Cancer Education at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center  

Glossary of Cancer Terms - R

 

r-tPA Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator. A protein that is made by the body and that helps dissolve blood clots. It can also be made in the laboratory and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. r-tPA belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, tissue plasminogen activator, tPA, Activase and Alteplase.

radiation Energy released in the form of particles or electromagnetic waves. Common sources of radiation include radon gas, cosmic rays from outer space and medical X-rays.

radiation dermatitis A skin condition that is a common side effect of radiation therapy. The affected skin becomes painful, red, itchy and blistered.

radiation enteritis Inflammation of the small intestine caused by radiation therapy to the abdomen, pelvis, or rectum. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping, frequent bowel movements, watery or bloody diarrhea, fatty stools and weight loss. Some of these symptoms may continue for a long time.

radiation fibrosis The formation of scar tissue as a result of radiation therapy.

radiation nurse A health professional who specializes in caring for people who are receiving radiation therapy.

radiation oncologist A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.

radiation physicist A person who makes sure that the radiation machine delivers the right amount of radiation to the correct site in the body. The physicist works with the radiation oncologist to choose the treatment schedule and dose that has the best chance of killing the most cancer cells.

radiation surgery A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiosurgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

radiation therapist A health professional who gives radiation treatment.

radiation therapy The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiotherapy.

radical cystectomy Surgery to remove the bladder as well as nearby tissues and organs.

radical hysterectomy Surgery to remove the uterus, cervix and part of the vagina. The ovaries, fallopian tubes and nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.

radical local excision Surgery to remove a tumor and a large amount of normal tissue surrounding it. Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.

radical lymph node dissection A surgical procedure to remove most or all of the lymph nodes that drain lymph from the area around a tumor. The lymph nodes are then examined under a microscope to see if cancer cells have spread to them.

radical mastectomy Surgery for breast cancer in which the breast, chest muscles, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm are removed. For many years, this was the breast cancer operation used most often, but it is used rarely now. Doctors consider radical mastectomy only when the tumor has spread to the chest muscles. Also called Halsted radical mastectomy.

radical nephrectomy Surgery to remove an entire kidney, nearby adrenal gland and lymph nodes and other surrounding tissue.

radical perineal prostatectomy Surgery to remove all of the prostate through an incision between the scrotum and the anus. Nearby lymph nodes are sometimes removed through a separate incision in the wall of the abdomen.

radical prostatectomy Surgery to remove the entire prostate. The two types of radical prostatectomy are retropubic prostatectomy (surgery through an incision in the wall of the abdomen) and perineal prostatectomy (surgery through an incision between the scrotum and the anus).

radical retropubic prostatectomy Surgery to remove all of the prostate and nearby lymph nodes through an incision in the wall of the abdomen.

radical vulvectomy Surgery to remove the entire vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips and the opening to the vagina) and nearby lymph nodes.

radioactive Giving off radiation.

radioactive drug A drug containing a radioactive substance that is used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in pain management of bone metastases. Also called a radiopharmaceutical.

radioactive fallout Airborne radioactive particles that fall to the ground during and after an atomic bombing, nuclear weapons test or nuclear plant accident.

radioactive iodine A radioactive form of iodine, often used for imaging tests or as a treatment for thyroid cancer and certain other cancers. For imaging tests, the patient takes a small dose of radioactive iodine that collects in thyroid cells and certain kinds of tumors and can be detected by a scanner. For treatment of thyroid cancer, the patient takes a large dose of radioactive iodine, which kills thyroid cells. Radioactive iodine is also used in internal radiation therapy for prostate cancer, intraocular (eye) melanoma and carcinoid tumors. The radioactive iodine is given by infusion or sealed in seeds, which are placed in or near the tumor to kill cancer cells.

radioactive palladium A radioactive form of palladium (a metallic element that resembles platinum). When used to treat prostate cancer, radioactive seeds (small pellets that contain radioactive palladium) are placed in the prostate. Cancer cells are killed by the energy given off as the radioactive material decays (breaks down).

radioactive seed A small, radioactive pellet that is placed in or near a tumor. Cancer cells are killed by the energy given off as the radioactive material decays (breaks down).

