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Explanation of terms:

Explanation of terms used

Absolute neutrophil count (ANC): The absolute number or neutrophils in the blood. This calculated by multiplying the total white cell count by the percentage of neutrophils and then dividing by 100. For example if your total white cell count is 4,000 and neutrophil percentage is 50 then your ANC is 4000 x 50 divided by 100 and equals 2000. Again, if your white cell count is 10,000 but neutrophil percentage is 25 then the ANC is 2500.

Axillary lymph node dissection: Exploration and removal of the lymph glands in the armpit for microscopic studies to find out if they are involved with breast cancer.

Adjuvant therapy: Treatment after surgery with the intention of cancer from coming back (example chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormonal therapy)

Breast conservation surgery: Surgical procedures for breast cancer with the idea of preservation of the breast

Resection: Surgical removal

Carcinoma in situ: Very early stage or stage 0 of breast cancer, where the cancer cells are still surrounded by a membrane, and have not started invading the surrounding tissue.

Local therapy: Treatment of tumor at the site of the cancer (examples surgery or radiation therapy)

Systemic treatment: is given by mouth or intravenous to reach cancer cells all over the body (example chemotherapy or hormonal therapy)

Hormone receptor positive tumor: Breast cancer, which is depended on female hormones for its growth. These tumor cells have subcellular components on the cell surface to accept the estrogen hormone.

Hormonal therapy: Treatment of breast cancer using hormone-blocking agents like tamoxifen. This type of treatment is usually offered to patients who have hormone receptor positive tumor (see above)

Her2/neu positive tumor: Breast cancer which shows increased level of a protein called Her2/neu protein. This protein is thought to be a growth promoter for this type of tumor.

Lumpectomy: Removal of the breast cancer tumor with some surrounding normal tissue to assure the whole tumor was removed

Mastectomy: Removal of the tumor with the whole breast and varying amounts of the surrounding muscle.

Metastatic breast cancer: Stage IV breast cancer, breast cancer that has spread from the original breast site to distant organs like liver, bone, lungs, brain. Involvement of any one organ outside the breast will make the condition a stage IV or metastatic breast cancer.

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy: Treatment given prior to surgery with the idea of decreasing the tumor size (examples chemotherapy or radiation therapy)

Oncologist: Physician specialized in the chemotherapy aspect of cancer

Ovarian ablation: Neutralizing the hormonal activity of the ovaries by surgery, drugs or radiation.

Radiation oncologist: Physician specialized in the radiation therapy part of cancer treatment

Re-resection: Repeat surgical procedure like the repeat surgical procedure done if the edge of the surgical material was found to involve with cancer cells.

Recurrence: Return of cancer after a period of dormant state

Sentinel node biopsy: Sampling of the lymph node into which the tumor is draining first to determine if a full lymph node exploration is needed.

Breast cancer treatment

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