Cancer Education at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center  

Glossary of Cancer Terms - T

 

T cell One type of white blood cell that attacks virus-infected cells, foreign cells and cancer cells. T cells also produce a number of substances that regulate the immune response. Also called T lymphocyte.

T lymphocyte One type of white blood cell that attacks virus-infected cells, foreign cells, and cancer cells. T lymphocytes also produce a number of substances that regulate the immune response. Also called T cell.

t test A statistical test that is used to find out if there is a real difference between the means (averages) of two different groups. It is sometimes used to see if there is a significant difference in response to treatment between groups in a clinical trial.

T-3 A thyroid hormone. Also called triiodothyronine or liothyronine sodium.

T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia A type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many T-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia and precursor T-lymphoblastic leukemia.

T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia A type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many T-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and precursor T-lymphoblastic leukemia.

T-cell depletion Treatment to destroy T cells, which play an important role in the immune response. Elimination of T cells from a bone marrow graft from a donor may reduce the chance of an immune reaction against the recipient's tissues.

T-cell lymphoma A disease in which certain cells of the lymph system (called T lymphocytes) become cancerous.

T-lymphoblastic lymphoma A type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in which too many T-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the lymph nodes and spleen. It is most common in young men. Also called precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma.

T138067 An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells by preventing cell division.

T4N5 liposomal lotion Enzyme lotion used in treating xeroderma pigmentosum.

tachycardia Rapid beating of the heart, usually defined as greater than 100 beats per minute.

tachypnea Rapid breathing.

tacrolimus A drug used to help reduce the risk of rejection by the body of organ and bone marrow transplants.

TAG-72 antigen A protein/sugar complex found on the surface of many cancer cells, including breast, colon, and pancreatic cells.

tai chi (ty chee) A form of traditional Chinese mind/body exercise and meditation that uses slow sets of body movements and controlled breathing. Tai chi is done to improve balance, flexibility, muscle strength and overall health.

tailbone The small bone at the bottom of the spine. It is made up of 3-5 fused bones. Also called coccyx.

talabostat A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer, including certain types of lung, pancreas, and brain cancer. Talabostat may help the immune system block the growth of cancer cells. It may also increase the growth of new blood cells. It is a type of enzyme inhibitor. Also called talabostat mesylate and PT-100.

talabostat mesylate A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer, including certain types of lung, pancreas, and brain cancer. Talabostat mesylate may help the immune system block the growth of cancer cells. It may also increase the growth of new blood cells. It is a type of enzyme inhibitor. Also called talabostat and PT-100.

talampanel A substance that is being studied in the treatment of brain tumors and other brain disorders, such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. It belongs to the family of drugs called AMPA receptor antagonists.

talaporfin sodium A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells.

talc A mineral usually used in a powdered form. In cancer treatment, sterile talc is used to prevent pleural effusions (an abnormal collection of fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall). Talc is inserted into the space, causing it to close up, so fluid cannot collect there. Also called sterile talc powder.

talk therapy Treatment of mental, emotional, personality and behavioral disorders using methods such as discussion, listening and counseling. Also called psychotherapy.

talotrexin A substance that is being studied in the treatment of leukemia and some other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifolates.

tamoxifen A drug used to treat certain types of breast cancer in women and men. It is also used to prevent breast cancer in women who have had ductal carcinoma in situ (abnormal cells in the ducts of the breast) and are at a high risk of developing breast cancer. Tamoxifen is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks the effects of the hormone estrogen in the breast. Tamoxifen belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Also called tamoxifen citrate and Nolvadex.

tamoxifen citrate A drug used to treat certain types of breast cancer in women and men. It is also used to prevent breast cancer in women who have had ductal carcinoma in situ (abnormal cells in the ducts of the breast) and are at a high risk of developing breast cancer. Tamoxifen citrate is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks the effects of the hormone estrogen in the breast. Tamoxifen citrate belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Also called tamoxifen and Nolvadex.

Tarceva A drug used to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer. It is also used together with gemcitabine to treat pancreatic cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Tarceva belongs to the family of drugs called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called erlotinib, erlotinib hydrochloride, CP-358774 and OSI-774.

targeted therapy A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances, such as monoclonal antibodies, to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells.

Targretin A drug used to treat skin problems caused by cutaneous T-cell lymphoma that have not gotten better after other treatment. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Targretin is a type of retinoid. Also called bexarotene and LGD1069.

tariquidar A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It may help tumor cells respond again to drugs they have become resistant (unable to respond) to. Tariquidar belongs to the families of drugs called multidrug resistance inhibitors and P-glycoprotein antagonists. Also called XR9576.

taurolidine A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anti-infectives.

taxane A type of drug that blocks cell growth by stopping cell division. Taxanes are used to treat cancer. Also called antimicrotubule agent, antimitotic agent, mitotic inhibitor and vinca alkaloid.

Taxol A drug used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. It is also used together with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Taxol is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called paclitaxel.