radiofrequency ablation The use of electrodes to heat and destroy abnormal tissue.

radioimmunoguided surgery A procedure that uses radioactive substances to locate tumors so that they can be removed by surgery.

radioimmunotherapy Treatment with a radioactive substance that is linked to an antibody that will attach to the tumor when injected into the body.

radioisotope An unstable element that releases radiation as it breaks down. Radioisotopes can be used in imaging tests or as a treatment for cancer.

radiolabeled Any compound that has been joined with a radioactive substance.

radiologic exam A test that uses radiation or other imaging procedures to find signs of cancer or other abnormalities.

radiologist A doctor who specializes in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are produced with X-rays, sound waves or other types of energy.

radiology The use of radiation (such as X-rays) or other imaging technologies (such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose or treat disease.

radionuclide scanning A test that produces pictures (scans) of internal parts of the body. The person is given an injection or swallows a small amount of radioactive material; a machine called a scanner then measures the radioactivity in certain organs.

radiopharmaceutical A drug containing a radioactive substance that is used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in pain management of bone metastases. Also called a radioactive drug.

radiosensitization The use of a drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

radiosensitizer A drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

radiosurgery A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

radiotherapy The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation or brachytherapy). Systemic radiotherapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiation therapy.

radon A radioactive gas that is released by uranium, a substance found in soil and rock. Breathing in too much radon can damage lung cells and lead to lung cancer.

Raftilose Synergy 1 A substance that is used to improve digestive system and bone health and is being studied in the prevention of colon cancer. Raftilose Synergy 1 is made by combining two starches, oligofructose and inulin. These substances occur naturally in many plants, including chicory root, wheat, bananas, onion and garlic. Raftilose Synergy 1 helps healthy bacteria grow in the intestines and helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium. Also called oligofructose-enriched inulin.

raloxifene A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and is used in the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Raloxifene is also being studied as a cancer prevention drug.

raltitrexed An anticancer drug that stops tumor cells from growing by blocking the ability of cells to make DNA. It belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Also called ICI D1694.

randomization When referring to an experiment or clinical trial, the process by which animal or human subjects are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments or other interventions. Randomization gives each participant an equal chance of being assigned to any of the groups.

randomized clinical trial A study in which the participants are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments; neither the researchers nor the participants can choose which group. Using chance to assign people to groups means that the groups will be similar and that the treatments they receive can be compared objectively. At the time of the trial, it is not known which treatment is best. It is the patient's choice to be in a randomized trial.

ranpirnase A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called ribonuclease enzymes. Also called Onconase®.

rapamycin A drug used to help prevent the body from rejecting organ and bone marrow transplants. It is also being studied as a treatment for cancer. Rapamycin belongs to the family of drugs called immunosuppressants. It is now called sirolimus.

rapid eye movement sleep REM sleep. One of the five stages of sleep. During REM sleep, the eyes move rapidly while closed and dreams occur. REM sleep is the lightest stage of sleep, during which a person may wake easily. During several hours of normal sleep, a person will go through several sleep cycles that include REM sleep and the 4 stages of non-REM (light to deep sleep). Also called REM sleep.

rapid hormone cycling A procedure in which drugs that block the production of male hormones are alternated with male hormones and/or drugs that promote the production of male hormones. This procedure is being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer.

rapid-onset opioid An opioid that relieves pain quickly. Opioids are drugs similar to opiates such as morphine and codeine but do not contain and are not made from opium.

ras gene A gene that has been found to cause cancer when it is altered (mutated). Agents that block its activity may stop the growth of cancer.

ras peptide A short piece of the ras protein, which is made by the ras gene. The ras gene has been found to cause cancer when it is mutated (changed).

rasburicase A drug that is used to treat high blood levels of uric acid in patients receiving treatment for cancer.

rattlesnake root Cimicifuga racemosa. An eastern North American perennial herb. A substance obtained from the root of the plant has been used in some cultures to treat a number of medical problems. It is being studied in the treatment of hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. The plant is also called black cohosh, black snakeroot, bugwort and bugbane.

rauschpfeffer An herb native to islands in the South Pacific. Substances taken from the root have been used in some cultures to relieve stress, anxiety, tension, sleeplessness and problems of menopause. Rauschpfeffer may increase the effect of alcohol and of certain drugs used to treat anxiety and depression. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises users that rauschpfeffer may cause severe liver damage. The scientific name is Piper methysticum. Also called kava kava, intoxicating pepper, tonga and yangona.

