differentiating agents.

phenylketonuria    listen   (FEH-nil-KEE-tone-yoor-ee-uh)
An inherited disorder that causes a build-up of phenylalanine (an amino acid) in the blood. This can cause mental retardation, behavioral and movement problems, seizures, and delayed development. Using a blood test, PKU can easily be found in newborns, and treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine. Also called PKU.

phenytoin sodium    listen   (FEH-nih-toh-in SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat or prevent seizures or convulsions that may be caused by epilepsy, brain surgery, or treatment for brain cancer. It is a type of anticonvulsant agent. Also called Dilantin.

pheochromocytoma    listen   (FEE-oh-KROH-moh-sy-TOH-muh)
Tumor that forms in the center of the adrenal gland (gland located above the kidney) that causes it to make too much adrenaline. Pheochromocytomas are usually benign (not cancer) but can cause high blood pressure, pounding headaches, heart palpitations, flushing of the face, nausea, and vomiting.

pheresis    listen   (feh-REE-sis)
A procedure in which blood is collected, part of the blood such as platelets or white blood cells is taken out, and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. Also called apheresis.

Philadelphia chromosome    listen   (FIH-luh-DEL-fee-uh KROH-muh-some)
An abnormality of chromosome 22 in which part of chromosome 9 is transferred to it. Bone marrow cells that contain the Philadelphia chromosome are often found in chronic myelogenous leukemia and sometimes found in acute lymphocytic leukemia.

philosophical    listen   (FIH-luh-SAH-fih-kul)
Having to do with the deeper questions of life and with a person’s basic beliefs, ideas, and attitudes.

phlebitis    listen   (fleh-BY-tis)
Inflammation (redness, swelling, pain, and heat) of a vein, usually in the legs. Phlebitis may be caused by infection, injury, or irritation.

phlebotomy    listen   (fleh-BAH-toh-mee)
The puncture of a vein with a needle for the purpose of drawing blood. Also called venipuncture.

phlegm    listen   (flem)
A more than normal amount of thick mucus made by the cells lining the upper airways and lungs. A buildup of phlegm may be caused by infection, irritation, or chronic lung disease, and can cause discomfort in the chest and coughing.

phobia    listen   (FOH-bee-uh)
An extreme, irrational, fear of something that may cause a person to panic. Examples of common phobias include fear of spiders, flying in an airplane, elevators, heights, enclosed rooms, crowded public places, and embarrassing oneself in front of other people.

phosphate    listen   (FOS-fayt)
A form of phosphoric acid, which contains phosphorus. In the body, phosphates are found in the bones and teeth. Phosphates may be used to treat a high level of calcium in the blood. Adding or removing phosphate chemical groups may affect the way proteins act in the body.

phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase    listen   (FOS-fuh-TY-duh-lih-NOH-sih-TOL-3 KY-nays)
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase. Also called PI3 kinase and PI3K.

phospholipid    listen   (FOS-foh-LIH-pid)
A lipid (fat) that contains phosphorus. Phospholipids are a major part of cell membranes.

phospholipid complex    listen   (FOS-foh-LIH-pid KOM-plex)
A chemical or drug that is attached to a lipid (fat) that contains phosphorus.

phosphonoformate trisodium    listen   (FOS-foh-noh-FOR-mayt try-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat infections with herpesviruses in people whose immune systems are weakened by AIDS. It blocks the viruses from making copies of themselves. It is a type of antiviral agent. Also called foscarnet sodium and Foscavir.

phosphoric    listen   (fos-FOR-ik)
Having to do with or containing the element phosphorus.

phosphoric acid    listen   (fos-FOR-ik A-sid)
An acid that contains phosphorus and is used in medicine and dentistry. It is also used to remove rust. A dilute form of phosphoric acid is used to flavor soft drinks.

phosphorus    listen   (FOS-for-us)
A nonmetallic element that is found in the blood, muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth and is a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the primary energy source for the body's cells).

phosphorus-32    listen   (FOS-for-us-32)
A radioactive form of phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer. It is also used to help locate areas of DNA damage.

phosphorylation    listen   (fos-FOR-ih-LAY-shun)
A process in which a phosphate group is added to a molecule, such as a sugar or a protein.

photoactivity    listen   (FOH-toh-ak-TIH-vih-tee)
The effect produced when certain substances are exposed to light. In cancer treatment, some drugs become active when exposed to light and are then able to kill tumor cells.

photocoagulation    listen   (FOH-toh-koh-A-gyuh-LAY-shun)
The use of an intense beam of light, such as a laser, to seal off blood vessels or destroy tissue. It is used to treat certain eye conditions, and may be used to destroy blood vessels that a tumor needs to grow.

photodynamic therapy    listen   (FOH-toh-dy-NA-mik THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with drugs that become active when exposed to light. These activated drugs may kill cancer cells.

Photofrin    listen   (FOH-toh-frin)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, Photofrin becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It is a type of photodynamic therapy agent. Also called porfimer sodium.

photon beam radiation therapy    listen   (FOH-ton beem RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy that uses x-rays or gamma rays that come from a special machine called a linear accelerator (linac). The radiation dose is delivered at the surface of the body and goes into the tumor and through the body. Photon beam radiation therapy is different from proton beam therapy.

photopheresis    listen   (FOH-toh-feh-REE-sis)
A procedure in which blood is removed from the body and treated with ultraviolet light and drugs that become active when exposed to light. The blood is then returned to the body. It is being studied in the treatment of some blood and bone marrow diseases and graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Also called extracorporeal photopheresis.

photophobia    listen   (FOH-toh-FOH-bee-uh)
A condition in which the eyes are more sensitive than normal to light.

photosensitizer    listen   (FOH-toh-SEN-sih-ty-zer)
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Also called photosensitizing agent.

photosensitizing agent    listen   (FOH-toh-SEN-sih-ty-zing AY-jent)
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Also called photosensitizer.

photosynthesis    listen   (FOH-toh-SIN-theh-sis)
A chemical process that occurs in plants, algae, and some types of bacteria, when they are exposed to sunlight. During photosynthesis, water and carbon dioxide combine to form carbohydrates (sugars) and give off oxygen. Photosynthesis is needed for animal and plant life.

phototesting    listen   (FOH-toh-TES-ting)
Special tests used to measure the reaction of the skin to ultraviolet radiation. Phototesting is being used to see if drugs taken by mouth to treat cancer make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation.

phototherapy    listen   (FOH-toh-THAYR-uh-pee)
The treatment of disease with certain types of light. Phototherapy can use lasers, LED, fluorescent lamps, and ultraviolet or infrared radiation. Also called light therapy.

phototoxicity    listen   (FOH-toh-tok-SIH-sih-tee)
A condition in which the skin or eyes become very sensitive to sunlight or other forms of light. It can be caused by taking certain drugs, or rubbing certain essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants) or other topical agents into the skin. Phototoxicity causes sunburn, blisters, and other skin problems.

PHP      
A rare condition in which the pituitary gland stops making most or all hormones. Pituitary hormones help control the way many parts of the body work. Symptoms of the condition depend on the hormones that are missing. They include growth problems (in children), obesity (in adults), hair loss, slow heart rate, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, fatigue, and problems with reproduction. This condition may be caused by a tumor on or near the pituitary gland, infection, stroke, injury, surgery, or radiation therapy. It may also be inherited. Also called panhypopituitarism.

phrenic nerve    listen   (FREH-nik nerv)
A nerve that runs from the spinal cord to the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen). It causes the diaphragm to contract and relax, which helps control breathing.

phyllodes tumor    listen   (fih-LOH-deez TOO-mer)
A type of tumor found in breast or prostate tissue. It is often large and bulky and grows quickly. It may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) and may spread to other parts of the body. Also called CSP and cystosarcoma phyllodes.

physiatrist    listen   (fih-ZY-uh-trist)
A doctor who specializes in physical medicine (the prevention and treatment of disease or injury with physical methods, such as exercise and machines). Also called physical medicine specialist.

physical dependence    listen   (FIH-zih-kul dee-PEN-dents)
A condition in which a person takes a drug over time, and unpleasant physical symptoms occur if the drug is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses.

physical examination    listen   (FIH-zih-kul eg-ZA-mih-NAY-shun)
An exam of the body to check for general signs of disease.

physical medicine specialist    listen   (FIH-zih-kul MEH-dih-sin SPEH-shuh-list)
A doctor who specializes in physical medicine (the prevention and treatment of disease or injury with physical methods, such as exercise and machines). Also called physiatrist.

physical therapist    listen   (FIH-zih-kul THAYR-uh-pist)
A health professional trained to evaluate and treat people who have conditions or injuries that limit their ability to move and do physical activities. Physical therapists use methods such as exercise, massage, hot packs, ice, and electrical stimulation to help strengthen muscles, relieve pain, and improve movement. They also teach exercises to help prevent injury and loss of motion.

physical therapy    listen   (FIH-zih-kul THAYR-uh-pee)
The use of exercises and physical activities to help condition muscles and restore strength and movement. For example, physical therapy can be used to restore arm and shoulder movement and build back strength after breast cancer surgery.

physical touch methods    listen   (FIH-zih-kul tuch MEH-thuds)
A type of therapy in which the therapist moves or manipulates one or more parts of the patient’s body. It may be used to treat pain, stress, anxiety, and depression, and for general well-being. Examples include chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Also called manipulative and body-based practice and manual healing.

physician    listen   (fih-ZIH-shun)
Medical doctor.

physician assistant    listen   (fih-ZIH-shun uh-SIS-tunt)
A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a doctor. A physician assistant may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds, and give injections and immunizations. Also called PA.

Physician Data Query    listen   (fih-ZIH-shun DAY-tuh KWEER-ee)
Physician Data Query is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute. Designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public, Physician Data Query contains peer-reviewed summaries on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, complementary and alternative medicine, and supportive care; a registry of cancer clinical trials from around the world; and directories of physicians, professionals who provide genetics services, and organizations that provide cancer care. Most of this information, and more specific information about Physician Data Query, can be found on the NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq. Also called PDQ.

physiologic    listen   (FIH-zee-uh-LAH-jik)
Having to do with the functions of the body. When used in the phrase "physiologic age," it refers to an age assigned by general health, as opposed to calendar age.

phytic acid    listen   (FY-tik A-sid)
A substance found in many foods that come from plants, including corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans, and in large amounts in cereals and legumes. It is being studied in the prevention of cancer. Also called inositol hexaphosphate and IP6.

phytochemical    listen   (FY-toh-KEH-mih-kul)
A substance found in plants. Some phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cancer.

phytoestrogen    listen   (FY-toh-ES-truh-jin)
An estrogen-like substance found in some plants and plant products. Phytoestrogens may have anticancer effects.

phytohemagglutinin    listen   (FY-toh-HEE-muh-GLOO-tih-nin)
A substance found in plants that causes red blood cells to clump together and certain white blood cells to divide.

phytol    listen   (FY-tol)
A chemical substance that comes from plants and is used to make vitamins E and K. Phytol is also found in soaps, beauty care products, and household products.

phytosterol    listen   (FY-toh-STEER-ol)
A plant-based compound that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. Phytosterols may have some effect in cancer prevention. Also called plant sterol.