Taxotere A drug used together with other drugs to treat certain types of breast cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, and certain types of head and neck cancer. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Taxotere belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called docetaxel.

TB Tuberculosis. A disease caused by a specific type of bacteria that spreads from one person to another through the air. TB can affect many parts of the body, but most often affects the lungs. A person may not have symptoms of TB for years, but they may appear when the patient becomes ill with a serious condition like diabetes, AIDS or cancer. TB can usually be treated and cured with antibiotics. Also called tuberculosis.

TCM Traditional Chinese medicine. A medical system that has been used for thousands of years to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. It is based on the belief that qi (the body's vital energy) flows along 20 meridians (channels) throughout the body and keeps a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health in balance.

TCM aims to restore the body’s balance and harmony between the natural opposing forces of yin and yang, which can block qi and cause disease. TCM includes acupuncture, diet, herbal therapy, meditation, physical exercise and massage. Also called Oriental medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

tea tree A tree that is a member of the myrtle family. Oil from the tea tree is used in shampoos and skin care products and to treat skin infections. It has been used in some cultures to treat other skin conditions, including acne, burns and insect bites. The scientific name is Melaleuca alternifolia.

technetium Tc 99m dextran A radiolabeled substance that is used in cancer diagnosis.

technetium Tc 99m sulfur colloid A radiolabeled substance that is used to help identify sites of tumor development.

tegafur An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

teicoplanin A substance used to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics.

telangiectasia (tel-AN-gee-ek-TAY-zha) The permanent enlargement of blood vessels, causing redness in the skin or mucous membranes.

Telcyta A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called glutathione analogs. Also called TLK286.

telemedicine The delivery of healthcare from a distance using electronic information and technology such as computers, cameras, videoconferencing, the Internet, satellite, and wireless communications.

Temodar A drug that is used to treat certain types of brain tumors in adults and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called temozolomide.

temoporfin An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents.

temozolomide A drug that is used to treat certain types of brain tumors in adults and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called Temodar.

temsirolimus A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called rapamycin analogs. Also called CCI-779.

tendon Tough, fibrous, cord-like tissue that connects muscle to bone or another structure, such as an eyeball. Tendons help the bone or structure to move.

teniposide An anticancer drug that is a podophyllotoxin derivative and belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

TENS Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation. A technique in which mild electric currents are applied to some areas of the skin by a small power pack connected to two electrodes. Also called transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation and controlled low-voltage electrical stimulation.

teratocarcinoma A type of germ cell cancer that usually forms in the testes (testicles).

teratoma A type of germ cell tumor that may contain several different types of tissue, such as hair, muscle and bone. Teratomas occur most often in the ovaries in women, the testicles in men and the tailbone in children. Not all teratomas are malignant.

terminal disease Disease that cannot be cured and will cause death.

terpene A type of strong-smelling chemical substance found in some plants, especially trees that have cones. Terpenes are found in essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants).

testicle One of two egg-shaped glands found inside the scrotum that produce sperm and male hormones. Also called a testis.

testicular cancer Cancer that forms in tissues of the testis (one of two egg-shaped glands inside the scrotum that make sperm and male hormones). Testicular cancer usually occurs in young or middle-aged men. Two main types of testicular cancer are seminomas (cancers that grow slowly and are sensitive to radiation therapy) and nonseminomas (different cell types that grow more quickly than seminomas).

testimonial Information provided by an individual who claims to have been helped or cured by a particular product. The information provided lacks the necessary elements to be evaluated in a rigorous and scientific manner and is not used in the scientific literature.

testis One of two egg-shaped glands found inside the scrotum that produce sperm and male hormones. Also called a testicle.

testosterone A hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.

tetanus toxoid A substance that is derived from the toxin released by the bacterium that causes the disease tetanus. It is used as a vaccine to prevent tetanus or to help boost the immune response to other vaccines.

tetracycline An antibiotic drug used to treat infection.

tetrahydrouridine A substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called cytidine deaminase inhibitors, multidrug resistance modulators, and radiosensitizers.

thalamus An area of the brain that helps process information from the senses and transmit it to other parts of the brain.

thalidomide A drug that is used to treat multiple myeloma in patients who have just been diagnosed, and a painful skin disease related to leprosy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Thalidomide belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called Thalomid.

Thalomid A drug that is used to treat multiple myeloma in patients who have just been diagnosed, and a painful skin disease related to leprosy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Thalomid belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called thalidomide.

theophylline A drug used to improve breathing in people who are short of breath. It belongs to the family of drugs called bronchodilators or respiratory smooth muscle relaxants.

therapeutic Having to do with treating disease and helping healing take place.

therapy Treatment.

thermal ablation A procedure using heat to remove tissue or a part of the body, or destroy its function. For example, to remove the lining of the uterus, a catheter is inserted through the cervix into the uterus, a balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, and fluid inside the balloon is heated to destroy the lining of the uterus.

thermography In medicine, a procedure in which a heat-sensing infrared camera is used to record the surface heat produced by different parts of the body. Abnormal tissue growth can cause temperature changes, which may show up on the thermogram. Thermography may be used to diagnose breast cancer and other tumors.

