acute hepatitis: The initial episode of hepatitis by a virus or other causes.

acne conglobata: A very severe type of acne in which nodules are connected beneath the skin surface to other nodules or acne lesions.

adenomatous polyp: A grape-like shaped growth that occurs on the lining of the colon and rectum. This type of polyp can become cancerous.

adjuvant therapy (AD-joo-vant): Treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy.

androgens: Hormones that stimulate sebaceous glands in addition to other effects on the body. Present in both males and females, androgens are responsible for physical maturation in males and therefore occur in much higher levels in males. Males tend to have more severe acne than females.

anemia: a condition in which the blood does not have enough red blood cells.

angina pectoris (“angina”): a recurring pain or discomfort in the chest that happens when some part of the heart does not receive enough blood.

antibodies: Part of the immune system that fights disease.

Aphthous Ulcers: a sore on the mouth that is associated with Crohn’s disease.

areola (a-REE-o-la): The area of dark-colored skin on the breast that surrounds the nipple.

aspirate (AS-pi-rit): Fluid withdrawn from a lump, often a cyst, or a nipple.

atypical hyperplasia (hy-per-PLAY-zha): A benign (noncancerous) condition in which cells have abnormal features and are increased in number.

autologous bone marrow transplantation (aw-TAHL-o-gus): A procedure in which bone marrow is removed from a person, stored, and then given back to the person after intensive treatment.

axilla (ak-SIL-a): The underarm or armpit.

axillary (AK-sil-air-ee): Pertaining to the armpit area, including the lymph nodes that are located there.

axillary lymph node dissection: Surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit region. Also called axillary dissection.

bacteria: Germs that cause human disease.

barium enema: This test is an X-ray examination of the entire colon and rectum and may be done instead of a colonoscopy. After cleansing of the colon, a soft, flexible tube is inserted into the rectum and a liquid called barium is inserted into the tube. Special X-rays follow the flow of the barium in the colon and outline any lumps, polyps, or abnormalities. A person may feel some cramping and a strong urge to defecate during the test. This procedure is recommended as a substitute for colonoscopy every ten years.

Barrett’s Esophagus: A change in the cells lining the esophagus that predisposes some people to the development of esophageal cancer.

benign (beh-NINE): Not cancerous; does not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body.

biological therapy (by-o-LAHJ-i-kul): Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. Also used to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also known as immunotherapy, biotherapy, or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy.

biopsy (BY-op-see): The removal of cells or tissues for examination under a microscope. When only a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an incisional biopsy or core biopsy. When an entire tumor or lesion is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, the procedure is called a needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration.

blackhead: An open, noninflammatory comedo.

bone marrow: The soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of bones that produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

breast reconstruction: Surgery to rebuild a breast’s shape after a mastectomy.

breast-conserving surgery: An operation to remove the breast cancer but not the breast itself. Types of breast-conserving surgery include lumpectomy (removal of the lump), quadrantectomy (removal of one quarter of the breast), and segmental mastectomy (removal of the cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor).

cancer: A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

carcinoma (kar-sin-O-ma): Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.

chemotherapy (kee-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment with anticancer drugs.

Chrohn’s Disease: an inflammatory and ulcerative process that occurs in the deep layers of the small and sometimes large intestine.

chronic hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver that lasts at least six months or longer.

cirrhosis: Scar in the liver caused by prior inflammation. May lead to liver failure.

clinical trial: A research study that tests how well new medical treatments or other interventions work in people. The study tests new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease.

closed comedo: A whitehead; a non-inflammatory comedo with white center.

colon: the large intestine.

colony-stimulating factors: Substances that stimulate the production of blood cells. Colony-stimulating factors include granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (also called G-CSF and filgrastim), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factors (also called GM-CSF and sargramostim), and promegapoietin.

colonoscopy: This procedure is done by a gastroenterologist. He or she will use a long, flexible, lighted tube – called the colonoscope – to view the entire colon and rectum for polyps or cancer. A bowel cleansing preparation of the colon is required before the procedure. The colonoscope has a camera at the end, which can project images on a TV screen. If a polyp is found, it can be removed by a wire loop that is passed through the colonoscope and is hooked around the base of the polyp. The doctor sends an electric current through the loop, which severs the polyp from the colon wall and pulls it out of the colon. The polyp is then sent to a laboratory to be tested to determine if it is cancerous. This procedure requires patients to be sedated, and usually takes about 20 minutes. There is some pressure that can be felt from the instrument’s movements and some cramping afterwards, but this is usually all that occurs. Some traces of blood may be in the stool for several days after the procedure if a biopsy was taken.