RAV12 A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. It binds to a carbohydrate (sugar) molecule that is found on gastric, colon, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian, breast and kidney cancer cells.

ravuconazole A substance that is being studied in the treatment of infections caused by fungi. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifungal agents.

RBC Red blood cell. A cell that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called red blood cell and erythrocyte.

rebeccamycin A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastic antibiotics.

rebeccamycin analog A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called antitumor antibiotics and topoisomerase inhibitors. Also called NSC 655649.

receptor A molecule inside or on the surface of a cell that binds to a specific substance and causes a specific physiologic effect in the cell.

recombinant In genetics, describes DNA, proteins, cells or organisms that are made by combining genetic material from two different sources. Recombinant substances are made in the laboratory and are being studied in the treatment of cancer and for many other uses.

recombinant adenovirus-p53 A substance that has been studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Recombinant adenovirus-p53 is a weakened adenovirus that carries the p53 gene into tumor cells, causing them to die. It is a type of gene therapy. Also called SCH-58500, ACN53 and rAd/p53.

recombinant tissue plasminogen activator r-tPA. A protein that is made by the body and that helps dissolve blood clots. It can also be made in the laboratory and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. r-tPA belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called r-tPA, tissue plasminogen activator, tPA, Activase and Alteplase.

reconstructive surgeon A doctor who can surgically reshape or rebuild (reconstruct) a part of the body, such as a woman's breast after surgery for breast cancer.

reconstructive surgery Surgery that is done to reshape or rebuild (reconstruct) a part of the body changed by previous surgery.

recover To become well and healthy again.

rectal By or having to do with the rectum. The rectum is the last several inches of the large intestine and ends at the anus.

rectal cancer Cancer that forms in the tissues of the rectum (the last several inches of the large intestine before the anus).

rectal reconstruction Surgery to rebuild the rectum using a section of the colon. This may be done when the rectum has been removed to treat cancer or other diseases.

rectitis Inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the rectum. Also called proctitis.

rectum The last several inches of the large intestine. The rectum ends at the anus.

recur To occur again.

recurrence Cancer that has returned after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected. The cancer may come back to the same place as the original (primary) tumor or to another place in the body. Also called recurrent cancer.

recurrent cancer Cancer that has returned after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected. The cancer may come back to the same place as the original (primary) tumor or to another place in the body. Also called recurrence.

red blood cell RBC. A cell that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called RBC and erythrocyte.

red cedar 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 Eastern red cedar.

red clover Trifolium pratense. A plant with flowers that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in the relief of menopausal symptoms and may have anticancer effects. Also called purple clover, wild clover and Trifolium pratense.

red date The fruit of the jujube plant. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems.

red elm Ulmus fulva or Ulmus rubra. The inner bark of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have antioxidant effects. Also called slippery elm, gray elm, Indian elm, sweet elm, Ulmus fulva and Ulmus rubra.

Reed-Sternberg cell A type of cell that appears in people with Hodgkin's disease. The number of these cells increases as the disease advances.

reflux The backward flow of liquid from the stomach into the esophagus.

refractory In medicine, describes a disease or condition that does not respond to treatment.

refractory cancer Cancer that does not respond to treatment. The cancer may be resistant at the beginning of treatment or it may become resistant during treatment. Also called resistant cancer.

regeneration In biology, regrowth of damaged or destroyed tissue or body part.

regimen A treatment plan that specifies the dosage, schedule and duration of treatment.

regional In oncology, describes the body area right around a tumor.

regional cancer Refers to cancer that has grown beyond the original (primary) tumor to nearby lymph nodes or organs and tissues.

regional chemotherapy Treatment with anticancer drugs directed to a specific area of the body.

regional enteritis Chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly the small intestine and colon. Regional enteritis increases the risk for colorectal cancer and small intestine cancer. Also called Crohn's disease.

regional lymph node In oncology, a lymph node that drains lymph from the region around a tumor.

regional lymph node dissection A surgical procedure to remove some of the lymph nodes that drain lymph from the area around a tumor. The lymph nodes are then examined under a microscope to see if cancer cells have spread to them.

registered dietitian A health professional with special training in the use of diet and nutrition to keep the body healthy. A registered dietitian may help the medical team improve the nutritional health of a patient.

