A pocket of pus that forms as the body's defenses attempt to
wall off infection-causing germs.
A cancer that develops in gland-forming
tissue. Most breast cancers are adenocarcinomas.
Drugs or gases that produce complete or
partial loss of feeling or sensation. Local anesthetics numb a
specific (local) part of the body. General anesthetics produce a
state of unconsciousness and eliminate pain sensation throughout
The colored tissue that encircles the nipple.
Removing fluid from a cyst or cells from a
mass, using a needle and syringe.
Cells that are both abnormal
(atypical) and increased in number. Benign microscopic breast
changes known as atypical hyperplasia moderately increase a woman's
risk of developing breast cancer.
Not cancerous; cannot invade neighboring tissues
or spread to other parts of the body.
Benign breast conditions:
Noncancerous changes in the
breast. Benign breast conditions can cause pain, lumpiness, nipple
discharge, and other problems.
The removal of a sample of tissue or cells for
examination under a microscope for purposes of diagnosis.
Breast self-exam (BSE):
A method for checking one's own
breasts for changes in the way they look or the way they feel.
Small deposits of calcium in tissue,
which are visible on mammograms.
A general name for more than 100 diseases in
which abnormal cells grow out of control. Cancer cells can invade
and destroy healthy tissues, and they can spread through the
bloodstream and the lymphatic system to other parts of the
Cancer that begins in tissues lining or
covering the surfaces (epithelial tissues) of organs, glands, or
other body structures. Most cancers are carcinomas. (See
Carcinoma in situ:
Cancer that is confined to the cells
where it began, and has not spread into surrounding tissues. (See
The use of drugs or vitamins to prevent
cancer in people who have precancerous conditions or a high risk of
cancer, or to prevent the recurrence of cancer in people who
already have been treated for it.
Computed tomography (CT) scanning:
An imaging technique
that uses a computer to organize the information from multiple
x-ray views and construct a cross-sectional image of areas inside
Core needle biopsy:
The use of a small cutting needle to
remove a core of tissue for microscopic examination.
Cyclic breast changes:
Normal tissue changes that occur
in response to the changing levels of female hormone during the
menstrual cycle. Cyclic breast changes can produce swelling,
tenderness, and pain.
Fluid-filled sac. Breast cysts are benign.
The use of mammography to
evaluate the breasts of a woman who has symptoms of disease, such
as a lump, or whose screening mammogram shows an abnormality.
A channel that carries body fluids. Breast ducts
transport milk from the breast's lobules out to the nipple.
A technique that uses emissions from
radioactive tracers to construct images of the distribution of the
tracers in the human body.
A female hormone. Estrogen is involved in
breast development and may help some types of breast cancer to
The surgical removal (excision) of an
abnormal area of tissue, usually along with a margin of healthy
tissue, for microscopic examination. Excisional biopsies in the
breast remove the entire lump.
Lumps of fatty material that form in
response to a bruise or blow to the breast (or surgery or radiation
Benign breast tumor made up of both
structural (fibro) and glandular (adenoma) tissues.
See Generalized breast
The use of a slender needle to
remove fluid from a cyst or clusters of cells from a solid
A sliver of frozen biopsy tissue. A
frozen section provides a quick preliminary diagnosis but is not
100 percent reliable.
Generalized breast lumpiness:
Breast irregularities and
lumpiness, commonplace and noncancerous. Sometimes called
"fibrocystic disease" or "benign breast disease."
An alteration in a section of a
Hormone replacement therapy:
medications taken to offset the symptoms and other effects of the
hormone loss that accompanies menopause.
Chemicals produced by various glands in the
body, which produce specific effects on specific target organs and
Excessive growth of cells. Several types of
benign breast conditions involve hyperplasia.
The surgical removal of a portion of
an abnormal area of tissue, by cutting into (incising) it, for
Invasion of body tissues by microorganisms
such as bacteria and viruses.
