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Glossary - E

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  • Early-stage cancer

    (ER-lee-stayj KAN-ser)

    A term used to describe cancer that is early in its growth, and may not have spread to other parts of the body. What is called early stage may differ between cancer types.

  • Echo cardiogram

    A method of obtaining a graphic picture of the internal structure, and position and motion of your heart through the use of sound waves directed through your chest.

  • Edema

    (eh-DEE-muh)

    Accumulation of fluid within the tissues; swelling.

  • Electrocardiogram

    (ee-LEK-troh-KAR-dee-oh-gram)

    A method of evaluating your heart rhythm and muscle function by the measurement of your heart's electrical impulses.

  • Electrolytes

    A general term for the many minerals necessary to provide the proper environment for the cells of your body. Common electrolytes include calcium, sodium, potassium and chloride.

  • Eligibility criteria

    (EH-lih-jih-BIH-lih-tee kry-TEER-ee-uh)

    In clinical trials, requirements that must be met for a person to be included in a trial. These requirements help make sure that participants in a trial are like each other in terms of specific factors such as age, type and stage of cancer, general health, and previous treatment. When all participants meet the same eligibility criteria, it is more likely that results of the study are caused by the intervention being tested and not by other factors or by chance.

  • Emesis

    (EH-meh-sis)

    To vomit.

  • Emetic

    (eh-MEH-tik)

    Describes a substance that causes vomiting. Also called emetogenic.

  • Encapsulated

    (en-KAP-soo-lay-ted)

    Confined to a specific, localized area and surrounded by a thin layer of tissue.

  • End-of-life care

    (... kayr)

    Care given to people who are near the end of life and have stopped treatment to cure or control their disease. End-of-life care includes physical, emotional, social, and spiritual support for patients and their families. The goal of end-of-life care is to control pain and other symptoms so the patient can be as comfortable as possible. End-of-life care may include palliative care, supportive care, and hospice care.

  • End-stage cancer

    (... stayj KAN-ser)

    Cancer that cannot be cured and leads to death. Also called terminal cancer.

  • Endocrine

    EN-doh-krin

    Refers to tissue that makes and releases hormones that travel in the bloodstream and control the actions of other cells or organs. Some examples of endocrine tissues are the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands.

  • Endocrine cancer

    Cancer that occurs in endocrine tissue, the tissue in the body that secretes hormones.

  • Endocrine system

    (EN-doh-krin SIS-tem)

    A system of glands and cells that make hormones that are released directly into the blood and travel to tissues and organs all over the body. The endocrine system controls growth, sexual development, sleep, hunger, and the way the body uses food.

  • Endocrinologist

    (EN-doh-krih-NAH-loh-jist)

    A doctor who has special training in diagnosing and treating disorders of the endocrine system (the glands and organs that make hormones). These disorders include diabetes, infertility, and thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary gland problems.

  • Endoscopy

    (en-DOS-koh-pee)

    A procedure that uses an endoscope to examine the inside of the body. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

  • Endpoint

    (END-poynt)

    In clinical trials, an event or outcome that can be measured objectively to determine whether the intervention being studied is beneficial. The endpoints of a clinical trial are usually included in the study objectives. Some examples of endpoints are survival, improvements in quality of life, relief of symptoms, and disappearance of the tumor.

  • Energy therapy

    A form of complementary and alternative medicine based on the belief that a vital energy flows through the human body. The goal of energy therapy is to balance the energy flow in the patient. It is used to reduce stress and anxiety and promote well-being. Energy therapy is being studied in patients receiving cancer therapy, to find out if it can improve quality of life, boost the immune system, or reduce side effects. Also called energy healing.

  • Enteral nutrition

    (EN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun)

    A form of nutrition that is delivered into the digestive system as a liquid. Drinking nutrition beverages or formulas and tubefeeding are forms of enteral nutrition. People who are unable to meet their needs with food and beverages alone, and who do not have vomiting or uncontrollable diarrhea may be given tubefeedings. Tubefeeding can be used to add to what a person is able to eat or can be the only source of nutrition. A small feeding tube may be placed through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine, or it may be surgically placed into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen, depending on how long it will be used.

  • Enzyme

    (en-zime)

    Proteins that increase the rate of chemical reactions in living cells.

  • Ependymoma

    (eh-PEN-dih-MOH-muh)

    A type of brain tumor that begins in cells lining the spinal cord central canal (fluid-filled space down the center) or the ventricles (fluid-filled spaces of the brain). Ependymomas may also form in the choroid plexus (tissue in the ventricles that makes cerebrospinal fluid). Also called ependymal tumor.

  • Epidural

    (EH-pih-DER-ul)

    Having to do with the space between the wall of the spinal canal and the covering of the spinal cord. An epidural injection is given into this space.

  • Esophagus

    (ee-SAH-fuh-gus)

    A tube that carries swallowed food to the stomach.

  • Estradiol

    (es-truh-DY-ol)

    A form of the hormone estrogen.

  • Estrogen

    ES-truh-jin

    A type of hormone made by the body that helps develop and maintain female sex characteristics and the growth of long bones. Estrogens can also be made in the laboratory. They may be used as a type of birth control and to treat symptoms of menopause, menstrual disorders, osteoporosis, and other conditions.

  • Etiology

    (EE-tee-AH-loh-jee)

    The cause or origin of disease.

  • Evaluable disease

    (ee-VAL-yoo-uh-bul dih-ZEEZ)

    Disease that cannot be measured directly by the size of the tumor but can be evaluated by other methods specific to a particular clinical trial.

  • Evaluable patients

    (ee-VAL-yoo-uh-bul PAY-shunts)

    Patients whose response to a treatment can be measured because enough information has been collected.

  • Event-free survival

    (eh-VENT ... ser-VY-vul)

    In cancer, the length of time after primary treatment for a cancer ends that the patient remains free of certain complications or events that the treatment was intended to prevent or delay. These events may include the return of the cancer or the onset of certain symptoms, such as bone pain from cancer that has spread to the bone. In a clinical trial, measuring the event-free survival is one way to see how well a new treatment works. Also called EFS.

  • Ewing sarcoma

    YOO-ing sar-KOH-muh

    A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor and PPNET.

  • Excision

    (ek-SIH-zhun)

    Surgical removal of tissue.

  • Excisional biopsy

    (ek-SIH-zhuh-nul BY-op-see)

    A surgical procedure in which an entire lump or suspicious area is removed for diagnosis. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.

  • Expectorant

    Medicine that makes mucous in your respiratory tract thinner and easier to cough out.

  • Experimental drug

    (ek-SPAYR-ih-men-tul ...)

    A substance that has been tested in the laboratory and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing in people. Clinical trials test how well experimental drugs work and whether they are safe to use. An experimental drug may be approved by the FDA for use in one disease or condition but still be considered investigational in other diseases or conditions. Also called IND, investigational agent, investigational drug, and investigational new drug.

  • Experimental group

    (ek-SPAYR-ih-MEN-tul groop)

    The group in a clinical research study that receives the drug, vaccine, or other intervention being tested. Interventions may also include medical procedures (such as radiation therapy and surgery), medical devices, behavior changes (such as diet and exercise), education programs, and counseling. Also called intervention group and investigational group.

  • Exploratory surgery

    (ek-SPLOR-uh-TOR-ee SER-juh-ree)

    Surgery undertaken to investigate a situation that other, primarily external diagnostic tests have failed to clarify.

  • Extremity

    (ek-STREH-mih-tee)

    A limb of the body, such as the arm or leg.