Reglan A drug that increases the motility (movements and contractions) of the stomach and upper intestine. It is used to treat certain stomach problems and nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It belongs to the families of drugs called antiemetics and motility agents. Also called metoclopramide.

regression A decrease in the size of a tumor or in the extent of cancer in the body.

rehabilitation In medicine, a process to restore mental and/or physical abilities lost to injury or disease, in order to function in a normal or near-normal way.

rehabilitation specialist A healthcare professional who helps people recover from an illness or injury and return to daily life. Examples of rehabilitation specialists are physical therapists and occupational therapists.

relapse The return of signs and symptoms of cancer after a period of improvement.

relative survival rate A specific measurement of survival. For cancer, the rate is calculated by adjusting the survival rate to remove all causes of death except cancer. The rate is determined at specific time intervals, such as 2 years and 5 years after diagnosis.

relaxation technique A method used to reduce tension and anxiety and control pain.

REM sleep Rapid eye movement sleep. One of the five stages of sleep. During REM sleep, the eyes move rapidly while closed and dreams occur. REM sleep is the lightest stage of sleep, during which a person may wake easily. During several hours of normal sleep, a person will go through several sleep cycles that include REM sleep and the 4 stages of non-REM (light to deep sleep). Also called rapid eye movement sleep.

Remeron A drug used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of drugs called antidepressant agents. Also called mirtazapine.

remission A decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.

remission induction therapy Initial treatment with anticancer drugs to decrease the signs or symptoms of cancer or make them disappear.

remote brachytherapy A type of internal radiation treatment in which the radioactive source is removed between treatments. Also called high-dose-rate remote brachytherapy or high-dose-rate remote radiation therapy.

renal artery The main blood vessel that supplies blood to a kidney and its nearby adrenal gland and ureter. There is a renal artery for each kidney.

renal capsule The fibrous connective tissue that surrounds each kidney.

renal cell cancer The most common type of kidney cancer. It begins in the lining of the renal tubules in the kidney. The renal tubules filter the blood and produce urine. Also called hypernephroma.

renal collecting tubule The last part of a long, twisting tube that collects urine from the nephrons (cellular structures in the kidney that filter blood and form urine) and moves it into the renal pelvis and ureters. Also called collecting duct.

renal failure A condition in which the kidneys stop working and are not able to remove waste and extra water from the blood or keep body chemicals in balance. Acute or severe renal failure happens suddenly (for example, after an injury) and may be treated and cured. Chronic renal failure develops over many years, may be caused by conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, and cannot be cured. Chronic renal failure may lead to total and long-lasting kidney failure, called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). A person in ESRD needs dialysis (the process of cleaning the blood by passing it through a membrane or filter) or a kidney transplant. Also called kidney failure.

renal fascia A fibrous envelope of tissue that surrounds the kidney. Also called Gerota's fascia and Gerota's capsule.

renal glomerulus A tiny, round cluster of blood vessels within the kidneys. It filters the blood to reabsorb useful materials and remove waste as urine.

renal pelvis The area at the center of the kidney. Urine collects here and is funneled into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.

renal tubular acidosis A rare disorder in which structures in the kidney that filter the blood are impaired, producing urine that is more acid than normal.

Renova A topical preparation of tretinoin that is used to treat acne. Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A.

replicate To make a copy or duplicate of something.

replication cycle In biology, refers to the reproduction cycle of viruses. A repliction cycle begins with the infection of a host cell and ends with the release of mature progeny virus particles.

reproductive cell An egg or sperm cell. Each mature reproductive cell carries a single set of 23 chromosomes.

reproductive system In women, this system includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus (womb), cervix and vagina (birth canal). The reproductive system in men includes the prostate, testes and penis.

resectable Able to be removed by surgery.

resected Removed by surgery.

resection A procedure that uses surgery to remove tissue or part or all of an organ.