thermotherapy Treatment of disease using heat.

thiethylperazine A drug used to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting. It belongs to the families of drugs called antiemetics and phenothiazines.

thioguanine An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

thiotepa An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

third molar The last tooth to come in at the back of each side of the upper and lower jaws. Third molars usually come in between 17 and 23 years of age, but not everyone has them. Also called wisdom tooth.

third-line therapy Treatment that is given when both initial treatment (first-line therapy) and subsequent treatment (second-line therapy) don’t work, or stop working.

thoracalgia Chest pain. Also called thoracodynia.

thoracentesis Removal of fluid from the pleural cavity through a needle inserted between the ribs.

thoracic Having to do with the chest.

thoracic surgeon A surgeon who specializes in operating on organs inside the chest, including the heart and lungs.

thoracic surgical oncologist A surgeon who specializes in operating on tumors found inside the chest.

thoracodynia Chest pain. Also called thoracalgia.

thoracoscope A thin tube-like instrument used to examine the inside of the chest. A thoracoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may have tool to remove tissue.

thoracoscopy Examination of the inside of the chest, using a thoracoscope. A thoracoscope 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.

thoracotomy An operation to open the chest.

throat The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The throat is about 5 inches long, depending on body size. Also called the pharynx.

throat cancer Cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). Throat cancer includes cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Cancer of the larynx (voice box) may also be included as a type of throat cancer. Most throat cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells that look like fish scales). Also called pharyngeal cancer.

thrombectomy Surgery to remove a thrombus (blood clot) from a blood vessel.

thrombocyte A type of blood cell that helps prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form. Also called a platelet.

thrombocytopenia A decrease in the number of platelets in the blood that may result in easy bruising and excessive bleeding from wounds or bleeding in mucous membranes and other tissues.

thrombohemorrhagic event A process that involves either a blood clot or bleeding, such as a heart attack or stroke.

thrombolysis The process of breaking up a thrombus (blood clot) that is blocking blood flow. The blood clot may be dissolved using drugs delivered through a catheter (tube) into the clot.

thrombophlebitis Inflammation of a vein that occurs when a blood clot forms.

thrombopoietin A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets, during chemotherapy. It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood forming) agents.

thrombosis The formation or presence of a blood clot inside a blood vessel.

thrush A condition in which Candida albicans, a type of yeast, grows out of control in moist skin areas of the body. It is usually a result of a weakened immune system, but can be a side effect of chemotherapy or treatment with antibiotics. Thrush usually affects the mouth (oral thrush); however, rarely, it spreads throughout the entire body. Also called Candidiasis or Candidosis.

thymic carcinoma A rare type of thymus gland cancer. It usually spreads, has a high risk of recurrence, and has a poor survival rate. Thymic carcinoma is divided into subtypes, depending on the types of cells in which the cancer began. Also called type C thymoma.

thymidine A chemical compound found in DNA. Also used as treatment for mucositis.

thymidylate synthase A protein involved in making and repairing DNA (molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it on from parent to child). High levels of thymidylate synthase may be involved in how certain types of cancer form and respond to treatment.

thymidylate synthase inhibitor A drug that blocks DNA synthesis and may prevent tumor cell growth. It is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

Thymitaq A substance that is being studied in the treatment of liver cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Also called AG337 and nolatrexed.

thymoma A tumor of the thymus, an organ that is part of the lymphatic system and is located in the chest, behind the breastbone.

thymus An organ that is part of the lymphatic system, in which T lymphocytes grow and multiply. The thymus is in the chest behind the breastbone.

Thyrogen® A form of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that is made in the laboratory. It is used to test for remaining or recurring cancer cells in patients who have been treated for thyroid cancer. Also called thyrotropin alfa.

thyroglobulin The form that thyroid hormone takes when stored in the cells of the thyroid. If the thyroid has been removed, thyroglobulin should not show up on a blood test. Doctors measure thyroglobulin level in blood to detect thyroid cancer cells that remain in the body after treatment.

thyroid A gland located beneath the voice box (larynx) that produces thyroid hormone. The thyroid helps regulate growth and metabolism.

thyroid cancer Cancer that forms in the thyroid gland (an organ at the base of the throat that makes hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight). Four main types of thyroid cancer are papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. The four types are based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope.

thyroid follicular cell A type of cell in the thyroid. Thyroid follicular cells make thyroid hormone.

thyroid gland A gland located beneath the voice box (larynx) that produces thyroid hormone. The thyroid helps regulate growth and metabolism.

thyroid hormone A hormone that affects heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. Thyroid hormone is made by the thyroid gland and can also be made in the laboratory.

thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH. A hormone produced by the pituitary gland. TSH stimulates the release of thyroid hormone from thyroglobulin. It also stimulates the growth of thyroid follicular cells. An abnormal TSH level may mean that the thyroid hormonal regulation system is out of control, usually as a result of a benign condition (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism). Also called TSH.

thyroidectomy Surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid.

