I through M

I

Immunosuppression: suppression of the body’s immune system and its ability to fight infections and other diseases. Immunosuppression may be deliberately induced with drugs, as in preparation for bone marrow or other organ transplantation to prevent rejection of the donor tissue.

Immunotherapy: treatment to boost or restore the ability of the immune system to fight cancer, infections, and other diseases. Also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Agents used in immunotherapy include monoclonal antibodies, growth factors, and vaccines. These agents may also have a direct antitumor effect. Also called biological therapy, biotherapy, biological response modifier therapy, and BRM therapy.

Intraperitoneal : within the peritoneal cavity (the area that contains the abdominal organs). Also called IP.

Intrathecal: describes the fluid-filled space between the thin layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord. Drugs can be injected into the fluid or a sample of the fluid can be removed for testing.

 

K

Kaposi sarcoma: a type of cancer characterized by the abnormal growth of blood vessels that develop into skin lesions or occur internally.

 

L

Leukemia: cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow. It causes large numbers of blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream.

Leucopenia: a condition in which the number of leukocytes (white blood cells) in the blood is reduced.

Lobectomy: surgery to remove a whole section of an organ such as the lungs, liver, brain, or thyroid gland.

Lymph nodes: the parts of the lymph system responsible for filtering wastes out of passing liquid.

Lymphatic system: responsible for carrying nutrients to the body’s cells and waste away from the cells.

Lymphoma: cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One kind is Hodgkin lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells.

 

M

Malignant: cancerous. Malignant tumors can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

Medullary thyroid cancer: cancer that develops in C cells of the thyroid. The C cells make a hormone (calcitonin) that helps maintain a healthy level of calcium in the blood.

Melanin: the substance that gives color to skin and eyes.

Melanocyte: a cell in the skin and eyes that produces and contains the pigment called melanin.

Melanoma: a form of skin cancer that begins in melanocytes (the cells that make the pigment melanin). Melanoma usually begins in a mole.

Mesothelium: the lining that covers the body’s internal organs and cavities.

Metastasis: the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumor formed by cells that have spread is called a “metastatic tumor” or a “metastasis.” The metastatic tumor contains cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor.

Metastasized: cancer has moved from its site of origination to another part of the body.

Molecular testing: also called assays or profiles, can help your care team identify specific biomarkers that are in a tumor.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): a test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to construct pictures of the body.

MUGA: a nuclear scan that evaluates the heart’s pumping function.

Myelogenous: having to do with, produced by, or resembling the bone marrow. Sometimes used as a synonym for myeloid; for example, acute myeloid leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia are the same disease.