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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


49 results found for:       W



WAGR syndrome    listen   (... SIN-drome)
A rare, genetic disorder that is present at birth and has two or more of the following symptoms: Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer); little or no iris (the colored part of the eye); defects in the sexual organs and urinary tract (the organs that make urine and pass it from the body); and below average mental ability. This syndrome occurs when part of chromosome 11 is missing. Also called Wilms tumor-aniridia-genitourinary anomalies-mental retardation syndrome.

Waldenström macroglobulinemia    listen   (VAHL-den-strum MA-kroh-GLAH-byoo-lih-NEE-mee-uh)
An indolent (slow-growing) type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma marked by abnormal levels of IgM antibodies in the blood and an enlarged liver, spleen, or lymph nodes. Also called lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma.

warfarin    listen   (WOR-fuh-rin)
A drug that prevents blood from clotting. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants (blood thinners).

warm ischemia    listen   (… is-KEE-mee-uh)
In surgery, keeping a tissue, organ, or body part at body temperature after its blood suppy has been reduced or cut off.

warm ischemia time    listen   (… is-KEE-mee-uh …)
In surgery, the time a tissue, organ, or body part remains at body temperature after its blood supply has been reduced or cut off but before it is cooled or reconnected to a blood supply.

wart    listen   (wort)
A raised growth on the surface of the skin or other organ.

watchful waiting    listen   (WACH-ful WAY-ting)
Closely watching a patient’s condition but not giving treatment unless symptoms appear or change. Watchful waiting is sometimes used in conditions that progress slowly. It is also used when the risks of treatment are greater than the possible benefits. During watchful waiting, patients may be given certain tests and exams. Watchful waiting is sometimes used in prostate cancer. It is a type of expectant management.

water deprivation test    listen   (WAH-ter DEH-prih-VAY-shun …)
A test to measure how much urine is made and how concentrated it becomes when no water is given to a patient for a certain amount of time. This test is used to see how well the kidneys work and to help diagnose diabetes insipidus (a condition in which a person is very thirsty and makes large amounts of urine). Also called fluid deprivation test.

water pipe    listen   (WAH-ter …)
A device used to smoke a special type of tobacco that comes in different flavors. In a water pipe, charcoal is used to heat the tobacco. The smoke from the heated tobacco is cooled by passing it through a water-filled bowl. It is then inhaled through a flexible tube with a mouthpiece. Water pipe tobacco smoke contains nicotine and many cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Water pipe smoking can lead to nicotine addiction and can cause many of the same health problems as cigarette smoking. Water pipe smoking is not safer than cigarette smoking. Also called hookah.

water-soluble vitamin    listen   (… SOL-yoo-bul VY-tuh-min)
A vitamin that can dissolve in water. Water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body's tissues but are not stored in the body. They are found in plant and animal foods or dietary supplements and must be taken in daily. Vitamin C and members of the vitamin B complex are water-soluble.

watercress    listen   (WAH-ter-kres)
Parts of the flowering plant have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects. The scientific name is Nasturtium officinale. Also called Indian cress.

WBC      
A type of blood cell that is made in the bone marrow and found in the blood and lymph tissue. WBCs are part of the body’s immune system. They help the body fight infection and other diseases. Types of WBCs are granulocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils), monocytes, and lymphocytes (T cells and B cells). Checking the number of WBCs in the blood is usually part of a complete blood cell (CBC) test. It may be used to look for conditions such as infection, inflammation, allergies, and leukemia. Also called leukocyte and white blood cell.

WBRT      
A type of external radiation therapy used to treat patients who have cancer in the brain. It is often used to treat patients whose cancer has spread to the brain, or who have more than one tumor or tumors that cannot be removed by surgery. Radiation is given to the whole brain over a period of many weeks. Also called whole-brain radiation therapy and whole-brain radiotherapy.

wedge resection    listen   (wej ree-SEK-shun)
Surgery to remove a triangle-shaped slice of tissue. It may be used to remove a tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it.

well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma    listen   (... DIH-feh-REN-shee-AY-ted LIM-foh-SIH-tik lim-FOH-muh)
An indolent (slow-growing) type of lymphoma in which too many immature lymphocytes (white blood cells) are found mostly in the lymph nodes. This causes the lymph nodes to become larger than normal. Sometimes cancer cells are found in the blood and bone marrow, and the disease is called chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The disease is most often seen in people older than 50 years. Well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Also called SLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma.

Wellbutrin    listen   (wel-BYOO-trin)
A drug used to treat depression and certain other disorders. It is also used to help people stop smoking. Wellbutrin increases the levels of the chemicals dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. This helps improve mood and can lessen cravings for nicotine. It is a type of antidepressant and a type of nicotine receptor antagonist. Also called bupropion hydrochloride and Zyban.

