NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,881 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.

730 results found for: P
P30 Cancer Center Support Grant
(… KAN-ser SEN-ter suh-PORT …)
Funds awarded to certain U.S. institutions by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for them to become cancer centers in the United States, based on scientific merit. The funds help the cancer centers improve the way they are run and develop new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. To receive the award, one goal of the cancer center must be to turn clinical and basic research into better health care. Also called CCSG.
P-32
A radioactive form of the element phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer.
p53 gene
(… jeen)
A tumor suppressor gene that normally inhibits the growth of tumors. This gene is altered in many types of cancer.
PA
A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a doctor. A PA may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds, and give injections and immunizations. Also called physician assistant.
PABA
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need PABA to survive. PABA is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called aminobenzoic acid and para-aminobenzoic acid.
pacemaker
(PAYS-may-ker)
An electronic device that is implanted in the body to monitor heart rate and rhythm. It gives the heart electrical stimulation when it does not beat normally. It runs on batteries and has long, thin wires that connect it to the heart. Also called artificial pacemaker and cardiac pacemaker.
Pacific valerian
(puh-SIH-fik vuh-LEER-ee-un)
A plant whose roots are used as a sedative and to treat certain medical conditions. It is being studied as a way to improve sleep in cancer patients undergoing treatment. Also called garden heliotrope, garden valerian, Indian valerian, Mexican valerian, valerian, Valeriana officinalis, and Valerianae radix.
pack year
(pak yeer)
A way to measure the amount a person has smoked over a long period of time. It is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked. For example, 1 pack year is equal to smoking 1 pack per day for 1 year, or 2 packs per day for half a year, and so on.
paclitaxel
(PA-klih-TAK-sil)
A drug used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also used together with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimitotic agent. Also called Taxol.
paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation
(PA-klih-TAK-sil al-BYOO-min-STAY-bih-lized NA-noh-PAR-tih-kul for-myoo-LAY-shun)
A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, and protein-bound paclitaxel.
paclitaxel liposome
(PA-klih-TAK-sil LY-poh-some)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. It may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Paclitaxel liposome blocks the ability of cells to divide and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called LEP-ETU, liposomal paclitaxel, LipoTaxen, and PNU-93914.
paclitaxel poliglumex
(PA-klih-TAK-sil PAH-lee-GLOO-mex)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel combined with a protein called poliglumex that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CT-2103, paclitaxel polyglutamate, and Xyotax.
paclitaxel polyglutamate
(PA-klih-TAK-sil PAH-lee-GLOO-tuh-mayt)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel combined with a protein called poliglumex that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CT-2103, paclitaxel poliglumex, and Xyotax.
paclitaxel-loaded polymeric micelle
(PA-klih-TAK-sil-LOH-ded PAH-lih-MAYR-ik MY-sel)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also used with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel is mixed with very tiny particles of a substance that makes it easier to dissolve in water. This allows higher doses of paclitaxel to be given. It is a type of antimitotic agent.
PAD
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat multiple myeloma. It includes the drugs bortezomib, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone. Also called PAD regimen.
PAD regimen
(... REH-jih-men)
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat multiple myeloma. It includes the drugs bortezomib, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone. Also called PAD.
Paget disease of bone
(PA-jet dih-ZEEZ ...)
A chronic condition in which both the breakdown and regrowth of bone are increased. Paget disease of bone occurs most frequently in the pelvic and leg bones, skull, and lower spine. It is most common in older individuals, and may lead to bone pain, deformities, and fractures. Also called osteitis deformans.
Paget disease of the nipple
(PA-jet dih-ZEEZ ...)
A condition in which abnormal cells are found in the nipple. Symptoms commonly include itching and burning and an eczema-like condition around the nipple. There may also be oozing or bleeding from the nipple.
PAH
A type of chemical formed when coal, oil, gas, garbage, tobacco, meat, and other substances are burned. These chemicals are also made for use in many products, including coal tar, creosote, roofing tar, pesticides, mothballs, dandruff shampoos, and some medicines. Being exposed to one of these chemicals over a long time may cause cancer. Also called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.
pain threshold
(payn THRESH-holde)
The point at which a person becomes aware of pain.
PALA
A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase the effectiveness of the anticancer drug fluorouracil.
palate
(PAL-et)
The roof of the mouth. The front portion is bony (hard palate), and the back portion is muscular (soft palate).
palatine uvula
(PA-luh-teen YOO-vyoo-luh)
The soft flap of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth (at the edge of the soft palate). Also called uvula.
palbociclib
(PAL-boh-SY-klib)
A drug used with letrozole to treat ER positive, HER2 negative breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in postmenopausal women whose disease has not been treated with hormone therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Palbociclib blocks certain proteins, which may help keep cancer cells from growing. It is a type of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. Also called Ibrance.
palifermin
(pa-lee-FER-min)
A form of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) that is made in the laboratory. KGF stimulates the growth of cells that line the surface of the mouth and intestinal tract. Palifermin is used to prevent and treat oral mucositis (mouth sores) caused by high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy in leukemia and lymphoma. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) in other types of cancer. Palifermin is a type of recombinant human keratinocyte growth factor. Also called Kepivance.
palliation
(PA-lee-AY-shun)
Relief of symptoms and suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliation helps a patient feel more comfortable and improves the quality of life, but does not cure the disease.
palliative care
(PA-lee-uh-tiv kayr)
Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
palliative sedation
(PA-lee-uh-tiv seh-DAY-shun)
The use of special drugs called sedatives to relieve extreme suffering by making a patient calm, unaware, or unconscious. This may be done for patients who have symptoms that cannot be controlled with other treatment. Palliative sedation may be used in patients who are near the end of life to make them more comfortable. It is not meant to shorten life or cause death.
palliative therapy
(PA-lee-uh-tiv THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliative cancer therapies are given together with other cancer treatments, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship, recurrent or advanced disease, and at the end of life.
palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia
(PAL-mer-PLAN-ter eh-RITH-roh-DIS-es-THEE-zhuh)
A condition marked by pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or redness of the hands or feet. It sometimes occurs as a side effect of certain anticancer drugs. Also called hand-foot syndrome.
palonosetron hydrochloride
(pa-loh-NOH-seh-tron HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is also used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery. Palonosetron hydrochloride blocks the action of the chemical serotonin in the brain, which may help lessen nausea and vomiting. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called Aloxi.
palpable disease
(PAL-puh-bul dih-ZEEZ)
A term used to describe cancer that can be felt by touch, usually present in lymph nodes, skin, or other organs of the body such as the liver or colon.
palpation
(pal-PAY-shun)
Examination by pressing on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath.
palpitation
(PAL-pih-TAY-shun)
A rapid or irregular heartbeat that a person can feel.
Pamelor
(PA-meh-lor)
A drug used to treat depression. It may also be used to treat panic or anxiety disorders and certain types of pain, and to help people quit smoking. Pamelor increases the levels of norepinephrine and other natural chemicals in the brain. This helps improve mood and may reduce a person’s craving for nicotine. It is a type of tricyclic antidepressant. Also called Aventyl and nortriptyline.
pamidronate disodium
(puh-MIH-droh-nayt dy-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat hypercalcemia (high blood levels of calcium) caused by certain types of cancer. It is also used with other anticancer drugs to treat multiple myeloma and breast cancer that has spread to bone. It is also used to treat Paget disease of the bone. Pamidronate disodium may help keep bone from breaking down and prevent the loss of calcium from the bones. It is a type of bisphosphonate. Also called Aredia.
panacea
(PA-nuh-SEE-uh)
A cure-all.
Pancoast tumor
(PAN-koste TOO-mer)
A type of lung cancer that begins in the upper part of a lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Most Pancoast tumors are non-small cell cancers. Also called pulmonary sulcus tumor.
pancreas
(PAN-kree-us)
A glandular organ located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion, and it produces several hormones, including insulin. The pancreas is surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and other organs.
pancreatectomy
(PAN-kree-uh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all or part of the pancreas. In a total pancreatectomy, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.
pancreatic
(PAN-kree-A-tik)
Having to do with the pancreas.
pancreatic cancer
(PAN-kree-A-tik KAN-ser)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. Also called exocrine cancer.
pancreatic duct
(PAN-kree-A-tik dukt)
Part of a system of ducts in the pancreas. Pancreatic juices containing enzymes are released into these ducts and flow into the small intestine.
pancreatic endocrine cancer
(PAN-kree-A-tik EN-doh-krin KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic endocrine cancers make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic endocrine cancers do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell carcinoma.
pancreatic endocrine tumor
(PAN-kree-A-tik EN-doh-krin TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Pancreatic endocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic endocrine tumors make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic endocrine tumors do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell tumor and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.
pancreatic enzyme
(PAN-kree-A-tik EN-zime)
A protein secreted by the pancreas that aids in the digestion of food.
pancreatic function test
(PAN-kree-A-tik FUNK-shun …)
A test used to help diagnose problems in the pancreas, such as gastrinomas and pancreatitis. It measures the ability of the pancreas to respond to the hormone secretin (a hormone that causes other substances to be released by the stomach, liver, and pancreas). Secretin is given to the patient by a tube put through the nose or throat into the small intestine and stomach or by injection into a vein. After a certain amount of time, samples are taken to be sent to a laboratory for testing. It is a type of pancreatic function test. Also called secretin stimulation test.
pancreatic insulin-producing tumor
(PAN-kree-A-tik IN-suh-lin-proh-DOO-sing TOO-mer)
An abnormal mass that grows in the beta cells of the pancreas that make insulin. Pancreatic insulin-producing tumors are usually benign (not cancer). They secrete insulin and are the most common cause of low blood sugar caused by having too much insulin in the body. Also called beta cell neoplasm, beta cell tumor of the pancreas, and insulinoma.
pancreatic juice
(PAN-kree-A-tik joos)
Fluid made by the pancreas. Pancreatic juices contain proteins called enzymes that aid in digestion.
pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor
(PAN-kree-A-tik NOOR-oh-EN-doh-krin TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell tumor and pancreatic endocrine tumor.
pancreatic polypeptide
(PAN-kree-A-tik PAH-lee-PEP-tide)
A small protein made by the pancreas that helps control the release of other substances made by the pancreas. The amount of pancreatic polypeptide in the blood increases after a person eats. It may also increase with age, and in certain diseases, such as diabetes and pancreatic cancer. Also called PP.
pancreatic tumor
(PAN-kree-A-tik TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in the cells of the pancreas. The two main types of pancreatic tumors are pancreatic exocrine tumors and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Most pancreatic cancers are exocrine tumors, which form in cells that make enzymes to help the body digest food. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors form in neuroendocrine pancreas cells (such as islet cells). These cells make hormones that help control sugar levels in the blood. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They are much less common than pancreatic exocrine tumors and have a better prognosis.
pancreatitis
(PAN-kree-uh-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis may cause diabetes and problems with digestion. Pain is the primary symptom.
pancreatoduodenectomy
(PAN-kree-uh-toh-DOO-ah-deh-NEK-toh-mee)
A type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. The head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and other nearby tissues are removed. Also called Whipple procedure.
panhypopituitarism
(pan-HY-poh-pih-TOO-ih-tuh-rih-zum)
A rare condition in which the pituitary gland stops making most or all hormones. Pituitary hormones help control the way many parts of the body work. Symptoms of the condition depend on the hormones that are missing. They include growth problems (in children), obesity (in adults), hair loss, slow heart rate, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, fatigue, and problems with reproduction. This condition may be caused by a tumor on or near the pituitary gland, infection, stroke, injury, surgery, or radiation therapy. It may also be inherited. Also called PHP.
panic
(PA-nik)
Sudden extreme anxiety or fear that may cause irrational thoughts or actions. Panic may include rapid heart rate, flushing (a hot, red face), sweating, and trouble breathing.
panitumumab
(PAN-ih-TOO-myoo-mab)
A human monoclonal antibody that is being used to treat colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose disease has not gotten better during or after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Panitumumab binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and may block tumor cell growth. Also called ABX-EGF and Vectibix.
panobinostat
(PA-noh-BIH-noh-stat)
A drug used with bortezomib and dexamethasone to treat multiple myeloma. It is used in patients who have already been treated with bortezomib and an immunomodulating agent. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Panobinostat blocks certain enzymes needed for cells to grow and divide and may kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of histone deacetylase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called Farydak and LBH589.
pantothenic acid
(PAN-toh-THEH-nik A-sid)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Pantothenic acid helps some enzymes use foods and make many substances used in the body and protects cells against damage from peroxides. It is found in almost all plant and animal foods. Pantothenic acid is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Also called vitamin B5.
