Words to Know

PARP inhibitor

Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. A substance that blocks an enzyme that helps repair DNA damage caused by normal cell activity, UV light, anticancer medicines and radiation therapy. PARP inhibitors may cause breast cancer cells to die.

PARP

Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. A type of enzyme that helps repair DNA damage caused by normal cell activity, UV light, anticancer medicines and radiation therapy. It is also involved in many other cell functions. Inhibitors of one enzyme, PARP-1, are being studied in the treatment of breast cancer.

partial mastectomy

Also called segmental mastectomy. The removal of cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor. Usually some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out.

partial oophorectomy

Surgery to remove part of one ovary or part of both ovaries.

partial remission or partial response

A decrease in the size of a tumor or in the extent of breast cancer in the body, in response to treatment.

partial-breast irradiation

Also called accelerated partial-breast irradiation. A type of radiation therapy given either internally or externally, to only the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-breast radiation therapy.

pastoral counselor

A person who is trained to give spiritual and mental health advice.

paternal

Having to do with the father, coming from the father, or related through the father. For example, your paternal grandfather is your grandfather on your father's side of the family.

pathologic fracture

A broken bone caused by disease. For example, those caused by the spread of cancer to the bone.

pathological stage

The stage of breast cancer, or the amount of cancer in the body or extent of the cancer's reach. A determination of how much breast cancer is present or how much it has spread is based on how different the cancer cells look when compared to healthy cells, as viewed under a microscope in samples of tissue.

pathological staging

A method used to find out the stage of breast cancer (the amount or extent of cancer in the body) by removing tissue samples during surgery or a biopsy. The pathological stage is based on how much breast cancer is present and how far it has spread in the body, based on how different the cancer cells look when compared with healthy cells as viewed under a microscope in samples of tissue.

pathologist

A doctor who specializes in identifying the cellular components of tissue and diagnosing specific diseases, such as breast cancer, by examining cells and tissues under a microscope.

pathology report

A document created when you have your first tests after diagnosis. In breast cancer, your pathology report contains information on the stage of disease, the hormonal and HER2 status of the breast cancer, where the cancer is located, and information about what the cells look like under a microscope, as well as how fast they are dividing. Your pathology report becomes part of your medical record, and you are given a copy for yourself.

patient advocate

A trained professional who helps a person work with others who have an effect on his or her health, including doctors, insurance companies, employers, case managers and lawyers. A patient advocate helps resolve issues about health care, medical bills, and job discrimination related to that individual's medical condition.

Paxil

A medicine used to treat depression and anxiety disorders that is sometimes prescribed to help women with breast cancer handle stress and anxiety. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Also called paroxetine hydrochloride.

peau d'orange

A dimpled condition of the skin of the breast that looks like the skin of an orange. It is sometimes found as a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer.

pedigree

A diagram that shows relationships among family members. If you have genetic testing for breast cancer risk, a pedigree shows the pattern of certain genes or diseases within your family and helps a genetic counselor predict whether you may carry a breast cancer-related gene mutation.

peer-review process

The process by which original articles and grants written by researchers are evaluated for technical and scientific quality and correctness by other experts in the same field.

peer-reviewed scientific journal

A publication that contains original articles that have been written by scientists and evaluated for technical and scientific quality and correctness by other experts in the same field.

perfusion magnetic resonance imaging

Also called magnetic resonance perfusion imaging. A special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that uses an injected dye in order to see blood flow through tissues.