Wellcovorin    listen   (wel-koh-VOR-in)
A drug used to lessen the toxic effects of substances that block the action of folic acid, especially the anticancer drug methotrexate. Wellcovorin is used to treat some types of anemia and is also used with fluorouracil to treat colorectal cancer. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer and other conditions. Wellcovorin is a form of folic acid. It is a type of chemoprotective agent and a type of chemosensitizing agent. Also called calcium levoleucovorin, citrovorum factor, and leucovorin calcium.

Wermer syndrome    listen   (WER-mer SIN-drome)
A rare, inherited disorder that affects the endocrine glands and can cause tumors in the parathyroid and pituitary glands and the pancreas. These tumors are usually benign (not cancer). They cause the glands to secrete high levels of hormones, which can lead to other medical problems, such as kidney stones, fertility problems, and severe ulcers. In some cases, tumors inside the pancreas can become malignant (cancer). Also called MEN1 syndrome, multiple endocrine adenomatosis, and multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome.

Werner syndrome    listen   (VER-ner SIN-drome)
An inherited disorder marked by rapid aging that begins in early adolescence. Patients may be shorter than average, and have health problems such as loss and graying of hair, hardening of the arteries, thinning of the bones, diabetes, and thin, hardened skin. They also have an increased risk of cancer, especially osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer). Werner syndrome is caused by a mutation (change) in a gene involved in cell division. It is a type of autosomal recessive gene disease. Also called adult progeria and WS.

Western medicine    listen   (WES-tern MEH-dih-sin)
A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called allopathic medicine, biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, and orthodox medicine.

whey protein powder    listen   (way PROH-teen …)
A powdered form of proteins taken from whey, which is the liquid left over when cheese is made from cow’s milk. Whey protein powder is used to increase protein in the diet and is being studied for possible health benefits.

Whipple procedure    listen   (HWIH-pul proh-SEE-jer)
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 pancreatoduodenectomy.

white blood cell    listen   (hwite blud sel)
A type of blood cell that is made in the bone marrow and found in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells are part of the body’s immune system. They help the body fight infection and other diseases. Types of white blood cells are granulocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils), monocytes, and lymphocytes (T cells and B cells). Checking the number of white blood cells in the blood is usually part of a complete blood cell (CBC) test. It may be used to look for conditions such as infection, inflammation, allergies, and leukemia. Also called leukocyte and WBC.

Whitmore-Jewett staging system    listen   (WIT-mor-JOO-et STAY-jing SIS-tem)
A staging system for prostate cancer that uses ABCD. “A” and “B” refer to cancer that is confined to the prostate. “C” refers to cancer that has grown out of the prostate but has not spread to lymph nodes or other places in the body. “D” refers to cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or to other places in the body. Also called ABCD rating and Jewett staging system.

WHO    listen  
A part of the United Nations that deals with major health issues around the world. The WHO sets standards for disease control, health care, and medicines; conducts education and research programs; and publishes scientific papers and reports. A major goal is to improve access to health care for people in developing countries and in groups who do not get good health care. The headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. Also called World Health Organization.

whole cell vaccine    listen   (hole sel vak-SEEN)
Vaccine made from whole tumor cells that have been changed in the laboratory.

whole-brain radiation therapy    listen   (hole-brayn RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of external radiation therapy used to treat patients who have cancer in the brain. It is often used to treat patients whose cancer has spread to the brain, or who have more than one tumor or tumors that cannot be removed by surgery. Radiation is given to the whole brain over a period of many weeks. Also called WBRT and whole-brain radiotherapy.

whole-brain radiotherapy    listen   (hole-brayn RAY-dee-oh-THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of external radiation therapy used to treat patients who have cancer in the brain. It is often used to treat patients whose cancer has spread to the brain, or who have more than one tumor or tumors that cannot be removed by surgery. Radiation is given to the whole brain over a period of many weeks. Also called WBRT and whole-brain radiation therapy.

whooping cough    listen   (HWOOP-ing kof)
A serious bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes that spreads easily. Whooping cough 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 pertussis.

wide local excision    listen   (…LOH-kul ek-SIH-zhun)
Surgery to cut out the cancer and some healthy tissue around it.

wild clover    listen   (wilde 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 purple clover, red clover, and Trifolium pratense.

will    listen   (wil)
A legal document in which a person states what is to be done with his or her property after death, who is to carry out the terms of the will, and who is to care for any minor children.

Wilms tumor    listen   (wilmz TOO-mer)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the kidney, and may spread to the lungs, liver, or nearby lymph nodes. Wilms tumor usually occurs in children younger than 5 years old.