PANVAC-V
A cancer vaccine made with a form of vaccinia virus that does not cause disease in humans. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. The virus is changed in the laboratory to make human proteins, including the tumor markers called CEA and MUC-1, that may help immune cells in the body kill tumor cells. Also called inalimarev and recombinant vaccinia-CEA-MUC-1-TRICOM vaccine.
PAP
An enzyme produced by the prostate. It may be found in increased amounts in men who have prostate cancer. Also called prostatic acid phosphatase.
Pap smear
(pap smeer)
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Pap smear may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap test and Papanicolaou test.
Pap test
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Pap test may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap smear and Papanicolaou test.
Pap/HPV cotest
A procedure in which a human papillomavirus (HPV) test and a Pap test are done at the same time to check for cervical cancer. The HPV test looks for DNA or RNA from certain high-risk types of HPV in samples of cells taken from the cervix. The Pap test checks for cervical cancer cells and cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. The same cell sample may be used for both the HPV test and the Pap test. Women aged 30 to 65 years may have a Pap/HPV cotest every 5 years. Cotesting is more likely to find abnormal cells or cervical cancer than a Pap test alone is. Also called HPV/Pap cotest.
Papanicolaou test
(PA-puh-NIH-koh-low...)
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Papanicolaou test may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap smear and Pap test.
papillary dermis
(PA-pih-LAYR-ee DER-mis)
The thin top layer of the dermis (the inner layer of the skin). The papillary dermis has connective tissue and blood vessels that give nutrients to the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and that help control the temperature of the skin.
papillary serous carcinoma
(PA-pih-LAYR-ee SEER-us KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
An aggressive cancer that usually affects the uterus/endometrium, peritoneum, or ovary.
papillary thyroid cancer
(PA-pih-LAYR-ee THY-royd KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in follicular cells in the thyroid and grows in small finger-like shapes. It grows slowly, is more common in women than in men, and often occurs before age 45. It is the most common type of thyroid cancer.
papillary tumor
(PA-pih-LAYR-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor shaped like a small mushroom, with its stem attached to the epithelial layer (inner lining) of an organ.
papillary-reticular dermal interface
(PA-pih-LAYR-ee-reh-TIH-kyoo-ler DER-mul IN-ter-fays)
The layer of the skin between the papillary dermis (the thin top layer of the dermis) and the reticular dermis (the thick bottom layer of the dermis). The dermis is the layer of skin below the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin).
papilledema
(PA-pil-eh-DEE-muh)
Swelling around the optic disk, the area where the optic nerve (the nerve that carries messages from the eye to the brain) enters the eyeball. Papilledema occurs when increased brain pressure caused by tumors or other problems results in swelling of the optic nerve.
papule
(PA-pyool)
A small, solid, raised bump on the skin that has a border with edges that are easy to see. Papules may be red, purple, brown, or pink.
PAR-101
A substance being studied in the treatment of diarrhea caused by infection with Clostridium difficile (a type of bacteria that can grow without oxygen) in cancer patients. PAR-101 is a type of antibiotic. Also called OPT-80 and tiacumicin B.
para-aminobenzoic acid
(PAYR-uh-uh-MEE-noh-ben-ZOH-ik A-sid)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need para-aminobenzoic acid to survive. Para-aminobenzoic acid is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called aminobenzoic acid and PABA.
paracentesis
(PAYR-uh-sen-TEE-sis)
A procedure in which a thin needle or tube is put into the abdomen to remove fluid from the peritoneal cavity (the space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver).
paraganglia
(PAYR-uh-GANG-glee-uh)
A collection of cells that came from embryonic nervous tissue, and are found near the adrenal glands and some blood vessels and nerves. Most paraganglia secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine.
paraganglioma
(PAYR-uh-GANG-glee-OH-muh)
A rare, usually benign tumor that develops from cells of the paraganglia. Paraganglia are a collection of cells that came from embryonic nervous tissue, and are found near the adrenal glands and some blood vessels and nerves. Paragangliomas that develop in the adrenal gland are called pheochromocytomas. Those that develop outside of the adrenal glands near blood vessels or nerves are called glomus tumors or chemodectomas.
parageusia
(PAYR-uh-GOO-see-uh)
A bad taste in the mouth. Also called dysgeusia.
paralysis
(puh-RA-lih-sis)
Loss of ability to move all or part of the body.
paralytic ileus
(PAYR-uh-LIH-tik IH-lee-us)
A condition in which the muscles of the intestines do not allow food to pass through, resulting in a blocked intestine. Paralytic ileus may be caused by surgery, inflammation, and certain drugs.
parametrium
(payr-uh-MEE-tree-um)
The fat and connective tissue that surrounds the uterus. The parametrium helps connect the uterus to other tissues in the pelvis.
paramyxovirus
(PAYR-uh-MIK-suh-VY-rus)
A type of virus that has hemagglutinin-neuraminidase proteins in the outer coat and RNA as the genetic material. Measles (rubeola) virus, mumps virus, and Newcastle disease virus are paramyxoviruses.
paranasal sinus
(PAYR-uh-NAY-zul SY-nus)
One of many small hollow spaces in the bones around the nose. Paranasal sinuses are named after the bones that contain them: frontal (the lower forehead), maxillary (cheekbones), ethmoid (beside the upper nose), and sphenoid (behind the nose). The paranasal sinuses open into the nasal cavity (space inside the nose) and are lined with cells that make mucus to keep the nose from drying out during breathing.
paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer
(PAYR-uh-NAY-zul SY-nus ... NAY-zul KA-vuh-tee KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the paranasal sinuses (small hollow spaces in the bones around the nose) or nasal cavity (the inside of the nose). The most common type of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in flat cells lining these tissues and cavities).
paraneoplastic syndrome
(PAYR-uh-NEE-oh-PLAS-tik SIN-drome)
A group of symptoms that may develop when substances released by some cancer cells disrupt the normal function of surrounding cells and tissue.
paranoia
(PAYR-uh-noy-uh)
A mental disorder in which a person has an extreme fear and distrust of others. A paranoid person may have delusions that people are trying to harm him or her.
Paraplatin
(PAYR-uh-PLA-tin)
A drug that is used to treat advanced ovarian cancer that has never been treated or symptoms of ovarian cancer that has come back after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also used with other drugs to treat advanced, metastatic, or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Paraplatin is a form of the anticancer drug cisplatin and causes fewer side effects in patients. It attaches to DNA in cells and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of platinum compound. Also called carboplatin.
parasite
(PAYR-uh-SITE)
An animal or plant that gets nutrients by living on or in an organism of another species. A complete parasite gets all of its nutrients from the host organism, but a semi-parasite gets only some of its nutrients from the host.
parasitic
(PAYR-uh-SIH-tik)
Having to do with or being a parasite (an animal or plant that gets nutrients by living on or in an organism of another species).
parasomnia
(PAYR-uh-SOM-nee-uh)
An abnormal disruption of sleep, such as sleep walking, sleep talking, nightmares, bedwetting, sleep apnea (problems with breathing that cause loud snoring), or nighttime seizures.
parasympathetic nervous system
(PAYR-uh-SIM-puh-THEH-tik NER-vus SIS-tem)
The part of the nervous system that slows the heart, dilates blood vessels, decreases pupil size, increases digestive juices, and relaxes muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
parathormone
(PAYR-uh-THOR-mone)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathormone causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathyrin, parathyroid hormone, and PTH.
parathyrin
(PAYR-uh-THY-rin)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathyrin causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathormone, parathyroid hormone, and PTH.
parathyroid cancer
(PAYR-uh-THY-royd KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in tissues of one or more of the parathyroid glands (four pea-sized glands in the neck that make parathyroid hormone, which helps the body store and use calcium).
parathyroid gland
(PAYR-uh-THY-royd...)
One of four pea-sized glands found on the surface of the thyroid. The parathyroid hormone made by these glands increases the calcium level in the blood.
parathyroid hormone
(PAYR-uh-THY-royd HOR-mone)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathyroid hormone causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathormone, parathyrin, and PTH.
parathyroidectomy
(PAYR-uh-THY-roy-DEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove one or more parathyroid glands (four pea-sized organs found on the thyroid).
parenchyma
(puh-REN-kih-muh)
The essential or functional elements of an organ.
parenteral nutrition
(puh-REN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun)
A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Parenteral nutrition does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using parenteral nutrition. Also called hyperalimentation, total parenteral nutrition, and TPN.
paresthesia
(payr-es-THEE-zhuh)
An abnormal touch sensation, such as burning or prickling, that occurs without an outside stimulus.
paricalcitol
(PAYR-ih-KAL-sih-tol)
A substance that is being used to treat overactive parathyroid glands in patients with kidney failure. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. Paricalcitol belongs to the family of drugs called vitamin D analogs.
parietal cell vagotomy
(puh-RY-uh-tul sel vay-GAH-toh-mee)
Surgery to cut the parts of the vagus nerve that cause gastric acid to be made in the stomach. It is done to treat stomach ulcers or other conditions in which the stomach makes too much acid.
parietal pericardium
(puh-RY-uh-tul PAYR-ih-KAR-dee-um)
The outer layer of the pericardium, which is a thin sac of tissue that surrounds the heart.
parietal peritoneum
(puh-RY-uh-tul PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The layers of tissue that line the abdominal wall and the pelvic cavity.
Parkinson disease
(PAR-kin-sun dih-ZEEZ)
A progressive disorder of the nervous system marked by muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, decreased mobility, stooped posture, slow voluntary movements, and a mask-like facial expression.
parotid gland cancer
(puh-RAH-tid gland KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in a parotid gland, the largest of the salivary glands, which make saliva and release it into the mouth. There are 2 parotid glands, one in front of and just below each ear. Most salivary gland tumors begin in parotid glands.
parotidectomy
(puh-RAH-tih-DEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all or part of the parotid gland (a large salivary gland located in front of and just below the ear). In a radical parotidectomy, the entire gland is removed.
paroxetine hydrochloride
(puh-ROK-suh-teen HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Also called Paxil.
paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
(PAYR-ok-SIZ-mul nok-TER-nul HEE-moh-GLOH-bih-NOO-ree-uh)
A rare disorder in which red blood cells are easily destroyed by certain immune system proteins. Symptoms include blood clots, and red or brownish urine in the morning. Aplastic anemia (decreased production of blood cells) may lead to PNH, and people with PNH are at increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia. Also called PNH.
PARP
A type of enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. Inhibitors of one enzyme, PARP-1, are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase.
PARP inhibitor
(... in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks an enzyme in cells called PARP. PARP helps repair DNA when it becomes damaged. DNA damage may be caused by many things, including exposure to UV light, radiation, certain anticancer drugs, or other substances in the environment. In cancer treatment, blocking PARP may help keep cancer cells from repairing their damaged DNA, causing them to die. PARP inhibitors are a type of targeted therapy. Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor.
PARP inhibitor AZD2281
(... in-HIH-bih-ter ...)
A drug used to treat advanced ovarian cancer caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is used in patients who have already received other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PARP inhibitor AZD2281 blocks an enzyme involved in many cell functions, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. PARP inhibitor AZD2281 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of targeted therapy agent and a type of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called AZD2281, Lynparza, and olaparib.
PARP-1
An enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. Inhibitors of PARP-1 are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1.
PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888
(… in-HIH-bih-ter …)
A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called ABT-888 and veliparib.
PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699
(… in-HIH-bih-ter …)
A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called AG014699.
partial cystectomy
(PAR-shul sis-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of the bladder (the organ that holds urine). Also called segmental cystectomy.
partial hysterectomy
(PAR-shul HIS-teh-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the uterus, but not the cervix. Also called subtotal hysterectomy.
partial laryngectomy
(PAR-shul LAYR-in-JEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove part of the larynx (voice box).
partial mastectomy
(PAR-shul ma-STEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove the cancer and some normal tissue around it, but not the breast itself. Some lymph nodes under the arm may be removed for biopsy. Part of the chest wall lining may also be removed if the cancer is near it. Also called breast-conserving surgery, breast-sparing surgery, lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, and segmental mastectomy.
partial nephrectomy
(PAR-shul neh-FREK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of one kidney or a kidney tumor, but not an entire kidney.
partial oophorectomy
(PAR-shul oh-oh-foh-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of one ovary or part of both ovaries.
partial radical vulvectomy
(PAR-shul RA-dih-kul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove most, but not all, of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina). The clitoris may not be removed. Sometimes lymph nodes in the groin area are also removed. Also called modified radical vulvectomy.
partial remission
(PAR-shul reh-MIH-shun)
A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment. Also called partial response.
partial response
(PAR-shul reh-SPONTS)
A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment. Also called partial remission.
partial vulvectomy
(PAR-shul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove an affected area of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina) along with a small amount of surrounding normal tissue.
partial-breast irradiation
(PAR-shul-brest ih-RAY-dee-AY-shun)
A type of radiation therapy given only to the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-breast radiation therapy. Partial-breast irradiation may be given using internal or external sources of radiation. Also called accelerated partial-breast irradiation.
passive antibody therapy
(...AN-tee-BAH-dee THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with injections of antibodies made in another animal or in the laboratory.
pastoral counselor
(PAS-tuh-rul KOWN-seh-ler)
A person who is trained to give spiritual and mental health advice.
patchouli
(puh-CHOO-lee)
A bushy herb that is a member of the mint family. A strong-smelling oil taken from the leaves is used in perfumes, incense, detergents, and hair conditioners. It has been used in some cultures to prevent disease. The scientific name is Pogostemon cablin
paternal
(puh-TER-nul)
Having to do with the father, coming from the father, or related through the father.
