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Glossary - R

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  • Radiation

    RAY-dee-AY-shun

    Energy released in the form of particle or electromagnetic waves. Common sources of radiation include radon gas, cosmic rays from outer space, medical x-rays, and energy given off by a radioisotope (unstable form of a chemical element that releases radiation as it breaks down and becomes more stable). Radiation can damage cells. It is used to diagnose and treat some types of cancer.

  • Radiation oncologist

    (RAY-dee-AY-shun on-KAH-loh-jist)

    A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.

  • Radiation recall

    Inflammation of exposed skin and underlying organs in sites of previous radiation therapy.

  • Radiation therapy

    RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee

    Treatment with high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. The radiation may come from outside of the body (external radiation) or from radioactive materials placed directly in the tumor (internal or implant radiation). Radiation therapy may be used to reduce the size of a cancer before surgery, to destroy any remaining cancer cells after surgery, or, in some cases, may be the main treatment.

  • Radiologist

    (RAY-dee-AH-loh-jist)

    A doctor who has special training in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are made with x-rays, sound waves, or other types of energy.

  • Rectally

    (REK-tul-lee)

    By or having to do with the rectum. The rectum is the last several inches of the large intestine closest to the anus.

  • Rectum

    (REK-tum)

    The last part of your large intestine.

  • Recurrent

    (ree-KER-ent)

    Cancer that has recurred (come back), usually after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected. The cancer may come back to the same place as the original (primary) tumor or to another place in the body. Also called recurrence.

  • Red blood cells

    Blood cells that carry oxygen to the cells throughout your body.

  • Refractory

    (reh-FRAK-tor-ee)

    In medicine, describes a disease or condition that does not respond to treatment.

  • Regimen

    REH-jih-men

    A treatment plan that specifies the dosage, the schedule, and the duration of treatment.

  • Regional

    (REE-juh-nul)

    In oncology, describes the body area right around a tumor.

  • Regional chemotherapy

    (REE-juh-nul KEE-moh-THAYR-uh-pee)

    Treatment with anticancer drugs directed to a specific area of the body.

  • Regression

    (reh-GREH-shun)

    The reduction of cancer, usually as the result of therapy; it is shown by decreased size of the tumor or tumors.

  • Rehabilitation

    (REE-huh-BIH-lih-TAY-shun)

    In medicine, a process to restore mental and/or physical abilities lost to injury or disease, in order to function in a normal or near-normal way.

  • Reinduction

    To start over, i.e. A new treatment or protocol.

  • Relapse

    REE-laps

    Reappearance of cancer after a disease-free period.

  • Remission

    Complete or partial disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer in response to treatment; the period during which a disease is under control. A remission may not be a cure.

  • Renal

    Pertaining to your kidneys.

  • Research

    A scientific way to examine a problem, answer a question or gain new information.

  • Resection

    ree-SEK-shun

    Surgery to remove tissue or part or all of an organ.

  • Resident

    A physician in the second or third year of training after completing medical school.

  • Resistance

    The inherent ability of an organism to resist harmful influences.

  • Respiration

    The process of breathing.

  • Respiratory tract

    (RES-pih-ruh-TOR-ee trakt)

    All parts of your body used for breathing.

  • Retinoblastoma

    REH-tih-noh-blas-TOH-muh

    Cancer that forms in the tissues of the retina (the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye). Retinoblastoma usually occurs in children younger than 5 years. It may be hereditary or nonhereditary (sporadic).

  • Rhabdomyosarcoma

    RAB-doh-MY-oh-sar-KOH-muh

    Cancer that forms in the soft tissues in a type of muscle called striated muscle. Rhabdomyosarcoma can occur anywhere in the body.

  • Risk group

    (risk groop)

    In medicine, risk groups are used to describe people who are alike in important ways. For example, patients with the same type of cancer may be divided into different risk groups that depend on certain aspects of their disease. These risk groups may be based on the patients’ chance of being cured (good versus poor) or the chance that their disease will come back (high versus low). Treatment may be based on which risk group a patient falls into. Risk groups can also be used to describe people who share traits and behaviors that affect their chance of developing a disease. For example, people who do not smoke are in a lower risk group for lung cancer than people who smoke.