NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,790 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.

red blood cell
(red blud sel)
A type of blood cell that is made in the bone marrow and found in the blood. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Checking the number of red 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 anemia, dehydration, malnutrition, and leukemia. Also called erythrocyte and RBC.

EnlargeBlood cells; drawing shows six types of white blood cells (monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, and macrophages), a red blood cell (erythrocyte), and platelets.

Blood cells. Blood contains many types of cells: white blood cells (monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, and macrophages), red blood cells (erythrocytes), and platelets. Blood circulates through the body in the arteries and veins.