NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,847 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.

In medicine, closely watching a patient’s condition but not treating it unless there are changes in test results. Surveillance is also used to find early signs that a disease has come back. It may also be used for a person who has an increased risk of a disease, such as cancer. During surveillance, certain exams and tests are done on a regular schedule. In public health, surveillance may also refer to the ongoing collection of information about a disease, such as cancer, in a certain group of people. The information collected may include where the disease occurs in a population and whether it affects people of a certain gender, age, or ethnic group.