Wilms tumor-aniridia-genitourinary anomalies-mental retardation syndrome    listen   (wilmz TOO-mer-a-nih-RIH-dee-uh-JEH-nih-toh-YOOR-ih-nayr-ee uh-NAH-muh-leez-MEN-tul ree-tar-DAY-shun SIN-drome)
A rare, genetic disorder that is present at birth and has two or more of the following symptoms: Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer); little or no iris (the colored part of the eye); defects in the sexual organs and urinary tract (the organs that make urine and pass it from the body); and below average mental ability. This syndrome occurs when part of chromosome 11 is missing. Also called WAGR syndrome.

windpipe    listen   (WIND-pipe)
The airway that leads from the larynx (voice box) to the bronchi (large airways that lead to the lungs). Also called trachea.

wire localization    listen   (... LOH-kuh-lih-ZAY-shun)
A procedure used to mark a small area of abnormal tissue so it can be removed by surgery. An imaging device is used to guide a thin wire with a hook at the end through a hollow needle to place the wire in or around the abnormal area. Once the wire is in the right place, the needle is removed and the wire is left in place so the doctor will know where the abnormal tissue is. The wire is removed when a biopsy is done. Also called needle localization and needle/wire localization.

wireless capsule endoscope    listen   (WY-er-les KAP-sul EN-doh-SKOPE)
A device used to look at the inside of the intestines and other parts of the digestive tract. It is a capsule that is about the size of a large pill, with a lens, a light, a camera, a radio transmitter, and a battery inside. The patient swallows the capsule and it takes pictures as it travels through the digestive tract. The pictures are sent to a small recorder that is worn on the patient’s waist or shoulder. The pictures are then viewed on a computer by the doctor to check for signs of disease. The wireless capsule endoscope passes out of the body during a bowel movement. Also called capsule endoscope.

wisdom tooth    listen   (WIZ-dum tooth)
The last tooth to come in at the back of each side of the upper and lower jaws. These teeth usually come in between 17 and 23 years of age, but not everyone has them. Also called third molar.

Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome    listen   (WIS-kot-ALL-drich SIN-drome)
An inherited immune disorder that occurs in young boys. It causes eczema (a type of skin inflammation), a decrease in the number of platelets (blood cells that help prevent bleeding), and frequent bacterial infections. People with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome are at increased risk of developing leukemia and lymphoma. Also called Aldrich syndrome.

withdrawal    listen   (with-DRAWL)
In medicine, symptoms that occur when a person quits smoking or stops using an addictive substance, such as drugs or alcohol. Common withdrawal symptoms after quitting smoking include nicotine cravings, anger, irritability, anxiety, depression, and weight gain. These symptoms usually get better over time.

Wobe-Mugos E    listen   (wobe-myoo-gos …)
A mixture made from an extract of the calf thymus gland and enzymes (proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the body) from the papaya plant, the pancreas of cows, and the pancreas of pigs. It has been used in Europe as a treatment for a variety of cancers and for herpes virus infections.

WOC nurse    listen   (… nurs)
A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to care for people who have a wound, an ostomy (an opening made by surgery, from an area inside the body to the outside), or problems with continence (ability to control the flow of urine or the passage of stool). Also called wound, ostomy, and continence nurse.

womb    listen   (woom)
The hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. The womb is where a fetus (unborn baby) develops and grows. Also called uterus.

wood alcohol    listen   (… AL-kuh-hol)
A type of alcohol used to make antifreeze, pesticides, windshield wiper fluid, paint thinner, certain types of fuel, and other substances. Wood alcohol catches fire easily and is very poisonous. It is one of many harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Also called methanol and methyl alcohol.

World Health Organization    listen   (wurld helth OR-guh-nih-ZAY-shun)
A part of the United Nations that deals with major health issues around the world. The World Health Organization sets standards for disease control, health care, and medicines; conducts education and research programs; and publishes scientific papers and reports. A major goal is to improve access to health care for people in developing countries and in groups who do not get good health care. The headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. Also called WHO.

wound    listen   (woond)
A break in the skin or other body tissues caused by injury or surgical incision (cut).

wound, ostomy, and continence nurse    listen   (woond OS-toh-mee ... KON-tih-nents ...)
A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to care for people who have a wound, an ostomy (an opening made by surgery, from an area inside the body to the outside), or problems with continence (ability to control the flow of urine or the passage of stool). Also called WOC nurse.

WS      
An inherited disorder marked by rapid aging that begins in early adolescence. Patients may be shorter than average, and have health problems such as loss and graying of hair, hardening of the arteries, thinning of the bones, diabetes, and thin, hardened skin. They also have an increased risk of cancer, especially osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer). WS is caused by a mutation (change) in a gene involved in cell division. It is a type of autosomal recessive gene disease. Also called adult progeria and Werner syndrome.

WX-671      
A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. It blocks the action of certain enzymes, and it may help keep cancer cells from growing and spreading. It is a type of serine protease inhibitor.

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