A type of cell in the thyroid. C cells make calcitonin, a hormone that helps control
the calcium level in the blood.
C-kit (Ckit, CD117)
An abbreviation of the chemical name of an enzyme (protein) necessary for
proliferation of certain cancers ( GIST tumors, CML, a few neuroendocrine tumors
and possibly other uncommon cancers.).
CA 19-9 assay
A test that measures the level of CA 19-9 in the blood. CA 19-9 is a tumor marker
released into the bloodstream from both cancer cells and normal cells. Higher than
normal amounts of CA 19-9 in the blood can be a sign of gallbladder or pancreatic
cancer or other conditions.
A blood test that measures the level of CA-125, a substance found in blood, other
body fluids and some tissues. Increased levels of CA-125 may be a sign of cancer.
Loss of body weight and muscle mass, and weakness that may occur in patients
with cancer, AIDS, or other chronic diseases.
A hormone formed by the C cells of the thyroid gland. It helps maintain a healthy
level of calcium in the blood. When the calcium level is too high, calcitonin lowers it.
A mineral found in teeth, bones, and other body tissues.
A mineral taken primarily as a supplement to prevent osteoporosis. It is also being
studied for cancer prevention.
A measurement of the energy content of food. The body needs calories as "fuel" to
perform all of its functions, such as breathing, circulating the blood, and physical
activity. When a person is sick, their body may need extra calories to fight fever or
CAM (Complementary and alternative medicine)
Forms of treatment that are used in addition to (complementary) or instead of
(alternative) standard treatments. These practices are not considered standard
medical approaches. CAM includes dietary supplements, mega-dose vitamins,
herbal preparations, special teas, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual
healing, and meditation
Cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that have mutated from
normal tissues. This growth can kill when these cells prevent normal function of
vital organs or spread throughout the body, damaging essential systems. Cancer
cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and
lymphatic system to other parts of the body. There are at least 200 different kinds
Cancer in situ
The stage where the cancer is still confined to the tissue in which it started.
A condition in which Candida albicans, a type of yeast, grows out of control in moist
skin areas of the body. It is usually a result of a weakened immune system, but can
be a side effect of chemotherapy or treatment with antibiotics. Thrush usually
affects the mouth (oral thrush); however, rarely, it spreads throughout the entire
body. Also called Candidosis or thrush.
Cabecitabine (brand name Xeloda® ...tablets)
Capsule;Wireless Capsule Endoscopy "The Camera in a Pill"
Wireless capsule endoscopy is a noninvasive procedure in which a small capsule
containing a video camera, light, transmitter, and batteries is swallowed and
passed through the GI tract while video recording the mucosa of the small bowel.
These images are transmitted by a radiofrequency signal to a data recorder
attached to the patient’s waist. After approximately eight hours the capsule is
excreted and the recorded data is downloaded to a computer where, with the use of
software, it can be viewed, edited and reported. Wireless capsule endoscopy
(WCE) is intended for patients with small bowel disease who have obscure
bleeding, in addition to GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and whose
diagnosis remains Wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE) is intended for patients with
small bowel disease who have obscure bleeding, in addition to GI symptoms such
as abdominal pain, diarrhea and whose diagnosis remains unknown following
standard radiology and endoscopy.
A sugar molecule. Carbohydrates can be small and simple (for example, glucose)
or they can be large and complex (for example, polysaccharides such as starch,
chitin or cellulose).
A radioactive form of carbon that is used in positron emission tomography (PET)
Carboplatin (brand name Paraplatin®)
Carboplatin ( KAR-boe-pla-tin) belongs to the group of medicines known as
alkylating agents. It is used to treat cancer of the ovaries. It may also be used to
treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor. Carboplatin interferes
with the growth of cancer cells, which eventually are destroyed.
A substance that causes cancer. For example, nicotine in cigarettes is a carcinogen
that causes lung cancer.
