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terms and abbreviations...

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Another post on the CRC board...from trainer...GREAT info!!!!

As a fairly new Semicolon, I'm still trying to get a handle on all the shorthand used in messages here. So I was pleased to find this list of terms and abbreviations on The Colon Club site. If you see any errors in this list, please point them out. Hope this list is helpful to others:

Many people new to this disease and new to this board can get lost in the alphabet soup of the terminology. It's almost impossible to read an abstract of a clinical trial without some of these terms and abbreviations.
So here's a start for translation. Hopefully others will augment and amend as necessary:

DX - diagnosis
TX - treatment
PX - prognosis
OS - overall survival
PFS - progression free survival - used to describe the time that a patient is stable, or showing no worsening/progression of the disease
DFS - disease free survival - used to describe the time that a patient is NED
NED - no evidence of disease
MRD - minimal residual disease
LN - Lymph node
PSD - peritoneal surface disease - means that the cancer has spread to the chest cavity and is on the surface of the organs rather than within the organs
HIPEC - heated chemotherapy used to wash out the peritoneal/abdominal cavity
Met - metastasis
Lesion - something fishy, usually a tumor
Neoplastic process - potentially cancerous activity
Imaging - generally some type of scan or X-ray
PS - Performance Status - a term used to describe your overall ability to function, dressing yourself, eating, physical activity, etc.

Bevacizumab (Avastin) - a drug used to stop new blood vessels from forming
Anti-angiogenesis - the process of stopping new blood vessels from forming
VEGF - Vascular endothelial growth factor - the part of the cancer cell dealing with new blood vessel formation

Peripheral Neuropathy - a side effect of chemotherapy in which the nerves in your extremities are damaged and you experience numbness and some loss of use of your hands and feet

Anti-emetic - any kind of drug that is used to combat nausea and vomiting

Blood work - I'm punting on that one!

Adjuvant - chemo treatment that follows surgical removal of all the cancer they can find -- it generally refers to treatment done when the patient is presumably cancer free
Neo-adjuvant - chemo that is done prior to surgery both to potentially shrink any known lesions and also to offer some systemic treatment to prevent new lesions from cropping up

Resection - surgically removing a big chunk of something - like your colon or your liver. It offers the best potential for a curative surgery because they can usually take out the cancer, and also some buffer zone tissue which is referred to as the "margin."

Margins - the amount of cancer free tissue surrounding the tumor - they determine this when the resected tissue is sent to the pathology lab
Radial margin - the amount of chest wall that was left cancer free

RFA - Radio Frequency Ablation - this is a localized treatment for tumors where a probe is inserted into the tumor and heated with radio waves to cook the cancer to death. It is often done when the lesions in question cannot be resected for some reason.
Cryoablation - same idea as RFA, but they freeze the tumor instead of cooking it

I'm pasting in stuff from others' posts

ADL = activities of daily life (eating, dressing, showering, etc.)
MBC = metastatic breast cancer
TNM = an attempt at universal staging evaluation that attempts to unify across countries analysis tumors and extent of spread of disease. T refers to tumor and can be modified X-4, N refers to node involvement and is modified X-2 and M refers to metastasis to distant organs, modified X, 1 or 0. The number that follows T or N indicates severity; X indicates it can't be assessed yet, and the number that follows M indicates presence (X for not assessed, 1 for present, 0 for not present.). It will be types out as TnNnMn.
T4N2M1 means tumor spread to distant organs, node involvement to 4 or more regional lymph nodes, mets-yes and is equal to a Stage IV diagnosis. More explanation of the TNM system: http://cancerstaging.blogspot.com/2005/ ... ectum.html

CBC: Complete blood count, including both hematology and serum chemistry analysis. Hematology can usually be run quickly, and checks things like white counts and red blood cell counts. Serum chem analysis takes longer (the machine runs more slowly.)

TPN = total parenteral nutrition, or nutrient liquid delivered via IV or PICC line.

CR = Complete response to chemotherapy
PR = Partial response to chemotherapy
PD = Progressive disease while on chemotherapy

Refractory - resistant or unresponsive to various chemotherapy treatments

onc = our little term to mean oncologist

palliative = treatments necessary to make patient more comfortable or have less pain

I 'weeded out' some terms specific to colorectal cancer, but still some may have slipped through. Any additions would be GREAT!

Hugs, Kathi

RE's picture
Posts: 4644
Joined: Feb 2004

Good morning Kathi, heh thanks for the info. I've been around for awhile and just the other day someone used NED in chat and I was mystified! Hope your day is a lovely one.


chenheart's picture
Posts: 5180
Joined: Apr 2003


Thanks for the Glossary....quite a labor of love you performed!


Eil4186's picture
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Thanks Kathi for taking the time to do this for us!

mmontero38's picture
Posts: 1532
Joined: Dec 2007

Thanks Kathi. These abbreviations were great. Hugs, Lili

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I thought I'd bring this back to the top,

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2008

Thank you for putting this up!

Hope all is well!

carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

bumping this up for the newbies

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009

new everyday ... Thank you for bumping this up ...

Vicki Sam

outdoorgirl's picture
Posts: 1569
Joined: Apr 2009

that is awesome-thanks for all the time and work that went into that for everyone!

carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

Bumping up again for the newbies!

Posts: 50
Joined: Oct 2010

another post. Thank you for the information I have copied and pasted it to a word document so that I will have it for the future.

heidijez's picture
Posts: 441
Joined: Mar 2010

i love how someone answers the questions that i didn't even realize i had!!! very helpful, i will print out and put in my journal for future reference!

carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

thanks to kathi!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I WAS a 'newbie'....well, sort of...ROFL!

Glad it's helping!

Thank you, my dear, for the bump...such kind thinking for all of the new ones...it CAN be confusing!!!

Hugs, Kathi

Bella Luna's picture
Bella Luna
Posts: 1579
Joined: Aug 2009

Kathi... Thank You so Much for breaking all the medical lingo for Us! This is so helpful. I am going to save this under favorites!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Hugs, Kathi

Sher43009's picture
Posts: 602
Joined: Nov 2009

In Dec. 2008 I was not aware I'd ever need this list.

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I was not fortunate enough to find this site during my first cancer, but did during my second....

I have met so many wonderful people....some in cyber space, some in 'real' space!!!

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

Bumping up for Pat and other newcomers with questions on abbreviations

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

But it seems many of these are still popping up for me....


LTS....a new one for me......Long Term Survival.


Hugs, Kathi

lynn1950's picture
Posts: 2574
Joined: Jun 2008

I'm bumping this up for newer members.  Hope it helps.  xoxoxo Lynn

New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

Great resources 

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