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*Abbreviations* for all our Newbies

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 8821
Joined: Aug 2009

 AC - one of the five most common types of chemo given to women with BC. Iit's probably the MOST common drug combination given to women with node-negative (hasn't spread to your lymph nodes) cancer. AC includes two drugs: doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan).

AI - aromatase inhibitors

ADH - A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the lining of breast ducts and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having atypical ductal hyperplasia increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called ADH and atypical ductal breast hyperplasia. involvement

AKA - also known as

ALH - Atypical Lobular Hyperlasia - cells in the lobules that look different from normal cells, but aren't cancer and more cells than there should be.

AND - axillary node dissection

AWS - Axillary Web Syndrome; associated with Cording as a result of surgery/rads. Requires management by specialists in PT/ LE and myofascial release.

B9 (Not Cancer)

BC- Breast Cancer Bi-Lat (bilateral, Mastectomy of both breast)

BIRADS - Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System score. This indicates the radiologist's opinion of the absence or likelihood of breast cancer.

BM(x) - Bilateral Mastectomy BS - breast specialist/surgeon BTW - by the way... Bump - written to edit a thread up in the listings so someone can find it.

BWT - But what the.......!

CC - capsular contraction

CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) = a side effect of Adriamycin, Herceptin, Avastin and some other chemo drugs but it is not a common side effect. CHF occurs in <1% and 3-4% and 5-10% from Adriamycin, Avastin and Herceptin respectively. (Heart failure doesn't mean that your heart has stopped working, or has "failed." Heart failure means that the heart is not pumping blood through your body as well as it should.)

CMF (Cyclophosphamide Methotrexate Fluorouraci) - a commonly used regimen of breast cancer chemotherapy that combines three anti-cancer agents

CT scan - computerized tornography, used to image the structures of the budy, especially head, neck or trunk. DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ)

DD ~ Dose dense ,

Dear Daughter DH ~ Dear Husband

DIEP - deep inferior epigastric perforator: autologous (own tissue) transfer. a refined version of the TRAM flap

DIL - Daughter-in-law DP ~ Dear partner DS ~ Dear Son

Dx (Diagnosis)

DW~ Dear Wife

ER (Estrogen Receptive) estrogen receptor positive+ or negative-

FEC (flourouracil/epirubicin/cyclophosphamide) - combo that many Canadians, Brits and Aussies receive with one of the taxanes to follow

FIL ~ Father in law

FNA - fine needle aspiration

FWIW - for what it's worth

GCM - Glucosamine Chondroitin w/MSM (for relief of joint pain)

HER2 + or -, whether your tumor overexpresses the HER2 protein or not HT (Anti-hormone Therapy)

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)

Hx - history

IBC (Inflamatory Breast Cancer)

IDC (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma)

IDK - I don't know (something we all said first time diagnosed)

ILC (Invasive Lobular Carcinoma)

IMF, infra-mammary fold, the crease/fold under the breast

IM(H)O - in my (humble) opinion (with or without the ‘humble')

KWIM......."know what I mean".

LAVH - laparoscropic assisted vaginal hysterectomy - a surgical procedure using a laparoscope to guide the removal of the uterus and/or Fallopian tubes and ovaries through the vagina (birth canal

LCIS (Lobular Carcinoma In Situ)

LD flap - Latissimus Dorsi Flap

LE ~ Lymphedema Lump (Lumpectomy)

Lt ~ Left Mast (Mastectomy)

Med Onc (MO) - medical oncologist

Mets (Metastasis)

Mil ~ Mother in law

MLD - manual lymph drainage

Mojo ~ Sex , or lack of MPBC -

Metaplastic Breast Cancer (not to be confused with metastatic breast cancer) - an aggresive rare form of breast cancer. See thread of the same name under "Just Diagnosed"

MRSA - Methcillin-resistant Staphyloccus Aureua, a bacterium that causes an infection that is hard to treat and the bane of women who have had surgery, expecially for breast reconstruction (worth googling for more information)

MX - Mastectomy

NAC - A skin-sparing mastectomy will be performed with preservation of the nipple-areolar complex (NAC).

NB = Navelbine Navelbine is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug

NED (No evidence of Disease

NP - Nurse practitioner

NSM - nipple sparing masectomy

ODAAT ~ One day at a time Omph (or Ooph) ~

ONC ~ Oncologist path=pathology

PBM - prophylactic bilateral mastectomy

PCP - Primary Care Physician

PE - pleural effusion or pulmonary embolism (an example of when you need to chedk with your medical team)

PET scan - Positron Emission Tornography, used to image metabolically active cells, such as cancer cells.

PET-CT scan - a combination of PET and CT which superimposes the matebolically active cells that ‘light up' on the bodily structures so that the radiologist is reading a single image.

PFC = Perfluorinated compounds - suspected carcinogen. See Pg 5 of this thread for link (note I have not checked the reliability of the source)

PICC - peripherally inserted central catheter. When used (occasionally) for chemo, it is sometimes known as an "arm port". More often used for IV antibiotics such as may be required for MRSA and other serious bacterial infections.

PILC - pleomorphic invasive lobular carcinoma

PM - private message

PPI = proton pump inhibitor (the mechanism of action of drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, etc.

PR (Progesterone Receptive) progesterone receptor positive+ or negative-

PS ~ Plastic Surgeon

QOL - quality of life

RADS - Radiation; Radiotherapy Rad onc(

RO - Radiation oncologist

RS - Recurrent Score

ROFLOL - rolling on floor laughing out loud Rt ~

Right SE ~ Side Effects

SNB - sentinel node biopsy

SOB - short of breath

SOH - sense of humor

SX can be used as an abbreviation for 'surgery', or 'symptoms'. http://www.globalrph.com/abbrev_rst.htm

SP - status post

TAH-BSO - Total Abdominal Hysterectomy - Bilateral Salingo Oopherectomu (uterus, cervix, tubes and ovaries removed)

TCH - taxotere, carboplatin, herceptin

TE - temporary expanders or tissue expanders

TIA - thanks in advance

TM = tumor markers

TN (Triple Negative) In regards to negative status for ER/PR and Her2neu status

TMI-Too much information

TRAM flap - Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous flap

TX - treatment

WNL= Within normal limits

Additional info (thanks Leaf) to consider: There can be multiple meanings for some abbreviations in medicine. For example, PE is also an abbreviation for pulmonary embolism. (Tamoxifen users are at increased risk for pulmonary embolism.) One acquaintence with a congenital heart defect (CHD) didn't believe me when I told her that CHD is more commonly an abbreviation for coronary heart disease. In medical notes, you often have to look at the context. With some abbreviations, it can be difficult. Hope this helps! Vicki Sam

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2012

Wow thanks-- I found this very helpful! I'm also quite disconcerted that, as a newbie, I've already learned many of these and can use them accurately and self-referentially. Annie

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 8821
Joined: Aug 2009

funny how a few acronyms help us feel in control of our diagnosis, and medical
treatment plans.

Vicki Sam

Lynne Logan's picture
Lynne Logan
Posts: 105
Joined: Jul 2011

Thanks, this is so helpful for the ones I haven't figured out. I didn't think I'd need to learn more but this will come in handy the second time around.
Love to you,

Frankie Shannon
Posts: 457
Joined: Oct 2011

How in heavens name did you learn all these i will never remember them.
Hugs Frankie

camul's picture
Posts: 2256
Joined: Dec 2010

I wondred wht some pf these were. Thanks so much this is reLly helpfull.


MsGebby's picture
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

What does OT mean? I see that often in discussion threads

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 8821
Joined: Aug 2009

normally relates to a topic not about cancer ...

Vicki Sam

Lighthouse_7's picture
Posts: 1566
Joined: Jan 2010

Wow Vicki Sam! A wealth of knowledge my friend!
It's always great to read your posts. This one is very helpful.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2015

Maybe Occupational Therapist...just a guess?


Posts: 3556
Joined: Aug 2009

A/C - according to you is - for "node negative (hasn't spread to your lymph nodes) cancer". My IBC was in lymph nodes (usual for IBC) and I started with A/C so guess my Dr didn't know that it wasn't the right thing to start with almost 3 yrs ago..

T - Taxol .

PA - Physician Assistant

Lighthouse_7's picture
Posts: 1566
Joined: Jan 2010

I also started with A/C then Taxol. Thus called ACT.
I had 8 positive nodes. Who knows, they might have changed how they
administer chemo since so much research is done.

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

Bumping Up for Newbies

One more: NEAD (No Evidence of Active Disease) instead of NED (No Evidence of Disease).  Newer terminology.  Just a way of saying, especially for us Stage 4 Lifers, that there may be disease, but it is not currently active. 

Posts: 1129
Joined: Dec 2010

Bumping up for even more newbies!

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

Bumping up

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

Bumping up for newbies.

Pixie Dust's picture
Pixie Dust
Posts: 351
Joined: Jan 2014

Vicki Sam, A job well done. Wish you were my ONC.

CypressCynthia's picture
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Joined: Oct 2009

Bumping up!  

bonbondidit's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: Jul 2014

Thank you for the fabulous info. I am a newbie as of 7/3/2014. IDC and DCIS. Going for the bi-lateral and node removal in the axillary area. I seriously appreciate this info. My surgery will be within the next week or two. The wait is freaking me out but I understand all the steps are necessary.




Thank you!!!!


CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

We are so glad to welcome you into this club - one that you would not choose to belong to, but one where you will find lots of support, encouragement and help.

Now, I have to teach you about the Pink Bus.  When you are having a test, surgery or anything special here and you need a little extra support, entitle your post "Pink Bus for...."  The Pink Bus is an imaginary bus full of Kindred Spirits (what we call each other) who happily accompany you to any stressful event.  You will be provided with real support, which may actually be cyber handholding and supportive cyber jokesters, but, trust me, you will somehow really and truly feel the Kindreds with you at the surgery and it will give you strength.  I don't question it anymore - it works for me!

So, please know, I will be on the Pink Bus with you for your surgery.  Let me know the date and I will be sending extra cyber hugs, prayers, positive thoughts, etc. that day.   I will bring along cafe au lait and beignets (a New Orleans gal) and will be covered in powdered sugar. Wink  Good luck!!!!

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

Bumping up for newbies

Puffin2014's picture
Posts: 363
Joined: Jun 2014

I didn't know about the Pink Bus, thanks for the explanation!

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 8821
Joined: Aug 2009

bumping up for our newbie's.

GlowMore's picture
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Joined: Feb 2008


I can barely remember my own name.........  and when I'm reading all this stuff about this DREAD DISEASE....to add all the Abbreviations just adds to the stress as far as I'm concerned.   But hey....that's just me..........

Puffin2014's picture
Posts: 363
Joined: Jun 2014

bumping topic up

Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2015

very helpful - I was struggling with some of the abbreviations. Thanks!

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 8821
Joined: Aug 2009

i find this list helpful as Medical Staff talk in code - hahaha


Vicki Sam

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 8821
Joined: Aug 2009

bumping up for our New Sisters in PINK

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