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Glossary - N

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Showing 1-41 out of 41 Terms

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  • Narcotic

    (nar-KAH-tik)

    A substance used to treat moderate to severe pain. Narcotics are like opiates such as morphine and codeine, but are not made from opium. They bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Narcotics are now called opioids.

  • Nasogastric tube

    (NAY-zoh-GAS-trik toob)

    A tube that is inserted through the nose, down the throat and esophagus, and into the stomach. It can be used to give drugs, liquids, and liquid food, or used to remove substances from the stomach. Giving food through a nasogastric tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called gastric feeding tube and NG tube.

  • Nasopharynx

    (NAY-zoh-FAYR-inx)

    The upper part of the throat behind the nose. An opening on each side of the nasopharynx leads into the ear.

  • National Cancer Institute

    (NA-shuh-nul KAN-ser IN-stih-TOOT)

    The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research. The National Cancer Institute conducts, coordinates, and funds cancer research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer.

  • Natural killer cell

    (NA-chuh-rul KIH-ler sel)

    A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that can kill tumor cells or cells infected with a virus. A natural killer cell is a type of white blood cell. Also called NK cell and NK-LGL.

  • Nausea

    (NAW-zee-uh)

    A feeling of sickness or discomfort in the stomach that may come with an urge to vomit. Nausea is a side effect of some types of cancer therapy.

  • Nebulizer

    (NEH-byoo-LY-zer)

    A device used to turn liquid into a fine spray.

  • Necrosis

    (neh-KROH-sis)

    Refers to the death of living tissues.

  • Needle biopsy

    (NEE-dul BY-op-see)

    The removal of tissue or fluid with a needle for examination under a microscope. When a wide needle is used, the procedure is called a core biopsy. When a thin needle is used, the procedure is called a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.

  • Needle localization

    (NEE-dul LOH-kuh-lih-ZAY-shun)

    A procedure used to mark a small area of abnormal tissue so it can be removed by surgery. An imaging device is used to guide a thin wire with a hook at the end through a hollow needle to place the wire in or around the abnormal area. Once the wire is in the right place, the needle is removed and the wire is left in place so the doctor will know where the abnormal tissue is. The wire is removed when a biopsy is done. Also called needle/wire localization and wire localization.

  • Needle-localized biopsy

    (NEE-dul-LOH-kuh-lized BY-op-see)

    A procedure to mark and remove abnormal tissue when the doctor cannot feel a lump. An imaging device is used to guide a thin wire with a hook on the end through a hollow needle to place the wire in or around the abnormal area. Once the wire is in the right place, the needle is removed and the wire is left in so the doctor will know where the abnormal tissue is. The wire is removed at the time the biopsy is done.

  • Negative test result

    (NEH-guh-tiv ... reh-ZULT)

    A test result that shows the substance or condition the test is supposed to find is not present at all or is present, but in normal amounts. In genetics, a negative test result usually means that a person does not have a mutation (change) in the gene, chromosome, or protein that is being tested. More testing may be needed to make sure a negative test result is correct.

  • Neoplasm

    (NEE-oh-PLA-zum)

    An abnormal mass of tissue that forms when cells grow and divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

  • Nephrologist

    (neh-FRAH-loh-jist)

    A doctor who has special training in diagnosing and treating kidney disease.

  • Nerve

    (nerv)

    A bundle of fibers that receives and sends messages between the body and the brain. The messages are sent by chemical and electrical changes in the cells that make up the nerves.

  • Nervous system

    (NER-vus SIS-tem)

    The organized network of nerve tissue in the body. It includes the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), the peripheral nervous system (nerves that extend from the spinal cord to the rest of the body), and other nerve tissue.

  • Neuroblastoma

    NOOR-oh-blas-TOH-muh

    A type of cancer that forms from immature nerve cells. It usually begins in the adrenal glands but may also begin in the abdomen, chest, or in nerve tissue near the spine. Neuroblastoma most often occurs in children younger than 5 years of age. It is thought to begin before birth. It is usually found when the tumor begins to grow and cause signs or symptoms.

  • Neurofibroma

    (NOOR-oh-fy-BROH-muh)

    A benign tumor that develops from the cells and tissues that cover nerves.

  • Neurofibromatosis type 1

    NOOR-oh-FY-broh-muh-TOH-sis ...

    A rare genetic condition that causes brown spots and tumors on the skin, freckling in skin areas not exposed to the sun, tumors on the nerves, and developmental changes in the nervous system, muscles, bone, and skin. Also called NF1.

  • Neurologic

    (NOOR-oh-LAH-jik)

    Having to do with nerves or the nervous system.

