Disease & Drug Info

Glossary of Terms

E7389

A drug used to treat metastatic breast cancer in patients who have already been treated with other chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. E7389 may block cancer cell growth by stopping cell division. It belongs to the family of drugs called antitubulin agents. Also called eribulin mesylate and Halaven.

early menopause

listen (... MEH-nuh-pawz) A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasnt had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility. Early menopause can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called premature menopause, premature ovarian failure, and primary ovarian insufficiency.

early-stage breast cancer

listen (ER-lee-stayj brest KAN-ser) Breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast or the axillary lymph nodes. This includes ductal carcinoma in situ and stage I, stage IIA, stage IIB, and stage IIIA breast cancers.

early-stage cancer

listen (ER-lee-stayj KAN-ser) A term used to describe cancer that is early in its growth, and may not have spread to other parts of the body. What is called early stage may differ between cancer types.

Eastern red cedar

listen (EE-stern red SEE-der) A type of evergreen tree with hard fragrant wood that is a member of the cypress family. The oil from the wood is used in soaps, shampoos, bath salts, perfumes, aromatherapy, and to keep insects away. The scientific name is Juniperus virginiana. Also called cedarwood and red cedar.

EBV

A common virus that remains dormant in most people. It causes infectious mononucleosis and has been associated with certain cancers, including Burkitt lymphoma, immunoblastic lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Also called Epstein-Barr virus.

ecchymosis

listen (EH-kih-MOH-sis) A small bruise caused by blood leaking from broken blood vessels into the tissues of the skin or mucous membranes.

eccrine gland

listen (EK-rin ...) A type of simple sweat gland that is found in almost all regions of the skin. These glands produce sweat that reaches the surface of the skin by way of coiled ducts (tubes). The body is cooled as sweat evaporates from the skin.

ECG

A line graph that shows changes in the electrical activity of the heart over time. It is made by an instrument called an electrocardiograph. The graph can show that there are abnormal conditions, such as blocked arteries, changes in electrolytes (particles with electrical charges), and changes in the way electrical currents pass through the heart tissue. Also called EKG and electrocardiogram.

echinacea

listen (EH-kih-NAY-shuh) An herb native to North America that has been used to prevent and treat the common cold and other respiratory infections. Echinacea may interfere with treatment that uses the immune system to fight cancer. The scientific names are Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia. Also called purple coneflower.

echocardiography

listen (EH-koh-KAR-dee-AH-gruh-fee) A procedure that uses ultrasonic waves directed over the chest wall to obtain a graphic record of the heart's position, motion of the walls, or internal parts such as the valves.

e-cigarette

listen ( SIH-guh-ret) A device that has the shape of a cigarette, cigar, or pen and does not contain tobacco. It uses a battery and contains a solution of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals, some of which may be harmful. When e-cigarettes are used, the nicotine solution turns into a mist that can be inhaled into the lungs. The amount of nicotine in individual e-cigarettes can vary. It is not yet known whether e-cigarettes are safe or if they can be used to help smokers quit smoking. Also called electronic cigarette.

ecologic study

listen (EE-kuh-LAH-jik STUH-dee) A study that compares large groups of people instead of individuals for differences in things such as cancer rates. The groups can differ by location (for example, city, county, or country). They can also differ by time (a few days, years, or decades). Groups can be immigrants (compared with people who are native to the country) or people with different types of jobs. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program conducts ecologic studies to collect information on cancer rates over time in certain parts of the United States. Also called ecological study.

ecological study

listen (EE-kuh-LAH-jih-kul STUH-dee) A study that compares large groups of people instead of individuals for differences in things such as cancer rates. The groups can differ by location (for example, city, county, or country). They can also differ by time (a few days, years, or decades). Groups can be immigrants (compared with people who are native to the country) or people with different types of jobs. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program conducts ecological studies to collect information on cancer rates over time in certain parts of the United States. Also called ecologic study.

ECT

A treatment for severe depression and certain mental disorders. A brief seizure is induced by giving electrical stimulation to the brain through electrodes placed on the scalp. Also called electroconvulsive therapy and electroshock therapy.

ecteinascidin 743

listen (ek-TIH-nuh-SY-din ) A drug used to treat liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma (types of soft tissue sarcoma) that cannot be removed by surgery or have spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients who were treated with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Ecteinascidin 743 may kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA and stopping them from dividing. It is a type of alkylating agent. Also called ET-743, trabectedin, and Yondelis.

ectocervical

listen (EK-toh-SER-vih-kul) Having to do with the part of the cervix that protrudes into the vagina and is lined with epithelial cells.

ectomesenchymoma

listen (EK-toh-MEH-zen-ky-MOH-muh) A rare, fast-growing tumor of the nervous system or soft tissue that occurs in children and young adults. Ectomesenchymomas may form in the head and neck, abdomen, perineum, scrotum, or limbs. Also called malignant ectomesenchymoma.

ectopic pregnancy

listen (ek-TAH-pik PREG-nun-see) A condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Symptoms include sharp pain on one side of the abdomen and bleeding from the vagina. Also called extrauterine pregnancy.