Paterson-Kelly syndrome
(PA-ter-sun-KEH-lee SIN-drome)
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having Paterson-Kelly syndrome may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Plummer-Vinson syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.
pathognomonic
(PA-thog-noh-MAH-nik)
Having to do with a sign or symptom that is specific to a certain disease.
pathologic fracture
(PA-thuh-LAH-jik FRAK-sher)
A broken bone caused by disease, often by the spread of cancer to the bone.
pathological stage
(PA-thuh-LAH-jih-kul stayj)
The stage of cancer (amount or spread of cancer in the body) that is based on how different from normal the cells in samples of tissue look under a microscope.
pathological staging
(PA-thuh-LAH-jih-kul STAY-jing)
A method used to find out the stage of cancer (amount or spread of cancer in the body) by removing tissue samples during surgery or a biopsy. The pathological stage is based on how different from normal the cells in the samples look under a microscope.
pathologist
(puh-THAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.
pathology report
(puh-THAH-loh-jee ...)
The description of cells and tissues made by a pathologist based on microscopic evidence, and sometimes used to make a diagnosis of a disease.
patient advocate
(PAY-shunt AD-vuh-kut)
A person who helps a patient work with others who have an effect on the patient's health, including doctors, insurance companies, employers, case managers, and lawyers. A patient advocate helps resolve issues about health care, medical bills, and job discrimination related to a patient's medical condition. Cancer advocacy groups try to raise public awareness about important cancer issues, such as the need for cancer support services, education, and research. Such groups work to bring about change that will help cancer patients and their families.
patient-controlled analgesia
(PAY-shunt-kun-TROLD AN-ul-JEE-zee-uh)
A method of pain relief in which the patient controls the amount of pain medicine that is used. When pain relief is needed, the person can receive a preset dose of pain medicine by pressing a button on a computerized pump that is connected to a small tube in the body. Also called PCA.
Paxil
(PAK-sil)
A drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Also called paroxetine hydrochloride.
pazopanib hydrochloride
(puh-ZOH-puh-nib HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma, which is the most common type of kidney cancer. It is also used to treat advanced soft tissue sarcoma that has been treated with other anticancer drugs. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pazopanib hydrochloride may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called GW786034 and Votrient.
PC regimen
(… REH-jih-men)
A chemotherapy combination used to treat endometrial, ovarian, and head and neck cancers, and non-small cell lung cancer that has spread. It includes the drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called Carbo-Tax regimen, carboplatin-Taxol, carboplatin-Taxol regimen, and CaT regimen.
PCA
A method of pain relief in which the patient controls the amount of pain medicine that is used. When pain relief is needed, the person can receive a preset dose of pain medicine by pressing a button on a computerized pump that is connected to a small tube in the body. Also called patient-controlled analgesia.
PCNSL
Primary CNS lymphoma. Cancer that forms in the lymph tissue of the brain, spinal cord, meninges (outer covering of the brain), or eye (called ocular lymphoma). Also called primary central nervous system lymphoma and primary CNS lymphoma.
PCOS
A condition marked by infertility, enlarged ovaries, menstrual problems, high levels of male hormones, excess hair on the face and body, acne, and obesity. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and endometrial cancer. Also called polycystic ovary syndrome.
PCR
A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific DNA sequence. Also called polymerase chain reaction.
PC-SPES
A mixture of eight herbs that has been sold as a dietary supplement and promoted as a way to keep the prostate healthy and to treat prostate cancer. PC-SPES has been studied in the treatment of prostate cancer, but has been taken off the market in the U.S. because of safety concerns.
PCV
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat certain types of brain tumors. It is often used with radiation therapy. It includes the drugs procarbazine hydrochloride, lomustine (CCNU), and vincristine sulfate. Also called PCV regimen.
PCV regimen
(… REH-jih-men)
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat certain types of brain tumors. It is often used with radiation therapy. It includes the drugs procarbazine hydrochloride, lomustine (CCNU), and vincristine sulfate. Also called PCV.
PDGF
A family of molecules released from platelets (tiny pieces of cells that are found in the blood and that help the blood clot). Forms of PDGF help to heal wounds and to repair damage to blood vessel walls. They also help blood vessels grow. Also called platelet-derived growth factor.
PDQ
PDQ is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute. Designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public, PDQ contains peer-reviewed summaries on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, complementary and alternative medicine, and supportive care; a registry of cancer clinical trials from around the world; and directories of physicians, professionals who provide genetics services, and organizations that provide cancer care. Most of this information, and more specific information about PDQ, can be found on the NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/publications/pdq. Also called Physician Data Query.
peak exposure
(peek ek-SPOH-zher)
The largest amount of a substance or radiation that a person is exposed to at one time. Peak exposure to a harmful substance or radiation may increase the risk of certain diseases or conditions.
peau d'orange
(poh duh-RANJ)
A dimpled condition of the skin of the breast, resembling the skin of an orange, sometimes found in inflammatory breast cancer.
PediaSure
(PEE-dee-uh-sher)
A nutritional drink that helps children who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be given through a small tube that is inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a tube that is put into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. Also called pediatric polymeric enteral nutrition formula.
pediatric
(pee-dee-A-trik)
Having to do with children.
pediatric hematologist
(PEE-dee-A-trik HEE-muh-TAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who specializes in treating blood disorders in children.
pediatric nurse specialist
(pee-dee-A-trik ... SPEH-shuh-list)
A registered nurse with an advanced degree in nursing who specializes in the care of children.
pediatric oncologist
(pee-dee-A-trik on-KAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer.
pediatric polymeric enteral nutrition formula
(pee-dee-A-trik PAH-lih-MAYR-ik EN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun FOR-myoo-luh)
A nutritional drink that helps children who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be given through a small tube that is inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a tube that is put into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. Also called PediaSure.
pediatric surgeon
(pee-dee-A-trik SER-jun)
A surgeon who specializes in the treatment of children. A surgeon removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on the patient.
pediatrician
(PEE-dee-uh-TRIH-shun)
A doctor who specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and injuries in children. Pediatricians also help manage other problems that affect children, such as developmental disorders and behavioral, emotional, and social problems.
pedicle flap
(PEH-dih-kul …)
A type of surgery used to rebuild the shape of the breast after a mastectomy. Tissue, including skin, fat, and muscle, is moved from one area of the body, such as the back or abdomen, to the chest to form a new breast mound. The tissue flap, along with its blood vessels, stays connected to the body and is passed through a tunnel under the skin to the chest. A pedicle flap is a type of breast reconstruction.
pedigree
(PEH-dih-gree)
A diagram that shows relationships among family members. In medicine, a pedigree may also show the pattern of certain genes or diseases within a family.
pedunculated
(peh-DUN-kyoo-LAY-ted)
In the body, a structure that has a peduncle (a stalk or stem) or is attached to another structure by a peduncle.
peer review process
(peer ree-VYOO PRAH-ses)
The process by which original articles and grants written by researchers are evaluated for technical and scientific quality and correctness by other experts in the same field.
peer-reviewed scientific journal
(peer-ree-VYOOD SY-en-TIH-fik JER-nul)
A publication that contains original articles that have been written by scientists and evaluated for technical and scientific quality and correctness by other experts in the same field.
PEG
A polymer made by joining molecules of ethylene oxide and water together in a repeating pattern. PEG can be a liquid or a waxy solid. In medicine, forms of PEG can be used in ointments, in drugs or substances to make them stay in the body longer, or in laxatives. Also called polyethylene glycol.
PEG tube
(…toob)
A tube inserted through the wall of the abdomen directly into the stomach. It allows air and fluid to leave the stomach and can be used to give drugs and liquids, including liquid food, to the patient. Giving food through a PEG tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called gastrostomy tube and percutaneous endoscopic tube.
PEG-asparaginase
(... as-PAYR-uh-jih-NAYS)
A drug used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is a form of the drug asparaginase that is linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Asparaginase is an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid asparagine and may block the growth of tumor cells that need asparagine to grow. It is a type of protein synthesis inhibitor. Also called Oncaspar and pegaspargase.
pegaspargase
(peg-A-spar-jays)
A drug used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is a form of the drug asparaginase that is linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Asparaginase is an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid asparagine and may block the growth of tumor cells that need asparagine to grow. It is a type of protein synthesis inhibitor. Also called Oncaspar and PEG-asparaginase.
Pegasys
(PEH-guh-sis)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called peginterferon alfa-2a.
pegfilgrastim
(peg-fil-GRAS-tim)
A drug used to increase numbers of white blood cells in patients who are receiving chemotherapy. It is a type of colony-stimulating factor. Also called filgrastim-SD/01 and Neulasta.
peginterferon alfa-2a
(peg-IN-ter-FEER-on AL-fuh ...)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called Pegasys.
peginterferon alfa-2b
(peg-IN-ter-FEER-on AL-fuh ...)
A drug used to treat melanoma and hepatitis C. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It is used under the brand name Sylatron to treat melanoma in patients who have had surgery to remove cancer that has spread to lymph nodes. It is used under the brand name PEG-Intron to treat hepatitis C infections. Peginterferon alfa-2b is a form of interferon alfa (a substance normally made by cells in the immune system) linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Peginterferon alfa-2b is made in the laboratory. It is a type of cytokine and a type of biological response modifier. Also called SCH 54031.
PEG-Intron
(… IN-tron)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. PEG-Intron is a brand name for peginterferon alfa-2b. It is a type of cytokine and a type of biological response modifier.
PEG-MGDF
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. PEG-MGDF is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-rhMGDF and polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor.
PEG-rhMGDF
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. PEG-rhMGDF is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-MGDF and polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor.
pegylated arginine deiminase
(PEH-guh-LAY-ted AR-jih-neen DEE-IH-mih-nays)
A substance being studied in the treatment of melanoma, liver cancer, and other types of cancer. It breaks down the amino acid arginine and may block the growth of cancer cells that need arginine to grow. It is a type of iminohydrolase. Also called ADI-PEG 20.
PEI
An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound or a CT scan is used to guide the needle into the tumor. Also called alcohol ablation, ethanol ablation, and percutaneous ethanol injection.
PEITC
A substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables. Also called phenethyl isothiocyanate.
pelargonium
(PEH-lar-GOH-nee-um)
A type of plant that is native to southern Africa and has white, pink, purple, or red flowers and 3- to 5-lobed leaves. An essential oil that smells like roses is taken from the leaves and used in perfume, in mosquito repellants, and in aromatherapy to treat skin problems and to reduce stress. The scientific name is Pelargonium graveolens. Also called geranium.
peldesine
(PEL-deh-seen)
A substance that is being studied for the treatment of cancer.
pelitinib
(peh-LIH-tih-nib)
A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It blocks the action of certain proteins that are part of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family of proteins. These proteins may be found in increased amounts on the surface of some types of cancer cells. Blocking the action of these proteins may stop cancer cells from growing and may kill cancer cells. Pelitinib is a type of EGFR inhibitor. Also called EKB-569.
pelvic
(PEL-vik)
Having to do with the pelvis (the lower part of the abdomen located between the hip bones).
pelvic exam
(PEL-vik eg-ZAM)
A physical exam of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. First, the area outside the vagina is checked for signs of disease. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina to widen it so the vagina and cervix can be checked for signs of disease. Cell samples may be taken for a Pap test, or to test for sexually transmitted diseases or other infections. The doctor or nurse then inserts one or two lubricated, gloved fingers of one hand into the vagina and presses on the lower abdomen with the other hand to feel for lumps and check the size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries. The rectum may also be checked for lumps or abnormal areas. Also called internal exam.
pelvic exenteration
(PEL-vik eg-ZEN-teh-RAY-shun)
Surgery to remove the lower colon, rectum, and bladder, and create stomata (openings) through which urine and stool are passed out of the body. In women, the cervix, vagina, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes are also removed.
pelvic inflammatory disease
(PEL-vik in-FLA-muh-TOR-ee dih-ZEEZ)
A condition in which the female reproductive organs are inflamed. It may affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and certain ligaments. Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It may cause infertility and an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tubes). Also called PID.
pelvic lymphadenectomy
(PEL-vik LIM-fa-deh-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove lymph nodes in the pelvis for examination under a microscope to see if they contain cancer.
pelvic wall
(PEL-vik ...)