  • Neurological exam

    (NOOR-oh-LAH-jih-kul eg-ZAM)

    A series of questions and tests to check brain, spinal cord, and nerve function. The exam checks a persons mental status, coordination, ability to walk, and how well the muscles, sensory systems, and deep tendon reflexes work.

  • Neurologist

    (noor-AH-loh-jist)

    A doctor who has special training in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system.

  • Neurology

    The branch of medical science which deals with the nervous system.

  • Neuropsychologist

    A psychologist who diagnoses and treats behavioral and other problems related to the way the brain works. These may include problems with social interactions, ability to control emotions and behaviors, and cognitive abilities (thinking, learning, remembering, and problem solving). These problems may be caused by brain disease, injury, or medical treatment, such as cancer treatment.

  • Neuropsychology

    (NOOR-oh-sy-KAH-loh-jee)

    The study of how the brain and central nervous system are related to behavior.

  • Neurosurgeon

    NOOR-oh-SER-jun

    A doctor who has special training in surgery on the brain, spine, and other parts of the nervous system.

  • Neurotransmitters

    (NOOR-oh-tranz-MIH-ters)

    A chemical that is made by nerve cells and used to communicate with other cells, including other nerve cells and muscle cells.

  • Neutropenia

    noo-troh-PEE-nee-uh

    A condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) in the blood.

  • Neutrophils

    new-trow-fils

    A type of white blood cell that is an important part of the immune system and helps the body fight infection. When microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses, enter the body, neutrophils are one of the first immune cells to respond. They travel to the site of infection, where they destroy the microorganisms by ingesting them and releasing enzymes that kill them. Neutrophils also boost the response of other immune cells. A neutrophil is a type of granulocyte and a type of phagocyte.

  • NG tube

    (... toob)

    A tube that is inserted through the nose, down the throat and esophagus, and into the stomach. It can be used to give drugs, liquids, and liquid food, or used to remove substances from the stomach. Giving food through a nasogastric tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called nasogastric tube and gastric feeding tube.

  • Nitrosourea

    (ny-TROH-soh-YOO-ree-uh)

    An anticancer drug that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Carmustine and lomustine are nitrosoureas.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

    Any of a large group of cancers of lymphocytes (white blood cells). Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur at any age and are often marked by lymph nodes that are larger than normal, fever, and weight loss. There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These types can be divided into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing) types, and they can be formed from either B-cells or T-cells. B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include Burkitt lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, immunoblastic large cell lymphoma, precursor B-lymphoblastic lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma. T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include mycosis fungoides, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma. Lymphomas that occur after bone marrow or stem cell transplantation are usually B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and type of disease. Also called NHL.

  • Noonan syndrome

    (NOO-nun SIN-drome)

    A genetic disorder marked by unusual facial features, being shorter than normal, learning problems, heart defects, bleeding problems, defects in the skeleton (bones of the body), and fertility problems in males. People with Noonan syndrome have an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as rhabdomyosarcoma (a soft tissue tumor), neuroblastoma (cancer of immature nerve cells), and some types of leukemia.

  • NPO

    A Latin abbreviation for "nothing by mouth."

  • NSAID

    A drug that decreases fever, swelling, pain, and redness. Also called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

  • NSAIDs

    Drugs that work in a different way than a steroid to reduce pain, redness, swelling, and fever in the body. Some NSAIDs may also help keep blood clots from forming. The side effects of NSAIDs include bleeding and stomach, kidney, and heart problems. Examples of NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, celecoxib, diclofenac, and ketorolac. NSAIDs may also help prevent some types of cancer. Also called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

  • Nuclear medicine

    NOO-klee-er MEH-dih-sin

    A branch of medicine that uses small amounts of radioactive substances to make pictures of areas inside the body and to treat disease. In cancer, the radioactive substance may be used with a special machine (such as a PET scanner) to find the cancer, to see how far it has spread, or to see how well a treatment is working. Radioactive substances may also be used to treat certain types of cancer, such as thyroid cancer and lymphoma.

  • Nuclear medicine scan

    (NOO-klee-er MEH-dih-sin skan)

    A method that uses radioactive substances to make pictures of areas inside the body. The radioactive substance is injected into the body, and locates and binds to specific cells or tissues, including cancer cells. Images are made using a special machine that detects the radioactive substance. Also called radioimaging.

  • Numb

    Devoid of sensation.

  • Nurse practitioner

    (... prak-TIH-shuh-ner)

    A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. Nurse practitioners are licensed at the state level and certified by national nursing organizations. In cancer care, a nurse practitioner may manage the primary care of patients and their families, based on a practice agreement with a doctor. Also called advanced practice nurse, APN, and NP.

  • Nutrients

    (NOO-tree-ents)

    A chemical compound (such as protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamin, or mineral) contained in foods. These compounds are used by the body to function and grow.