thyroiditis Inflammation of the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis may be an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland over time, causing hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone). A temporary form of thyroiditis may also occur after the birth of a baby, or when viral or bacterial infections spread to the thyroid.

thyrotropin alfa A form of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that is made in the laboratory. It is used to test for remaining or recurring cancer cells in patients who have been treated for thyroid cancer. Also called Thyrogen®.

tiazofurin An anticancer drug being studied to stop cell growth.

tibia The larger of two bones between the knee and ankle. Also called shinbone.

time to progression A measure of time after a disease is diagnosed (or treated) until the disease starts to get worse.

tin ethyl etiopurpurin An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents. Also called SnET2.

tin Sn 117m DTPA A radioactive chemical being studied to treat bone pain associated with cancer.

tinidazole A drug used to treat protozoal infections, such as amebiasis, giardiasis and trichomoniasis. It belongs to a family of drugs called antiprotozoal agents. Tinidazole is also being evaluated in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections in people with low-grade gastric lymphoma.

tinnitus (tih-NY-tus) A disorder in which a person hears noises such as buzzing, ringing, clicking, or the sound of a pulse, when no outside sound is causing them. Tinnitus may have many different causes, and may be a symptom of another disease or condition. It may be caused by certain tumors and anticancer drugs.

tinzaparin A drug that is used with another drug, warfarin, to treat blood clots that form deep in the veins and to prevent new blood clots from forming. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants. Also called tinzaparin sodium or Innohep.

tinzaparin sodium A drug that is used with another drug, warfarin, to treat blood clots that form deep in the veins and to prevent new blood clots from forming. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants. Also called tinzaparin or Innohep.

tipifarnib A substance that is being studied in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called farnesyltransferase inhibitors. Also called R115777 and Zarnestra.

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

tissue A group or layer of cells that work together to perform a specific function.

tissue flap reconstruction A type of breast reconstruction in which a flap of tissue is surgically moved from another area of the body to the chest, and formed into a new breast mound.

tissue plasminogen activator 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. tPA belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called tPA, recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, r-tPA, Activase and Alteplase.

TM Transcendental Meditation. A mental technique used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve quality of life. TM is the registered trademark of the Maharishi Foundation Ltd. Also called Transcendental Meditation.

TNF Tumor necrosis factor. A protein made by white blood cells in response to an antigen (substance that causes the immune system to make a specific immune response) or infection. TNF can also be made in the laboratory. It may boost a person’s immune response, and also may cause necrosis (cell death) of some types of tumor cells. TNF is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It is a type of cytokine. Also called tumor necrosis factor.

TNF-bound colloidal gold A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. TNF-bound colloidal gold is made in the laboratory by binding a cancer-killing protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) to the surface of very tiny particles of gold. These TNF-gold particles may kill tumor cells without harming healthy tissue. Also called colloidal gold-bound tumor necrosis factor and Aurimmune.

TNFerade A gene therapy product that is being studied in combination with radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer.

TNM staging system A system for describing the extent of cancer in a patient’s body. T describes the size of the tumor and whether it has invaded nearby tissue, N describes any lymph nodes that are involved, and M describes metastasis (spread of cancer from one body part to another).

TNP-470 A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. It prevents the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor.

tobacco Nicotiana tabacum. A plant with leaves that have high levels of the addictive chemical nicotine. The leaves may be smoked (in cigarettes, cigars and pipes), applied to the gums (as dipping and chewing tobacco), or inhaled (as snuff). Tobacco leaves also contain many cancer-causing chemicals, and tobacco use and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke have been linked to many types of cancer and other diseases. Also called Nicotiana tabacum.

tocladesine A substance that has been studied as an anticancer drug. It is an analog of a substance that occurs naturally in the body (cyclic adenosine monophosphate).

tomography A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine.

tonga 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. Tonga 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 tonga may cause severe liver damage. The scientific name is Piper methysticum. Also called kava kava, intoxicating pepper, rauschpfeffer and yangona.

tongue cancer Cancer that begins in the tongue. When the cancer begins in the front two-thirds of the tongue, it is considered to be a type of oral cavity cancer; when the cancer begins in the back third of the tongue, it is considered to be a type of oropharyngeal or throat cancer.

tonsil One of two small masses of lymphoid tissue on either side of the throat.

topical On the surface of the body.

topical chemotherapy Treatment with anticancer drugs in a lotion or cream applied to the skin.

topoisomerase II inhibitor RTA 744 A substance being studied in the treatment of adult brain tumors. Topoisomerase II inhibitor RTA 744 crosses the blood-brain barrier and blocks an enzyme needed for cancer growth. It is a type of topoisomerase inhibitor. Also called RTA 744.

topoisomerase inhibitor A substance that blocks topoisomerase enzymes, which are involved in DNA structure and cell growth. Certain topoisomerase inhibitors are used to treat some types of cancer.

topotecan A drug used to treat certain types of ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and cervical cancer. Topotecan belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. Also called topotecan hydrochloride and Hycamtin.