The muscles and ligaments that line the part of the body between the hips.
pelvis
(PEL-vus)
The area of the body below the abdomen that contains the hip bones, bladder, and rectum. In females, it also contains the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In males, it also contains the prostate.
pembrolizumab
(pem-broh-LIH-zoo-mab)
A drug used to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer that have spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose cancer has a certain protein and whose disease got worse during or after treatment with anticancer drugs that included platinum. Pembrolizumab is also used to treat melanoma that cannot be removed by surgery or has spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pembrolizumab binds to a receptor for a substance called PD-1, which is found on T cells (a type of white blood cell). Pembrolizumab may block PD-1 and help the immune system kill cancer cells. It is a type of monoclonal antibody and a type of immune checkpoint inhibitor. Also called Keytruda.
pemetrexed disodium
(peh-meh-TREK-sed dy-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used alone or with another drug to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pemetrexed disodium blocks DNA synthesis and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of folate antagonist. Also called Alimta and LY231514.
penclomedine
(pen-KLOH-meh-deen)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
penectomy
(pee-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part or all of the penis (an external male reproductive organ).
penetrance
(PEH-neh-trunts)
Describes how likely it is that a person who has a certain disease-causing mutation (change) in a gene will show signs and symptoms of the disease. Not everyone who has the mutation will develop the disease. For example, some people who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will develop cancer during their lifetime, but others will not. Currently, there is no way to know which people who have a cancer-causing mutation will develop cancer. Complete penetrance means that every person who has the mutation will show signs and symptoms of the disease.
penicillamine
(PEH-nih-SIH-luh-MEEN)
A drug that removes copper from the body and is used to treat diseases in which there is an excess of copper. It is also being studied as a possible angiogenesis inhibitor in the treatment of brain tumors.
penicillin
(PEH-nih-SIH-lin)
A drug that is used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics.
penile cancer
(PEE-nile KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in the penis (an external male reproductive organ). Most penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the penis).
penile implant
(PEE-nile IM-plant)
A firm rod or inflatable device that is placed in the penis (an external male reproductive organ) during a surgical procedure. The implant makes it possible to have and keep an erection. Penile implants are used to treat erectile dysfunction or impotence.
penis
(PEE-nis)
An external male reproductive organ. It contains a tube called the urethra, which carries semen and urine to the outside of the body.
Pentam
(PEN-tam)
A drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor. Also called pentamidine isethionate.
pentamidine
(pen-TA-mih-deen)
The active ingredient in a drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor.
pentamidine isethionate
(pen-TA-mih-deen I-seh-THY-oh-nayt)
A drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor. Also called Pentam.
pentetic acid calcium
(pen-TEH-tik A-sid KAL-see-um)
A drug that protects healthy tissues from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.
pentosan polysulfate
(PEN-tuh-SAN PAH-lee-SUL-fayt)
A drug used to relieve pain or discomfort associated with chronic inflammation of the bladder. It is also being evaluated for its protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract in people undergoing radiation therapy.
pentostatin
(PEN-toh-STA-tin)
The active ingredient in a drug that is used to treat hairy cell leukemia and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pentostatin blocks a protein needed for cell growth and may kill cancer cells. It is made by a bacterium. It is a type of adenosine deaminase inhibitor. Also called Nipent.
pentoxifylline
(PEN-tok-SIH-fuh-lin)
A drug used to prevent blood clotting and as a treatment that may help decrease weight loss in people with cancer.
PEP02
A form of the anticancer drug irinotecan hydrochloride that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. PEP02 is used together with fluorouracil and leucovorin to treat a certain type of pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and has gotten worse after treatment with gemcitabine anticancer therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Irinotecan hydrochloride blocks certain enzymes needed for cell division and DNA repair, and it may kill cancer cells. PEP02 may have fewer side effects and work better than irinotecan hydrochloride. It is a type of topoisomerase inhibitor and a type of camptothecin analog. Also called irinotecan hydrochloride liposome, liposome-encapsulated irinotecan hydrochloride PEP02, and Onivyde.
pepsin
(PEP-sin)
An enzyme made in the stomach that breaks down proteins in food during digestion. Stomach acid changes a protein called pepsinogen into pepsin.
pepsinogen
(pep-SIH-noh-jen)
A substance made by cells in the stomach. Acid in the stomach changes pepsinogen to pepsin, which breaks down proteins in food during digestion.
peptic ulcer
(PEP-tik UL-ser)
A break in the lining of the lower part of the esophagus, the stomach, or the upper part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers form when cells on the surface of the lining become inflamed and die. They are usually caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria and by certain medicines, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic ulcers may be linked to cancer and other diseases.
peptide
(PEP-tide)
A molecule that contains two or more amino acids (the molecules that join together to form proteins). Peptides that contain many amino acids are called polypeptides or proteins.
peptide 946
(PEP-tide …)
A piece of a protein found only on melanoma (a type of skin cancer) cells. It is being used in vaccines to help the immune system kill melanoma cells.
percutaneous
(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us)
Passing through the skin, as an injection or a topical medicine.
percutaneous endoscopic tube
(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us en-doh-SKAH-pik gas-TROS-toh-mee toob)
A tube inserted through the wall of the abdomen directly into the stomach. It allows air and fluid to leave the stomach and can be used to give drugs and liquids, including liquid food, to the patient. Giving food through a percutaneous endoscopic tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called gastrostomy tube and PEG tube.
percutaneous ethanol injection
(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us EH-thuh-nol in-JEK-shun)
An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound or a CT scan is used to guide the needle into the tumor. Also called alcohol ablation, ethanol ablation, and PEI.
percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage
(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik BIH-lee-ayr-ee DRAY-nij)
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage and PTCD.
percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage
(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik koh-lan-jee-oh-DRAY-nij)
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage and PTCD.
percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography
(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik koh-lan-jee-AH-gruh-fee)
A procedure to x-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected through the skin into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction. Also called PTC.
performance status
(per-FOR-munts STA-tus)
A measure of how well a patient is able to perform ordinary tasks and carry out daily activities.
perfusion
(per-FYOO-zhun)
Bathing an organ or tissue with a fluid. In regional perfusion, a specific area of the body (usually an arm or a leg) receives high doses of anticancer drugs through a blood vessel. Such a procedure is performed to treat cancer that has not spread.
perfusion magnetic resonance imaging
(per-FYOO-zhun mag-NEH-tik REH-zuh-nunts IH-muh-jing)
A special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that uses an injected dye in order to see blood flow through tissues. Also called magnetic resonance perfusion imaging.
periampullary cancer
(PAYR-ee-AM-puh-LAYR-ee KAN-ser)
A cancer that forms near the ampulla of Vater (an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine).
pericardial effusion
(PAYR-ih-KAR-dee-ul eh-FYOO-zhun)
A condition in which extra fluid collects between the heart and the pericardium (the sac around the heart). The extra fluid causes pressure on the heart. This keeps it from pumping blood normally. Lymph vessels may also be blocked, which can cause infection. Pericardial effusions may be caused by cancer or cancer treatment, infection, injury, autoimmune disorders, thyroid or kidney problems, or other conditions.
perifosine
(PAYR-ih-FAH-seen)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylphospholipids.
perillyl alcohol
(PAYR-ih-lil AL-kuh-hol)
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of plant drugs called monoterpenes.
perimenopausal
(PAYR-ee-MEH-nuh-PAW-zul)
Describes the time in a woman’s life when menstrual periods become irregular as she approaches menopause. This is usually three to five years before menopause and is often marked by many of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility.
perineal colostomy
(PAYR-ih-NEE-ul koh-LOS-toh-mee)
An opening made surgically to allow the colon to exit the body through the perineum (the area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males). A colostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed.
perineal prostatectomy
(PAYR-ih-NEE-ul PROS-tuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus.
perineum
(PAYR-ih-NEE-um)
The area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males.
perineural
(payr-ih-NOOR-ul)
Around a nerve or group of nerves.
periodic neutropenia
(PEER-ee-AH-dik noo-troh-PEE-nee-uh)
A chronic condition that affects neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). In periodic neutropenia, the number of neutrophils in the blood goes in cycles from normal to low and back to normal again. Symptoms include fever, inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth, and infections. Also called cyclic neutropenia.
perioperative
(PAYR-ee-AH-pruh-tiv)
Around the time of surgery. This usually lasts from the time the patient goes into the hospital or doctor's office for surgery until the time the patient goes home.
peripheral blood
(peh-RIH-feh-rul blud)
Blood circulating throughout the body.
peripheral blood lymphocyte therapy
(peh-RIH-feh-rul blud LIM-foh-site THAYR-uh-pee)
A treatment for Epstein-Barr virus infection or overgrowth of white blood cells (lymphocytes) after an organ or bone marrow transplant. Specific lymphocytes from a sibling donor are infused into the patient to try and reverse these conditions.
peripheral blood smear
(peh-RIH-feh-rul blud smeer)
A procedure in which a sample of blood is viewed under a microscope to count different circulating blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc.) and see whether the cells look normal.
peripheral blood stem cell transplant
(peh-RIH-feh-rul ... stem sel TRANZ-plant)
A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the bloodstream are given to the patient after treatment. This helps the bone marrow recover and continue to make healthy blood cells. A stem cell transplant may be autologous (a patient’s own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral stem cell support.
peripheral neuropathy
(peh-RIH-feh-rul noor-AH-puh-thee)
A nerve problem that causes pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, or muscle weakness in different parts of the body. It usually begins in the hands or feet and gets worse over time. Peripheral neuropathy may be caused by cancer or cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy. It may also be caused by physical injury, infection, toxic substances, or conditions such as diabetes, kidney failure, or malnutrition. Also called neuropathy.
peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor
(peh-RIH-feh-rul PRIH-muh-tiv NOOR-oh-EK-toh-DER-mul TOO-mer)
A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called Ewing sarcoma and pPNET.
peripheral stem cell
(peh-RIH-feh-rul stem sel)
An immature cell found circulating in the bloodstream. New blood cells develop from peripheral stem cells.
peripheral stem cell support
(peh-RIH-feh-rul stem sel …)
A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the bloodstream are given to the patient after treatment. This helps the bone marrow recover and continue to make healthy blood cells. A stem cell transplant may be autologous (a patient’s own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral blood stem cell transplant.
peripheral T-cell lymphoma
(peh-RIH-feh-rul ... lim-FOH-muh)
One of a group of aggressive (fast-growing) non-Hodgkin lymphomas that begin in mature T lymphocytes (T cells that have matured in the thymus gland and gone to other lymphatic sites in the body, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen.) Also called mature T-cell lymphoma.
peripheral venous catheter
(peh-RIH-feh-rul VEE-nus KA-theh-ter)
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into a vein, usually in the back of the hand, the lower part of the arm, or the foot. A needle is inserted into a port to draw blood or give fluids.
peripherally inserted central catheter
(peh-RIH-feh-ruh-lee in-SER-ted SEN-trul KA-theh-ter)
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A needle is inserted into a port outside the body to draw blood or give fluids. A peripherally inserted central catheter may stay in place for weeks or months and helps avoid the need for repeated needle sticks. Also called PICC.
peristalsis
(payr-ih-STAL-sis)
The rippling motion of muscles in the intestine or other tubular organs characterized by the alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscles that propel the contents onward.
peritoneal
(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul)
Having to do with the parietal peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and pelvic cavity) and visceral peritoneum (the tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdomen, including the intestines).
peritoneal cavity
(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul KA-vuh-tee)
The space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver. It is bound by thin membranes.
peritoneal fluid
(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul FLOO-id)
A liquid that is made in the abdominal cavity to lubricate the surface of the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and pelvic cavity and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.
peritoneal infusion
(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul in-FYOO-zhun)
A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly into the abdominal cavity through a thin tube. Also called intraperitoneal infusion.
peritoneal perfusion
(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul per-FYOO-zhun)
A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly to tumors in the peritoneal cavity.
peritoneal washing
(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul WAH-shing)
A procedure in which a salt-water solution is used to wash the peritoneal cavity and then is removed to check for cancer cells. The peritoneal cavity is the space in the abdomen that contains the intestines, stomach, and liver. Peritoneal washings are commonly done during surgery for cancer of the ovary and uterus, to see if cancer has spread to the peritoneal cavity.
peritoneum
(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.
peritonitis
(PAYR-ih-tuh-NY-tis)
Inflammation of the peritoneum (tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen). Peritonitis can result from infection, injury, or certain diseases. Symptoms may include swelling of the abdomen, severe pain, and weight loss.