colostomy: A surgical procedure that creates an opening from the colon through the abdominal wall for waste products to move out of the body.

cyst (sist): A sac or capsule filled with fluid.

cystic: (see nodule)

dermatologic surgery: Deals with the diagnosis and treatment of medically necessary and cosmetic conditions of the skin, hair, nails, veins, mucous membranes and adjacent tissues by various surgical, reconstructive, cosmetic and non-surgical methods. This includes laser surgery, cryosurgery, chemical surgery, aspirational surgery and excisional surgery. The purpose of dermatologic surgery is to repair and/or improve the function and cosmetic appearance of skin tissue.

diabetes mellitus (di”ah-BE’teez or di”ah-BE’tis meh-LI’tis): is the inability of the body to produce or respond properly to the hormone insulin.

digital rectal examination: In this test, the doctor manually inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities. While this test is easy to do, it is not very effective.

duct (dukt): A tube through which body fluids pass.

ductal carcinoma in situ (DUK-tal kar-sin-O-ma in SYE-too): DCIS. Abnormal cells that involve only the lining of a duct. The cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. Also called intraductal carcinoma.

duodenum: First part of the small intestine.

endoscopy: A procedure in which the doctor inserts a small flexible tube-an endoscope-through the mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach and duodenum. The doctor can look through the endoscope to determine the presence of disease.

ERCP: Short for Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography. Endoscope refers to a thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end. Retrograde refers to the direction in which the endoscope is used to inject a liquid enabling X-rays to be taken of the parts of the GI tract called the bile duct system and pancreas. Cholangiopancreatography – Cholangio refers to the bile duct system, Pancrea to the pancreas.

estrogens (ES-tro-jins): A family of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female sex characteristics.

esophagus: A tube-like organ leading from the mouth to the stomach.

fecal occult blood test (FOBT): In this procedure, the stool is tested for the presence of blood that is invisible to the eye. The test is available in a kit and can be taken at home to collect stool samples. The stool cards can be mailed to your doctor. This test is relatively easy and inexpensive, however, many factors can interfere with its accuracy. This test is recommended annually for persons beginning at age 50 for people at average risk.

fine-needle aspiration: The removal of tissue or fluid with a needle for examination under a microscope. Also called needle biopsy.

fistulas: an abnormal passage leading from the colon to other organs in the lower abdominal cavity.

follicle: The tiny shaft in the skin through which a hair grows, and sebum is excreted from sebaceous glands to the surface of the skin.

fundoplication: Surgical procedure that reduces reflux.

gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach lining.

gene: The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.

GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Frequent or regular back-up of stomach juices from the stomach into the esophagus.

heartburn: Acid indigestion. A symptom of gastroesophageal reflux.

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): The name of the bacterium that causes disease (gastritis and ulcers) in humans.

hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver.

Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colon Cancer: A special kind of inherited colon cancer characterized by having many family members with CRC.

hiatal Hernia: – Pushing up of the stomach into the chest cavity through a hole in a diaphragm.

hormones: Chemical substances produced by the body that, depending on the hormone, govern many body processes. Certain hormones cause physical maturation during puberty. These are the ones implicated in acne.

hormonal therapy: Treatment that removes, blocks, or adds hormones. Also called endocrine therapy, hormone therapy, or hormone treatment.

hormone receptor test: A test to measure the amount of certain proteins, called hormone receptors, in cancer tissue. Hormones can attach to these proteins. A high level of hormone receptors may mean that hormones help the cancer grow.

hormone replacement therapy: HRT. Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, or both) given to postmenopausal women or women who have had their ovaries surgically removed, to replace the estrogen no longer produced by the ovaries.

hormones: Chemicals produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Hormones control the actions of certain cells or organs.

hysterectomy (hiss-ter-EK-toe-mee): An operation in which the uterus is removed.

ileocolitis: a common form of Crohn’s disease that affects the lower portion of the small intestine and the first portion of the colon called the ileum.

ileum: the last portion of the small intestine that connects to the large intestine.

immune system: the body’s natural defense system that fights against disease.

incision (in-SIH-zhun): A cut made in the body to perform surgery.

infertility: The inability to produce children.

inflammation: A response to tissue injury that can cause redness, swelling, and pain.

inflammatory: A word that means “causing inflammation.” In acne, “inflammatory” is usually used to describe lesions that are inflamed by chemical reactions or bacteria in clogged follicles.