PI      
The person(s) in charge of a clinical trial or a scientific research grant. The PI prepares and carries out the clinical trial protocol (plan for the study) or research paid for by the grant. The PI also analyzes the data and reports the results of the trial or grant research. Also called principal investigator.

PI-88      
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiangiogenesis agents.

PI3 kinase    listen   (... KY-nays)
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of PI3 kinase. Also called phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase and PI3K.

PI3K      
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of PI3K. Also called phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase and PI3 kinase.

PICC    listen  
A thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein near the heart called the vena cava. It is used to give intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy and other drugs, and for taking blood samples. It avoids the need for repeated needle sticks. It is a type of central venous access device. Also called peripherally inserted central catheter.

PID      
A condition in which the female reproductive organs are inflamed. It may affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and certain ligaments. PID is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It may cause infertility and an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tubes). Also called pelvic inflammatory disease.

pigment    listen   (PIG-ment)
A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the color of skin, eyes, and hair.

pilocarpine    listen   (PY-loh-KAR-peen)
A drug used to increase salivation in people who have dry mouth caused by opioids or radiation therapy. Pilocarpine belongs to the family of drugs called alkaloids.

pilocytic    listen   (PY-loh-SIH-tik)
Made up of cells that look like fibers when viewed under a microscope.

pilot study    listen   (PY-lut STUH-dee)
The initial study examining a new method or treatment.

PIN    listen  
Noncancerous growth of cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the prostate gland. Having high-grade PIN may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Also called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia.

pineal body    listen   (PIH-nee-ul BAH-dee)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal gland and pineal organ.

pineal germinoma    listen   (PIH-nee-ul JER-mih-noh-muh)
A type of germ cell tumor that is found in the pineal gland in the brain. Symptoms of pineal germinomas include headaches, changes in vision, nausea, and vomiting.

pineal gland    listen   (PIH-nee-ul ...)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body and pineal organ.

pineal organ    listen   (PIH-nee-ul OR-gun)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body and pineal gland.

pineal region tumor    listen   (PIH-nee-ul REE-jun TOO-mer)
A type of brain tumor that forms in or around the pineal gland (a tiny organ near the center of the brain). Pineal region tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They include pineocytomas, pineoblastomas, and pineal germinomas. Also called pinealoma.

pinealoma    listen   (PIH-nee-uh-LOH-muh)
A type of brain tumor that forms in or around the pineal gland (a tiny organ near the center of the brain). Pinealomas may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They include pineocytomas, pineoblastomas, and pineal germinomas. Also called pineal region tumor.

pineoblastoma    listen   (PIH-nee-oh-blas-TOH-muh)
A fast growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.

pineocytoma    listen   (PIH-nee-oh-sy-TOH-muh)
A slow growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.

pinkeye    listen   (PINK-i)
A condition in which the conjunctiva (membranes lining the eyelids and covering the white part of the eye) become inflamed or infected. Also called conjunctivitis.

pioglitazone    listen   (py-oh-GLIH-tuh-zone)
A drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes and is being studied in the prevention of head and neck cancer. It may be able to stop leukoplakia (a condition affecting the mouth ) from developing into cancer. It is a type of thiazolidinedione. Also called Actos.

pipe      
As it relates to tobacco use, a device that has a mouthpiece at one end of a tube and a small bowl at the other end that is filled with tobacco, which is lit and smoked. The smoke from a pipe is usually not inhaled into the lungs. It contains nicotine and many cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Pipe smoking can lead to nicotine addiction and can cause cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus, lung, pancreas, and bladder. It can also cause heart disease, lung disease, and other health problems.

piperacillin-tazobactam    listen   (py-PER-uh-SIH-lin-TA-zoh-BAK-tam)
A drug combination that is used to treat infection in people with cancer. Piperacillin is a synthetic penicillin; tazobactam enhances the effectiveness of piperacillin.

pirfenidone    listen   (peer-FEH-nih-done)
A substance that is being studied in the prevention and treatment of scar tissue caused by radiation therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called anti-inflammatory agents.

Piritrexim    listen   (peer-ee-TREK-sim)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called folate antagonists.

pituitary gland    listen   (pih-TOO-ih-TAYR-ee...)
A pea-sized organ attached to the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. It lies at the base of the brain above the back of the nose. The hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland, which then makes hormones that control other glands and many of the body’s functions, including growth.

pituitary tumor    listen   (pih-TOO-ih-TAYR-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a pea-sized organ at the base of the brain. It makes hormones that affect other glands and many of the body’s functions, including growth. Symptoms depend on the hormones affected by the tumor. Most pituitary tumors are benign (not cancer) and many do not cause any symptoms.

pixantrone    listen   (PIK-san-trone)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. Also called BBR 2778.

PJS      
A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having PJS increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal and many other types of cancer. Also called Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.

PKC      
An enzyme found throughout the body's tissues and organs. Several forms of PKC are involved in many cellular functions. PKC is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called protein kinase C.

PKC412      
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of leukemia. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein kinase inhibitors. Also called midostaurin and N-benzoyl-staurosporine.

PKU      
An inherited disorder that causes a build-up of phenylalanine (an amino acid) in the blood. This can cause mental retardation, behavioral and movement problems, seizures, and delayed development. Using a blood test, PKU can easily be found in newborns, and treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine. Also called phenylketonuria.

placebo    listen   (pluh-SEE-boh)
An inactive substance or treatment that looks the same as, and is given the same way as, an active drug or treatment being tested. The effects of the active drug or treatment are compared to the effects of the placebo.

placebo therapy    listen   (pluh-SEE-boh THAYR-uh-pee)
An inactive treatment or procedure that is intended to mimic as closely as possible a therapy in a clinical trial. Also called sham therapy.

placebo-controlled    listen   (pluh-SEE-boh-kun-TROLD)
Refers to a clinical study in which the control patients receive a placebo.

placenta    listen   (pluh-SEN-tuh)
The organ that nourishes the developing fetus in the uterus.

placental blood transplantation    listen   (pluh-SEN-tul blud tranz-plan-TAY-shun)
The transfer of blood from a placenta to an individual whose own blood production system is suppressed. Placental blood contains high levels of stem cells needed to produce new blood cells. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and severe blood disorders such as aplastic anemia.

Plan B    listen   (plan …)
A form of the hormone progesterone that is made in the laboratory and used to prevent pregnancy. It is being studied in the prevention of ovarian and endometrial cancer, and in the treatment of other conditions. Plan B is a type of oral contraceptive. Also called L-norgestrel and levonorgestrel.

plant sterol    listen   (... STEER-ol)
A plant-based compound that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. Plant sterols may have some effect in cancer prevention. Also called phytosterol.

plaque    listen   (plak)
In medicine, a small, abnormal patch of tissue on a body part or an organ. Plaques may also be a build-up of substances from a fluid, such as cholesterol in the blood vessels.

plaque radiotherapy    listen   (plak RAY-dee-oh-THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy used to treat eye tumors. A thin piece of metal (usually gold) with radioactive seeds placed on one side is sewn onto the outside wall of the eye with the seeds aimed at the tumor. It is removed at the end of treatment, which usually lasts for several days

plasma    listen   (PLAZ-muh)
The clear, yellowish, fluid part of the blood that carries the blood cells. The proteins that form blood clots are in plasma.

plasma cell    listen   (PLAZ-muh sel)
A type of immune cell that makes large amounts of a specific antibody. Plasma cells develop from B cells that have been activated. A plasma cell is a type of white blood cell. Also called plasmacyte.

plasma cell myeloma    listen   (PLAZ-muh sel MY-eh-LOH-muh)
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Also called Kahler disease, multiple myeloma, and myelomatosis.

plasma cell tumor    listen   (PLAZ-muh sel TOO-mer)
A tumor that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and plasmacytoma are types of plasma cell tumors.

plasma membrane    listen   (PLAZ-muh MEM-brayn)
The outer membrane of a cell.

plasmacyte    listen   (PLAZ-muh-site)
A type of immune cell that makes large amounts of a specific antibody. Plasmacytes develop from B cells that have been activated. A plasmacyte is a type of white blood cell. Also called plasma cell.

plasmacytic    listen   (PLAZ-muh-SIH-tik)
Having to do with plasma cells (a type of white blood cells).

plasmacytoma    listen   (PLAZ-muh-sy-TOH-muh)
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). A plasmacytoma may turn into multiple myeloma.

plasmapheresis    listen   (PLAZ-muh-feh-REE-sis)
The process of separating certain cells from the plasma in the blood by a machine; only the cells are returned to the person. Plasmapheresis can be used to remove excess antibodies from the blood.

plastic surgeon    listen   (PLAS-tik SER-jun)
A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may occur as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment for diseases.

plastic surgery    listen   (PLAS-tik SER-juh-ree)
An operation that restores or improves the appearance of body structures.

platelet    listen   (PLAYT-let)
A tiny piece of cell that is made by breaking off of a large cell in the bone marrow. Platelets are found in the blood and spleen. They help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding, and to help wounds heal. Also called thrombocyte.

platelet-derived growth factor    listen   (PLAYT-let-deh-RIVED grothe FAK-ter)
A family of molecules released from platelets (tiny pieces of cells that are found in the blood and that help the blood clot). Forms of platelet-derived growth factor help to heal wounds and to repair damage to blood vessel walls. They also help blood vessels grow. Also called PDGF.

Platinol    listen   (PLA-tih-nol)
A drug used to treat malignant mesothelioma, non-small cell lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and cancers of the bladder, cervix, ovaries, and testes. It is used in patients whose cancer cannot be treated with or has not gotten better with other anticancer treatment. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Platinol contains the metal platinum. It kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA and stopping them from dividing. It is a type of DNA crosslinking agent. Also called cisplatin and Platinol-AQ.

Platinol-AQ    listen   (PLA-tih-nol...)
A drug used to treat malignant mesothelioma, non-small cell lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and cancers of the bladder, cervix, ovaries, and testes. It is used in patients whose cancer cannot be treated with or has not gotten better with other anticancer treatment. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Platinol-AQ contains the metal platinum. It kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA and stopping them from dividing. It is a type of DNA crosslinking agent. Also called cisplatin and Platinol.

platinum    listen   (PLA-tih-num)
A metal that is an important component of some anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.