topotecan hydrochloride A drug used to treat certain types of ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and cervical cancer. Topotecan hydrochloride belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. Also called topotecan and Hycamtin.

toremifene An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Toremifene blocks the effect of the hormone estrogen in the body. It may help control some cancers from growing, and it may delay or reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

tositumomab A monoclonal antibody that is used in the treatment of certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. When tositumomab and iodine I 131 tositumomab (a form of tositumomab that has been chemically changed by adding radioactive iodine) are given together, the combination is called the Bexxar regimen.

total androgen blockade Therapy used to eliminate male sex hormones (androgens) in the body. This may be done with surgery, hormonal therapy or a combination.

total estrogen blockade Therapy used to eliminate estrogen in the body. This may be done with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these procedures.

total hysterectomy Surgery to remove the entire uterus, including the cervix. Sometimes, not all of the cervix is removed. Also called complete hysterectomy.

total laryngectomy An operation to remove all of the larynx (voice box).

total mastectomy Removal of the breast. Also called simple mastectomy.

total nodal irradiation Radiation therapy to the mantle field, the spleen, the lymph nodes in the upper abdomen, and the lymph nodes in the pelvic area.

total pancreatectomy Surgery to remove the entire pancreas. Part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.

total parenteral nutrition TPN. A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Total parenteral nutrition does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using total parenteral nutrition. Also called hyperalimentation, parenteral nutrition and TPN.

total skin electron beam radiation therapy TSEB radiation therapy. A type of radiation therapy using electrons that is directed at the entire surface of the body. This type of radiation goes into the outer layers of the skin, but does not go deeper into tissues and organs below the skin. Also called TSEB radiation therapy.

total-body irradiation Radiation therapy to the entire body. It is usually followed by bone marrow or peripheral stem cell transplantation.

totipotent Having to do with cells that are able to develop into any type of cell found in the body.

toxemia Disease caused by the spread of bacteria and their toxins in the bloodstream. Also called blood poisoning and septicemia.

toxic Having to do with poison or something harmful to the body. Toxic substances usually cause unwanted side effects.

toxicity The extent to which something is poisonous or harmful.

toxicology The study of poisons, including the source, effect, and treatment of poisoning. It is a branch of pharmacology (the study of drugs).

toxin A poison produced by certain animals, plants, or bacteria.

TP-38 immunotoxin A substance that combines a protein that binds to certain tumor cells with a bacterial toxin that kills tumor cells. It is being studied in the treatment of brain tumors.

tPA 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. tPA belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called tissue plasminogen activator, recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, r-tPA, Activase and Alteplase.

TPN Total parenteral nutrition. A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. TPN does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using TPN. Also called hyperalimentation, parenteral nutrition, and total parenteral nutrition.

trabecular cancer A rare type of cancer that forms on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles. Trabecular cancer is a type of Merkel cell cancer.

trace element A chemical found in very small amounts in a given substance. Organisms need certain trace elements to survive.

tracer A substance (such as a radioisotope) used in imaging procedures.

trach tube A 2-inch- to 3-inch-long curved metal or plastic tube placed in a surgically created opening (tracheostomy) in the windpipe to keep it open. Also called tracheostomy tube.

trachea The airway that leads from the larynx (voice box) to the bronchi (large airways that lead to the lungs). Also called windpipe.

trachelectomy Surgery to remove the cervix (the end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and the vagina).The upper part of the vagina and certain pelvic lymph nodes may also be removed. Also called a cervicectomy.

tracheoesophageal puncture A small opening made by a surgeon between the esophagus and the trachea. A valve keeps food out of the trachea but lets air into the esophagus for esophageal speech.

tracheostomy Surgery to create an opening (stoma) into the windpipe. The opening itself may also be called a tracheostomy.

tracheostomy button A 0.5-inch- to 1.5-inch-long plastic tube placed in a surgically created opening (tracheostomy) in the windpipe to keep it open.

tracheostomy tube A 2-inch- to 3-inch-long curved metal or plastic tube placed in a surgically created opening (tracheostomy) in the windpipe to keep it open. Also called trach tube.

traditional acupuncture An ancient form of acupuncture based on the principle that there are five universal elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) that affect a person's emotions, personality, health, and response to treatment. Each person is affected by one element more than the others. Also called five element acupuncture.

traditional Chinese medicine TCM. A medical system that has been used for thousands of years to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. It is based on the belief that qi (the body's vital energy) flows along 20 meridians (channels) throughout the body and keeps a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health in balance. TCM aims to restore the body’s balance and harmony between the natural opposing forces of yin and yang, which can block qi and cause disease. TCM includes acupuncture, diet, herbal therapy, meditation, physical exercise, and massage. Also called Oriental medicine and TCM.

trans fat A type of fat that has certain chemical properties and is usually found in processed foods such as baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, shortening, margarine and certain vegetable oils. Eating trans fat increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

transabdominal ultrasound A procedure used to examine the organs in the abdomen. The ultrasound device is pressed firmly against the skin of the abdomen. Sound waves from the device bounce off tissues and create echoes. A computer uses the echoes to make a picture called a sonogram.