Perjeta
(per-JEH-tuh)
A drug used with other drugs to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive. It is used in patients whose disease has spread to other parts of the body and has not been treated with anticancer drugs. It is also used before surgery in certain patients who are at high risk for their disease to recur (come back) or spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Perjeta binds to HER2 on the surface of some cancer cells, and may kill them. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called pertuzumab.
pernicious anemia
(per-NIH-shus uh-NEE-mee-uh)
A type of anemia (low red blood cell count) caused by the body's inability to absorb vitamin B12.
peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma pathway
(peh-ROK-sih-some proh-LIH-feh-RAY-ter-AK-tih-vay-ted reh-SEP-ter GA-muh PATH-way)
Describes a group of proteins in a cell that work together to help control how certain genes are expressed and the use of lipids (fats) and glucose (sugar) in the body. Changes in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma pathway may lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Drugs or substances that affect this pathway are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases. Also called PPAR gamma pathway.
personal health record
(PER-suh-nul helth REH-kurd)
A collection of information about a person’s health that allows the person to manage and track his or her own health information. A personal health record may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunizations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also include information about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. Also called personal history, personal medical history, and PHR.
personal history
(PER-suh-nul HIH-stuh-ree)
A collection of information about a person’s health that allows the person to manage and track his or her own health information. A personal history may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunizations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also include information about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. Also called personal health record, personal medical history, and PHR.
personal medical history
(PER-suh-nul MEH-dih-kul HIH-stuh-ree)
A collection of information about a person’s health that allows the person to manage and track his or her own health information. A personal medical history may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunizations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also include information about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. Also called personal health record, personal history, and PHR.
personalized medicine
(PER-suh-nuh-LIZED MEH-dih-sin)
A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. In cancer, personalized medicine uses specific information about a person’s tumor to help diagnose, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, or make a prognosis. Examples of personalized medicine include using targeted therapies to treat specific types of cancer cells, such as HER2-positive breast cancer cells, or using tumor marker testing to help diagnose cancer. Also called precision medicine.
perturbation
(PER-ter-BAY-shun)
A disruption or disturbance.
pertussis
(per-TUH-sis)
A serious bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes that spreads easily. Pertussis begins like a cold, but develops into severe coughing and gasping for air. Long spells of coughing may cause vomiting, and broken blood vessels in the eyes and on the skin. Also called whooping cough.
pertuzumab
(per-TOO-zoo-mab)
A drug used with other drugs to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive. It is used in patients whose disease has spread to other parts of the body and has not been treated with anticancer drugs. It is also used before surgery in certain patients who are at high risk for their disease to recur (come back) or spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pertuzumab binds to HER2 on the surface of some cancer cells, and may kill them. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called Perjeta.
pesticide
(PES-tih-side)
Any substance that is used to kill insects and other pests.
PET scan
(… skan)
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is taken up. Because cancer cells often take up more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called positron emission tomography scan.
PET-CT scan
(… skan)
A procedure that combines the pictures from a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan. The PET and CT scans are done at the same time with the same machine. The combined scans give more detailed pictures of areas inside the body than either scan gives by itself. A PET-CT scan may be used to help diagnose disease, such as cancer, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working. Also called positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan.
petechiae
(peh-TEE-kee-ee)
Pinpoint, unraised, round red spots under the skin caused by bleeding.
pet-facilitated therapy
(…fuh-SIH-lih-tay-ted THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of therapy that uses dogs or other pets to improve the physical and mental health of patients with certain acute or chronic diseases. It is being studied as a way to relieve distress in cancer patients undergoing treatment for pain. Also called animal-assisted therapy.
petrolatum
(PEH-troh-LAY-tum)
A thick, greasy, substance with no odor or taste made from petroleum (mixture of oily liquids found in the earth). Petrolatum is used on the skin to prevent drying and to help heal scrapes and burns. It is also used as a base for some ointments. Also called petroleum jelly.
petroleum jelly
(peh-TROH-lee-um …)
A thick, greasy, substance with no odor or taste made from petroleum (mixture of oily liquids found in the earth). Petroleum jelly is used on the skin to prevent drying and to help heal scrapes and burns. It is also used as a base for some ointments. Also called petrolatum.
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
(putz-JAY-gerz SIN-drome)
A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having Peutz-Jeghers syndrome increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal and many other types of cancer. Also called PJS.
PF-00299804
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
PF-02341066
A drug used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer that has a mutated (changed) form of a gene called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PF-02341066 blocks the protein made by the mutated ALK gene. Blocking this protein may stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. PF-02341066 may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called crizotinib, MET tyrosine kinase inhibitor PF-02341066, and Xalkori.
PF-3512676
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called CpG 7909 and ProMune.
PFIC
A rare, inherited disorder marked by a buildup in the liver of bile (fluid that helps digest fat). This can lead to liver disease and liver failure. It may also increase the risk of liver cancer. PFIC is caused by mutations (changes) in certain genes that make proteins needed to help the liver work the way it should. It usually occurs in infants and children. Also called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis.
PFS
The length of time during and after the treatment of a disease, such as cancer, that a patient lives with the disease but it does not get worse. In a clinical trial, measuring the PFS is one way to see how well a new treatment works. Also called progression-free survival.
PFT
A test used to measure how well the lungs work. It measures how much air the lungs can hold and how quickly air is moved into and out of the lungs. It also measures how much oxygen is used and how much carbon dioxide is given off during breathing. A PFT can be used to diagnose a lung disease and to see how well treatment for the disease is working. Also called lung function test and pulmonary function test.
PG
One of several hormone-like substances made by the body. Different PGs control blood pressure, contraction of smooth muscles, and other processes within tissues where they are made. Certain PGs are being studied as cancer biomarkers. Also called prostaglandin.
PGE1
A drug that is used to treat impotence (inability to have an erection) and is being studied in the treatment of sexual problems in men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. It is a type of vasodilator. Also called alprostadil and prostaglandin E1.
p-glycoprotein
(… GLY-koh-PROH-teen)
A protein that pumps substances out of cells. Cancer cells that have too much p-glycoprotein may not be killed by anticancer drugs.
pH
A measure of how acidic or basic a substance or solution is. pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. On this scale, a pH value of 7 is neutral, which means it is neither acidic nor basic. A pH value of less than 7 means it is more acidic, and a pH value of more than 7 means it is more basic. In medicine, having the right pH in the blood and other body fluids is important for the body to work the way it should.
PHA-739358
A substance being studied in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. PHA-739358 may stop tumor growth by blocking certain enzymes needed for cancer cells to divide and causing them to die. It is a type of kinase inhibitor.
phagocyte
(FA-goh-site)
A type of immune cell that can surround and kill microorganisms, ingest foreign material, and remove dead cells. It can also boost immune responses. Monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils are phagocytes. A phagocyte is a type of white blood cell.
phagocytosis
(FA-goh-sy-TOH-sis)
The process by which a phagocyte (a type of white blood cell) surrounds and destroys foreign substances (such as bacteria) and removes dead cells.
phantom limb pain
(FAN-tum lim payn)
The sensation of pain or other unpleasant feelings in the place of a missing (phantom) limb.
pharmacist
(FAR-muh-sist)
A person licensed to prepare and dispense (give out) prescription drugs and who has been taught how they work, how to use them, and their side effects.
pharmacogenetics
(FAR-muh-koh-jeh-NEH-tix)
The study of how a person’s genes affect the way he or she responds to drugs. Pharmacogenetics is being used to learn ahead of time what the best drug or the best dose of a drug will be for a person. Also called pharmacogenomics.
pharmacogenomics
(FAR-muh-koh-jeh-NOH-mix)
The study of how a person’s genes affect the way he or she responds to drugs. Pharmacogenomics is being used to learn ahead of time what the best drug or the best dose of a drug will be for a person. Also called pharmacogenetics.
pharmacokinetics
(FAR-muh-koh-kih-NEH-tix)
The activity of drugs in the body over a period of time, including the processes by which drugs are absorbed, distributed in the body, localized in the tissues, and excreted.
pharmacology
(FAR-muh-KAH-loh-jee)
The study of the origin, chemistry, and uses of drugs and their effects on the body.
pharmacopoeia
(FAR-muh-koh-PEE-uh)
A book describing chemicals, drugs, and other substances and how they are used as medicines. It is prepared by a recognized authority.
pharyngeal cancer
(fuh-RIN-jee-ul KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). Pharyngeal cancer includes cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Cancer of the larynx (voice box) may also be included as a type of pharyngeal cancer. Most pharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells that look like fish scales). Also called throat cancer.
pharynx
(FAYR-inx)
The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The pharynx is about 5 inches long, depending on body size. Also called throat.
phase I clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
The first step in testing a new treatment in humans. A phase I study tests the safety, side effects, best dose, and timing of a new treatment. It may also test the best way to give a new treatment (for example, by mouth, infusion into a vein, or injection) and how the treatment affects the body. The dose is usually increased a little at a time in order to find the highest dose that does not cause harmful side effects. Phase I clinical trials usually include only a small number of patients who have not been helped by other treatments. Sometimes they include healthy volunteers.
phase I detoxification
(fayz ... dee-TOK-sih-fih-KAY-shun)
A process in which the liver uses one of two major enzyme pathways to change a toxic substance, such as an anticancer drug, into a less toxic substance that is easier for the body to excrete.
phase I/II clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A study that tests the safety, side effects, and best dose of a new treatment. Phase I/II clinical trials also test how well a certain type of cancer or other disease responds to a new treatment. In the phase II part of the clinical trial, patients usually receive the highest dose of treatment that did not cause harmful side effects in the phase I part of the clinical trial. Combining phases I and II may allow research questions to be answered more quickly or with fewer patients.
phase II clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A study that tests whether a new treatment works for a certain type of cancer or other disease (for example, whether it shrinks a tumor or improves blood test results). Phase II clinical trials may also provide more information about the safety of the new treatment and how the treatment affects the body.
phase II detoxification
(fayz ... dee-TOK-sih-fih-KAY-shun)
A process in which the liver uses one of two major enzyme pathways to change a toxic substance, such as an anticancer drug, into a less toxic substance that is easier for the body to excrete. In phase II detoxification, liver cells add a substance (such as cysteine, glycine, or a sulfur molecule) to a toxic chemical or drug, to make it less harmful.
phase II/III clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A study that tests how well a new treatment works for a certain type of cancer or other disease and compares the new treatment with a standard treatment. Phase II/III clinical trials may also provide more information about the safety and side effects of the new treatment. Combining phases II and III may allow research questions to be answered more quickly or with fewer patients.
phase III clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A study that tests the safety and how well a new treatment works compared with a standard treatment. For example, phase III clinical trials may compare which group of patients has better survival rates or fewer side effects. In most cases, treatments move into phase III trials only after they meet the goals of phase I and II trials. Phase III clinical trials may include hundreds of people.
phase IV clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A type of clinical trial that studies the side effects caused over time by a new treatment after it has been approved and is on the market. These trials look for side effects that were not seen in earlier trials and may also study how well a new treatment works over a long period of time. Phase IV clinical trials may include thousands of people. Also called post-marketing surveillance trial.
phenethyl isothiocyanate
(feh-NEH-thul I-soh-THY-oh-SY-uh-nayt)
A substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables. Also called PEITC.
phenobarbital
(FEE-noh-BAR-bih-tal)
A drug that is used to treat seizures and as a sedative. It is being studied in the treatment of diarrhea and for its ability to increase the antitumor effect of other therapies. It belongs to the family of drugs called barbiturates.
phenol
(FEE-nol)
A very poisonous chemical substance made from tar and also found in some plants and essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants). Phenol is used to make plastics, nylon, epoxy, medicines, and to kill germs. Also called carbolic acid.
phenothiazine
(FEE-noh-THY-uh-zeen)
A type of drug that is used to treat severe mental and emotional disorders, severe nausea and vomiting, and certain other conditions. It belongs to the families of drugs called antipsychotics and antiemetics.
phenoxodiol
(fih-NOK-soh-DY-ol)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called signal transduction inhibitors.
phenylacetate
(FEH-nil-A-seh-tayt)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.
phenylbutyrate
(FEH-nil-BYOO-tuh-rayt)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called differentiating agents.
phenylketonuria
(FEH-nil-KEE-tone-yoor-ee-uh)
An inherited disorder that causes a build-up of phenylalanine (an amino acid) in the blood. This can cause mental retardation, behavioral and movement problems, seizures, and delayed development. Using a blood test, PKU can easily be found in newborns, and treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine. Also called PKU.
phenytoin sodium
(FEH-nih-toh-in SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat or prevent seizures or convulsions that may be caused by epilepsy, brain surgery, or treatment for brain cancer. It is a type of anticonvulsant agent. Also called Dilantin.
pheochromocytoma
(FEE-oh-KROH-moh-sy-TOH-muh)
Tumor that forms in the center of the adrenal gland (gland located above the kidney) that causes it to make too much adrenaline. Pheochromocytomas are usually benign (not cancer) but can cause high blood pressure, pounding headaches, heart palpitations, flushing of the face, nausea, and vomiting.
pheresis
(feh-REE-sis)
A procedure in which blood is collected, part of the blood such as platelets or white blood cells is taken out, and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. Also called apheresis.