Plenaxis    listen   (pleh-NAK-sis)
A drug used to reduce the amount of testosterone made in patients with advanced symptomatic prostate cancer for which no other treatment options are available. It belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. Also called abarelix.

pleomorphic    listen   (PLEE-oh-MOR-fik)
Occurring in various distinct forms. In terms of cells, having variation in the size and shape of cells or their nuclei.

plerixafor    listen   (pleh-RIK-suh-for)
A drug used before autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple myeloma. Plerixafor is given together with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) to help move stem cells from the bone marrow to the blood. The stem cells can then be collected, stored, and given back to the patient. Plerixafor is a type of chemokine receptor antagonist. Also called AMD 3100 and Mozobil.

pleura    listen   (PLOOR-uh)
A thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity. It protects and cushions the lungs. This tissue secretes a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly in the chest cavity while breathing.

pleural cavity    listen   (PLOOR-ul KA-vuh-tee)
The space enclosed by the pleura, which is a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity.

pleural effusion    listen   (PLOOR-ul eh-FYOO-zhun)
An abnormal collection of fluid between the thin layers of tissue (pleura) lining the lung and the wall of the chest cavity.

pleurectomy    listen   (ploo-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of the pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the interior wall of the chest cavity).

pleurodesis    listen   (PLOOR-oh-DEE-sis)
A medical procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to cause inflammation and adhesion between the layers of the pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity). This prevents the buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity. It is used as a treatment for severe pleural effusion.

pleuropulmonary blastoma    listen   (ploor-oh-PUL-muh-NAYR-ee blas-TOH-muh)
A rare and very aggressive (fast-growing) cancer that forms in tissues of the lung and pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity). Pleuropulmonary blastoma is most common in children.

plexiform fibrohistiocytic tumor    listen   (PLEK-sih-form FY-broh-HIS-tee-oh-SIH-tik TOO-mer)
A rare tumor found mainly in children and young adults. It usually forms in the skin on the arms and legs. It is slow-growing and usually does not spread to other parts of the body. It is a type of soft tissue tumor.

plexiform neurofibroma    listen   (PLEK-sih-form NOOR-oh-fy-BROH-muh)
A nerve that has become thick and misshapen due to the abnormal growth of cells and tissues that cover the nerve.

plexopathy    listen   (plek-SAH-puh-thee)
A disorder affecting a network of nerves, blood vessels, or lymph vessels.

plicamycin    listen   (PLY-kuh-MY-sin)
A drug used to treat some types of testicular cancer. It is also used to treat a higher-than-normal amounts of calcium in the blood or urine. Plicamycin binds to DNA and prevents cells from making RNA and proteins. It is a type of antineoplastic antibiotic. Also called Mithracin and mithramycin.

PLL      
A type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in which too many immature white blood cells (prolymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. PLL usually progresses more rapidly than classic CLL. Also called prolymphocytic leukemia.

ploidy    listen   (PLOY-dee)
The number of sets of chromosomes in a cell or an organism. For example, haploid means one set and diploid means two sets.

Plummer-Vinson syndrome    listen   (PLUH-mer-VIN-sun SIN-drome)
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having Plummer-Vinson syndrome may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Paterson-Kelly syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.

pluripotent    listen   (ploo-RIH-puh-tent)
Able to mature or develop in any of several ways.

pluripotent stem cell    listen   (ploo-RIH-puh-tent ...)
A cell that is able to develop into many different types of cells or tissues in the body.

PLX4032      
A drug used to treat advanced melanoma that has a mutated (changed) form of a cell protein called BRAF. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PLX4032 blocks this mutated protein, which may stop the growth of cancer cells. It is a type of kinase inhibitor and a type of targeted therapy agent. Also called BRAF (V600E) kinase inhibitor RO5185426, RG7204, vemurafenib, and Zelboraf.

pM-81      
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the detection and treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.

PMN      
A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during infections, allergic reactions, and asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are PMNs. A PMN is a type of white blood cell. Also called granular leukocyte, granulocyte, and polymorphonuclear leukocyte.

PN401      
A substance that is being studied for its ability to protect against the gastrointestinal side effects caused by fluorouracil. It belongs to the family of drugs called cytoprotective agents. Also called triacetyluridine.

PNET    listen  
One of a group of cancers that develop from the same type of early cells, and share certain biochemical and genetic features. Some PNETs develop in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), and others develop in sites outside of the brain such as the limbs, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET). Also called primitive neuroectodermal tumor.

pneumatic larynx    listen   (noo-MA-tik LAYR-inx)
A device that is used to help a person talk after a laryngectomy. It uses air to produce a humming sound, which is converted to speech by movement of the lips, tongue, or glottis.

pneumonectomy    listen   (NOO-moh-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all of one lung. In a partial pneumonectomy, one or more lobes of a lung are removed.

pneumonia    listen   (noo-MOH-nyuh)
A severe inflammation of the lungs in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are filled with fluid. This may cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen that blood can absorb from air breathed into the lung. Pneumonia is usually caused by infection but may also be caused by radiation therapy, allergy, or irritation of lung tissue by inhaled substances. It may involve part or all of the lungs.

pneumonitis    listen   (NOO-moh-NY-tis)
Inflammation of the lungs. This may be caused by disease, infection, radiation therapy, allergy, or irritation of lung tissue by inhaled substances.

PNH      
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. A rare disorder in which red blood cells are easily destroyed by certain immune system proteins. Symptoms include blood clots, and red or brownish urine in the morning. Aplastic anemia (decreased production of blood cells) may lead to PNH, and people with this disorder are at increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia. Also called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.

PNU 166148      
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.

PNU-93914      
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. It may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. PNU-93914 blocks the ability of cells to divide and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called LEP-ETU, liposomal paclitaxel, LipoTaxen, and paclitaxel liposome.

podiatrist    listen   (puh-DY-uh-trist)
A doctor who specializes in the care of the foot and ankle.

polifeprosan 20 carmustine implant    listen   (PAH-lee-FEH-proh-san … kar-MUS-teen IM-plant)
A biodegradable wafer that is used to deliver the anticancer drug carmustine directly into a brain tumor site after the tumor has been removed by surgery. Also called carmustine implant and Gliadel Wafer.

poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase    listen   (PAH-lee (... RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-rays)
A type of enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. Inhibitors of one enzyme, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1, are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PARP.

poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor    listen   (PAH-lee (... RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-rays in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. It may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of targeted therapy. Also called PARP inhibitor.

poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1    listen   (PAH-lee(… RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-rays-1)
An enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. Inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PARP-1.

poly-ICLC    listen   (PAH-lee ...)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer and for its ability to stimulate the immune system. It is made in the laboratory by combining the nucleic acid RNA with the chemicals poly-L-lysine and carboxymethyl cellulose.

polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon    listen   (pah-lee-SY-klik AYR-oh-MA-tik HY-droh-KAR-bun)
A type of chemical formed when coal, oil, gas, garbage, tobacco, meat, and other substances are burned. These chemicals are also made for use in many products, including coal tar, creosote, roofing tar, pesticides, mothballs, dandruff shampoos, and some medicines. Being exposed to one of these chemicals over a long time may cause cancer. Also called PAH.

polycystic ovary syndrome    listen   (PAH-lee-SIS-tik OH-vuh-ree SIN-drome)
A condition marked by infertility, enlarged ovaries, menstrual problems, high levels of male hormones, excess hair on the face and body, acne, and obesity. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and endometrial cancer. Also called PCOS.

polycythemia vera    listen   (PAH-lee-sy-THEE-mee-uh VAYR-uh)
A disease in which there are too many red blood cells in the bone marrow and blood, causing the blood to thicken. The number of white blood cells and platelets may also increase. The extra blood cells may collect in the spleen and cause it to become enlarged. They may also cause bleeding problems and make clots form in blood vessels.

polyethylene glycol    listen   (PAH-lee-EH-thih-leen GLY-kol)
A polymer made by joining molecules of ethylene oxide and water together in a repeating pattern. Polyethylene glycol can be a liquid or a waxy solid. In medicine, forms of polyethylene glycol can be used in ointments, in drugs or substances to make them stay in the body longer, or in laxatives. Also called PEG.

polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor    listen   (PAH-lee-EH-thih-leen gly-KAH-sih-lay-ted ree-KOM-bih-nunt HYOO-mun MEH-guh-KAYR-ee-oh-site …)
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. Polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-MGDF and PEG-rhMGDF.

polyglutamate camptothecin    listen   (PAH-lee-GLOO-tuh-mayt KAMP-toh-THEK-in)
A form of the anticancer drug camptothecin that may have fewer side effects and work better than camptothecin. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of DNA topoisomerase inhibitor. Also called CT-2106.

polymer    listen   (PAH-lih-mer)
A molecule made up of small identical molecules called monomers. The monomers are joined together in a repeating pattern.

polymerase chain reaction    listen   (puh-LIH-meh-rays chayn ree-AK-shun)
A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific DNA sequence. Also called PCR.

polymeric enteral nutrition formula    listen   (PAH-lih-MAYR-ik EN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun FOR-myoo-luh)
A nutritional drink that may help people who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be taken by mouth or given through a small tube inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a small tube that is put into the stomach or intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. One example of a polymeric enteral nutrition formula is Ensure. Polymeric enteral nutrition formula is a type of dietary supplement.

polymorphism    listen   (PAH-lee-MOR-fih-zum)
A common change in the genetic code in DNA. Polymorphisms can have a harmful effect, a good effect, or no effect. Some polymorphisms have been shown to increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

polymorphonuclear leukocyte    listen   (PAH-lee-MOR-foh-NOO-klee-er LOO-koh-site)
A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during infections, allergic reactions, and asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are polymorphonuclear leukocytes. A polymorphonuclear leukocyte is a type of white blood cell. Also called granular leukocyte, granulocyte, and PMN.

polymyositis    listen   (PAH-lee-MY-oh-SY-tis)
An inflammatory disease of the muscles closest to the center of the body. It causes weakness, inability to stand, climb stairs, lift, or reach. It may also cause muscle pain and difficulty swallowing, and may affect the lungs and heart. Having polymyositis increases the risk of certain types of cancer.

polyneuritis    listen   (PAH-lee-noo-RY-tis)
Inflammation of several peripheral nerves at the same time.

polyp    listen   (PAH-lip)
A growth that protrudes from a mucous membrane.

polypectomy    listen   (PAH-lee-PEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove a polyp.

polypeptide    listen   (PAH-lee PEP-tide)
A substance that contains many amino acids (the molecules that join together to form proteins).

polyphenol    listen   (PAH-lee-FEE-nol)
A substance that is found in many plants and gives some flowers, fruits, and vegetables their color. Polyphenols have antioxidant activity.

Polyphenon E    listen   (PAH-lee-FEE-nun ...)
A mixture that is prepared from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It contains substances called catechins, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by certain chemicals that may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Polyphenon E is being studied in the prevention of cancer and other diseases. It is a trademarked product of Mitsui Norin Co., Ltd.

polyposis    listen   (PAH-lee-POH-sis)
The development of numerous polyps (growths that protrude from a mucous membrane).

polysaccharide    listen   (PAH-lee-SA-kuh-ride)
A large carbohydrate molecule. It contains many small sugar molecules that are joined chemically. Also called glycan.

polysomnogram    listen   (PAH-lee-SOM-noh-gram)
A group of recordings taken during sleep that shows brain wave changes, eye movements, breathing rate, blood pressure, heart rate, and the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles. A polysomnogram may be used to help diagnose sleep disorders.

polyvinylpyrrolidone-sodium hyaluronate gel    listen   (PAH-lee-VY-nil-py-RAH-lih-done-SOH-dee-um HY-uh-LOO-roh-nayt …)
A gel used to lessen pain from mouth sores caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, oral surgery, braces, or disease. Polyvinylpyrrolidone-sodium hyaluronate gel is being studied in the treatment of pain caused by mouth sores in children receiving cancer treatment. It forms a thin layer over the surface of the mouth and throat to prevent irritation while eating, drinking, and talking. Also called Gelclair.

pomalidomide    listen   (PAH-muh-LIH-doh-mide)
A drug that is a form of thalidomide, and is used to treat multiple myeloma that has not gotten better with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pomalidomide may help the immune system kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of immunomodulating agent and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CC-4047 and Pomalyst.

