Adenocarcinoma--A form of cancer that involves the cells lining the walls of many different organs in the body.

Adjuvant Treatment--Treatment that is added to increase effectiveness of a primary therapy. In cancer, adjuvant treatment usually refers to chemotherapy or radiotherapy administered after surgery to increase the likelihood of cure.

Androgen--A male sex hormone. Androgens may be used in patients with breast cancer to treat recurrence of the disease.

Antibiotic--A substance derived from a mold or bacteria that can be used to treat diseases. Penicillin is the most familiar type used to treat infection. Certain special antibiotics are effective drugs in cancer chemotherapy.

Antibody--A protein in the blood that fights against an invading foreign agent (antigen). Each antibody works against a particular antigen.

Antigen--A foreign agent that stimulates the formation of antibodies in the body.

Antimetabolites--Anticancer drugs that interfere with the processes of DNA production, and thus prevent cell division.

Asymptomatic--Without obvious signs or symptoms of disease. Cancer may cause symptoms or warning signs, but, especially in its early stages, cancer may develop and grow without producing symptoms. Cancer detection tests attempt to discover it at an early, asymptomatic stage when the chances for cure are highest. (See Screening)

Atypical--Not usual; abnormal. For example, cancer is the result of atypical cell division.

Axilla--The armpit. Lymph glands in the armpit are called the axillary nodes. Certain cancers, such as breast cancer, spread to the axillary nodes. Axillary Iymph nodes are usually removed by surgery to determine if breast cancer is present and if treatment with chemotherapy is necessary.


The Unwanted Passenger
by Carolyn Vachani, MSN, RN, AOCN
May 19, 2016