Breast Cancer Glossary ~ Health Guide

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Breast Cancer Glossary

Written by Mystic on Monday, August 04, 2008


Not cancerous nor malignant. A benign lump is usually slow growing and does not spread to other parts of the body.
The removal, from the breast, of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to assist diagnosis.
Hollow lump containing fluid or soft material. Cysts are not cancerous.
diagnostic mammogram
A special x-ray of the breast which uses low doses of radiation to help with the diagnosis of a lump.
A substance which increases the amount of urine passed from the body.
Solid, benign lumps made up of fibrous and glandular tissue. Not cancerous.
fine needle aspiration
The removal (or aspiration) of fluid or cells from a lump using a very fine needle. The fluid or cells can then be sent for examination under a microscope.
Chemicals produced by special body cells which help to regulate and coordinate various body functions including growth, metabolism and reproduction, eg. the female hormone oestrogen which is produced by the ovaries.
Cancerous - tending to spread and invade surrounding areas of the body.
Pain, discomfort or tenderness in the breasts which is often associated with the menstrual cycle.
Commonly referred to as the 'change of life', when a woman's periods stop and her reproductive life ceases.
menstrual cycle
The time from the beginning of one period to the next is known as the menstrual cycle. Approximately once every month, the brain sends a message via the hormones telling one ovary to release an egg. While the egg is getting ready to be released, the lining of the uterus begins to thicken. If the egg is not fertilised, this thickened lining is not needed and it leaves the body via the vagina. This is known as menstruation, or having a period.
screening mammogram
A special x-ray of the breast which uses low doses of radiation in order to check healthy women for early signs of breast cancer.
Use of high frequency sound waves which are reflected by different structures in the body to create images on a screen. Used for diagnostic purposes. If you have been pregnant you may have had an ultrasound.

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