Friday, February 24, 2006

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

These are some of the terms and acronyms we are using in this blog.

Axillary lymph nodes--The lymph nodes in the underarm area. See this explanation.

Invasive lobular carcinoma--The relatively rare type of breast cancer that Venita has. More common breast cancers are ductal carcinoma, either infiltrating or invasive (meaning prone to spread) or in situ (meaning isolated to the breast ducts).

Mammo--A mammogram, an unpleasant type of X-Ray that people (usually women but sometimes men) get on their breasts to identify ductal cancer and calcifications.

MRI--Magnetic resonance imaging, a disagnotic test that Venita has had to find unusual structures in her breasts.

MUGA Scan--A MUltiple Gated Acquisition scan that Venita got to make sure her heart was OK for chemo. They inject a radioactive dye and then take pictures of the heart's function with a Gamma camera. (As Cindy suggested, try to say "Gamma camera" fast 10 times.) More details here.

Neuropathy--Injury to the peripheral nerves in the hands and feet. Senory neuropathy causes pain, numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation because it affects the nerves needed for touch, temperature, and pain. Motor neuropathy results in a disruption of signals to the muscles and can result in muscle weakness, clumsiness, balance problems, and foot drop.

Path report--A pathology report, a lab test that provides details about whether excised tissue is cancerous and if so the nature and features of the cancer.

Sentinel lymph nodes--The one to three lymph nodes that are the first reached by lymph fluid from the site of a breast cancer, and thus the presumably the first to show a spread of breast cancer beyond the breat tissue. See thisexplanation and this explanation.

US--Ultrasound, a painless diagnostic tool that uses sound waves to "see" inside the body. During this journey, Venita has had them done on her heart during the stress test and on her breasts.

Wire guided biopsy--A procedure used to perform a biopsy on breast tissue when there is no palpable mass. A diagnostic, like mammography or MRI, is used to locate the "suspicious" tissue, and a wire is inserted into the breast to "target" it for the surgeon. See the further explanation of Venita's upcoming MRI wire guided biopsy here.

1 comment:

{Steve Rapaport} said...

"muga" reminds me of mugu, the Nigerian "419" email scammer's term for "fool", especially someone dumb enough to send money to them.