Pomalyst    listen   (PAH-muh-list)
A drug that is a form of thalidomide, and is used to treat multiple myeloma that has not gotten better with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pomalyst may help the immune system kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of immunomodulating agent and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CC-4047 and pomalidomide.

pomegranate    listen   (PAH-meh-GRA-nut)
A subtropical shrub or tree. Juice from the fruit may contain substances that decrease or slow the rise of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. It is being studied for its ability to delay or prevent recurrent prostate cancer. The scientific name is Punica granatum.

ponatinib hydrochloride    listen   (poh-NA-tih-nib HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is used in patients who are not able to take or have not gotten better after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Ponatinib hydrochloride blocks BCR-ABL and other proteins, which may help keep cancer cells from growing and may kill them. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of angiogenesis inhibitor. Also called Iclusig.

pons    listen   (ponz)
Part of the central nervous system, located at the base of the brain, between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain. It is part of the brainstem.

pontine    listen   (PON-teen)
Having to do with the pons (part of the central nervous system, located at the base of the brain, between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain).

population study    listen   (PAH-pyoo-LAY-shun STUH-dee)
A study of a group of individuals taken from the general population who share a common characteristic, such as age, sex, or health condition. This group may be studied for different reasons, such as their response to a drug or risk of getting a disease.

porcine    listen   (POR-sine)
Having to do with or coming from pigs.

porfimer sodium    listen   (POR-fih-mer SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, porfimer sodium becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It is a type of photodynamic therapy agent. Also called Photofrin.

porfiromycin    listen   (POR-fih-roh-MY-sin)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticancer antibiotics.

port    listen   (port)
An implanted device through which blood may be withdrawn and drugs may be infused without repeated needle sticks. Also called port-a-cath.

port-a-cath    listen   (port-uh-cath)
An implanted device through which blood may be withdrawn and drugs may be infused without repeated needle sticks. Also called port.

portal hypertension    listen   (POR-tul HY-per-TEN-shun)
High blood pressure in the vein that carries blood to the liver from the stomach, small and large intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. It is usually caused by a block in the blood flow through the liver due to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.

portal vein    listen   (POR-tul vayn)
A blood vessel that carries blood to the liver from the intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. Also called hepatic portal vein.

positive axillary lymph node    listen   (PAH-zih-tiv AK-suh-LAYR-ee limf ...)
A lymph node in the area of the armpit (axilla) to which cancer has spread. This spread is determined by surgically removing some of the lymph nodes and examining them under a microscope to see whether cancer cells are present.

positive test result    listen   (PAH-zih-tiv ... reh-ZULT)
A test result that shows that a person has the disease, condition, or biomarker for which the test is being done. A positive test result usually means that the test result is not normal. More testing may be needed to make a diagnosis or to make sure a positive test result is correct.

positron emission tomography scan    listen   (PAH-zih-tron ee-MIH-shun toh-MAH-gruh-fee skan)
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is taken up. Because cancer cells often take up more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called PET scan.

positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan    listen   (PAH-zih-tron ee-MIH-shun toh-MAH-gruh-fee-kum-PYOO-ted-toh-MAH-gruh-fee skan)
A procedure that combines the pictures from a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan. The PET and CT scans are done at the same time with the same machine. The combined scans give more detailed pictures of areas inside the body than either scan gives by itself. A positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan may be used to help diagnose disease, such as cancer, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working. Also called PET-CT scan.

post-marketing surveillance trial    listen   (post-MAR-keh-ting ser-VAY-lents TRY-ul)
A type of clinical trial that studies the side effects of a treatment after it has been approved and is being marketed. These trials include thousands of people and look for side effects that were not seen in earlier trials. Also called phase IV trial.

post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder    listen   (post-TRANZ-plant LIM-foh-proh-LIH-feh-ruh-tiv dis-OR-der)
A condition in which a group of B-cells grow out of control after an organ transplant in patients with weakened immune systems. This usually happens if the patient has also been infected with Epstein-Barr virus. Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder may progress to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Also called PTLD.

post-traumatic stress disorder    listen   (post-traw-MA-tik stres dis-OR-der)
An anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events. Having cancer may also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms interfere with day-to-day living and include reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks; avoiding people, places, and things connected to the event; feeling alone and losing interest in daily activities; and having trouble concentrating and sleeping. Also called PTSD.

posterior    listen   (pos-TEER-ee-er)
In human anatomy, has to do with the back of a structure, or a structure found toward the back of the body.

posterior pelvic exenteration    listen   (pos-TEER-ee-er PEL-vik eg-ZEN-teh-RAY-shun)
Surgery to remove the lower part of the bowel, rectum, uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and vagina. Pelvic lymph nodes may also be removed.

posterior urethral cancer    listen   (pos-TEER-ee-er yoo-REE-thrul KAN-ser)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the part of the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) that connects to the bladder (the organ that stores urine).

postmenopausal    listen   (post-MEH-nuh-PAW-zul)
Having to do with the time after menopause. Menopause (“change of life”) is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods stop permanently.

postmortem    listen   (post-MOR-tem)
After death. Often used to describe an autopsy.

postoperative    listen   (post-AH-pruh-tiv)
After surgery.

postprandial    listen   (post-PRAN-dee-ul)
After a meal.

postremission therapy    listen   (post-reh-MIH-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment that is given after cancer has disappeared following the initial therapy. Postremission therapy is used to kill any cancer cells that may be left in the body. It may include radiation therapy, a stem cell transplant, or treatment with drugs that kill cancer cells. Also called consolidation therapy and intensification therapy.

potassium    listen   (puh-TA-see-um)
A metallic element that is important in body functions such as regulation of blood pressure and of water content in cells, transmission of nerve impulses, digestion, muscle contraction, and heartbeat.

potassium hydroxide    listen   (puh-TA-see-um hy-DROK-side)
A toxic and highly corrosive chemical used to make soap, in bleaching, and as a paint remover. It is used in small amounts as a food additive and in the preparation of some drugs.

potentiation    listen   (poh-TEN-shee-AY-shun)
In medicine, the effect of increasing the potency or effectiveness of a drug or other treatment.

power of attorney    listen   (POW-er ... uh-TER-nee)
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person (such as a relative, lawyer, or friend) the authority to make legal, medical, or financial decisions for another person. It may go into effect right away, or when that person is no longer able to make decisions for himself or herself.

PP      
A small protein made by the pancreas that helps control the release of other substances made by the pancreas. The amount of PP in the blood increases after a person eats. It may also increase with age, and in certain diseases, such as diabetes and pancreatic cancer. Also called pancreatic polypeptide.

PPAR gamma pathway    listen   (… GA-muh PATH-way)
Describes a group of proteins in a cell that work together to help control how certain genes are expressed and the use of lipids (fats) and glucose (sugar) in the body. Changes in the PPAR gamma pathway may lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Drugs or substances that affect this pathway are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases. Also called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma pathway.

PPI      
A substance used to treat certain disorders of the stomach and intestines, such as heartburn and ulcers. PPIs block the actions of an enzyme in the stomach and reduce the amount of acid made in the stomach. Also called proton pump inhibitor.

pPNET      
A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called Ewing sarcoma and peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor.

PR      
A protein found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue, some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone progesterone will bind to the receptors inside the cells and may cause the cells to grow. Also called progesterone receptor.

PR+    listen  
Describes cells that have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are PR+ need progesterone to grow and will usually stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding. Also called progesterone receptor positive.

PR-    listen  
Describes cells that do not have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are PR- do not need progesterone to grow, and usually do not stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding. Also called progesterone receptor negative.

PR-104      
A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. PR-104 becomes active when cancer cells don’t receive enough oxygen. It may kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA.

practitioner    listen   (prak-TIH-shuh-ner)
A person who works in a specific profession. For example, a doctor or nurse is a healthcare practitioner.

pralatrexate    listen   (PRA-luh-TREK-sayt)
A drug used in the treatment of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (a fast-growing form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pralatrexate may block the growth of cancer cells and cause them to die. It is a type of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitor. Also called FOLOTYN.

Pravachol    listen   (PRA-vuh-KOL)
A drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke and heart attack. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer and other conditions. Pravachol blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It may also make tumor cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, a type of statin, and a type of chemosensitizer. Also called pravastatin sodium.

pravastatin    listen   (PRA-vuh-sta-tin)
The active ingredient in a drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke and heart attack. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer and other conditions. Pravastatin blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It may also make tumor cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, a type of statin, and a type of chemosensitizer.

pravastatin sodium    listen   (PRA-vuh-sta-tin SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke and heart attack. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer and other conditions. Pravastatin sodium blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It may also make tumor cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, a type of statin, and a type of chemosensitizer. Also called Pravachol.

precancerous    listen   (pree-KAN-seh-rus)
A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called premalignant.

precancerous dermatitis    listen   (pree-KAN-seh-rus DER-muh-TY-tis)
A skin disease marked by scaly or thickened patches on the skin and often caused by prolonged exposure to arsenic. The patches often occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin and in older white men. These patches may become malignant (cancer). Also called Bowen disease and precancerous dermatosis.

precancerous dermatosis    listen   (pree-KAN-seh-rus DER-muh-TOH-sis)
A skin disease marked by scaly or thickened patches on the skin and often caused by prolonged exposure to arsenic. The patches often occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin and in older white men. These patches may become malignant (cancer). Also called Bowen disease and precancerous dermatitis.

precancerous polyps    listen   (pree-KAN-seh-rus PAH-lips)
Growths that may become cancer that protrude from a mucous membrane.

precision medicine    listen   (pree-SIH-zhun MEH-dih-sin)
A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. In cancer, precision medicine uses specific information about a person’s tumor to help diagnose, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, or make a prognosis. Examples of precision medicine include using targeted therapies to treat specific types of cancer cells, such as HER2-positive breast cancer cells, or using tumor marker testing to help diagnose cancer. Also called personalized medicine.

preclinical study    listen   (pree-KLIH-nih-kul STUH-dee)
Research using animals to find out if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful. Preclinical studies take place before any testing in humans is done.

precursor B-lymphoblastic leukemia    listen   (pree-KER-ser B-LIM-foh-BLAS-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many B-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the bone marrow and blood. It is the most common type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Also called B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia.

precursor lymphoblastic lymphoma    listen   (pree-KER-ser LIM-foh-BLAS-tik lim-FOH-muh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the lymph nodes and the thymus gland. These lymphoblasts may spread to other places in the body. It is most common in teenagers and young adults and affects more males than females. It may be a T or B cell type. Also called lymphoblastic lymphoma.

