NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 8,525 terms related to cancer and medicine.

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decubitus ulcer
(deh-KYOO-bih-tus UL-ser)
Damage to an area of the skin caused by constant pressure on the area for a long time. This pressure can lessen blood flow to the affected area, which may lead to tissue damage and tissue death. Decubitus ulcers often form on the skin covering bony areas of the body, such as the back, tailbone, hips, buttocks, elbows, heels, and ankles. Patients who are not able to get out of bed or change their position, or who always use a wheelchair have an increased risk of decubitus ulcers. Signs and symptoms include changes in skin color and swelling, warmth, tenderness, and pain in the affected area. If untreated, the skin may crack, blister, or break open and form a sore or ulcer, which may have pus-like drainage. Decubitus ulcers often heal slowly and if not treated can damage tissues deep under the skin, including fat, muscle, and bone. Also called bedsore, pressure sore, and pressure ulcer.