The body's protective response to injury
(including infection). Inflammation is marked by heat, redness,
swelling, pain, and loss of function.
A small wartlike growth that
projects into a breast duct.
Cancer that spreads into and destroys
A technique using laser beams and camera
imaging to scan the body's tissue.
Lobes, lobules, bulbs:
Each of the breast's 15 to 20
lobes branches into smaller lobules, and each lobule ends in scores
of tiny bulbs. The bulbs produce milk which is carried by ducts to
The use of mammography to locate
tissue containing an abnormality that can be detected only on
mammograms, so it can be removed for microscopic examination.
The tissues and organs that produce,
store, and transport cells that fight infection and disease.
Coarse calcium deposits typically
associated with benign breast conditions.
Cancerous. Can invade surrounding tissues and
spread to other parts of the body.
Mammary duct ectasia:
A benign breast condition in which
ducts beneath the nipple become dilated and sometimes inflamed, and
which can cause pain and nipple discharge.
An x-ray of the breast.
Infection of the breast. Mastitis is most often
seen in nursing mothers.
The time when a woman's monthly menstrual
periods cease. Menopause is sometimes called the "change of
The monthly discharge, during a woman's
reproductive years, of blood and tissues from the uterus.
The spread of cancer, through the bloodstream
or the lymphatic system, from one part of the body to another.
A small deposit of calcium in the
breast, which can show up on a mammogram. Certain patterns of
microcalcifications are sometimes a sign of breast cancer.
(Magnetic Resonance Imaging). A technique that uses a
powerful magnet linked to a computer to create detailed pictures of
areas inside the body.
Use of a needle to extract cells or bits
of tissue for microscopic examination.
Fluid coming from the nipple.
A growth made up of cells that are
cancerous in appearance, but which has not spread into neighboring
tissues. Noninvasive breast cancers are known as ductal carcinoma
in situ and lobular carcinoma in situ.
Nonpalpable breast abnormalities:
Changes in breast
tissue that can be seen on mammograms but which cannot be felt.
Biopsy and surgical treatment
combined into a single operation.
Use of the fingers to press body surfaces, to
feel tissues and organs underneath. Palpating the breast for lumps
is a cornerstone of physical breast examination and BSE.
A doctor who diagnoses disease by studying
cells and tissues under a microscope.
Biopsy tissue specially prepared and
mounted on slides so that it can be examined under a microscope by
Surgery to remove a breast that
is not known to contain breast cancer for the purpose of
eliminating cancer risk.
A unit of measure for radiation. It stands for
radiation absorbed dose.
Energy carried by waves or by streams of
particles. Various forms of radiation can be used in low doses to
diagnose disease and in high doses to treat disease. (See
A doctor with special training in the use of
x-rays (and related technologies such as ultrasound) to image body
tissues and to treat disease.
Reappearance of cancer at the same site
(local recurrence), near the original site (regional recurrence),
or in other areas of the body (metastasis).
Conditions or agents that increase a
person's chances of getting cancer. Risk factors do not necessarily
cause cancer; rather, they are indicators, statistically associated
with an increase in risk.
A benign breast disease that
involves the excessive growth of tissues in the breast's
Looking for signs of disease such as cancer in
people who are symptom-free.
The image produced by ultrasound.
An x-ray of tissue that has been
surgically removed (surgical specimen).
A technique that employs
three-dimensional x-ray to pinpoint a specific target area. It is
used in conjunction with needle biopsy of nonpalpable breast
See Excisional biopsy and Incisional
A hormonally related drug that has been used
to treat breast cancer and is being tested as a possible
An abnormal growth of tissue. Tumors may be either
benign or cancerous.
Substance in blood or other body fluids
that may serve as indicators for the presence of cancer.
Biopsy and treatment done in two
stages, usually a week or two apart.
The use of sound waves to produce images of
A high-energy form of radiation. X-rays form an
image of body structures by traveling through the body and striking
a sheet of film. Breast x-rays are called mammograms.