precursor T-lymphoblastic leukemia    listen   (pree-KER-ser T-LIM-foh-BLAS-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many T-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia.

precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma    listen   (pree-KER-ser T-LIM-foh-BLAS-tik lim-FOH-muh)
A type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which too many T-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the lymph nodes and spleen. It is most common in young men. Also called T-lymphoblastic lymphoma.

predictive factor    listen   (preh-DIK-tiv FAK-ter)
A condition or finding that can be used to help predict whether a person’s cancer will respond to a specific treatment. Predictive factor may also describe something that increases a person’s risk of developing a condition or disease.

prednisolone    listen   (pred-NIH-suh-lone)
A drug that lessens inflammation and suppresses the body’s immune response. It may also kill cancer cells. Prednisolone is used to treat disorders in many organ systems and to treat the symptoms of several types of leukemia and lymphoma. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Prednisolone is a type of therapeutic glucocorticoid.

prednisone    listen   (PRED-nih-sone)
A drug used to lessen inflammation and lower the body’s immune response. It is used with other drugs to treat leukemia and lymphoma and other types of cancer. It is also used alone or with other drugs to prevent or treat many other conditions. These include conditions related to cancer, such as anemia (a low level of red blood cells), allergic reactions, and loss of appetite. Prednisone is a type of therapeutic glucocorticoid.

pregabalin    listen   (pree-GA-buh-lin)
A drug used to treat nerve pain caused by diabetes or herpes zoster infection and certain types of seizures. It is being studied in the prevention and treatment of nerve pain in the hands and feet of cancer patients given chemotherapy. Pregabalin is a type of anticonvulsant. Also called Lyrica.

pregnancy    listen   (PREG-nun-see)
The condition between conception (fertilization of an egg by a sperm) and birth, during which the fertilized egg develops in the uterus. In humans, pregnancy lasts about 288 days.

premalignant    listen   (pree-muh-LIG-nunt)
A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called precancerous.

premature birth    listen   (PREE-muh-CHOOR berth)
The birth of a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In humans, a normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. The risk of premature birth may be increased by certain health problems in the mother, such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, or problems during pregnancy. Smoking cigarettes, being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, drinking alcohol, and taking certain drugs during pregnancy may also increase the risk of a premature birth. Also called preterm birth.

premature death    listen   (PREE-muh-CHOOR deth)
Death that occurs before the average age of death in a certain population. In the United States, the average age of death is about 75 years. Smoking cigarettes and being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke are leading causes of premature death in the United States. They can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and many other health problems. Other causes of premature death are injuries and suicide.

premature menopause    listen   (PREE-muh-CHOOR MEH-nuh-pawz)
A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility. Premature menopause can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called early menopause, premature ovarian failure, and primary ovarian insufficiency.

premature ovarian failure    listen   (PREE-muh-CHOOR oh-VAYR-ee-un FAYL-yer)
A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility. Premature ovarian failure can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called early menopause, premature menopause, and primary ovarian insufficiency.

premenopausal    listen   (pree-MEH-nuh-PAW-zul)
Having to do with the time before menopause. Menopause ("change of life") is the time of life when a woman's menstrual periods stop permanently.

premycotic phase    listen   (PREE-my-KAH-tik fayz)
A phase of mycosis fungoides in which a patient has areas of red, scaly, itchy skin on areas of the body that are usually not exposed to sun. This is early-phase mycosis fungoides, but it is hard to diagnose the rash as mycosis fungoides during this phase. The premycotic phase may last from months to decades.

prenatal    listen   (pree-NAY-tul)
Having to do with the time a female is pregnant, before birth occurs. Also called antenatal.

prescription    listen   (prih-SKRIP-shun)
A doctor's order for medicine or another intervention.

preterm birth    listen   (PREE-term berth)
The birth of a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In humans, a normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. The risk of preterm birth may be increased by certain health problems in the mother, such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, or problems during pregnancy. Smoking cigarettes, being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, drinking alcohol, and taking certain drugs during pregnancy may also increase the risk of a preterm birth. Also called premature birth.

pretracheal space    listen   (pree-TRAY-kee-ul spays)
The area in front of the trachea (windpipe).

Prevacid    listen   (PREH-vuh-sid)
A drug that reduces the amount of acid made in the stomach. It is used to treat stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (a condition in which acid from the stomach causes heartburn), and conditions in which the stomach makes too much acid. Prevacid is a type of proton pump inhibitor (PPI). Also called lansoprazole.

prevascular space    listen   (pree-VAS-kyoo-ler ...)
The area in the front part of the chest between the lungs. Also called anterior mediastinum.

prevention    listen   (pree-VEN-shun)
In medicine, action taken to decrease the chance of getting a disease or condition. For example, cancer prevention includes avoiding risk factors (such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and radiation exposure) and increasing protective factors (such as getting regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet).

preventive    listen   (pree-VEN-tiv)
Used to prevent disease.

preventive mastectomy    listen   (pree-VEN-tiv ma-STEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by removing one or both breasts before disease develops. Also called prophylactic mastectomy.

Prialt    listen   (PREE-ult)
A drug used in the treatment of chronic pain. Also called SNX 111 and ziconotide.

primary cancer    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee KAN-ser)
A term used to describe the original, or first, tumor in the body. Cancer cells from a primary cancer may spread to other parts of the body and form new, or secondary, tumors. This is called metastasis. These secondary tumors are the same type of cancer as the primary cancer. Also called primary tumor.

primary care    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee kayr)
Health services that meet most basic health care needs over time. Primary care includes physical exams, treatment of common medical conditions, and preventive care such as immunizations and screenings. Primary care doctors are usually the first health professionals patients see for basic medical care. They may refer a patient to a specialist if needed.

primary care doctor    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee kayr DOK-ter)
A doctor who manages a person's health care over time. A primary care doctor is able to give a wide range of care, including prevention and treatment, can discuss cancer treatment choices, and can refer a patient to a specialist.

primary central nervous system lymphoma    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee SEN-trul NER-vus SIS-tem lim-FOH-muh)
Cancer that forms in the lymph tissue of the brain, spinal cord, meninges (outer covering of the brain), or eye (called ocular lymphoma). Also called PCNSL and primary CNS lymphoma.

primary CNS lymphoma    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee…lim-FOH-muh)
Cancer that forms in the lymph tissue of the brain, spinal cord, meninges (outer covering of the brain), or eye (called ocular lymphoma). Also called PCNSL and primary central nervous system lymphoma.

primary effusion lymphoma    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee eh-FYOO-zhun lim-FOH-muh)
A rare, aggressive (fast-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma marked by an abnormal build-up of fluids in a body cavity. It usually occurs together with a human herpesvirus in people who have weakened immune systems, such as in AIDS.

primary endpoint    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee END-poynt)
The main result that is measured at the end of a study to see if a given treatment worked (e.g., the number of deaths or the difference in survival between the treatment group and the control group). What the primary endpoint will be is decided before the study begins.

primary myelofibrosis    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee MY-eh-loh-fy-BROH-sis)
A progressive, chronic disease in which the bone marrow is replaced by fibrous tissue and blood is made in organs such as the liver and the spleen, instead of in the bone marrow. This disease is marked by an enlarged spleen and progressive anemia. Also called agnogenic myeloid metaplasia, chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis, idiopathic myelofibrosis, and myelosclerosis with myeloid metaplasia.

primary ovarian insufficiency    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee oh-VAYR-ee-un IN-suh-FIH-shen-see)
A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility. Primary ovarian insufficiency can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called early menopause, premature menopause, and premature ovarian failure.

primary peritoneal cancer    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers organs in the abdomen. Primary peritoneal cancers are similar to ovarian epithelial cancers and are staged and treated the same way.

primary therapy    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee THAYR-uh-pee)
The first treatment given for a disease. It is often part of a standard set of treatments, such as surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation. When used by itself, primary therapy is the one accepted as the best treatment. If it doesn’t cure the disease or it causes severe side effects, other treatment may be added or used instead. Also called first-line therapy, induction therapy, and primary treatment.

primary treatment    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee TREET-ment)
The first treatment given for a disease. It is often part of a standard set of treatments, such as surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation. When used by itself, primary treatment is the one accepted as the best treatment. If it doesn’t cure the disease or it causes severe side effects, other treatment may be added or used instead. Also called first-line therapy, induction therapy, and primary therapy.

primary tumor    listen   (PRY-mayr-ee TOO-mer)
A term used to describe the original, or first, tumor in the body. Cancer cells from a primary tumor may spread to other parts of the body and form new, or secondary, tumors. This is called metastasis. These secondary tumors are the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. Also called primary cancer.

primitive neuroectodermal tumor    listen   (PRIH-muh-tiv NOOR-oh-EK-toh-DER-mul TOO-mer)
One of a group of cancers that develop from the same type of early cells, and share certain biochemical and genetic features. Some primitive neuroectodermal tumors develop in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), and others develop in sites outside of the brain such as the limbs, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET). Also called PNET.

principal investigator    listen   (PRIN-sih-pul in-VES-tih-GAY-ter)
The person(s) in charge of a clinical trial or a scientific research grant. The principal investigator prepares and carries out the clinical trial protocol (plan for the study) or research paid for by the grant. The principal investigator also analyzes the data and reports the results of the trial or grant research. Also called PI.

Prinivil    listen   (PRIH-nih-vil)
A drug used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of side effects caused by some anticancer drugs. It blocks certain enzymes that cause blood vessels to constrict (narrow). It is a type of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. Also called lisinopril and Zestril.

prinomastat    listen   (prih-NOH-muh-stat)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor and belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called AG3340.

pro-oxidant    listen   (proh-OK-sih-dunt)
A substance that can produce oxygen byproducts of metabolism that can cause damage to cells.

probenecid    listen   (proh-BEH-neh-sid)
A drug that is used to treat gout and is used together with some antibiotics to make them work better. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotic therapy adjuncts.

probiotic    listen   (PROH-by-AH-tik)
A live microorganism used as a dietary supplement to help with digestion and normal bowel function. It may also help keep the gastrointestinal (GI) tract healthy. A bacterium found in yogurt called Lactobacillus acidophilus, is the most common probiotic.

procarbazine    listen   (proh-KAR-buh-zeen)
The active ingredient in a drug that is used to treat advanced Hodgkin lymphoma and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Procarbazine blocks cells from making proteins and damages DNA. It may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antineoplastic agent and a type of alkylating agent.

procarbazine hydrochloride    listen   (proh-KAR-buh-zeen HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug that is used to treat advanced Hodgkin lymphoma and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Procarbazine hydrochloride blocks cells from making proteins and damages DNA. It may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antineoplastic agent and a type of alkylating agent. Also called Matulane.

prochlorperazine    listen   (PROH-klor-PAYR-uh-zeen)
A drug used to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiemetics.

proctitis    listen   (prok-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the rectum (the last several inches of the large intestine closest to the anus). Also called rectitis.