Philadelphia chromosome
(FIH-luh-DEL-fee-uh KROH-muh-some)
An abnormality of chromosome 22 in which part of chromosome 9 is transferred to it. Bone marrow cells that contain the Philadelphia chromosome are often found in chronic myelogenous leukemia and sometimes found in acute lymphocytic leukemia.
philosophical
(FIH-luh-SAH-fih-kul)
Having to do with the deeper questions of life and with a person’s basic beliefs, ideas, and attitudes.
phlebitis
(fleh-BY-tis)
Inflammation (redness, swelling, pain, and heat) of a vein, usually in the legs. Phlebitis may be caused by infection, injury, or irritation.
phlebotomy
(fleh-BAH-toh-mee)
A procedure in which a needle is used to take blood from a vein, usually for laboratory testing. Phlebotomy may also be done to remove extra red blood cells from the blood, to treat certain blood disorders. Also called blood draw and venipuncture.
phlegm
(flem)
A more than normal amount of thick mucus made by the cells lining the upper airways and lungs. A buildup of phlegm may be caused by infection, irritation, or chronic lung disease, and can cause discomfort in the chest and coughing.
phobia
(FOH-bee-uh)
An extreme, irrational, fear of something that may cause a person to panic. Examples of common phobias include fear of spiders, flying in an airplane, elevators, heights, enclosed rooms, crowded public places, and embarrassing oneself in front of other people.
phosphate
(FOS-fayt)
A form of phosphoric acid, which contains phosphorus. In the body, phosphates are found in the bones and teeth. Phosphates may be used to treat a high level of calcium in the blood. Adding or removing phosphate chemical groups may affect the way proteins act in the body.
phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase
(FOS-fuh-TY-duh-lih-NOH-sih-TOL-3 KY-nays)
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase. Also called PI3 kinase and PI3K.
phospholipid
(FOS-foh-LIH-pid)
A lipid (fat) that contains phosphorus. Phospholipids are a major part of cell membranes.
phospholipid complex
(FOS-foh-LIH-pid KOM-plex)
A chemical or drug that is attached to a lipid (fat) that contains phosphorus.
phosphonoformate trisodium
(FOS-foh-noh-FOR-mayt try-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat infections with herpesviruses in people whose immune systems are weakened by AIDS. It blocks the viruses from making copies of themselves. It is a type of antiviral agent. Also called foscarnet sodium and Foscavir.
phosphoric
(fos-FOR-ik)
Having to do with or containing the element phosphorus.
phosphoric acid
(fos-FOR-ik A-sid)
An acid that contains phosphorus and is used in medicine and dentistry. It is also used to remove rust. A dilute form of phosphoric acid is used to flavor soft drinks.
phosphorus
(FOS-for-us)
A nonmetallic element that is found in the blood, muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth and is a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the primary energy source for the body's cells).
phosphorus-32
(FOS-for-us-32)
A radioactive form of phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer. It is also used to help locate areas of DNA damage.
phosphorylation
(fos-FOR-ih-LAY-shun)
A process in which a phosphate group is added to a molecule, such as a sugar or a protein.
photoactivity
(FOH-toh-ak-TIH-vih-tee)
The effect produced when certain substances are exposed to light. In cancer treatment, some drugs become active when exposed to light and are then able to kill tumor cells.
photocoagulation
(FOH-toh-koh-A-gyuh-LAY-shun)
The use of an intense beam of light, such as a laser, to seal off blood vessels or destroy tissue. It is used to treat certain eye conditions, and may be used to destroy blood vessels that a tumor needs to grow.
photodynamic therapy
(FOH-toh-dy-NA-mik THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with drugs that become active when exposed to light. These activated drugs may kill cancer cells.
Photofrin
(FOH-toh-frin)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, Photofrin becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It is a type of photodynamic therapy agent. Also called porfimer sodium.
photon beam radiation therapy
(FOH-ton beem RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy that uses x-rays or gamma rays that come from a special machine called a linear accelerator (linac). The radiation dose is delivered at the surface of the body and goes into the tumor and through the body. Photon beam radiation therapy is different from proton beam therapy.
photopheresis
(FOH-toh-feh-REE-sis)
A procedure in which blood is removed from the body and treated with ultraviolet light and drugs that become active when exposed to light. The blood is then returned to the body. It is being studied in the treatment of some blood and bone marrow diseases and graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Also called extracorporeal photopheresis.
photophobia
(FOH-toh-FOH-bee-uh)
A condition in which the eyes are more sensitive than normal to light.
photosensitizer
(FOH-toh-SEN-sih-ty-zer)
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Also called photosensitizing agent.
photosensitizing agent
(FOH-toh-SEN-sih-ty-zing AY-jent)
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Also called photosensitizer.
photosynthesis
(FOH-toh-SIN-theh-sis)
A chemical process that occurs in plants, algae, and some types of bacteria, when they are exposed to sunlight. During photosynthesis, water and carbon dioxide combine to form carbohydrates (sugars) and give off oxygen. Photosynthesis is needed for animal and plant life.
phototesting
(FOH-toh-TES-ting)
Special tests used to measure the reaction of the skin to ultraviolet radiation. Phototesting is being used to see if drugs taken by mouth to treat cancer make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation.
phototherapy
(FOH-toh-THAYR-uh-pee)
The treatment of disease with certain types of light. Phototherapy can use lasers, LED, fluorescent lamps, and ultraviolet or infrared radiation. Also called light therapy.
phototoxicity
(FOH-toh-tok-SIH-sih-tee)
A condition in which the skin or eyes become very sensitive to sunlight or other forms of light. It can be caused by taking certain drugs, or rubbing certain essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants) or other topical agents into the skin. Phototoxicity causes sunburn, blisters, and other skin problems.
PHP
A rare condition in which the pituitary gland stops making most or all hormones. Pituitary hormones help control the way many parts of the body work. Symptoms of the condition depend on the hormones that are missing. They include growth problems (in children), obesity (in adults), hair loss, slow heart rate, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, fatigue, and problems with reproduction. This condition may be caused by a tumor on or near the pituitary gland, infection, stroke, injury, surgery, or radiation therapy. It may also be inherited. Also called panhypopituitarism.
PHR
A collection of information about a person’s health that allows the person to manage and track his or her own health information. A PHR may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunizations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also include information about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. Also called personal health record, personal history, and personal medical history.
phrenic nerve
(FREH-nik nerv)
A nerve that runs from the spinal cord to the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen). It causes the diaphragm to contract and relax, which helps control breathing.
phyllodes tumor
(fih-LOH-deez TOO-mer)
A type of tumor found in breast or prostate tissue. It is often large and bulky and grows quickly. It may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) and may spread to other parts of the body. Also called CSP and cystosarcoma phyllodes.
physiatrist
(fih-ZY-uh-trist)
A doctor who specializes in physical medicine (the prevention and treatment of disease or injury with physical methods, such as exercise and machines). Also called physical medicine specialist.
physical dependence
(FIH-zih-kul dee-PEN-dents)
A condition in which a person takes a drug over time, and unpleasant physical symptoms occur if the drug is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses.
physical examination
(FIH-zih-kul eg-ZA-mih-NAY-shun)
An exam of the body to check for general signs of disease.
physical medicine specialist
(FIH-zih-kul MEH-dih-sin SPEH-shuh-list)
A doctor who specializes in physical medicine (the prevention and treatment of disease or injury with physical methods, such as exercise and machines). Also called physiatrist.
physical therapist
(FIH-zih-kul THAYR-uh-pist)
A health professional trained to evaluate and treat people who have conditions or injuries that limit their ability to move and do physical activities. Physical therapists use methods such as exercise, massage, hot packs, ice, and electrical stimulation to help strengthen muscles, relieve pain, and improve movement. They also teach exercises to help prevent injury and loss of motion.
physical therapy
(FIH-zih-kul THAYR-uh-pee)
The use of exercises and physical activities to help condition muscles and restore strength and movement. For example, physical therapy can be used to restore arm and shoulder movement and build back strength after breast cancer surgery.
physical touch methods
(FIH-zih-kul tuch MEH-thuds)
A type of therapy in which the therapist moves or manipulates one or more parts of the patient’s body. It may be used to treat pain, stress, anxiety, and depression, and for general well-being. Examples include chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Also called manipulative and body-based practice and manual healing.
physician
(fih-ZIH-shun)
Medical doctor.
physician assistant
(fih-ZIH-shun uh-SIS-tunt)
A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a doctor. A physician assistant may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds, and give injections and immunizations. Also called PA.
Physician Data Query
(fih-ZIH-shun DAY-tuh KWEER-ee)
Physician Data Query is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute. Designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public, Physician Data Query contains peer-reviewed summaries on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, complementary and alternative medicine, and supportive care; a registry of cancer clinical trials from around the world; and directories of physicians, professionals who provide genetics services, and organizations that provide cancer care. Most of this information, and more specific information about Physician Data Query, can be found on the NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/publications/pdq. Also called PDQ.
physiologic
(FIH-zee-uh-LAH-jik)
Having to do with the functions of the body. When used in the phrase "physiologic age," it refers to an age assigned by general health, as opposed to calendar age.
phytic acid
(FY-tik A-sid)
A substance found in many foods that come from plants, including corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans, and in large amounts in cereals and legumes. It is being studied in the prevention of cancer. Also called inositol hexaphosphate and IP6.
phytochemical
(FY-toh-KEH-mih-kul)
A substance found in plants. Some phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cancer.
phytoestrogen
(FY-toh-ES-truh-jin)
An estrogen-like substance found in some plants and plant products. Phytoestrogens may have anticancer effects.
phytohemagglutinin
(FY-toh-HEE-muh-GLOO-tih-nin)
A substance found in plants that causes red blood cells to clump together and certain white blood cells to divide.
phytol
(FY-tol)
A chemical substance that comes from plants and is used to make vitamins E and K. Phytol is also found in soaps, beauty care products, and household products.
phytosterol
(FY-toh-STEER-ol)
A plant-based compound that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. Phytosterols may have some effect in cancer prevention. Also called plant sterol.
PI
The person(s) in charge of a clinical trial or a scientific research grant. The PI prepares and carries out the clinical trial protocol (plan for the study) or research paid for by the grant. The PI also analyzes the data and reports the results of the trial or grant research. Also called principal investigator.
PI3 kinase
(... KY-nays)
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of PI3 kinase. Also called phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase and PI3K.
PI3K
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of PI3K. Also called phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase and PI3 kinase.
PI-88
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiangiogenesis agents.
PICC
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A needle is inserted into a port outside the body to draw blood or give fluids. A PICC may stay in place for weeks or months and helps avoid the need for repeated needle sticks. Also called peripherally inserted central catheter.
PID
A condition in which the female reproductive organs are inflamed. It may affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and certain ligaments. PID is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It may cause infertility and an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tubes). Also called pelvic inflammatory disease.
pigment
(PIG-ment)
A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the color of skin, eyes, and hair.
pilocarpine
(PY-loh-KAR-peen)
A drug used to increase salivation in people who have dry mouth caused by opioids or radiation therapy. Pilocarpine belongs to the family of drugs called alkaloids.
pilocytic
(PY-loh-SIH-tik)
Made up of cells that look like fibers when viewed under a microscope.
pilot study
(PY-lut STUH-dee)
The initial study examining a new method or treatment.
