Words to Know
The edge or border of the tissue removed in cancer surgery. The margin is described as negative, or clean, when the pathologist finds no breast cancer cells within it, which suggests that all of the cancer has been removed. The margin is described as positive, or involved, when the pathologist finds cancer cells within it, which suggests that all of the cancer has not been removed.
A treatment in which the soft tissues of the body are kneaded, rubbed, tapped and stroked. Massage therapy may help people relax, relieve stress and pain, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Therapeutic massage is being studied in the treatment of cancer symptoms such as pain and depression.
A painful condition in which breast tissue is inflamed. It is usually caused by an infection and is most often seen in nursing mothers. The symptoms of mastitis are similar to the symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer. Those symptoms include breast enlargement (on one side only) and pain, enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit, flu-like symptoms, itching, lump, nipple discharge, redness and swelling. Fever is a symptom of mastitis that is not common to inflammatory breast cancer.
maximum tolerated dose
Also called MTD. The highest dose of a medicine or treatment possible that does not unacceptable side effects. The maximum tolerated dose is determined in clinical trials by testing increasingly higher doses on different groups of people, until the highest dose with acceptable side effects is found.
A health insurance program for people who cannot afford regular medical care. The program is run by U.S. federal, state, and local governments. People who receive Medicaid may have to pay a small amount for the services they get. Breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatments are listed as an option for coverage through Medicare.
medical nutrition therapy
Also called nutrition therapy. Treatment based on nutrition. It includes checking a person's nutrition status and giving the right foods or nutrients to treat conditions such as side effects caused by breast cancer treatment. Therapy may involve simple changes in a person's diet, or feeding someone intravenously or through a tube. Medical nutrition therapy may help individuals recover more quickly and spend less time in the hospital.
A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancers using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A medical oncologist is often the main health care provider for someone who has breast cancer. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists.