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ESMO Patient Guides COVID19 1000x250


A painful collection of pus, usually caused by a bacterial infection

Adjuvant (treatment)

Additional treatment given after the primary treatment to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back; usually refers to radiotherapy and/or systemic therapy after surgery


A class of chemotherapy that includes epirubicin and doxorubicin


A medical procedure in which a small sample of cells or tissue is taken for examination under a microscope


A gene which, when mutated (not functioning properly), is associated with a very high risk of breast and ovarian cancer


A gene which, when mutated (not functioning properly), is associated with a very high risk of breast and ovarian cancer


A type of cancer treatment using medicine that kills the cancer cells by damaging them, so that they cannot reproduce and spread

Cyclin-dependent kinases 4/6 (CDK4/6)

Enzymes that drive cell proliferation


A type of chemotherapy that is administered through a drip into a vein in your arm or chest

Ducts (breast)

Tubes that carry milk to the nipple


A scan used to look at the heart and nearby blood vessels


A test that can be used to check your heart's rhythm and electrical activity


A type of chemotherapy that is administered through a drip into a vein in your arm or chest


Genes are pieces of DNA responsible for making substances that your body needs to function


Cancer grade is based on how different tumour cells look from normal cells under a microscope, and on how quickly they grow. The grade will be a value between one and three and reflects the aggressiveness of tumour cells; the higher the grade, the more aggressive the tumour


A protein involved in cell growth, which is found on some types of cancer cells, including breast

Invasive (breast cancer)

Cancer that has spread outside the ducts or lobules

Lobules (breast)

Glands that make milk

Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)

A protein involved in cell division and survival, which may be more active in some types of cancer cells than in normal cells


An x-ray of the breasts that can detect early breast cancers


Cancerous tumours that have originated from a primary tumour/growth in another part of the body


A permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene, such that the sequence differs from what is found in most people and alters the function of the related protein

Neoadjuvant (therapy)

Treatment given as a first step to shrink a tumour before the main treatment, which is usually surgery

Non-invasive (breast cancer)

Cancer that has not spread into healthy breast tissue


A hormone that helps to develop and maintain female sex characteristics


A gene that is responsible for making one piece of an enzyme called phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). PI3K is involved in many cellular activities including cell growth and cell division


A hormone that plays important roles in the menstrual cycle and in maintaining the early stages of pregnancy


Treatment involving the use of high-energy radiation, which is commonly used to treat cancer

Trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1)

Combination of trastuzumab and a chemotherapy drug called emtansine

Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)

A type of breast cancer that does not have receptors for oestrogen, progesterone or HER2


A lump or growth of abnormal cells. Tumours may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). In this guide, the term "tumour" refers to a cancerous growth, unless otherwise stated

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