proctoscope    listen   (PROK-toh-skope)
A thin, tube-like instrument used to look inside the anus and rectum. A proctoscope has a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

proctoscopy    listen   (prok-TOS-koh-pee)
A procedure that uses a proctoscope to look inside the anus and rectum. A proctoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

proctosigmoidoscopy    listen   (PROK-toh-sig-moy-DOS-koh-pee)
Examination of the lower colon using a sigmoidoscope, inserted into the rectum. A sigmoidoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. Also called sigmoidoscopy.

progeny    listen   (PRAH-jeh-nee)
Offspring; the product of reproduction or replication.

progesterone    listen   (proh-JES-teh-rone)
A type of hormone made by the body that plays a role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Progesterone can also be made in the laboratory. It may be used as a type of birth control and to treat menstrual disorders, infertility, symptoms of menopause, and other conditions.

progesterone receptor    listen   (proh-JES-teh-rone reh-SEP-ter)
A protein found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue, some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone progesterone will bind to the receptors inside the cells and may cause the cells to grow. Also called PR.

progesterone receptor negative    listen   (proh-JES-teh-rone reh-SEP-ter NEH-guh-tiv)
Describes cells that do not have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are progesterone receptor negative do not need progesterone to grow, and usually do not stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding. Also called PR-.

progesterone receptor positive    listen   (proh-JES-teh-rone reh-SEP-ter PAH-zih-tiv)
Describes cells that have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are progesterone receptor positive need progesterone to grow and will usually stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding. Also called PR+.

progesterone receptor test    listen   (proh-JES-teh-rone reh-SEP-ter test)
A lab test to find out if cancer cells have progesterone receptors (proteins to which the hormone progesterone will bind). If the cells have progesterone receptors, they may need progesterone to grow, and this can affect how the cancer is treated.

progestin    listen   (proh-JES-tin)
Any natural or laboratory-made substance that has some or all of the biologic effects of progesterone, a female hormone.

prognosis    listen   (prog-NO-sis)
The likely outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery or recurrence.

prognostic factor    listen   (prog-NOS-tik FAK-ter)
A situation or condition, or a characteristic of a patient, that can be used to estimate the chance of recovery from a disease or the chance of the disease recurring (coming back).

programmed cell death    listen   (PROH-gramd sel deth)
A type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell lead to its death. This is one method the body uses to get rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. The process of programmed cell death may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called apoptosis.

progression    listen   (pruh-GREH-shun)
In medicine, the course of a disease, such as cancer, as it becomes worse or spreads in the body.

progression-free survival    listen   (pruh-GREH-shun ... ser-VY-vul)
The length of time during and after the treatment of a disease, such as cancer, that a patient lives with the disease but it does not get worse. In a clinical trial, measuring the progression-free survival is one way to see how well a new treatment works. Also called PFS.

progressive disease    listen   (pruh-GREH-siv dih-ZEEZ)
Cancer that is growing, spreading, or getting worse.

progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis    listen   (pruh-GREH-siv fuh-MIH-lee-ul IN-truh-heh-PA-tik koh-leh-STAY-sis)
A rare, inherited disorder marked by a buildup in the liver of bile (fluid that helps digest fat). This can lead to liver disease and liver failure. It may also increase the risk of liver cancer. Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis is caused by mutations (changes) in certain genes that make proteins needed to help the liver work the way it should. It usually occurs in infants and children. Also called PFIC.

prolactin    listen   (proh-LAK-tin)
A hormone that is made by the pituitary gland (a pea-sized organ in the center of the brain). Prolactin causes a woman’s breasts to make milk during and after pregnancy, and has many other effects in the body.

Proleukin    listen   (proh-LOO-kin)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. It is a form of interleukin-2, a cytokine made by leukocytes (white blood cells), that is made in the laboratory. Proleukin increases the activity and growth of white blood cells called T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called aldesleukin and recombinant human interleukin-2.

Prolia    listen   (PROH-lee-uh)
A drug used to prevent or treat certain bone problems. Under the brand name Xgeva, it is used to prevent broken bones and other bone problems caused by solid tumors that have spread to bone. It is also used in certain patients to treat giant cell tumor of the bone that cannot be removed by surgery. Under the brand name Prolia, it is used to treat osteoporosis (a decrease in bone mass and density) in postmenopausal women who have a high risk of breaking bones. Prolia is also being studied in the treatment of other conditions and types of cancer. It binds to a protein called RANKL, which keeps RANKL from binding to another protein called RANK on the surface of certain bone cells, including bone cancer cells. This may help keep bone from breaking down and cancer cells from growing. Prolia is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called AMG 162, denosumab, and Xgeva.

proliferating    listen   (proh-LIH-feh-RAY-ting)
Multiplying or increasing in number. In biology, cell proliferation occurs by a process known as cell division.

proliferative index    listen   (proh-LIH-feh-ruh-tiv ...)
A measure of the number of cells in a tumor that are dividing (proliferating). May be used with the S-phase fraction to give a more complete understanding of how fast a tumor is growing.

prolymphocytic leukemia    listen   (proh-LIM-foh-SIH-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)
A type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), in which too many immature white blood cells (prolymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Prolymphocytic leukemia usually progresses more rapidly than classic CLL. Also called PLL.

Promacta    listen   (proh-MAK-tuh)
A drug used to treat chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (a condition in which platelets are destroyed by the immune system). It causes more platelets to be made in the bone marrow. It is also being studied in the treatment of low platelet counts caused by chemotherapy. It is a type of thrombopoietin receptor agonist. Also called eltrombopag olamine.

promegapoietin    listen   (proh-MEH-guh-POY-eh-tin)
A drug given during chemotherapy to increase blood cell regeneration. Promegapoietin is a colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets. It is a cytokine and belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents.

ProMune    listen   (PROH-myoon)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called CpG 7909 and PF-3512676.

promyelocytic leukemia    listen   (proh-MY-eh-loh-SIH-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow. It is usually marked by an exchange of parts of chromosomes 15 and 17. Also called acute promyelocytic leukemia and APL.

prophylactic    listen   (PROH-fih-LAK-tik)
In medicine, something that prevents or protects.

prophylactic cranial irradiation    listen   (PROH-fih-LAK-tik KRAY-nee-ul ir-RAY-dee-AY-shun)
Radiation therapy to the head to reduce the risk that cancer will spread to the brain.

prophylactic mastectomy    listen   (PROH-fih-LAK-tik ma-STEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by removing one or both breasts before disease develops. Also called preventive mastectomy.

prophylactic oophorectomy    listen   (PROH-fih-LAK-tik oh-oh-foh-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery intended to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by removing the ovaries before disease develops.

prophylactic surgery    listen   (PROH-fih-LAK-tik SER-juh-ree)
Surgery to remove an organ or gland that shows no signs of cancer, in an attempt to prevent development of cancer of that organ or gland. Prophylactic surgery is sometimes chosen by people who know they are at high risk for developing cancer.

prophylaxis    listen   (PROH-fih-LAK-sis)
An attempt to prevent disease.

prospective    listen   (pruh-SPEK-tiv)
In medicine, a study or clinical trial in which participants are identified and then followed forward in time.

prospective cohort study    listen   (pruh-SPEK-tiv KOH-hort STUH-dee)
A research study that follows over time groups of individuals who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic (for example, female nurses who smoke and those who do not smoke) and compares them for a particular outcome (such as lung cancer).

Prost 30    listen   (prost ...)
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the detection and treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.

prostaglandin    listen   (PROS-tuh-GLAN-din)
One of several hormone-like substances made by the body. Different prostaglandins control blood pressure, contraction of smooth muscles, and other processes within tissues where they are made. Certain prostaglandins are being studied as cancer biomarkers. Also called PG.

prostaglandin E1    listen   (PROS-tuh-GLAN-din …)
A drug that is used to treat impotence (inability to have an erection) and is being studied in the treatment of sexual problems in men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. It is a type of vasodilator. Also called alprostadil and PGE1.

prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2    listen   (PROS-tuh-GLAN-din-EN-doh-peh-ROK-side SIN-thays 2)
An enzyme that speeds up the formation of substances that cause inflammation and pain. It may also cause tumor cells to grow. Some tumors have high levels of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 and blocking its activity may reduce tumor growth. Also called COX-2 and cyclooxygenase-2.

ProstaScint    listen   (PROS-tuh-sint)
A substance used to detect prostate cancer. It contains a monoclonal antibody that binds to prostate cells, linked to a substance that can bind radioisotopes. ProstaScint is combined with indium 111 and injected into the body. A gamma camera (a special camera that detects radioactivity) is used to find prostate cancer cells in the body. ProstaScint is a type of immunoconjugate. Also called capromab pendetide.

ProstaScint scan    listen   (PROS-tuh-sint skan)
An imaging test used to detect prostate cancer. The patient receives an injection of an indium 111-labeled form of ProstaScint, which contains a monoclonal antibody that binds to prostate cells. A gamma camera (a special camera that detects radioactivity) is used to find prostate cancer cells in the body.

prostate    listen   (PROS-tayt)
A gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate surrounds the part of the urethra (the tube that empties the bladder) just below the bladder, and produces a fluid that forms part of the semen.

prostate cancer    listen   (PROS-tayt KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men.

prostate-specific antigen    listen   (PROS-tayt-speh-SIH-fik AN-tih-jen)
A protein made by the prostate gland and found in the blood. Prostate-specific antigen blood levels may be higher than normal in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or infection or inflammation of the prostate gland. Also called PSA.

prostate-specific antigen test    listen   (PROS-tayt-speh-SIH-fik AN-tih-jen ...)
A blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by the prostate and some other tissues in the body. Increased levels of PSA may be a sign of prostate cancer.

prostatectomy    listen   (PROS-tuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part or all of the prostate and some of the tissue around it. Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed. It may be done through an open prostatectomy, in which an incision (cut) is made in the wall of the lower abdomen or the perineum, or by using a laparoscope (a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and lens for viewing).

prostatic acid phosphatase    listen   (prah-STA-tik A-sid FOS-fuh-tays)
An enzyme produced by the prostate. It may be found in increased amounts in men who have prostate cancer. Also called PAP.

prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia    listen   (prah-STA-tik IN-truh-eh-pih-THEE-lee-ul NEE-oh-PLAY-zhuh)
Noncancerous growth of the cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the prostate gland. Having high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Also called PIN.

prostatitis    listen   (PROS-tuh-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the prostate gland.

prostatocystectomy    listen   (PROS-tuh-toh-sis-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the bladder (the organ that holds urine) and the prostate. In a radical prostatocystectomy, the seminal vesicles are also removed. The prostate and seminal vesicles are glands in the male reproductive system that help make semen. Also called cystoprostatectomy.

prosthesis    listen   (pros-THEE-sis)
A device, such as an artificial leg, that replaces a part of the body.

prosthetist    listen   (PROS-theh-tist)
A person who specializes in making and fitting artificial body parts, such as arms or legs.

prosthodontist    listen   (pros-thoh-DON-tist)
A dentist who specializes in replacing missing teeth or other structures of the mouth to restore an individual’s appearance, comfort, or health.

prostration    listen   (prah-STRAY-shun)
A condition in which a person is so tired or weak that he or she is unable to do anything.

protease inhibitor    listen   (PROH-tee-ays in-HIH-bih-ter)
A compound that interferes with the ability of certain enzymes to break down proteins. Some protease inhibitors can keep a virus from making copies of itself (for example, AIDS virus protease inhibitors), and some can prevent cancer cells from spreading.

proteasome inhibitor    listen   (PROH-tee-uh-some in-HIH-bih-ter)
A drug that blocks the action of proteasomes. A proteasome is a large protein complex that helps destroy other cellular proteins when they are no longer needed. Proteasome inhibitors are being studied in the treatment of cancer.