Transcendental Meditation TM. A mental technique used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve quality of life. Transcendental Meditation is the registered trademark of the Maharishi Foundation Ltd. Also called TM.

transcription In biology, the process by which a cell makes an RNA copy of a sequence of DNA that is a gene.

transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation TENS. A technique in which mild electric currents are applied to some areas of the skin by a small power pack connected to two electrodes. Also called TENS and controlled low-voltage electrical stimulation.

transdermal Absorbed through the unbroken skin.

transfer factor A substance made by some white blood cells. Transfer factor from one person’s white blood cells may be able to cause a specific immune response when injected into the skin of another person.

transferrin-CRM107 A substance that is being studied in the treatment of brain tumors. Transferrin-CRM107 is made by linking a diphtheria toxin to transferrin, a protein that binds to fast growing cells, such as tumor cells. The diphtheria toxin then kills the tumor cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called immunotoxins.

transformation The change that a normal cell undergoes as it becomes malignant.

transfusion The infusion of components of blood or whole blood into the bloodstream. The blood may be donated from another person, or it may have been taken from the person earlier and stored until needed.

transitional cell A cell that varies in shape depending on whether the tissue is being stretched. Transitional cells may be stretched without breaking apart. They line hollow organs such as the bladder.

transitional cell cancer Cancer that forms in transitional cells in the lining of the bladder, ureter or renal pelvis (the part of the kidney that collects, holds and drains urine). Transitional cells are cells that can change shape and stretch without breaking apart.

translocation A genetic change in which a piece of one chromosome breaks off and attaches to another chromosome. Sometimes pieces from two different chromosomes will trade places with each other. Translocations may lead to medical problems such as leukemia, breast cancer, schizophrenia, muscular dystrophy and Down syndrome.

transperineal biopsy A procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed from the prostate for examination under a microscope. The sample is removed with a thin needle that is inserted through the skin between the scrotum and rectum and into the prostate.

transplant surgeon A doctor who specializes in transplantation surgery. The surgeon replaces a patient's organ with an organ from another person.

transplantation The replacement of tissue with tissue from the person’s own body or from another person.

transrectal biopsy A procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed from the prostate using a thin needle that is inserted through the rectum and into the prostate. Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is usually used to guide the needle. The sample is examined under a microscope to see if it contains cancer.

transrectal ultrasound TRUS. A procedure in which a probe that sends out high-energy sound waves is inserted into the rectum. The sound waves are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissue called a sonogram. TRUS is used to look for abnormalities in the rectum and nearby structures, including the prostate. Also called TRUS, endorectal ultrasound and ERUS.

transurethral biopsy A procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed from the prostate for examination under a microscope. A thin, lighted tube is inserted through the urethra into the prostate, and a small piece of tissue is removed with a cutting loop.

transurethral needle ablation A procedure that is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). A small probe that gives off low-level radiofrequency energy is inserted through the urethra into the prostate. The energy from the probe heats and destroys the abnormal prostate tissue without damaging the urethra. Also called transurethral radiofrequency ablation.

transurethral radiofrequency ablation A procedure that is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). A small probe that gives off low-level radiofrequency energy is inserted through the urethra into the prostate. The energy from the probe heats and destroys the abnormal prostate tissue without damaging the urethra. Also called transurethral needle ablation.

transurethral resection Surgery performed with a special instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called TUR.

transurethral resection of the prostate TURP. A surgical procedure to remove tissue from the prostate using an instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called TURP.

transvaginal sonography TVS. A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina that causes sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis. These sound waves create echoes that are sent to a computer, which creates a picture called a sonogram. Also called transvaginal ultrasound and TVS.

transvaginal ultrasound A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina that causes sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis. These sound waves create echoes that are sent to a computer, which creates a picture called a sonogram. Also called transvaginal sonography and TVS.

trastuzumab A monoclonal antibody that binds to HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor), and can kill HER2-positive cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Trastuzumab is used to treat breast cancer that is HER2-positive and has spread after treatment with other drugs. It is also used with other anticancer drugs to treat HER2-positive breast cancer after surgery. Trastuzumab is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Also called Herceptin.

trauma Injury to the body, or an event that causes long-lasting mental or emotional damage.

Traumeel S A substance that contains minerals and extracts of 14 plants, including belladonna, arnica, St. John's wort and Echinacea. It is being studied as a mouth rinse treatment for oral mucositis (painful mouth sores) caused by cancer therapy. It is known as a homeopathic remedy.

treatment field In radiation therapy, the place on the body where the radiation beam is aimed.

Trelstar A drug that is used to treat advanced prostate cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer. It belongs to the family of hormonal drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs. Also called triptorelin.

treosulfan A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

trephine A surgical tool used to cut out circular pieces of bone or other tissue.

tretinoin 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, retinoic acid, and vitamin A acid.

triacetyluridine A substance that is being studied for its ability to protect against the gastrointestinal side effects caused by fluorouracil. It belongs to the family of drugs called cytoprotective agents. Also called PN401.

triamcinolone A substance that is being studied for the prevention of nonmelanoma skin cancer. It is an anti-inflammatory drug that is applied to the skin to relieve irritation, rashes, and infections. It belongs to the family of drugs called topical corticosteroids.

