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Glossary

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Ablative surgery or therapy Preventing hormonal supply by removing or stopping the activity of a gland
Adenoma A non-malignant lump of glandular tissue
Adjuvant treatment Treatment given in addition to surgery, such as hormonal therapy
AIDs and Breast Cancer Women with AIDs do not have a higher breast cancer risk than the average
Antioxidant Vitamins A, C and E are examples of a group of chemicals which will combine with toxic substances (called free radicals) in the body to make them harmless
Atypical Hyperplasia This describes an increase of cells in the lining of the ducts and lobules in the breast. These cells are abnormal, but not cancer
Axilla The underarm/armpit
Axillary Nodes Doctors may feel under your arm to check for enlarged glands (lymph nodes). No a very helpful check, as it is not an accurate indicator of whether is present
Benign Non-cancerous
Benign tumour A lump which does not have cancer cells in it
Bilateral Mastectomy- Surgical removal of both breasts
Biopsy The specialist takes a sample of breast tissue to examine under a microscope for signs of
cancerous cells. This is less often used than fine needle aspiration cytology. A core
biopsy takes about an hour and uses a larger than normal needle or gun to take a "string"
of tissue. You will have a local anesthetic. A surgical or open biopsy is a day procedure.
BRCA1 This is a gene that is abnormal in 5 percent of patients with breast cancer, and is responsible for approximately half of all cases of familial breast cancer
BRCA2 This was the second breast cancer gene identified that has a role in familial breast cancer. This exciting advance was made by research team led by Dr Mike Stratton at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, and was the major achievement in the fight against breast cancer in 1995
Breast Awareness Knowing what is normal for your body. See a doctor if there are any changes in the appearance or feel of your breasts
Breast Cancer Cancer occurs when the cells lining the ends of the units that make up the breast (lobules) start to multiply out of normal control. These cells form a lump
Carcinogen Any substance that, when exposed to living tissue, may cause the production of cancer
Carcinoma A malignant lump or tumour
Chemotherapy Powerful cancer-killing drugs which are given to mop up cancer cells that have spread
outside the breast, or to shrink a lump prior to surgery. It is usually offered to women
with large lumps, axillary lymph nodes which cantain cancerous cells, or disease
elsewhere in the body (metastases). Side-effects are common and often debilitating, but
the aim is to improve one's chances of survival
Cyclical Mastalgia Breast pain, worse just before periods
Cysts Harmless and common swollen ducts or lobule filled with fluid. They can usually be
diagnosed with an ultra-sound scan. Fine needle aspiration confirms that there is no
cancer and usually makes the cyst disappear.
Cytoxic drug A drug which kills cancer cells or slows their growth

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