Carcinoid (cancer - tumor)
A type of cancer that is usually slow growing and arises from special endocrine
cells widely scattered throughout the body. These cells are most commonly found
in the gastrointestinal system and sometimes in the lungs and other sites. Carcinoid
tumors are potentially malignant and can, at times, spread to nearby lymph nodes,
the liver, and elsewhere. They may secrete potent substances such as serotonin,
prostaglandins, histamine, and other hormones which can affect the cardiovascular
and digestive systems causing the carcinoid syndrome. Typical vs atypical
carcinoids see below. The two types are distinguished from each other by their
appearance under the microscope.
Typical carcinoid (TC): Typical carcinoids are nine times as common as atypical
ones. Typical carcinoids grow slowly
Atypical carcinoid(AC): Atypical Carcinoid is faster growing than typical carcinoid.
Atypical carcinoid (AC) is an intermediate form of tumor between low-grade
malignant typical carcinoid (TC) and high-grade malignant small cell carcinoma
(SCC), which represent the two ends of the spectrum of neuroendocrine tumors
Nonfunctioning carcinoids can be detected similarly to other space-occupying
lesions, e.g. by angiography, CT, or MRI, depending on the site. Small-bowel
carcinoids may exhibit filling defects or other abnormalities on barium x-ray studies.
Definitive diagnosis is made histologically
Functioning carcinoids are suspected on the basis of the symptoms and signs,
and diagnosis is confirmed by demonstrating increased urinary excretion of the
serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA).
Carcinoid crisis and pseudoanaphylactic reactions: Carcinoid crisis is when all of
the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome come at the same time. Carcinoid crisis is the
most serious and life-threatening complication of carcinoid syndrome, and is
generally found in people who already have carcinoid syndrome. The crisis may
occur suddenly, or it can be associated with stress, chemotherapy, or anesthesia. It
is characterized by abrupt flushing of face and sometimes-upper body, usually
severe falls in blood pressure and even bronchospasm with wheezing can
(infrequently) occur. The attack may look like an anaphylactic attack. Diarrhea is an
important part of carcinoid syndrome but is not usually simultaneous with the
carcinoid crisis. It more commonly occurs as part of the anaphylactic reaction of an
allergic or pseudoallergic reaction. Standard allergy tests are not usually positive in
such cases. 24-hour urine histamine, blood histamine and blood tryptase tests, particularly if
obtained at time of attack or just afterward will establish diagnosis. Of allergic or
pseudo allergic so called idiopathic anaphylactic attacks and mast cell disease.
Epinephrine will provoke - not help carcinoid attacks. Urine 5HIAA is helpful
when positive but if depended on as the sole chemical test for carcinoid syndrome
will miss 50% of cases! Better also to measure blood serotonin, tryptophan and
chromogranin A. Other blood markers associated with rare cases of severe attacks
of flushing, diarrhea and fall in blood pressure are VIP, calcitonin and gastrin. They
too should be measured. If any of all of the above are positive, further elaborate
tests and treatment will be needed with details depending on which test(s) are
. A carcinoid crisis may be prevented and successfully treated with octreotide, a
therapy that can increase low blood pressure and control the production of
Carcinoid Heart Disease
Cardiac manifestation of malignant carcinoid syndrome. It is a unique form of
fibrosis involving the endocardium, primarily of the right heart. The fibrous deposits
tend to cause constriction of the tricuspid and pulmonary valves. Serotonin
excretion plays a role in the development of carcinoid heart disease (CHD), but the
exact pathogenesis is not known.
A combination of symptoms caused by release into the circulation of excessive
amounts of serotonin and other hormonal substances from some carcinoid tumors.
Symptoms may include flushing of the face, diarrhea, bronchial spasms
(wheezing), rapid pulse, and sudden blood pressure changes (usually a fall) along
with other symptoms of heart failure. Carcinoid syndrome is often mistaken for
common diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer, lupus, asthma,
A malignant tumor that arises from epithelium, found in skin and the lining of body
organs; for example, breast, prostate, lung, stomach or bowel. Carcinomas tend to
infiltrate into adjacent tissue and spread (metastasize) to distant organs, such as
bone, liver, lung, or the brain.
Carcinoma in situ
Cancer that involves only the cells in which it began and that has not spread to
Carcinomatosis (Carcinosis )
A condition in which cancer is spread widely throughout the body, or, in some
cases, to a relatively large region of the body. Also called carcinosis.