residual disease Cancer cells that remain after attempts to remove the cancer have been made.

resistant cancer Cancer that does not respond to treatment. The cancer may be resistant at the beginning of treatment, or it may become resistant during treatment. Also called refractory cancer.

resorption A process in which a substance, such as tissue, is lost by being destroyed and then absorbed by the body.

respirator In medicine, a machine used to help a patient breathe. Also called ventilator.

respiratory syncytial virus RSV. A virus that causes respiratory infections with cold-like symptoms. Also called RSV.

respiratory system The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs. Also called respiratory tract.

respiratory therapist A health professional trained to evaluate and treat people who have breathing problems or other lung disorders.

respiratory therapy Exercises and treatments that help improve or restore lung function.

respiratory tract The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs. Also called respiratory system.

response In medicine, an improvement related to treatment.

response rate The percentage of patients whose cancer shrinks or disappears after treatment.

resting In biology, refers to a cell that is not dividing.

resveratrol A substance found in the skins of grapes and in certain other plants, fruits and seeds. It is made by various plants to help defend against invading fungi, stress, injury, infection and too much sunlight. It is being studied in the prevention of cancer and heart disease. It belongs to the families of drugs called antioxidants and polyphenols.

Retin-A A topical preparation of tretinoin that is used to treat acne. Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A.

Retin-A-Micro A topical preparation of tretinoin that is used to treat acne. Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A.

retina The light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye that receive images and sends them as electric signals through the optic nerve to the brain.

retinoblastoma Cancer that forms in the tissues of the retina (the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye). Retinoblastoma usually occurs in children younger than 5 years. It may be hereditary or nonhereditary (sporadic).

retinoic acid A form of vitamin A that is made by the body, and can also be made in the laboratory. It is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia, usually together with other drugs, and to treat acne. It is being studied in the treatment and prevention of other types of cancer. Also called all-trans retinoic acid, ATRA, tretinoin and vitamin A acid.

retinoid Vitamin A or a vitamin A-like compound.

retinol An active form of vitamin A found in animal foods such as liver, whole eggs, and whole milk.

retinyl palmitate A drug that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.

retromolar trigone The small area behind the wisdom teeth.

retroperitoneal Having to do with the area outside or behind the peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen).

retropubic prostatectomy Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made in the wall of the abdomen.

retrospective Looking back at events that have already taken place.

retrospective cohort study A research study in which the medical records of groups of individuals who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic (for example, female nurses who smoke and those who do not smoke) are compared for a particular outcome (such as lung cancer). Also called a historic cohort study.

retrospective study A study that compares two groups of people: those with the disease or condition under study (cases) and a very similar group of people who do not have the disease or condition (controls). Researchers study the medical and lifestyle histories of the people in each group to learn what factors may be associated with the disease or condition. For example, one group may have been exposed to a particular substance that the other was not. Also called a case-control study.

retroviral vector RNA from a virus that is used to insert genetic material into cells.

retrovirus A type of virus that has RNA instead of DNA as its genetic material. It uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to become part of the host cells’ DNA. This allows many copies of the virus to be made in the host cells. The virus that causes AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is a type of retrovirus.

Revlimid A drug that is similar to thalidomide, and is used to treat multiple myeloma and certain types of anemia. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Revlimid belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called lenalidomide and CC-5013.

Reye's syndrome A rare disease that damages the brain and liver and causes death if not treated. It occurs most often in children younger than 15 years who have had a fever-causing virus, such as chickenpox or flu. Taking aspirin during a viral illness may increase the risk of Reye's syndrome.

RFT5-dgA immunotoxin A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxic substance. It is being studied in the treatment of melanoma that has spread to distant parts of the body. RFT5-dgA immunotoxin is made in the laboratory. It can find and kill certain white blood cells that prevent the immune system from killing cancer cells. Also called IgG-RFT5-dgA.

rhabdoid tumor A malignant tumor of either the central nervous system (CNS) or the kidney. Malignant rhabdoid tumors of the CNS often have an abnormality of chromosome 22. These tumors usually occur in children younger than 2 years.

rhabdomyosarcoma Cancer that forms in the soft tissues in a type of muscle called striated muscle. Rhabdomyosarcoma can occur anywhere in the body.

