U through Z


Ulcerative colitis: chronic inflammation of the colon that produces ulcers in its lining. This condition is marked by abdominal pain, cramps, and loose discharges of pus, blood, and mucus from the bowel.

Uterus: the small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman’s pelvis. This is the organ in which a baby grows. Also called the womb.



Vertebral column: the bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The vertebral column encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called spine, backbone, and spinal column.

Viral therapy: treatment using a virus that has been changed in the laboratory to find and destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells. It is a type of targeted therapy. Also called virotherapy and oncolytic virotherapy.



Whipple procedure: a type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. The head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and other nearby tissues are removed.

White blood cell: refers to a blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin. White blood cells include lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, macrophages, and mast cells. These cells are made by bone marrow and help the body fight infections and other diseases. Also called WBC.



X-ray therapy: a type of radiation therapy that uses high-energy radiation from x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.