Having to do with the heart
An enlargement of the heart.
Having to do with the heart and lungs.
Having to do with the heart and blood vessels.
CAT scan (CT scan)
A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles;
the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called
computerized axial tomography, computed tomography (CT scan), or computerized
Any of several compounds occurring naturally in the body that serve as hormones
or as neurotransmitters in the sympathetic nervous system . The catecholamines
include such compounds as epinephrine or adrenaline, norepinephrine, and
A flexible tube used to deliver fluids into or withdraw fluids from the body.
Complete blood count. A test to check the number of red blood cells, white blood
cells, and platelets in a sample of blood. Also called blood cell count.
CCNU® (generic name lomustin)
Lomustine ( loe-MUS-teen) belongs to the group of medicines known as alkylating
agents. It is used to treat some kinds of cancer. Lomustine is available as capsules
CEA (Carcinoembryonic antigen)
Carcinoembryonic antigen. A substance that is sometimes found in an increased
amount in the blood of people who have certain cancers, other diseases, or who
smoke. It is used as a tumor marker for colorectal cancer
A laboratory test to measure carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a substance that is
sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of people who have certain
A pouch that forms the first part of the large intestine. It connects the small intestine
to the colon, which is part of the large intestine.
A digestive disease that is caused by an immune response to a protein called
gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Celiac disease damages the
lining of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food.
A person with celiac disease may become malnourished no matter how much food
An increase in the number of cells as a result of cell growth and cell division.
An acute, spreading infection of the deep tissues of the skin and muscle that
causes the skin to become warm and tender and may also cause fever, chills,
swollen lymph nodes, and blisters
A measure of length in the metric system. A centimeter is one hundredth of a
meter. There are 2½ centimeters in an inch.
Central nervous system (CNS)
The brain and spinal cord.
Central venous catheter
A special intravenous tubing that is surgically inserted into a large vein near the
heart and exits from the chest or abdomen. The catheter allows medications, fluids,
or blood products to be given and blood samples to be taken.
Lymph nodes in the neck.
The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.
A procedure in which the blood supply to the tumor is blocked surgically or
mechanically and anticancer drugs are administered directly into the tumor. This
permits a higher concentration of drug to be in contact with the tumor for a longer
period of time. If done in the liver it is called hepatic artery chemo embolization (
also known as HACE )
The treatment of cancer with drugs.
Chemotherapy given to kill any remaining cancer cells, usually after all detectable
tumor is removed by surgery or radiotherapy.
The use of more than one drug during cancer treatment.
Any condition in which the release of bile from the liver is blocked. The blockage
can occur in the liver (intrahepatic cholestasis) or in the bile ducts (extrahepatic
Chromogranin A (CgA)
A blood tumor marker used for detection of certain cancers. Chromogranin A is
considered the best general neuroendocrine serum or plasma marker available
both for diagnosis and therapeutic evaluation and is increased in 50-100% of
patients with various neuroendocrine tumors. Chromogranin A serum or plasma
levels reflect tumor load, and it may be an independent marker of prognosis in
patients with midgut carcinoids. The measurement of CgA is considered "the gold
standard" of chemical tests for confirming the diagnosis of carcinoid and
neuroendocrine tumors and following their course.
Persisting over a long period of time
Crohn's Disease (IBD)
Crohn's disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the
gastrointestinal tract. The disease most commonly occurs in the ileum (the area
where the small and large intestine joins the colon), but the colon and other parts of
the gastrointestinal tract may be affected as well; includes thickening of the
A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It is also being studied in the
treatment of bladder cancer. Cipro belongs to the family of drugs called
fluoroquinolones. Also called ciprofloxacin.
The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood
throughout the body. This system helps tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients,
and it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with
the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system.
Cisplatin (brand name Platinol®)
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.
A type of research study that uses volunteers to test new methods of screening,
prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. The trial may be carried out in a
clinic or other medical facility. Also called a clinical study.
Central nervous system. The brain and spinal cord.