rheumatism A group of disorders marked by inflammation or pain in the connective tissue structures of the body. These structures include bone, cartilage and fat.

rheumatoid arthritis An autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, and may cause severe joint damage, loss of function and disability. The disease may last from months to a lifetime, and symptoms may improve and worsen over time.

rhinoscope A thin, tube-like instrument used to examine the inside of the nose. A rhinoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may have a tool to remove tissue. Also called a nasoscope.

rhinoscopy Examination of the inside of the nose using a rhinoscope. A rhinoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. Also called nasoscopy.

rhizoxin A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It comes from a fungus and is similar to vinca alkaloid drugs. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimitotic agents.

rhubarb Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale. The root of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called da-huang, Chinese rhubarb, Indian rhubarb and Turkish rhubarb.

ribavirin A drug used to treat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in the lungs.

ribonucleic acid RNA. One of the two types of nucleic acids found in all cells. The other is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Ribonucleic acid transmits genetic information from DNA to proteins made by the cell.

ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor A family of anticancer drugs that interfere with the growth of tumor cells by blocking the formation of deoxyribonucleotides (building blocks of DNA).

Richter's syndrome A rare condition in which chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) changes into a fast-growing type of lymphoma. Symptoms of Richter’s syndrome include fever, loss of weight and muscle mass and other health problems. Also called Richter’s transformation.

Richter's transformation A rare condition in which chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) changes into a fast-growing type of lymphoma. Symptoms of Richter’s transformation include fever, loss of weight and muscle mass and other health problems. Also called Richter’s syndrome.

rifampin A drug used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics.

risedronate A substance that is being studied in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. It belongs to the family of drugs called bone resorption inhibitors.

risk factor Something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. Some examples of risk factors for cancer include age, a family history of certain cancers, use of tobacco products, certain eating habits, obesity, lack of exercise, exposure to radiation or other cancer-causing agents and certain genetic changes.

ritonavir A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called protease inhibitors. It interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

Rituxan A monoclonal antibody used to treat certain types of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Rituxan binds to the protein called CD20, which is found on B-cells. Also called rituximab.

rituximab A monoclonal antibody used to treat certain types of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Rituximab binds to the protein called CD20, which is found on B-cells. Also called Rituxan.

RNA Ribonucleic acid. One of the two types of nucleic acids found in all cells. The other is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). RNA transmits genetic information from DNA to proteins produced by the cell.

rofecoxib A drug that was being used for pain relief and was being studied for its ability to prevent cancer and to block the growth of new blood vessels to solid tumors. It belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Rofecoxib was taken off the market in the U.S. because of safety concerns. Also called Vioxx.

Roman chamomile A plant with daisy-like flowers that are used in tea to calm and relax, improve sleep and help with stomach problems. Roman chamomile has also been used in some cultures to treat skin conditions, mild infections and other disorders. The scientific name is Chamaemelum nobile.

romidepsin A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. Romidepsin is a type of depsipeptide and belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors. Also called FR901228.

ropivacaine A drug used to control pain and to cause a temporary loss of feeling in one part of the body, during and after surgery. It is also being studied for pain control after cancer surgery. It belongs to the family of drugs called local anesthetics. Also called ropivacaine hydrochloride or Naropin.

ropivacaine hydrochloride A drug used to control pain and to cause a temporary loss of feeling in one part of the body, during and after surgery. It is also being studied for pain control after cancer surgery. It belongs to the family of drugs called local anesthetics. Also called ropivacaine or Naropin.

rosiglitazone A drug taken to help reduce the amount of sugar in the blood. Rosiglitazone helps make insulin more effective and improves regulation of blood sugar. It belongs to the family of drugs called thiazolidinediones.

RSV Respiratory syncytial virus. A virus that causes respiratory infections with cold-like symptoms. Also called respiratory syncytial virus.

RU 486 A drug used to end early pregnancies. It is also being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. RU 486 blocks the action of progesterone, a hormone that helps some cancers grow. It is a type of antiprogesterone. Also called mifepristone and Mifeprex.

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Higley Road and US 60
2946 E. Banner Gateway Drive
Gilbert, AZ 85234
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