Triapine A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor. Also called 3-aminopyridine-2-carboxaldehyde thiosemicarbazone and 3-AP.

tributyrin A triglyceride drug that may inhibit cell growth and induce cell differentiation. Differentiating agents may be effective in changing cancer cells back into normal cells.

trichothiodystrophy A hereditary condition characterized by sparse and brittle hair, short stature, and mental retardation.

TriCor A drug used to treat high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. TriCor is being studied in the treatment of advanced cancers in young patients and in the treatment of other conditions. It is a type of antilipidemic agent. Also called fenofibrate and Lofibra.

tricyclic antidepressant A type of drug used to treat depression.

Trifolium pratense A plant whose flowers have 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 red clover, purple clover and wild clover.

trigeminal nerve The main sensory nerve of the head and face, and the motor nerve of the muscles used in chewing. Also called the fifth cranial nerve.

trigger In medicine, a specific event that starts a process or that causes a particular outcome. For example, chemotherapy, painful treatments, or the smells, sounds, and sights that go with them may trigger anxiety and fear in a patient who has cancer. In allergies, exposure to mold, pollen or dust may trigger sneezing, watery eyes and coughing.

trigger point acupuncture Use of acupuncture to treat pain by inserting needles into trigger points on the body. Trigger points are places on the body where injury has occurred, but the pain has been sent along nerves and is felt in another place in the body.

triiodothyronine A thyroid hormone. Also called liothyronine sodium or T-3.

trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole An antibiotic drug used to treat infection and prevent pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

trimetrexate glucuronate A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. It is used in the treatment of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

triptorelin A drug that is used to treat advanced prostate cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer. It belongs to the family of hormonal drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs. Also called Trelstar.

Trisenox A drug used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) that has not gotten better or that has come back after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Also called arsenic trioxide.

trophoblast A thin layer of cells that helps a developing embryo attach to the wall of the uterus, protects the embryo, and forms a part of the placenta.

tropisetron A substance that is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is not available in the United States. It belongs to the family of drugs called 5-HT3 receptor blockers.

troxacitabine A drug being studied for use as an anticancer agent.

true lavender A plant with aromatic leaves and flowers that is a member of the mint family. Oil from the flowers has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, to keep insects away and to wash in. It is also used in aromatherapy. Perillyl alcohol, a substance found in true lavender, is being studied in cancer prevention and treatment. The scientific name is Lavandula angustifolia. Also called lavender and English lavender.

TRUS Transrectal ultrasound. A procedure in which a probe that sends out high-energy sound waves is inserted into the rectum. The sound waves are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissue called a sonogram. TRUS is used to look for abnormalities in the rectum and nearby structures, including the prostate. Also called transrectal ultrasound, endorectal ultrasound, and ERUS.

trust A legal document in which a person states what is to be done with his or her property after death. There are many types of trusts, and a trust may take the place of a will.

TSEB therapy Total skin electron beam radiation therapy. A type of radiation therapy using electrons that is directed at the entire surface of the body. This type of radiation goes into the outer layers of the skin, but does not go deeper into tissues and organs below the skin. Also called total skin electron beam radiation therapy.

TSH Thyroid-stimulating hormone. A hormone produced by the pituitary gland. TSH stimulates the release of thyroid hormone from thyroglobulin. It also stimulates the growth of thyroid follicular cells. An abnormal TSH level may mean that the thyroid hormonal regulation system is out of control, usually as a result of a benign condition (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism). Also called thyroid-stimulating hormone.

tubal ligation An operation to tie the fallopian tubes closed. This procedure prevents pregnancy by blocking the passage of eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

tubefeeding A type of enteral nutrition (nutrition that is delivered into the digestive system in a liquid form). For tubefeeding, a small tube may be placed through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. Sometimes it is surgically placed into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen, depending on how long it will be used. People who are unable to meet their needs with food and beverages alone, and who do not have vomiting or uncontrollable diarrhea may be given tubefeedings. Tubefeeding can be used to add to what a person is able to eat or can be the only source of nutrition.

tuberculosis TB. A disease caused by a specific type of bacteria that spreads from one person to another through the air. Tuberculosis can affect many parts of the body, but most often affects the lungs. A person may not have symptoms of tuberculosis for years, but they may appear when the patient becomes ill with a serious condition like diabetes, AIDS, or cancer. Tuberculosis can usually be treated and cured with antibiotics. Also called TB.

tuberous sclerosis A genetic disorder in which benign (noncancerous) tumors form in the kidneys, brain, eyes, heart, lungs and skin. This disease can cause seizures, mental disabilities and different types of skin lesions.

tubulovillous adenoma A type of polyp that grows in the colon and other places in the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes in other parts of the body. These adenomas may become malignant (cancerous).