eculizumab

listen (ek-yoo-LIH-zoo-mab) A drug used to prevent red blood cells from being destroyed in patients with a rare red blood cell disorder called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). It is also used to treat another rare disorder called atypical hemolytic urea syndrome (aHUS), in which blood clots form in small blood vessels. Eculizumab binds to an immune system protein called C5. This helps keep red blood cells from breaking down and helps keep blood clots from forming. Eculizumab is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called Soliris.

eczema

listen (EK-zeh-muh) A group of conditions in which the skin becomes inflamed, forms blisters, and becomes crusty, thick, and scaly. Eczema causes burning and itching, and may occur over a long period of time. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema.

edatrexate

listen (EH-duh-TREK-sayt) An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called antimetabolites.

edema

listen (eh-DEE-muh) Swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues.

edetic acid

listen (eh-DEH-tik A-sid) A chemical that binds certain metal ions, such as calcium, magnesium, lead, and iron. It is used in medicine to prevent blood samples from clotting and to remove calcium and lead from the body. It is also used to keep bacteria from forming a biofilm (thin layer stuck to a surface). It is a type of chelating agent. Also called EDTA and etheylenediaminetetraacetic acid.

edotecarin

listen (eh-doh-TEH-kar-in) A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of topoisomerase I inhibitor. Also called J-107088.

edrecolomab

listen (EH-dreh-KOH-loh-mab) A type of monoclonal antibody used in cancer detection or therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

EDTA

A chemical that binds certain metal ions, such as calcium, magnesium, lead, and iron. It is used in medicine to prevent blood samples from clotting and to remove calcium and lead from the body. It is also used to keep bacteria from forming a biofilm (thin layer stuck to a surface). It is a type of chelating agent. Also called edetic acid and etheylenediaminetetraacetic acid.

Edwards syndrome

listen (ED-wurdz SIN-drome) A genetic disorder caused by having an extra chromosome 18 in some or all of the bodys cells. Edwards syndrome is marked by a low birth weight and certain abnormal features. These include a small, abnormally shaped head; a small jaw and mouth; clenched fists with overlapping fingers; and heart, lung, kidney, intestine, and stomach defects. Many babies with Edwards syndrome die before birth or within the first month of life, but some children live for several years. Having Edwards syndrome increases the risk of certain types of cancer, such as hepatoblastoma (a type of liver cancer) and Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer). Also called trisomy 18.

EEG

A recording of electrical activity in the brain. It is made by placing electrodes on the scalp (the skin covering the top of the head), and impulses are sent to a special machine. An EEG may be used to diagnose brain and sleep disorders. Also called electroencephalogram.

EEG biofeedback

listen ( BY-oh-FEED-bak) A treatment being studied to improve brain function in certain brain disorders and in patients treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer. Sensors are placed on a persons head, which allows brain activity to be shown as patterns on a computer screen. A beep or a tone may be used as a reward to a person for changing certain brain activities. EEG biofeedback may help cancer patients deal with the stress and mental side effects of chemotherapy. Also called neurofeedback.

EF5

A drug that is used to plan cancer treatment by measuring oxygen levels in tumor cells.

efaproxiral

listen (eh-fuh-PROK-sih-rul) A substance being studied in the treatment of brain tumors and some other types of cancer. It increases the amount of oxygen in tumor tissues, which may make the tumor cells easier to kill with radiation therapy. Efaproxiral is a type of radiosensitizing agent. Also called RSR13.

efavirenz

listen (ee-FAH-vih-renz) A drug used with other drugs to treat infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It blocks HIV from making copies of itself. It is a type of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor and a type of antiviral agent. Also called Sustiva.

effector cell

listen (eh-FEK-ter sel) A cell that performs a specific function in response to a stimulus; usually used to describe cells in the immune system.

Effexor

listen (eh-FEK-sor) A drug used to treat depression and certain anxiety disorders. It may also be used to treat hot flashes in women who are in menopause or are being treated for breast cancer. Effexor increases the levels of the chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which helps improve mood. It is a type of antidepressant and a type of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Also called venlafaxine.

efficacy

listen (EH-fih-kuh-see) Effectiveness. In medicine, the ability of an intervention (for example, a drug or surgery) to produce the desired beneficial effect.

effusion

listen (eh-FYOO-zhun) An abnormal collection of fluid in hollow spaces or between tissues of the body. For example, a pleural effusion is a collection of fluid between the two layers of membrane covering the lungs.

eflornithine

listen (eh-FLOR-nih-theen) A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiprotozoals.

EFS

In cancer, the length of time after primary treatment for a cancer ends that the patient remains free of certain complications or events that the treatment was intended to prevent or delay. These events may include the return of the cancer or the onset of certain symptoms, such as bone pain from cancer that has spread to the bone. In a clinical trial, measuring the EFS is one way to see how well a new treatment works. Also called event-free survival.

EFTs

A group of cancers that includes Ewing tumor of bone (ETB or Ewing sarcoma of bone), extraosseous Ewing (EOE) tumors, primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET or peripheral neuroepithelioma), and Askin tumors (PNET of the chest wall). These tumors all come from the same type of stem cell. Also called Ewing sarcoma family of tumors.

Next Page