NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,779 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

sensitivity
(SEN-sih-TIH-vih-tee)
In medicine, sensitivity may describe how well a test can detect a specific disease or condition in people who actually have the disease or condition. No test has 100% sensitivity because some people who have the disease or condition will not be identified by the test (false-negative test result). Sensitivity may also refer to the way the body reacts to the environment or to drugs, chemicals, or other substances. For example, a person who is sensitive to the sun may have skin that burns easily or get a rash when exposed to the sun. A person who is sensitive to caffeine may need only small amounts of it to feel its effects.