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glossary

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  • Abdomen

    (AB-doh-men)

    The part of your body between the chest and the pelvis containing the stomach (with the lower part of the esophagus), small and large intestines, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and bladder.

  • Ablative therapy

    Treatment that removes or destroys the function of an organ or system. For example, high dose chemotherapy and radiation before a bone marrow transplant is considered ablative therapy because it wipes out your immune system.

  • Abnormal

    (ab-NOR-mul)

    Not normal. Describes a state, condition, or behavior that is unusual or different from what is considered normal. An abnormal lesion or growth in or on the body may be benign (not cancer), precancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer), or malignant (cancer).

  • Absolute neutrophil count

    (AB-soh-loot NOO-troh-fil kownt)

    A measure of the number of neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. They help the body fight infection. An absolute neutrophil count may be used to check for infection, inflammation, leukemia, and other conditions. The lower a person's absolute neutrophil count is, the higher the risk is of getting an infection. Having an absolute neutrophil count of less than 500 means there is a high risk of getting an infection. Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, may reduce the absolute neutrophil count. Also called ANC.

  • Acupressure

    (AK-yoo-PREH-sher)

    The application of pressure or localized massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

    (uh-KYOOT LIM-foh-BLAS-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)

    A type of leukemia (blood cancer) that comes on quickly and is fast growing. In acute lymphoblastic leukemia, there are too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphocytic leukemia and ALL.

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia

    uh-KYOOT LIM-foh-SIH-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh

    A type of leukemia (blood cancer) that comes on quickly and is fast growing. In acute lymphocytic leukemia, there are too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia and ALL.

  • Acute myeloid leukemia

    uh-KYOOT MY-eh-loyd loo-KEE-mee-uh

    An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, AML, and ANLL.

  • Adjuvant therapy

    (A-joo-vunt THAYR-uh-pee)

    Additional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will come back. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or biological therapy.

  • Adrenal glands

    uh-DREE-nul...

    A small gland that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. There are two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney. Also called suprarenal gland.