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.

primary treatment
(PRY-mayr-ee TREET-ment)
The first treatment given for a disease. It is often part of a standard set of treatments, such as surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation. When used by itself, primary treatment is the one accepted as the best treatment. If it doesn’t cure the disease or it causes severe side effects, other treatment may be added or used instead. Also called first-line therapy, induction therapy, and primary therapy.