Article 3: LET’S LEARN THE CANCER LANGUAGE FIRST

There are over 100 different types of cancer. Each type of cancer can have different symptoms, diagnostic tests and treatment options. As a result, there are many terminologies and phrases that are used to describe the type, symptoms and diagnosis of cancer, and treatment methods. It is often very confusing as well as frustrating for the readers if too many medical jargons or terminologies are used in describing this condition. It is difficult for readers to understand the context of the topic or take any action, if required, after reading any article or book on cancers. As a result, the information is often misinterpreted or not fully understood or comprehended.

In this 3rd article of my cancer series, I would like to explain in very simple terms all phrases and terminologies used in describing a cancer. This will help readers in understanding the cancer terms, types of cancer, common diagnosis and treatment terminologies, and the health personnel involved in management of cancer. These are described in alphabetical order here.

Ablation: removal or destruction of body part or tissue. Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) therapy involves destroying cancer tissue with heat. RFA is commonly used in the treatment of lung, liver and kidney tumors.

Adenocarcinoma: cancer that begins from lining of internal organs or from skin

Adenoma: a non-cancer tumor that starts from glands

Adenopathy: swollen glands

Adjunct or adjunctive therapy: another treatment used together with primary treatment. For example, radiotherapy is sometimes given after surgery to treat cancer as adjunctive treatment.

Anal: of anus, anal cancer

Anorexia: an abnormal loss of appetite for food.

Asbestos: a group of minerals that are found in the form of tiny fibres. It is used as insulation against heat and fire in buildings. Asbestos dust 癌症症狀 when breathed into the lungs can lead to cancer of lungs and mesothelioma.

Asthenia: feeling or weakness or lack of energy. This is common in late stage cancer.

Astrocyte: this is a type of cell in the brain or spinal cord. Astrocytoma is a tumor that begins in astrocytes.

Asymptomatic: having no signs or symptoms of disease. Most cancers are asymptomatic in the early stages.

Axillary lymph node dissection: removal of lymph nodes in the axilla. This may be done in the treatment of breast cancer.

B-cell lymphoma: A type of cancer that forms in B cells.

Barrett esophagus: this is a condition where the cells lining the lower part of the esophagus have changed or been replaced by abnormal cells that could lead to cancer of the esophagus. The regurgitation of the contents of stomach into the esophagus over time can lead to Barrett esophagus.

Basal cells: they are small round cells found in the lower part of epidermis. The cancer that begins in the basal cells is called basal cell cancer or basal cell carcinoma.

Benign: not cancerous, also called non-malignant. Malignant tumor is a cancerous growth.For example, fibroadenoma is a benign tumor of breast whereas as adenocarcinoma is a malignant tumor of the breast.

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