A vitamin that is needed to make red blood cells and DNA, (the genetic material in
cells), and to keep nerve cells healthy. It is found in eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish,
milk, and milk products. Cobalamine, along with folate, may be given to help reduce
side effects in cancer patients being treated with drugs called antimetabolites. Also
called vitamin B12.
Coenzyme Q 10
A substance found in most tissues in the body, and in many foods. It can also be
made in the laboratory. It is used by the body to produce energy for cells, and as an
antioxidant. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and in the relief of side
effects caused by some cancer treatments. Also called Q10, CoQ10, vitamin Q10,
An operation to remove all or part of the colon. When only part of the colon is
removed, it is called a partial colectomy. In an open colectomy, one long incision is
made in the wall of the abdomen and doctors can see the colon directly. In a
laparoscopic-assisted colectomy, several small incisions are made and a thin,
lighted tube attached to a video camera is inserted through one opening to guide
the surgery. Surgical instruments are inserted through the other openings to
perform the surgery.
Inflammation of the colon.
An area of mixing of malignant cells from two distinct tumors (such as a carcinoma
and a sarcoma) that have developed separately but near each other.
An examination of the inside of the colon using a thin, lighted tube (called a
colonoscope) inserted into the rectum. If abnormal areas are seen, tissue can be
removed and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is
A surgical procedure by which an opening is created between the colon and the
outside of the abdomen to allow stool to be emptied into a collection bag.
Common bile duct
Carries bile from the liver and gallbladder into the duodenum (the upper part of the
The condition of having two or more diseases at the same time.
Compassionate use trial
A way to provide an investigational therapy to a patient who is not eligible to
receive that therapy in a clinical trial, but who has a serious or life-threatening
illness for which other treatments are not available. Also called expanded access
A "complete" protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids in sufficient
amount for maintenance of of body and for a normal rate of growth. Animal foods
are the best source of "complete" proteins.
The disappearance of all signs of cancer in response to treatment. This does not
always mean the cancer has been cured. Also called a complete response.
Computed tomography (CT scan)
A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles;
the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called
computerized tomography and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.
Congestive heart failure
A buildup of fluid in the lungs or extremities, or both (especially the legs). This
occurs if the heart cannot pump the blood adequately
The removal of a tissue sample with a needle for examination under a microscope.
A hormone that has antitumor activity in lymphomas and lymphoid leukemias.
Corticosteroids (steroids) may also be used for hormone replacement and for the
management of some of the complications of cancer and its treatment. Cortisone
A natural steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland. It can also be made in
the laboratory. Cortisone reduces swelling and can suppress immune responses
Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve
pain and inflammation. COX-2 inhibitors are being studied in the prevention of
colon polyps, and as anticancer drugs.
CPT 111 / irinotecan (Camptosar®)
An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called topoisomerase
inhibitors. It is a camptothecin analogue. Also called irinotecan.
A compound that is excreted from the body in urine. Creatinine levels are
measured to monitor kidney function.
Chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly the small
intestine and colon. Crohn's disease increases the risk for colorectal and small
Treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal
CT scan (Computed tomography)
Also known as Computed Axial Tomography (CAT), is a painless, sophisticated x-ray
procedure. Multiple images are taken during a CT or CAT scan, and a computer
compiles them into complete, cross-sectional pictures ("slices") of soft tissue, bone,
and blood vessels. . It can be given with or without contrast (medication given by
drink or injection to enhance X-ray pictures).
Cutaneous Having to do with the skin.
Cyanosis Blue-colored skin caused by too little oxygen in the blood.
A drug used to help reduce the risk of rejection of organ and bone marrow
transplants by the body. It is also used in clinical trials to make cancer cells more
sensitive to anticancer drugs.
A drug that is used to treat asthma, allergies, and colds, and to relieve itching
caused by certain skin disorders. It has also been used to stimulate appetite and
weight gain, and is being studied in the treatment of weight loss caused by cancer
and its treatment. Cyproheptadine belongs to the family of drugs called
Cyst An accumulation of fluid or semisolid material within a sac
Cytoreductive (surgery, therapy)(debulking)
Surgery done when cancer has spread in the pelvic/abdominal area, to remove as
much of the tumor as possible. Example of such procedures are;embolization,
chemoembolization, thermo- or cryotherapy, or radio-receptor therapy
An anticancer drug .