Protection of Human Subjects    listen   (proh-TEK-shun ... HYOO-mun SUB-jekts)
Laws set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to protect a person from risks in research studies that any federal agency or department has a part in. Also called 45 CFR 46, 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46, and human participant protection regulations.

protective factor    listen   (proh-TEK-tiv FAK-ter)
Something that may decrease the chance of getting a certain disease. Some examples of protective factors for cancer are getting regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet.

protegrin    listen   (proh-TEH-grin)
One of a family of small proteins found in white blood cells in pigs. Protegrins kill certain bacteria, fungi, and viruses by making holes in their outer membranes and causing them to burst. A protegrin is a type of antimicrobial peptide.

protein    listen   (PROH-teen)
A molecule made up of amino acids. Proteins are needed for the body to function properly. They are the basis of body structures, such as skin and hair, and of other substances such as enzymes, cytokines, and antibodies.

protein expression    listen   (PROH-teen ek-SPREH-shun)
Refers to the production of proteins by cells. The study of protein expression in cancer cells may give information about a specific type of cancer, the best treatment to use, and how well a treatment works.

protein expression profile    listen   (PROH-teen ek-SPREH-shun PROH-file)
Information about all proteins that are made in blood, other body fluids, or tissues, at certain times. A protein expression profile may be used to find and diagnose a disease or condition and to see how well the body responds to treatment. Also called protein signature and proteomic profile.

protein kinase B    listen   (PROH-teen KY-nays …)
A group of enzymes involved in several processes related to cell growth and survival. Protein kinase B enzymes help to transfer signals inside cells. A protein kinase B enzyme is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase. Also called Akt.

protein kinase C    listen   (PROH-teen KY-nays ...)
An enzyme found throughout the body's tissues and organs. Several forms of protein kinase C are involved in many cellular functions. Protein kinase C is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PKC.

protein kinase inhibitor    listen   (PROH-teen KY-nays in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks the action of enzymes called protein kinases. There are many different types of protein kinases and they take part in many cell functions. These include cell signaling, growth, and division. Blocking certain protein kinases may help keep cancer cells from growing. Some protein kinase inhibitors, such as imatinib, vemurafenib, and gefitinib, are used to treat cancer.

protein signature    listen   (PROH-teen SIG-nuh-cher)
Information about all proteins that are made in blood, other body fluids, or tissues, at certain times. A protein signature may be used to find and diagnose a disease or condition and to see how well the body responds to treatment. Also called protein expression profile and proteomic profile.

protein-bound paclitaxel    listen   (PROH-teen-bownd PA-klih-TAK-sil)
A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Protein-bound paclitaxel is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, and paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation.

proteinuria    listen   (PROH-teen-YOOR-ee-uh)
Higher-than-normal amount of protein in the urine.

proteoglycan    listen   (PROH-tee-oh-GLY-kan)
A molecule that contains both protein and glycosaminoglycans, which are a type of polysaccharide. Proteoglycans are found in cartilage and other connective tissues.

proteome    listen   (PROH-tee-ome)
The complete set of proteins made by an organism. Proteins are made in different amounts and at different times, depending on how they work, when they are needed, and how they interact with other proteins inside cells. Information about a proteome may be used to help find which proteins are involved in diseases, such as cancer. It may also be used to help develop drugs that block these proteins.

proteomic profile    listen   (PROH-tee-OH-mik PROH-file)
Information about all proteins that are made in blood, other body fluids, or tissues, at certain times. A proteomic profile may be used to find and diagnose a disease or condition and to see how well the body responds to treatment. Also called protein expression profile and protein signature.

proteomics    listen   (proh-tee-OH-mix)
The study of the structure and function of proteins, including the way they work and interact with each other inside cells.

proto-oncogene    listen   (PROH-toh-ON-koh-jeen)
A gene involved in normal cell growth. Mutations (changes) in a proto-oncogene may cause it to become an oncogene, which can cause the growth of cancer cells.

Protocel    listen   (PROH-toh-sel)
A liquid that has been promoted as a treatment for a wide range of diseases, including cancer. The ingredients thought to be in Protocel have been tested, and none of them have been shown to be effective in treating any form of cancer. Protocel is not available in the United States. Also called 126–F, Cancell, Cantron, Jim’s Juice, JS–101, JS–114, and Sheridan’s Formula.

protocol    listen   (PROH-tuh-KOL)
A detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment, treatment, or procedure. In clinical trials, it states what the study will do, how it will be done, and why it is being done. It explains how many people will be in the study, who is eligible to take part in it, what study drugs or other interventions will be given, what tests will be done and how often, and what information will be collected.

proton    listen   (PROH-ton)
A small, positively charged particle of matter found in the atoms of all elements. Streams of protons generated by special equipment can be used for radiation treatment.

proton beam radiation therapy    listen   (PROH-ton beem RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy that uses streams of protons (tiny particles with a positive charge) to kill tumor cells. This type of treatment can reduce the amount of radiation damage to healthy tissue near a tumor. It is used to treat cancers of the head and neck and organs such as the brain, eye, lung, spine, and prostate. Proton beam radiation is different from x-ray radiation.

proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging    listen   (PROH-ton mag-NEH-tik REH-zuh-nunts SPEK-troh-SKAH-pik IH-muh-jing)
A noninvasive imaging method that provides information about cellular activity (metabolic information). It is used along with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which provides information about the shape and size of the tumor (spatial information). Also called 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, and MRSI.

proton pump inhibitor    listen   (PROH-ton … in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance used to treat certain disorders of the stomach and intestines, such as heartburn and ulcers. Proton pump inhibitors block the actions of an enzyme in the stomach and reduce the amount of acid made in the stomach. Also called PPI.

protozoal    listen   (PROH-tuh-ZOH-ul)
Having to do with the simplest organisms in the animal kingdom. Protozoa are single-cell organisms, such as ameba, and are different from bacteria, which are not members of the animal kingdom. Some protozoa can be seen without a microscope.

Provenge    listen   (PROH-venj)
A drug used to treat prostate cancer that has spread. It is made from immune system cells collected from a patient with prostate cancer. The cells are treated with a protein that is made by combining a protein found on prostate cancer cells with a growth factor. When the cells are injected back into the patient, they may stimulate T cells to kill prostate cancer cells. Provenge is a type of vaccine and a type of cellular adoptive immunotherapy. Also called APC8015 and sipuleucel-T.

proximal    listen   (PROK-sih-mul)
In medicine, refers to a part of the body that is closer to the center of the body than another part. For example, the knee is proximal to the toes. The opposite is distal.

proximal colon    listen   (PROK-sih-mul KOH-lun)
The first and middle parts of the colon. The proximal colon includes the cecum (a pouch that connects the small intestine to the colon), the ascending colon (the right side of the colon), and the transverse colon (the part of the colon that goes across the body between the right and left sides of the colon).

proximal urethra    listen   (PROK-sih-mul yoo-REE-thruh)
The part of the urethra closest to the inside of the body. The urethra is the tube through which urine leaves the body. In women, the proximal urethra is the part near the bladder and in men it is the part that goes through the prostate gland.

proximal urethral cancer    listen   (PROK-sih-mul yoo-REE-thrul KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in the part of the urethra closest to the inside of the body. The cancer often has spread deeply into the tissue.

Proxinium    listen   (prok-SIH-nee-um)
A substance being studied in the treatment of certain types of head and neck cancer. Proxinium is made by linking a monoclonal antibody fragment to a toxic protein that may kill cancer cells. It binds to EpCAM (a protein on the surface of epithelial cells and some types of cancer cells). Also called anti-EpCAM-Pseudomonas-exotoxin fusion protein and VB4-845.

pruritus    listen   (proo-RY-tus)
Itching. Severe itching may be a side effect of some cancer treatments and a symptom of some types of cancers.

PS-341      
A drug used to treat multiple myeloma. It is also used to treat mantle cell lymphoma in patients who have already received at least one other type of treatment and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PS-341 blocks several molecular pathways in a cell and may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of proteasome inhibitor and a type of dipeptidyl boronic acid. Also called bortezomib and velcade.

PSA      
A protein made by the prostate gland and found in the blood. PSA blood levels may be higher than normal in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or infection or inflammation of the prostate gland. Also called prostate-specific antigen.

PSA bounce    listen   (… bownts)
A brief rise and then fall in the blood level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) that occurs in some patients 1-3 years after receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer. PSA bounce does not mean that the cancer has come back. It may be caused by the release of PSA from destroyed cancer cells or from normal prostate tissue exposed to the radiation treatment.

PSA failure    listen   (...FAYL-yer)
A rise in the blood level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in prostate cancer patients after treatment with surgery or radiation. PSA failure may occur in patients who do not have symptoms. It may mean that the cancer has come back. Also called biochemical recurrence and biochemical relapse.

PSA test    listen   (… test)
A laboratory test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) found in the blood. PSA is a protein made by the prostate gland. The amount of PSA may be higher in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or infection or inflammation of the prostate.

PSA velocity    listen   (… veh-LAH-sih-tee)
A measurement of how fast PSA levels in the blood increase over time. A high PSA velocity may be a sign of prostate cancer and may help find fast-growing prostate cancers.

psammoma body    listen   (sam-OH-muh BAH-dee)
A structure found in some benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) tumor cells. Psammoma bodies look like hardened concentric rings when viewed under a microscope. They can be a sign of chronic inflammation.