inflammatory breast cancer: A type of breast cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm. The skin of the breast may also show the pitted appearance called peau d’orange (like the skin of an orange). The redness and warmth occur because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin.

invasive cancer: Cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues. Also called infiltrating cancer.

jaundice: The skin and/or white of the eyes turns yellow. Itching may or may not occur.

jejunum: the middle portion of the small intestine.

large intestine: also known as the colon. Primary function is to absorb water and get rid of solid waste.

laryngitis: Inflammation of the vocal cords. This may cause loss of speech or hoarseness.

lipids: Oily substances that include things like fats, oils and waxes. Sebum is made up of lipids. A particular kind of lipid, free fatty acids, are irritating to the skin.

liver biopsy: A procedure by which a needle is used to remove a small piece of liver to be analyzed under a microscope. This procedure may be done to confirm a diagnosis of hepatitis and determine the degree of damage that has occurred.

lobe: A portion of an organ, such as the liver, lung, breast, thyroid, or brain.

lobular carcinoma in situ (LOB-yoo-lar kar-sin-O-ma in SYE-too): LCIS. Abnormal cells found in the lobules of the breast. This condition seldom becomes invasive cancer; however, having lobular carcinoma in situ increases one’s risk of developing breast cancer in either breast.

lobule (LOB-yule): A small lobe or subdivision of a lobe.

local therapy: Treatment that affects cells in the tumor and the area close to it.

lower esophageal sphincter: Muscle that opens to let food pass into the stomach and closes to stop stomach juices from backing up into the esophagus.

lumpectomy (lump-EK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it.

lymph (limf): The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infection and disease. Also called lymphatic fluid.

lymph node: A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Also known as a lymph gland. Lymph nodes are spread out along lymphatic vessels and contain many lymphocytes, which filter the lymphatic fluid (lymph).

lymphatic system (lim-FAT-ik): The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infection and other diseases. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells. These tubes branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.

lymphedema (LIMF-eh-DEE-ma): A condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. It may occur in the arm or leg after lymph vessels or lymph nodes in the underarm or groin are removed or treated with radiation.

magnetic resonance imaging (mag-NET-ik REZ-o-nans IM-a-jing): MRI. A procedure in which a magnet linked to a computer is used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.

malnutrition: condition that occurs when the body does not have enough calories, vitamins, and minerals to maintain growth and health.

malignant (ma-LIG-nant): Cancerous; a growth with a tendency to invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

mammogram (MAM-o-gram): An x-ray of the breast.

mammography (mam-OG-ra-fee): The use of x-rays to create a picture of the breast.

mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the breast (or as much of the breast tissue as possible).

medical oncologist (on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and biological therapy. A medical oncologist often serves as the main caretaker of someone who has cancer and coordinates treatment provided by other specialists.

menopause (MEN-o-pawz): The time of life when a woman’s menstrual periods stop permanently. Also called “change of life.”

menstrual cycle (MEN-stroo-al): The monthly cycle of hormonal changes from the beginning of one menstrual period to the beginning of the next.

menstruation: Periodic discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus. Until menopause, menstruation occurs approximately every 28 days when a woman is not pregnant.

metastasis (meh-TAS-ta-sis): The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. Tumors formed from cells that have spread are called “secondary tumors” and contain cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor. The plural is metastases (meh-TAS-ta-seez).

microcalcifications (MY-krow-kal-si-fi-KAY-shunz): Tiny deposits of calcium in the breast that cannot be felt but can be detected on a mammogram. A cluster of these very small specks of calcium may indicate that cancer is present.

microcomedo: The first stage of comedo formation; a comedo so small that it can be seen only with a microscope.

modified radical mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery for breast cancer in which the breast, some of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and sometimes part of the chest wall muscles are removed.

monoclonal antibodies (MAH-no-KLO-nul AN-tih-BAH-deez): Laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells wherever they are in the body. Many monoclonal antibodies are used in cancer detection or therapy; each one recognizes a different protein on certain cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies can be used alone, or they can be used to deliver drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to a tumor.

neoadjuvant therapy: Treatment given before the primary treatment. Neoadjuvant therapy can be chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy.

nipple discharge: Fluid coming from the nipple.

nodule: The most severe form of acne lesion, a nodule is a large, deep-seated, pus-filled, often painful lump. Acne with nodules often results in permanent scarring and requires treatment by a physician. Sometimes called an acne “cyst.”

noninflammatory: In acne, comedones that are not associated with redness in the skin.

