NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,798 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.

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(KRAH-nik ub-STRUK-tiv PUL-muh-NAYR-ee dih-ZEEZ)
A type of lung disease marked by permanent damage to tissues in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes chronic bronchitis, in which the bronchi (large air passages) are inflamed and scarred, and emphysema, in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are damaged. It develops over many years and is usually caused by cigarette smoking. Also called COPD.