Abdomen: The area of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.
Acupuncture: The technique of inserting thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms.
Adjuvant Therapy: Additional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment to lower the risk that the disease will come back. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy.
Alopecia: The loss of hair from some or all areas of the body, usually the scalp. Alopecia is a potential side effect of chemotherapy.
Alternative Medicine: Practices used instead of standard treatments. They generally are not recognized by the medical community as standard conventional medical approaches. Examples of alternative medicine include megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, and spiritual healing.
Anemia: A condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal, often as a result of cancer treatment, causing fatigue, weakness and shortness of breath.
Antiemetic: A drug that controls or prevents nausea and vomiting.
Ascites: Abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen that causes swelling.
Avastin: Trade name for the drug bevacizumab.
Benign: Not Cancerous. Benign tumors may grow large but do not spread to other parts of the body.
Bavacizumab: Generic name for the drug Avastin. A chemotherapeutic agent that is an angiogenesis inhibitor, slowing the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors.
Biomarker: A unique biological indicator of an event, or the presence of a substance in the body.
Biopsy: The surgical removal of a small amount of tissue from the body for examination by a pathologist to determine whether disease is present. There are several types of biopsy procedures including the incisional biopsy, in which only a sample of tissue is removed; a needle biopsy, in which a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, and the excisional biopsy, in which an entire lump or suspicious area is removed for diagnosis.
Blinded Study: A type of research study in which the patients (single-blinded) or the patients and their doctors (double-blinded) do not know which drug or treatment is being given.
Board Certified: Board certified in medicine means a physician has taken and passed a medical specialty examination.
BRCA1: A gene on chromosome 17 that normally helps to suppress cell growth. A person who inherits an altered, or "mutated," version of the BRCA1 gene has a higher risk of getting breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer.
BRCA2: A gene on chromosome 13 that usually helps to suppress cell growth. A person who inherits an altered, or "mutated," version of the BRCA2 gene has a higher risk of getting breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer.
CAM: Complementary or Alternative Medicine. A group of diverse practices and products that are used in addition to (complementary) or instead of (alternative) conventional medical treatments. CAM may include acupuncture, dietary supplements, herbal medicine, massage, meditation, prayer, yoga.
CA 125: A protein that may be found in high amounts in the blood of patients with ovarian cancer. CA125 levels may also help monitor how well cancer treatments are working or if ovarian cancer has recurred. CA125 stands for Cancer Antigen 125.
Cancer: A term for diseases that develop when abnormal cells in the body begin to divide out of control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.
Carboplatin: Generic name for the drug Paraplatin. A drug that is used to treat advanced ovarian cancer that has never been treated, or ovarian cancer that has come back after treatment with other anticancer drugs. Carboplatin is a form of the anticancer drug Cisplatin and causes fewer side effects in patients. It is a type of platinum compound.
Carcinogens: Substances that cause cancer.
Carcinoma: A malignant tumor that begins in the skin or in tissues that line internal organs.
CAT Scan / CT Scan: A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body that are taken from different angles. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called Computerized Axial Tomography Scan.
Cell: The individual unit that makes up the tissues of the body. All living things that are made up of one or more cells.
Cervix: The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.
Chemotherapy: Treatment with drugs that destroy or reduce cancer cells. If used with surgery, chemotherapy extends the lives of women with ovarian cancer.
Cisplatin: Generic name for the drug Platinol. A drug used to treat many types of cancer. Cisplatin contains the metal platinum. It kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA and stopping then from dividing.
Clinical Trial: A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. A clinical trial is also called a clinical study.
Clinical Trial Phase: A part of the clinical research process that answers specific questions about whether treatments that are being studied work and are safe. Phase 1 trials test the best way to give treatment and the best dose. Phase 2 trials test whether a new treatment has an effect on the disease. Phase 3 trials compare the results of people taking a new treatment with the results of people taking the standard treatment. Phase 4 trials are done using thousands of people after a treatment had been approved and marketed, to check side effects that were not seen in the phase 3 trial.
Clinical Trial Sponsor: A person, company, institution, organization, or group that oversees or pays for a clinical trial and collects and analyzes data. Also called the trial sponsor.
Complementary Medicine: Practices often used to enhance or complement standard treatments. They generally are not recognized by the medical community as standard medical approaches. Complementary medicine may include dietary supplements, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation.
Complete Blood Count: Sometimes called CBC. A test to check the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a sample of blood.
Complete Remission: The disappearance of al signs of cancer as a result of treatment. This does not always mean the cancer has been cured. Also called complete response.
Cyst: A sac or capsule in the body. It may be filled with fluid or other material.
Cytoreductive Surgery: A type of surgery performed to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible. There are two types, optimal and suboptimal. When Optimal Cytoreduction is completed, no cancerous tissue deposit larger than one centimeter remain. At completion of Suboptimal Cytoreduction, there are cancerous tissue deposits greater than one centimeter. Also called debulking surgery.
Cytotoxic: The ability to kill fast growing cells.
Diagnosis: The process of identifying a disease, such as ovarian cancer, from its signs and symptoms.
Debulking: Surgical removal of as much of a tumor as possible. Also called tumor debulking or cytoreductive surgery.
Differentiation: Refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor. Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and tend to grow and spread at a slower rate than undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tumor cells, which lack the structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.
Disease-Free Survival: The length of time after treatment ends during which evidence of cancer is found.
Distant Cancer: Refers to cancer that has spread from the original tumor to distant organs or distant lymph nodes.
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid): The molecule inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next.
Doxil: Trade name for the drug Dexorubicin.
Doxorubicin: Generic name for the drug Doxil. Doxorubicin is used to treat ovarian cancer in patients whose disease has not gotten better after treatment with other anticancer drugs.
Early Menopause: A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before the age of 40. Early menopause can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases. Also called premature menopause.
Edema: Swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues.
Endometrial Carcinoma: Cancer that forms in the tissue lining in the uterus.
Endometriosis: An often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus - the endometrium - grows outside the uterus.
Endometrium: The layer of tissue that lines the uterus.
Enzyme: A protein that speeds up the rate of chemical reactions in living cells.
Epithelial Ovarian Cancer: Cancer that occurs in the cells on the surface of the ovary. Also called Ovarian Epithelial Cancer.
Estrogen: A type of hormone secreted by the ovaries that helps develop and maintain female sex characteristics. Estrogens can also be made in the laboratory. They may be used as a type of birth control and to treat symptoms of menopause, menstrual disorders, osteoporosis, and other conditions.
Estrogen Receptor: A protein found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue, some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone estrogen will bind to the receptors inside the cells and may cause the cells to grow.
Fallopian Tube: A slender tube through which eggs pass from an ovary to the uterus. In the female reproductive tract, there is one ovary and one fallopian tube on each side of the uterus.
Five-Year Survival: The percentage of people in a study or treatment group who have survived at least five years after diagnosis. Five years is the standard for most cancers when discussing survival.