NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,804 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.

ultraviolet radiation
(UL-truh-VY-oh-let RAY-dee-AY-shun)
Invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation that reaches the Earth's surface is made up of two types of rays, called UVA and UVB. Ultraviolet radiation also comes from sun lamps and tanning beds. It can cause skin damage, premature aging, melanoma, and other types of skin cancer. It can also cause problems with the eyes and the immune system. Skin specialists recommend that people use sunscreens that protect the skin from both kinds of ultraviolet radiation. In medicine, ultraviolet radiation also comes from special lamps or a laser and is used to treat certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin tumors of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Also called UV radiation.