open comedo: (A blackhead) A noninflammatory comedo with a dark top and firmly packed contents.

ovaries (O-va-reez): The pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.

papule: An inflammatory comedo that resembles a small, red bump on the skin.

papulopustular: A type of acne characterized by the presence of papules and pustules.

pathologist (pa-THOL-o-jist): A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

peptic: A description relating to digestion.

peripheral stem cell transplantation (per-IF-er-al): A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the circulating blood that are similar to those in the bone marrow are given after treatment to help the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells. Transplantation may be autologous (an individual’s own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral stem cell support.

plastic surgeon: A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may occur as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment for diseases.

polyp: A grape-like shaped or mushroom-like growth that occurs on the lining of the colon and rectum. Polyps can change over time, from benign to cancer growths. They should be identified and removed.

polyposis: A condition in which the colon is lined with many polyps.

positron emission tomography scan: PET scan. A computerized image of the metabolic activity of body tissues used to determine the presence of disease.

proctitis: inflammation of the rectum.

progesterone (pro-JES-ter-own): A female hormone.

Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes): A normal resident on the skin, P. acnes will multiply rapidly in clogged hair follicles where sebum is trapped.

prosthesis (pros-THEE-sis): An artificial replacement of a part of the body.

puberty: The time of life when a child begins the physical maturation process toward adulthood. Onset is usually in the early teens and is accompanied by a large increase in hormone production.

pustule: An inflammatory comedo that resembles a whitehead with a ring of redness around it.

radiation oncologist (ray-dee-AY-shun on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.

radiation therapy (ray-dee-AY-shun): The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body in the area near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiotherapy.

radical mastectomy (RAD-ih-kal mas-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery for breast cancer in which the breast, chest muscles, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm are removed. For many years, this was the operation most used, but it is used now only when the tumor has spread to the chest muscles. Also called the Halsted radical mastectomy.

rectum: lowest portion of the colon.

reflux: Backing up of the stomach contents from the stomach into the esophagus.

risk factor: Anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a disease, including a substance, agent, genetic alteration, trait, habit, or condition.

screening: Checking for disease when there are no symptoms.

sebaceous glands: Glands in the skin that produce an oily substance called sebum–these glands are the sites of acne lesions. Sebaceous glands are attached to hair follicles and are found mostly on the face, neck, back and chest.

sebum: The oily substance produced by sebaceous glands.

segmental mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): The removal of a 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. Sometimes called partial mastectomy.

sentinel lymph node biopsy: Procedure in which a dye or radioactive substance is injected near the tumor and flows into the sentinel lymph nodes(s) (the first lymph node(s) that cancer is likely to spread to from the primary tumor). A surgeon then looks for the dye or uses a scanner to find the sentinel lymph node(s) and removes it (or them) to check for the presence of tumor cells.

sigmoidoscopy: Your doctor will use a long, flexible, lighted tube to check the rectum and the lower part of the colon for polyps and cancer. If a polyp is found, it can be sampled through the scope and sent to a lab to be tested. This test can be performed in a doctor’s office, and does not require any anesthesia or sedation, but does require limited preparation such as an enema. Insertion of the tube may be somewhat uncomfortable, and some cramping may occur during the procedure, which takes about ten minutes. After the test, there may be some mild abdominal gas pains. If the doctor took a biopsy, some traces of blood may be in the stool for a few days. This test is recommended every five years beginning at age 50 for people at average risk.

small intestine: Connects to the stomach and large intestine. Absorbs nutrients.

stage: The extent of a cancer within the body, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

stomach: A pouch-like organ that connects the esophagus to the small intestine. It receives swallowed food and secretes juices high in acid to break down food.

stricture: closure or obstruction of the intestine.

surgery: A procedure to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out whether disease is present. An operation.

systemic (sis-TEM-ik): Affecting the entire body.

tissue (TISH-oo): A group or layer of cells that are alike and that work together to perform a specific function.

total mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): Removal of the breast. Also called simple mastectomy.

tumor (TOO-mer): An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

ulcer: A sore or wound in the lining of the stomach or duodenum.

ultrasonography (UL-tra-son-OG-ra-fee): A procedure in which sound waves (called ultrasound) are bounced off tissues and the echoes produce a picture (sonogram).

white blood cells: Components of the blood that help fight off infections.

whitehead: A closed comedo.

x-ray: A type of high-energy radiation. In low doses, x-rays are used to diagnose diseases by making pictures of the inside of the body. In high doses, x-rays are used to treat cancer.