DTIC-Dome, a trademark for a drug used to treat cancer (dacarbazine)belongs to
the group of medicines called alkylating agents. It is used to treat cancer of the
lymph system and malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer). It may also be used
to treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor.
A condition caused by the loss of too much water from the body. Severe diarrhea or
vomiting can cause dehydration.
A tumor of the tissue that surrounds muscles, usually in the abdomen. A desmoid
tumor rarely metastasizes (spreads to other parts of the body). Also called
aggressive fibromatosis, especially when the tumor is outside the abdomen.
Dexamethasone (brand name Decadron®; Dexameth®; Dexone®; Hexadrol®)
A synthetic steroid (similar to steroid hormones produced naturally in the adrenal
gland). Dexamethasone is used to treat leukemia and lymphoma and may be used
to treat some of the problems caused by other cancers and their treatment.
A disease in which the body does not properly control the amount of sugar in the
blood. As a result, the level of sugar in the blood is too high. This disease occurs
when the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly.
Diabetes mellitus (dye-a-BEE-teez MEL-ih-tus)
A group of disorders in which there is a defect in the transfer of glucose (sugar)
from the bloodstream into cells, leading to abnormally high levels of blood sugar
(hyperglycemia).There are two distinct types of diabetes mellitus: insulin-dependent
Insulin dependent diabetes
Insulin-dependent diabetes (Type I), also called juvenile-onset diabetes, is the
more serious form of the disease. Treatment includes a diet limited in
carbohydrates and saturated fat, exercise to burn glucose, and regular insulin
injections, sometimes administered via a portable insulin pump.
Non-insulin dependent diabetes
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes (Type 2), also called adult-onset diabetes, results
from the inability of the cells in the body to respond to insulin.. As in Type I
diabetes, treatment includes exercise and weight loss and a diet low in total
carbohydrates and saturated fat. Some individuals require insulin injections; many
rely on oral drugs, such as sulphonylureas metformin, or acarbose.
The process of cleansing the blood when the kidneys are not able to filter the blood.
The thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen.
Frequent and watery bowel movements.
In cancer, refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor.
Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and tend to grow and spread at a
slower rate than undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tumor cells, which lack the
structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.
Widely spread; not localized or confined.
The organs that take in food and turn it into products that the body can use to stay
healthy. Waste products the body cannot use leave the body through bowel
movements. The digestive system includes the salivary glands, mouth, esophagus,
stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, small and large intestines, and rectum.
To widen or enlarge an opening or hollow structure beyond its usual size, such as
the pupil of the eye or a blood vessel.
Scatter or distribute over a large area or range.
In medicine, refers to a part of the body that is farther away from the center of the
body than another part. For example, the fingers are distal to the shoulder. The
opposite is proximal.
A drug that increases the production of urine.
Docetaxel (brand name Taxotere ®)
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.
A clinical trial in which neither the medical staff nor the person knows which of
several possible therapies the person is receiving
A neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion,
motivation, and the feeling of pleasure.
Doxorubicin (brand name(s): Adriamycin®; Doxil®; Rubex®)
Doxorubicin is a type of antibiotic that is only used in cancer chemotherapy. It slows
or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body. The length of treatment depends
on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the
type of cancer you have.
A group of symptoms that occur when food or liquid enters the small intestine too
rapidly. These symptoms include cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness.
Dumping syndrome sometimes occurs in people who have had a portion of their
The first portion of the small intestine, attached to the stomach.(The part food
enters immediately after it leaves the stomach).After foods combine with stomach
acid, they descend into the duodenum where they mix with bile from the gall
bladder and digestive juices from the pancreas. See small intestine
or indigestion, discomfort during or after eating caused by some interference with
the normal digestive process. Symptoms include nausea, heartburn, abdominal
pain, gas distress, and a feeling of abdominal distention.
The result of cells' ability to resist the effects of a specific drug.
Difficulty in swallowing.
Cells that look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer.
Difficult or painful breathing; shortness of breath.
Difficult or painful urination.