PIN
Noncancerous growth of cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the prostate gland. Having high-grade PIN may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Also called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia.
pineal body
(PIH-nee-ul BAH-dee)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal gland and pineal organ.
pineal germinoma
(PIH-nee-ul JER-mih-noh-muh)
A type of germ cell tumor that is found in the pineal gland in the brain. Symptoms of pineal germinomas include headaches, changes in vision, nausea, and vomiting.
pineal gland
(PIH-nee-ul ...)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body and pineal organ.
pineal organ
(PIH-nee-ul OR-gun)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body and pineal gland.
pineal region tumor
(PIH-nee-ul REE-jun TOO-mer)
A type of brain tumor that forms in or around the pineal gland (a tiny organ near the center of the brain). Pineal region tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They include pineocytomas, pineoblastomas, and pineal germinomas. Also called pinealoma.
pinealoma
(PIH-nee-uh-LOH-muh)
A type of brain tumor that forms in or around the pineal gland (a tiny organ near the center of the brain). Pinealomas may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They include pineocytomas, pineoblastomas, and pineal germinomas. Also called pineal region tumor.
pineoblastoma
(PIH-nee-oh-blas-TOH-muh)
A fast growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.
pineocytoma
(PIH-nee-oh-sy-TOH-muh)
A slow growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.
pinkeye
(PINK-i)
A condition in which the conjunctiva (membranes lining the eyelids and covering the white part of the eye) become inflamed or infected. Also called conjunctivitis.
pioglitazone
(py-oh-GLIH-tuh-zone)
A drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes and is being studied in the prevention of head and neck cancer. It may be able to stop leukoplakia (a condition affecting the mouth ) from developing into cancer. It is a type of thiazolidinedione. Also called Actos.
pipe
As it relates to tobacco use, a device that has a mouthpiece at one end of a tube and a small bowl at the other end that is filled with tobacco, which is lit and smoked. The smoke from a pipe is usually not inhaled into the lungs. It contains nicotine and many cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Pipe smoking can lead to nicotine addiction and can cause cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus, lung, pancreas, and bladder. It can also cause heart disease, lung disease, and other health problems.
piperacillin-tazobactam
(py-PER-uh-SIH-lin-TA-zoh-BAK-tam)
A drug combination that is used to treat infection in people with cancer. Piperacillin is a synthetic penicillin; tazobactam enhances the effectiveness of piperacillin.
pirfenidone
(peer-FEH-nih-done)
A substance that is being studied in the prevention and treatment of scar tissue caused by radiation therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called anti-inflammatory agents.
Piritrexim
(peer-ee-TREK-sim)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called folate antagonists.
pituitary gland
(pih-TOO-ih-TAYR-ee...)
A pea-sized organ attached to the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. It lies at the base of the brain above the back of the nose. The hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland, which then makes hormones that control other glands and many of the body’s functions, including growth.
pituitary tumor
(pih-TOO-ih-TAYR-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a pea-sized organ at the base of the brain. It makes hormones that affect other glands and many of the body’s functions, including growth. Symptoms depend on the hormones affected by the tumor. Most pituitary tumors are benign (not cancer) and many do not cause any symptoms.
pixantrone
(PIK-san-trone)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. Also called BBR 2778.
PJS
A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having PJS increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal and many other types of cancer. Also called Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
PKC
An enzyme found throughout the body's tissues and organs. Several forms of PKC are involved in many cellular functions. PKC is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called protein kinase C.
PKC412
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of leukemia. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein kinase inhibitors. Also called midostaurin and N-benzoyl-staurosporine.
PKU
An inherited disorder that causes a build-up of phenylalanine (an amino acid) in the blood. This can cause mental retardation, behavioral and movement problems, seizures, and delayed development. Using a blood test, PKU can easily be found in newborns, and treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine. Also called phenylketonuria.
placebo
(pluh-SEE-boh)
An inactive substance or treatment that looks the same as, and is given the same way as, an active drug or treatment being tested. The effects of the active drug or treatment are compared to the effects of the placebo.
placebo therapy
(pluh-SEE-boh THAYR-uh-pee)
An inactive treatment or procedure that is intended to mimic as closely as possible a therapy in a clinical trial. Also called sham therapy.
placebo-controlled
(pluh-SEE-boh-kun-TROLD)
Refers to a clinical study in which the control patients receive a placebo.
placenta
(pluh-SEN-tuh)
The organ that nourishes the developing fetus in the uterus.
placental blood transplantation
(pluh-SEN-tul blud tranz-plan-TAY-shun)
The transfer of blood from a placenta to an individual whose own blood production system is suppressed. Placental blood contains high levels of stem cells needed to produce new blood cells. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and severe blood disorders such as aplastic anemia.
Plan B
(plan …)
A form of the hormone progesterone that is made in the laboratory and used to prevent pregnancy. It is being studied in the prevention of ovarian and endometrial cancer, and in the treatment of other conditions. Plan B is a type of oral contraceptive. Also called L-norgestrel and levonorgestrel.
plant sterol
(... STEER-ol)
A plant-based compound that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. Plant sterols may have some effect in cancer prevention. Also called phytosterol.
plaque
(plak)
In medicine, a small, abnormal patch of tissue on a body part or an organ. Plaques may also be a build-up of substances from a fluid, such as cholesterol in the blood vessels.
plaque radiotherapy
(plak RAY-dee-oh-THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy used to treat eye tumors. A thin piece of metal (usually gold) with radioactive seeds placed on one side is sewn onto the outside wall of the eye with the seeds aimed at the tumor. It is removed at the end of treatment, which usually lasts for several days
plasma
(PLAZ-muh)
The clear, yellowish, fluid part of the blood that carries the blood cells. The proteins that form blood clots are in plasma.
plasma cell
(PLAZ-muh sel)
A type of immune cell that makes large amounts of a specific antibody. Plasma cells develop from B cells that have been activated. A plasma cell is a type of white blood cell. Also called plasmacyte.
plasma cell myeloma
(PLAZ-muh sel MY-eh-LOH-muh)
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Also called Kahler disease, multiple myeloma, and myelomatosis.
plasma cell tumor
(PLAZ-muh sel TOO-mer)
A tumor that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and plasmacytoma are types of plasma cell tumors.
plasma membrane
(PLAZ-muh MEM-brayn)
The outer membrane of a cell.
plasmacyte
(PLAZ-muh-site)
A type of immune cell that makes large amounts of a specific antibody. Plasmacytes develop from B cells that have been activated. A plasmacyte is a type of white blood cell. Also called plasma cell.
plasmacytic
(PLAZ-muh-SIH-tik)
Having to do with plasma cells (a type of white blood cells).
plasmacytoma
(PLAZ-muh-sy-TOH-muh)
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). A plasmacytoma may turn into multiple myeloma.
plasmapheresis
(PLAZ-muh-feh-REE-sis)
The process of separating certain cells from the plasma in the blood by a machine; only the cells are returned to the person. Plasmapheresis can be used to remove excess antibodies from the blood.
plastic surgeon
(PLAS-tik SER-jun)
A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may occur as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment for diseases.
plastic surgery
(PLAS-tik SER-juh-ree)
An operation that restores or improves the appearance of body structures.
platelet
(PLAYT-let)
A tiny piece of cell that is made by breaking off of a large cell in the bone marrow. Platelets are found in the blood and spleen. They help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding, and to help wounds heal. Also called thrombocyte.
platelet-derived growth factor
(PLAYT-let-deh-RIVED grothe FAK-ter)
A family of molecules released from platelets (tiny pieces of cells that are found in the blood and that help the blood clot). Forms of platelet-derived growth factor help to heal wounds and to repair damage to blood vessel walls. They also help blood vessels grow. Also called PDGF.
Platinol
(PLA-tih-nol)
A drug used to treat cancers of the bladder, ovaries, and testicles. It is used in patients whose cancer cannot be treated with or has not gotten better with other anticancer treatment. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Platinol contains the metal platinum. It kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA and stopping them from dividing. It is a type of DNA crosslinking agent. Also called cisplatin and Platinol-AQ.
Platinol-AQ
(PLA-tih-nol...)
A drug used to treat cancers of the bladder, ovaries, and testicles. It is used in patients whose cancer cannot be treated with or has not gotten better with other anticancer treatment. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Platinol-AQ contains the metal platinum. It kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA and stopping them from dividing. It is a type of DNA crosslinking agent. Also called cisplatin and Platinol.
platinum
(PLA-tih-num)
A metal that is an important component of some anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.
Plenaxis
(pleh-NAK-sis)
A drug used to reduce the amount of testosterone made in patients with advanced symptomatic prostate cancer for which no other treatment options are available. It belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. Also called abarelix.
pleomorphic
(PLEE-oh-MOR-fik)
Occurring in various distinct forms. In terms of cells, having variation in the size and shape of cells or their nuclei.
plerixafor
(pleh-RIK-suh-for)
A drug used before autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple myeloma. Plerixafor is given together with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) to help move stem cells from the bone marrow to the blood. The stem cells can then be collected, stored, and given back to the patient. Plerixafor is a type of chemokine receptor antagonist. Also called AMD 3100 and Mozobil.
pleura
(PLOOR-uh)
A thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity. It protects and cushions the lungs. This tissue secretes a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly in the chest cavity while breathing.
pleural cavity
(PLOOR-ul KA-vuh-tee)
The space enclosed by the pleura, which is a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity.
pleural effusion
(PLOOR-ul eh-FYOO-zhun)
An abnormal collection of fluid between the thin layers of tissue (pleura) lining the lung and the wall of the chest cavity.
pleurectomy
(ploo-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of the pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the interior wall of the chest cavity).
pleurodesis
(PLOOR-oh-DEE-sis)
A medical procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to cause inflammation and adhesion between the layers of the pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity). This prevents the buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity. It is used as a treatment for severe pleural effusion.
pleuropulmonary blastoma
(ploor-oh-PUL-muh-NAYR-ee blas-TOH-muh)
A rare and very aggressive (fast-growing) cancer that forms in tissues of the lung and pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity). Pleuropulmonary blastoma is most common in children.
plexiform fibrohistiocytic tumor
(PLEK-sih-form FY-broh-HIS-tee-oh-SIH-tik TOO-mer)
A rare tumor found mainly in children and young adults. It usually forms in the skin on the arms and legs. It is slow-growing and usually does not spread to other parts of the body. It is a type of soft tissue tumor.
plexiform neurofibroma
(PLEK-sih-form NOOR-oh-fy-BROH-muh)
A nerve that has become thick and misshapen due to the abnormal growth of cells and tissues that cover the nerve.
plexopathy
(plek-SAH-puh-thee)
A disorder affecting a network of nerves, blood vessels, or lymph vessels.
plicamycin
(PLY-kuh-MY-sin)
A drug used to treat some types of testicular cancer. It is also used to treat a higher-than-normal amounts of calcium in the blood or urine. Plicamycin binds to DNA and prevents cells from making RNA and proteins. It is a type of antineoplastic antibiotic. Also called Mithracin and mithramycin.
PLL
A type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in which too many immature white blood cells (prolymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. PLL usually progresses more rapidly than classic CLL. Also called prolymphocytic leukemia.
ploidy
(PLOY-dee)
The number of sets of chromosomes in a cell or an organism. For example, haploid means one set and diploid means two sets.
Plummer-Vinson syndrome
(PLUH-mer-VIN-sun SIN-drome)
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having Plummer-Vinson syndrome may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Paterson-Kelly syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.
pluripotent
(ploo-RIH-puh-tent)
Able to mature or develop in any of several ways.
pluripotent stem cell
(ploo-RIH-puh-tent ...)
A cell that is able to develop into many different types of cells or tissues in the body.
PLX4032
A drug used to treat advanced melanoma that has a mutated (changed) form of a cell protein called BRAF. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PLX4032 blocks this mutated protein, which may stop the growth of cancer cells. It is a type of kinase inhibitor and a type of targeted therapy agent. Also called BRAF (V600E) kinase inhibitor RO5185426, RG7204, vemurafenib, and Zelboraf.
pM-81
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the detection and treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.
PMN
A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during infections, allergic reactions, and asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are PMNs. A PMN is a type of white blood cell. Also called granular leukocyte, granulocyte, and polymorphonuclear leukocyte.
PN401
A drug used in the emergency treatment of patients who receive too much fluorouracil or capecitabine (types of anticancer drugs). It is also used in the emergency treatment of heart or central nervous system (CNS) toxicity or other serious side effects that occur within 4 days of ending treatment with fluorouracil or capecitabine. PN401 may help protect healthy cells from some of the side effects caused by certain anticancer drugs. It is a type of cytoprotective agent. Also called triacetyluridine, uridine triacetate, and Vistogard.