PSC 833      
A substance that is being studied for its ability to prevent or overcome the resistance of tumor cells to some anticancer drugs. It belongs to the family of drugs called cyclosporine analogs.

pseudomyxoma peritonei    listen   (SOO-doh-mik-SOH-muh PAYR-ih-TOH-ny)
A build-up of mucus in the peritoneal cavity. The mucus may come from ruptured ovarian cysts, from the appendix, or from other abdominal tissues. Mucus-secreting cells may attach to the peritoneal lining and continue to secrete mucus.

psilocybin    listen   (SY-loh-SY-bin)
A substance being studied in the treatment of anxiety or depression in patients with advanced cancer. It is taken from the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana. Psilocybin acts on the brain to cause hallucinations (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or touches that a person believes to be real but are not real). Also called psilocybine.

psilocybine    listen   (SY-loh-SY-bin)
A substance being studied in the treatment of anxiety or depression in patients with advanced cancer. It is taken from the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana. Psilocybine acts on the brain to cause hallucinations (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or touches that a person believes to be real but are not real). Also called psilocybin.

psoralen    listen   (SOR-uh-len)
A substance from plants that is sensitive to light (or can be activated by light). Psoralens are used together with UV light to treat psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. They are also being studied in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease. Psoralen is a type of furocoumarin. An example of a psoralen is methoxsalen.

psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy    listen   (SOR-uh-len…UL-truh-VY-oh-let A THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of photodynamic therapy used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The patient receives psoralen (a drug that becomes active when it is exposed to light) by mouth or applied to the skin, followed by ultraviolet A radiation. Psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy may increase the risk of getting skin cancer. Also called PUVA therapy.

psoriasis    listen   (suh-RY-uh-sis)
A chronic disease of the skin marked by red patches covered with white scales.

psychiatrist    listen   (sy-KY-uh-trist)
A medical doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.

psychological    listen   (SY-koh-LAH-jih-kul)
Having to do with how the mind works and how thoughts and feelings affect behavior.

psychologist    listen   (sy-KAH-loh-jist)
A specialist who can talk with patients and their families about emotional and personal matters, and can help them make decisions.

psychology    listen   (sy-KAH-loh-jee)
The study of how the mind works and how thoughts and feelings affect behavior.

psychosis    listen   (sy-KOH-sis)
A severe mental disorder in which a person loses the ability to recognize reality or relate to others. The person is not able to cope with the demands of everyday life. Symptoms include being paranoid, having false ideas about what is taking place or who one is, and seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.

psychosocial    listen   (SY-koh-SOH-shul)
In medicine, describes the psychological (emotional) and social parts of a disease and its treatment. Some of the psychosocial parts of cancer are its effects on patients’ feelings, moods, beliefs, the way they cope, and relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.

psychostimulant    listen   (SY-koh-STIM-yoo-lunt)
A drug that causes a sense of well-being, decreases fatigue and depression, and increases the desire to eat. These drugs can also cause mood changes and trouble with sleeping.

psychotherapy    listen   (SY-koh-THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment of mental, emotional, personality, and behavioral disorders using methods such as discussion, listening, and counseling. Also called talk therapy.

psyllium    listen   (SIH-lee-um)
A plant with seeds that are used as a mild laxative. The outer layer of the seeds swells when wet. This increases the size of stool and helps it pass more easily through the intestines (lower part of the digestive tract). Psyllium is a type of bulk laxative.

PT-100      
A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer, including certain types of lung, pancreas, and brain cancer. PT-100 may help the immune system block the growth of cancer cells. It may also increase the growth of new blood cells. It is a type of enzyme inhibitor. Also called talabostat and talabostat mesylate.

PTC      
A procedure to x-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction. Also called percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography.

PTCD      
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage.

PTEN      
A protein that helps control many cell functions, including cell division and cell death. Mutations (changes) in the gene that makes PTEN are found in many types of cancer and other diseases. It is a type of tumor suppressor protein. Also called PTEN tyrosine phosphatase.

PTEN tyrosine phosphatase    listen   (…TY-ruh-seen FOS-fuh-tays)
A protein that helps control many cell functions, including cell division and cell death. Mutations (changes) in the gene that makes PTEN tyrosine phosphatase are found in many types of cancer and other diseases. It is a type of tumor suppressor protein. Also called PTEN.

PTH      
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of PTH causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathormone, parathyrin, and parathyroid hormone.

PTK787/ZK 222584      
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors and VEGF receptor kinase inhibitors. Also called vatalanib.

PTLD      
A condition in which a group of B-cells grow out of control after an organ transplant in patients with weakened immune systems. This usually happens if the patient has also been infected with Epstein-Barr virus. PTLD may progress to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Also called post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder.

ptosis    listen   (TOH-sis)
Drooping of the upper eyelid.

PTSD      
An anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events. Having cancer may also lead to PTSD. Symptoms interfere with day-to-day living and include reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks; avoiding people, places, and things connected to the event; feeling alone and losing interest in daily activities; and having trouble concentrating and sleeping. Also called post-traumatic stress disorder.

puberty    listen   (PYOO-ber-tee)
The time of life when a child experiences physical and hormonal changes that mark a transition into adulthood. The child develops secondary sexual characteristics and becomes able to have children. Secondary sexual characteristics include growth of pubic, armpit, and leg hair; breast enlargement; and increased hip width in girls. In boys, they include growth of pubic, face, chest and armpit hair; voice changes; penis and testicle growth, and increased shoulder width.

pulmonary    listen   (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee)
Having to do with the lungs.

pulmonary disease    listen   (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee dih-ZEEZ)
A type of disease that affects the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. Pulmonary diseases may be caused by infection, by smoking tobacco, or by breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke, radon, asbestos, or other forms of air pollution. Pulmonary diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia, and lung cancer. Also called lung disorder and respiratory disease.

pulmonary edema    listen   (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee eh-DEE-muh)
A buildup of fluid in the alveoli (air spaces) in the lungs. This keeps oxygen from getting into the blood. Pulmonary edema is usually caused by heart problems, but it can also be caused by high blood pressure, pneumonia, certain toxins and medicines, or living at a high altitude. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and trouble exercising.

pulmonary function    listen   (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee FUNK-shun)
A term used to describe how well the lungs work in helping a person breathe. During breathing, oxygen is taken into the lungs, where it passes into the blood and travels to the body’s tissues. Carbon dioxide, a waste product made by the body’s tissues, is carried to the lungs, where it is breathed out. There are different tests to measure pulmonary function. Also called lung function.

pulmonary function test    listen   (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee FUNK-shun …)
A test used to measure how well the lungs work. It measures how much air the lungs can hold and how quickly air is moved into and out of the lungs. It also measures how much oxygen is used and how much carbon dioxide is given off during breathing. A pulmonary function test can be used to diagnose a lung disease and to see how well treatment for the disease is working. Also called lung function test and PFT.

pulmonary rehabilitation education    listen   (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee REE-huh-BIH-lih-TAY-shun EH-juh-KAY-shun)
Education about behavior and lifestyle changes to help patients with chronic lung disease decrease breathing problems, return to daily activities, and improve quality of life. Education may include instruction about breathing exercises, nutrition, use of medicines, and ways for the patient to reduce stress and save energy.

pulmonary specialist    listen   (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee SPEH-shuh-list)
A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the lungs. Also called pulmonologist.

pulmonary sulcus tumor    listen   (PUL-muh-NAYR-ee SUL-kus TOO-mer)
A type of lung cancer that begins in the upper part of a lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Most pulmonary sulcus tumors are non-small cell cancers. Also called Pancoast tumor.

pulmonologist    listen   (PUL-muh-NAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the lungs. Also called pulmonary specialist.

pulmonology    listen   (PUL-muh-NAH-loh-jee)
A branch of medicine that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. These diseases include asthma, emphysema, tuberculosis, and pneumonia.

Pulmozyme    listen   (PUL-moh-zime)
A drug given in an aerosol mist to decrease the thickness of mucus in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis. It is also being studied as a treatment to reduce the thickness of saliva in patients being treated for head and neck cancer. Pulmozyme contains an enzyme that breaks the DNA in mucus into small pieces and makes the mucus thinner. Also called dornase alfa inhalation solution.

pulse    listen   (puls)
In medicine, the number of times the heart beats within a certain time period, usually a minute. The pulse can be felt at the wrist, side of the neck, back of the knees, top of the foot, groin, and other places in the body where an artery is close to the skin. The resting pulse is normally between 60 and 100 beats a minute in a healthy adult who is at rest. Measuring the pulse gives important information about a person’s health. Also called heart rate.

pump    listen   (pump)
A device that is used to give a controlled amount of a liquid at a specific rate. For example, pumps are used to give drugs (such as chemotherapy or pain medicine) or nutrients.

punch biopsy    listen   (... BY-op-see)
A procedure in which a small round piece of tissue about the size of a pencil eraser is removed using a sharp, hollow, circular instrument. The tissue is then checked under a microscope for signs of disease. A punch biopsy may be used to check for certain types of cancer, including skin, vulvar, and cervical cancer. It may also be used to check for certain skin conditions and changes that may lead to cancer.

pupil    listen   (PYOO-pul)
The round opening in the center of the iris (the colored tissue that makes the "eye color" at the front of the eye). The pupil changes size to let light into the eye. It gets smaller in bright light and larger as the amount of light decreases.

purine    listen   (PYOOR-een)
One of two chemical compounds that cells use to make the building blocks of DNA and RNA. Examples of purines are adenine and guanine. Purines are also found in meat and meat products. They are broken down by the body to form uric acid, which is passed in the urine. High levels of uric acid in the body may cause gout.

Purinethol    listen   (pyoor-IN-eh-thol)
A drug used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It may also be used to treat certain other conditions, such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. Purinethol stops cells from dividing and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called mercaptopurine and Purixan.

Purixan    listen   (PYOOR-ee-zan)
A drug used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It may also be used to treat certain other conditions, such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. Purixan stops cells from dividing and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called mercaptopurine and Purinethol.

purple clover    listen   (PER-pul KLOH-ver)
Trifolium pratense. A plant with flowers that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in the relief of menopausal symptoms and may have anticancer effects. Also called red clover, Trifolium pratense, and wild clover.

purple coneflower    listen   (PER-pul KONE-flow-er)
An herb native to North America that has been used to prevent and treat the common cold and other respiratory infections. Purple coneflower may interfere with treatment that uses the immune system to fight cancer. The scientific names are Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia. Also called echinacea.

PUVA therapy    listen   (...THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of photodynamic therapy used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The patient receives psoralen (a drug that becomes active when it is exposed to light) by mouth or applied to the skin, followed by ultraviolet A radiation. PUVA therapy may increase the risk of getting skin cancer. Also called psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy.

PV701      
A virus that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of viruses that cause Newcastle disease in birds.

PXD101      
A drug used to treat peripheral T-cell lymphoma that has come back or has not gotten better with other treatment. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PXD101 blocks certain enzymes needed for cell division and may kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may help make cancer cells easier to kill with other anticancer drugs. It is a type of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, a type of angiogenesis inhibitor, and a type of chemosensitizer. Also called Beleodaq and belinostat.

pyrazine diazohydroxide    listen   (PEER-uh-zeen dy-A-zoh-hy-DROK-side)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

pyrazoloacridine    listen   (PEER-uh-ZOH-loh-A-krih-deen)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called acridines.

pyridoxine    listen   (PEER-ih-DOK-seen)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Pyridoxine helps keep nerves and skin healthy, fight infections, keep blood sugar levels normal, produce red blood cells, and some enzymes work properly. Pyridoxine is a group of related compounds (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine) found in cereals, beans, peas, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and bananas. It is water-soluble (can dissolve in water). Not enough pyridoxine can cause mouth and tongue sores and nervous disorders. Pyridoxine is being studied in the prevention of hand-foot syndrome (a disorder caused by certain anticancer drugs and marked by pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or redness of the hands or feet). Also called vitamin B6.

pyrimidine    listen   (py-RIH-mih-deen)
One of two chemical compounds that cells use to make the building blocks of DNA and RNA. Examples of pyrimidines are cytosine, thymine, and uracil. Cytosine and thymine are used to make DNA and cytosine and uracil are used to make RNA.

pyroxamide    listen   (py-ROK-suh-mide)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors.

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