Words to Know

histology

The study of tissues and cells under a microscope.

historic cohort study

Also called retrospective cohort study. A research study in which the medical records of groups of individuals who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic (for example, female nurses who smoke and those who do not smoke) are compared for a particular outcome (such as breast cancer).

historical control subject

An individual treated in the past and used in a comparison group when researchers analyze the results of a clinical study that had no control group. The use of a control group, or comparison group, helps researchers determine the effects of a new treatment more accurately.

homeopathic medicine

Also called homeopathy. An alternative approach to medicine based on the belief that natural substances, prepared in a special way and used most often in very small amounts, restore health. According to these beliefs, in order for a remedy to be effective, it must cause in a healthy person the same symptoms being treated in the individual.

hormonal therapy

Treatment that adds, blocks or removes hormones. To slow or stop the growth of certain types of breast cancer, synthetic hormones or other medicines may be given to block the body's natural hormones. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the gland that makes a certain hormone. Also called endocrine therapy, hormonal therapy and hormone treatment.

hormone receptor

A cell protein that binds a specific hormone. The hormone receptor may be on the surface of the cell or inside the cell. Many changes take place in a cell after a hormone binds to its receptor.

hormone receptor test

A test to measure the amount of certain proteins, called hormone receptors, in cancer tissue. Hormones can attach to these proteins. A high level of hormone receptors may mean that hormones help the cancer grow.

hormone replacement therapy

Also called HRT and menopausal hormone therapy. Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, or both) given to women after menopause to replace the hormones no longer produced by the ovaries.

hormone responsive

In oncology, describes cancer that responds to hormone treatment.

hormone therapy

Treatment that adds, blocks or removes hormones. To slow or stop the growth of certain types of breast cancer, synthetic hormones or other medicines may be given to block the body's natural hormones. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the gland that makes a certain hormone. Also called endocrine therapy, hormonal therapy and hormone treatment.

hormone

One of many chemicals made by glands in the body. Hormones circulate in the bloodstream and control the actions of certain cells or organs. Some hormones can also be made in the lab.

hospice

A program that provides special care for people who are near the end of life and for their families, either at home, in freestanding facilities or within hospitals.

hot flash

A sudden, temporary onset of body warmth, flushing and sweating that is often associated with menopause.

human epidermal growth factor receptor 2

Also called HER2/neu and human EGF receptor 2. A protein involved in normal cell growth. It is found on some types of cancer cells, including breast and ovarian. Cancer cells removed from the body may be tested for the presence of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 to help decide the best type of treatment.

human participant protection regulations

Laws set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to protect a person from risks in research studies that any federal agency or department has a part in. Also called 45 CFR 46, 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46 and Protection of Human Subjects.

hydroxydaunorubicin

Also called Adriamycin PFS, Adriamycin RDF, doxorubicin, doxorubicin hydrochloride and Rubex. A medicine that is used to treat many types of cancer, including breast cancer. Hydroxydaunorubicin comes from the bacterium Streptomyces peucetius. It damages DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic.

hyperalimentation

A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Hyperalimentation 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 hyperalimentation. Also called parenteral nutrition, total parenteral nutrition and TPN.

hypercalcemia

Higher than normal levels of calcium in the blood. Some types of cancer increase the risk of hypercalcemia.

hyperfractionated radiation therapy

Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into small doses and treatments are given more than once a day. Also called hyperfractionation and superfractionated radiation therapy.

hyperfractionation

Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into small doses and treatments are given more than once a day. Also called hyperfractionated radiation therapy and superfractionated radiation therapy.