PNET
One of a group of cancers that develop from the same type of early cells, and share certain biochemical and genetic features. Some PNETs develop in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), and others develop in sites outside of the brain such as the limbs, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET). Also called primitive neuroectodermal tumor.
pneumatic larynx
(noo-MA-tik LAYR-inx)
A device that is used to help a person talk after a laryngectomy. It uses air to produce a humming sound, which is converted to speech by movement of the lips, tongue, or glottis.
pneumonectomy
(NOO-moh-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all of one lung. In a partial pneumonectomy, one or more lobes of a lung are removed.
pneumonia
(noo-MOH-nyuh)
A severe inflammation of the lungs in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are filled with fluid. This may cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen that blood can absorb from air breathed into the lung. Pneumonia is usually caused by infection but may also be caused by radiation therapy, allergy, or irritation of lung tissue by inhaled substances. It may involve part or all of the lungs.
pneumonitis
(NOO-moh-NY-tis)
Inflammation of the lungs. This may be caused by disease, infection, radiation therapy, allergy, or irritation of lung tissue by inhaled substances.
PNH
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. A rare disorder in which red blood cells are easily destroyed by certain immune system proteins. Symptoms include blood clots, and red or brownish urine in the morning. Aplastic anemia (decreased production of blood cells) may lead to PNH, and people with this disorder are at increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia. Also called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
PNU 166148
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.
PNU-93914
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. It may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. PNU-93914 blocks the ability of cells to divide and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called LEP-ETU, liposomal paclitaxel, LipoTaxen, and paclitaxel liposome.
podiatrist
(puh-DY-uh-trist)
A doctor who specializes in the care of the foot and ankle.
polifeprosan 20 carmustine implant
(PAH-lee-FEH-proh-san … kar-MUS-teen IM-plant)
A biodegradable wafer that is used to deliver the anticancer drug carmustine directly into a brain tumor site after the tumor has been removed by surgery. Also called carmustine implant and Gliadel Wafer.
poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase
(PAH-lee (... RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-rays)
A type of enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. Inhibitors of one enzyme, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1, are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PARP.
poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor
(PAH-lee (... RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-rays in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks an enzyme in cells called PARP. PARP helps repair DNA when it becomes damaged. DNA damage may be caused by many things, including exposure to UV light, radiation, certain anticancer drugs, or other substances in the environment. In cancer treatment, blocking PARP may help keep cancer cells from repairing their damaged DNA, causing them to die. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors are a type of targeted therapy. Also called PARP inhibitor.
poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1
(PAH-lee (… RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-rays-1)
An enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. Inhibitors of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PARP-1.
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
(pah-lee-SY-klik AYR-oh-MA-tik HY-droh-KAR-bun)
A type of chemical formed when coal, oil, gas, garbage, tobacco, meat, and other substances are burned. These chemicals are also made for use in many products, including coal tar, creosote, roofing tar, pesticides, mothballs, dandruff shampoos, and some medicines. Being exposed to one of these chemicals over a long time may cause cancer. Also called PAH.
polycystic ovary syndrome
(PAH-lee-SIS-tik OH-vuh-ree SIN-drome)
A condition marked by infertility, enlarged ovaries, menstrual problems, high levels of male hormones, excess hair on the face and body, acne, and obesity. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and endometrial cancer. Also called PCOS.
polycythemia vera
(PAH-lee-sy-THEE-mee-uh VAYR-uh)
A disease in which there are too many red blood cells in the bone marrow and blood, causing the blood to thicken. The number of white blood cells and platelets may also increase. The extra blood cells may collect in the spleen and cause it to become enlarged. They may also cause bleeding problems and make clots form in blood vessels.
polyethylene glycol
(PAH-lee-EH-thih-leen GLY-kol)
A polymer made by joining molecules of ethylene oxide and water together in a repeating pattern. Polyethylene glycol can be a liquid or a waxy solid. In medicine, forms of polyethylene glycol can be used in ointments, in drugs or substances to make them stay in the body longer, or in laxatives. Also called PEG.
polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor
(PAH-lee-EH-thih-leen gly-KAH-sih-lay-ted ree-KOM-bih-nunt HYOO-mun MEH-guh-KAYR-ee-oh-site …)
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. Polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-MGDF and PEG-rhMGDF.
polyglutamate camptothecin
(PAH-lee-GLOO-tuh-mayt KAMP-toh-THEK-in)
A form of the anticancer drug camptothecin that may have fewer side effects and work better than camptothecin. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of DNA topoisomerase inhibitor. Also called CT-2106.
poly-ICLC
(PAH-lee ...)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer and for its ability to stimulate the immune system. It is made in the laboratory by combining the nucleic acid RNA with the chemicals poly-L-lysine and carboxymethyl cellulose.
polymer
(PAH-lih-mer)
A molecule made up of small identical molecules called monomers. The monomers are joined together in a repeating pattern.
polymerase chain reaction
(puh-LIH-meh-rays chayn ree-AK-shun)
A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific DNA sequence. Also called PCR.
polymeric enteral nutrition formula
(PAH-lih-MAYR-ik EN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun FOR-myoo-luh)
A nutritional drink that may help people who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be taken by mouth or given through a small tube inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a small tube that is put into the stomach or intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. One example of a polymeric enteral nutrition formula is Ensure. Polymeric enteral nutrition formula is a type of dietary supplement.
polymorphism
(PAH-lee-MOR-fih-zum)
A common change in the genetic code in DNA. Polymorphisms can have a harmful effect, a good effect, or no effect. Some polymorphisms have been shown to increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
polymorphonuclear leukocyte
(PAH-lee-MOR-foh-NOO-klee-er LOO-koh-site)
A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during infections, allergic reactions, and asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are polymorphonuclear leukocytes. A polymorphonuclear leukocyte is a type of white blood cell. Also called granular leukocyte, granulocyte, and PMN.
polymyositis
(PAH-lee-MY-oh-SY-tis)
An inflammatory disease of the muscles closest to the center of the body. It causes weakness, inability to stand, climb stairs, lift, or reach. It may also cause muscle pain and difficulty swallowing, and may affect the lungs and heart. Having polymyositis increases the risk of certain types of cancer.
polyneuritis
(PAH-lee-noo-RY-tis)
Inflammation of several peripheral nerves at the same time.
polyp
(PAH-lip)
A growth that protrudes from a mucous membrane.
polypectomy
(PAH-lee-PEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove a polyp.
polypeptide
(PAH-lee PEP-tide)
A substance that contains many amino acids (the molecules that join together to form proteins).
polyphenol
(PAH-lee-FEE-nol)
A substance that is found in many plants and gives some flowers, fruits, and vegetables their color. Polyphenols have antioxidant activity.
Polyphenon E
(PAH-lee-FEE-nun ...)
A mixture that is prepared from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It contains substances called catechins, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by certain chemicals that may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Polyphenon E is being studied in the prevention of cancer and other diseases. It is a trademarked product of Mitsui Norin Co., Ltd.
polyposis
(PAH-lee-POH-sis)
The development of numerous polyps (growths that protrude from a mucous membrane).
polysaccharide
(PAH-lee-SA-kuh-ride)
A large carbohydrate molecule. It contains many small sugar molecules that are joined chemically. Also called glycan.
polysomnogram
(PAH-lee-SOM-noh-gram)
A group of recordings taken during sleep that shows brain wave changes, eye movements, breathing rate, blood pressure, heart rate, and the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles. A polysomnogram may be used to help diagnose sleep disorders.
polyvinylpyrrolidone-sodium hyaluronate gel
(PAH-lee-VY-nil-py-RAH-lih-done-SOH-dee-um HY-uh-LOO-roh-nayt …)
A gel used to lessen pain from mouth sores caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, oral surgery, braces, or disease. Polyvinylpyrrolidone-sodium hyaluronate gel is being studied in the treatment of pain caused by mouth sores in children receiving cancer treatment. It forms a thin layer over the surface of the mouth and throat to prevent irritation while eating, drinking, and talking. Also called Gelclair.
pomalidomide
(PAH-muh-LIH-doh-mide)
A drug that is a form of thalidomide, and is used to treat multiple myeloma that has not gotten better with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pomalidomide may help the immune system kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of immunomodulating agent and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CC-4047 and Pomalyst.
Pomalyst
(PAH-muh-list)
A drug that is a form of thalidomide, and is used to treat multiple myeloma that has not gotten better with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pomalyst may help the immune system kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of immunomodulating agent and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CC-4047 and pomalidomide.
pomegranate
(PAH-meh-GRA-nut)
A subtropical shrub or tree. Juice from the fruit may contain substances that decrease or slow the rise of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. It is being studied for its ability to delay or prevent recurrent prostate cancer. The scientific name is Punica granatum.
ponatinib hydrochloride
(poh-NA-tih-nib HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is used in patients who are not able to take or have not gotten better after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Ponatinib hydrochloride blocks BCR-ABL and other proteins, which may help keep cancer cells from growing and may kill them. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of angiogenesis inhibitor. Also called Iclusig.
pons
(ponz)
Part of the central nervous system, located at the base of the brain, between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain. It is part of the brainstem.
pontine
(PON-teen)
Having to do with the pons (part of the central nervous system, located at the base of the brain, between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain).
population study
(PAH-pyoo-LAY-shun STUH-dee)
A study of a group of individuals taken from the general population who share a common characteristic, such as age, sex, or health condition. This group may be studied for different reasons, such as their response to a drug or risk of getting a disease.
porcine
(POR-sine)
Having to do with or coming from pigs.
porfimer sodium
(POR-fih-mer SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, porfimer sodium becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It is a type of photodynamic therapy agent. Also called Photofrin.
porfiromycin
(POR-fih-roh-MY-sin)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticancer antibiotics.
port
(port)
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. The port is placed under the skin, usually in the chest. It is attached to a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) that is guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A port may stay in place for many weeks or months. A needle is inserted through the skin into the port to draw blood or give fluids. Also called port-a-cath.
port-a-cath
(port-uh-cath)
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. The port is placed under the skin, usually in the chest. It is attached to a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) that is guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A port-a-cath may stay in place for many weeks or months. A needle is inserted through the skin into the port to draw blood or give fluids. Also called port.
portal hypertension
(POR-tul HY-per-TEN-shun)
High blood pressure in the vein that carries blood to the liver from the stomach, small and large intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. It is usually caused by a block in the blood flow through the liver due to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.
portal vein
(POR-tul vayn)
A blood vessel that carries blood to the liver from the intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. Also called hepatic portal vein.
Portrazza
(por-TRA-zuh)
A drug used with gemcitabine and cisplatin to treat squamous non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose cancer has not been treated with other anticancer therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Portrazza binds to a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is found on some types of cancer cells. Blocking this protein may help keep cancer cells from growing. Portrazza is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called necitumumab.
positive axillary lymph node
(PAH-zih-tiv AK-suh-LAYR-ee limf ...)
A lymph node in the area of the armpit (axilla) to which cancer has spread. This spread is determined by surgically removing some of the lymph nodes and examining them under a microscope to see whether cancer cells are present.
positive test result
(PAH-zih-tiv ... reh-ZULT)
A test result that shows that a person has the disease, condition, or biomarker for which the test is being done. In genetics, a positive test result usually means that a person has a mutation (change) in the gene, chromosome, or protein that is being tested. More testing may be needed to make a diagnosis or to make sure a positive test result is correct.
positron emission tomography scan
(PAH-zih-tron ee-MIH-shun toh-MAH-gruh-fee skan)
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is taken up. Because cancer cells often take up more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called PET scan.
positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan
(PAH-zih-tron ee-MIH-shun toh-MAH-gruh-fee-kum-PYOO-ted-toh-MAH-gruh-fee skan)
A procedure that combines the pictures from a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan. The PET and CT scans are done at the same time with the same machine. The combined scans give more detailed pictures of areas inside the body than either scan gives by itself. A positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan may be used to help diagnose disease, such as cancer, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working. Also called PET-CT scan.
posterior
(pos-TEER-ee-er)
In human anatomy, has to do with the back of a structure, or a structure found toward the back of the body.
posterior pelvic exenteration
(pos-TEER-ee-er PEL-vik eg-ZEN-teh-RAY-shun)
Surgery to remove the lower part of the bowel, rectum, uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and vagina. Pelvic lymph nodes may also be removed.
posterior urethral cancer
(pos-TEER-ee-er yoo-REE-thrul KAN-ser)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the part of the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) that connects to the bladder (the organ that stores urine).
post-marketing surveillance trial
(post-MAR-keh-ting ser-VAY-lents TRY-ul)
A type of clinical trial that studies the side effects caused over time by a new treatment after it has been approved and is on the market. These trials look for side effects that were not seen in earlier trials and may also study how well a new treatment works over a long period of time. Post-marketing surveillance trials may include thousands of people. Also called phase IV clinical trial.
postmenopausal
(post-MEH-nuh-PAW-zul)
Having to do with the time after menopause. Menopause (“change of life”) is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods stop permanently.
postmortem
(post-MOR-tem)
After death. Often used to describe an autopsy.
postoperative
(post-AH-pruh-tiv)
After surgery.