tui na (twee-nah) Chinese massage that uses kneading, pressing, rolling, shaking, and stretching of the body. Tui na is thought to regulate qi (vital energy) and blood flow, and improve the function of tendons, bones and joints.

tumor An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumors may be benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous). Also called neoplasm.

tumor antigen vaccine A vaccine made of cancer cells, parts of cancer cells, or pure tumor antigens (substances isolated from tumor cells). A tumor antigen vaccine may stimulate the body's immune system to find and kill cancer cells.

tumor board review A treatment planning approach in which a number of doctors who are experts in different specialties (disciplines) review and discuss the medical condition and treatment options of a patient. In cancer treatment, a tumor board review may include that of a medical oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with drugs), a surgical oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with surgery), and a radiation oncologist (who provides cancer treatment with radiation). Also called a multidisciplinary opinion.

tumor burden Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumor, or the amount of cancer in the body. Also called tumor load.

tumor debulking Surgically removing as much of the tumor as possible.

tumor infiltrating lymphocyte A white blood cell that has left the bloodstream and migrated into a tumor.

tumor initiation A process in which normal cells are changed so that they are able to form tumors. Substances that cause cancer can be tumor initiators.

tumor load Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumor, or the amount of cancer in the body. Also called tumor burden.

tumor marker A substance sometimes found in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A high level of tumor marker may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Examples of tumor markers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers), and PSA (prostate cancer). Also called biomarker.

tumor model Cells, tissues, or animals used to study the development and progression of cancer, and to test new treatments before they are given to humans. Animals with transplanted human tumors or other tissues are called xenograft models.

tumor necrosis factor TNF. A protein made by white blood cells in response to an antigen (substance that causes the immune system to make a specific immune response) or infection. TNF can also be made in the laboratory. It may boost a person’s immune response, and also may cause necrosis (cell death) of some types of tumor cells. TNF is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It is a type of cytokine. Also called TNF.

tumor promotion A process in which existing tumors are stimulated to grow. Tumor promoters are not able to cause tumors to form.

tumor suppressor gene A type of gene (unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring) that helps control cell growth. Blocking the action of tumor suppressor genes may lead to cancer.

tumor vasculature–targeted tumor necrosis factor alpha A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is made by linking tumor necrosis factor (TNF) to a peptide. The peptide binds to tumor blood vessels and TNF damages them. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called NGR-TNF.

tumor volume The size of a cancer measured by the amount of space taken up by the tumor. For example, the tumor volume of prostate cancer is the percentage of the prostate taken up by the tumor.

tumor-derived Taken from an individual's own tumor tissue; may be used in the development of a vaccine that enhances the body's ability to build an immune response to the tumor.

tumor-specific antigen A protein or other molecule that is unique to cancer cells or is much more abundant in them. These molecules are usually found in the plasma (outer) membrane, and they are thought to be potential targets for immunotherapy or other types of anticancer treatment.

TUR Surgery performed with a special instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called transurethral resection.

Turkish 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 rhubarb, da-huang, Chinese rhubarb and Indian rhubarb.

turmeric An East Indian plant that is a member of the ginger family and is used as a spice and food color. The underground stems are used in some cultures to treat certain stomach problems. The substance in turmeric that gives it a yellow color (curcumin) is being studied in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis and psoriasis. The scientific name is Curcuma longa. Also called Indian saffron and jiang huang.

TURP Transurethral resection of the prostate. A surgical procedure to remove tissue from the prostate using an instrument inserted through the urethra. Transurethral resection of the prostate.

TVS Transvaginal sonography. A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina that causes sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis. These sound waves create echoes that are sent to a computer, which creates a picture called a sonogram. Also called transvaginal ultrasound and transvaginal sonography.

Tykerb A drug used with another anticancer drug to treat breast cancer that is HER2 positive and has advanced or metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) after treatment with other drugs. Tykerb is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It is a type of ErbB-2 and EGFR dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Also called lapatinib, lapatinib ditosylate and GW572016.

tympanites Swelling of the abdomen caused by gas in the intestines or peritoneal cavity. Also called meteorism.

type 3 serotonin receptor antagonist A type of drug used to treat certain types of irritable bowel syndrome and relieve nausea and vomiting. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiemetics. Also called 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 receptor antagonist or 5-HT3 receptor antagonist.

type C thymoma A rare type of thymus gland cancer. It usually spreads, has a high risk of recurrence, and has a poor survival rate. Thymic carcinoma is divided into subtypes, depending on the types of cells in which the cancer began. Also called thymic carcinoma.

tyrosinase peptide A protein that is made from tumor cells and is used in a vaccine against melanoma. A tyrosinase peptide vaccine may stimulate the body's immune system to find and kill melanoma cells.

tyrosine kinase inhibitor A drug that interferes with cell communication and growth and may prevent tumor growth. Some tyrosine kinase inhibitors are used to treat cancer.

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Higley Road and US 60
2946 E. Banner Gateway Drive
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 256-6444
(855) 256-6444

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