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Abbreviations --- for our New Sisters in PINK :)

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009

*Please note: There can be multiple meanings for some abbreviations in medicine.

In medical notes, you often have to look at the context. With some
abbreviations, it can be difficult.

My List is meant to be used as a reference only:

AC - one of the five most common types of chemo given to women with BC. It'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 - Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia-no apparent involvement of surgical margins.

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

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) ~ Ovary removal
ONC ~ Oncologist
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

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'.

SP - status post

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

TCH - taxotere, carboplatin, herceptin

T -- Taxol

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

Hope this helps!

Vicki Sam

Posts: 191
Joined: Jun 2012

Now if only I can remember them :)


Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

You can probably copy and paste the list in your computer's Word (or equivalent) program and then print it off -- or you probably could just print this page off, if you want.

Posts: 3644
Joined: Aug 2009

MLD - Mannual Lymphatic Drainage - massage program/techniques to help with draining LE (LymphEdema). There are also machines that dop MLD.

PA - Physician's Assistant

Seroma - an area of fluid build up after surgery

Day or night garments - sleeves/gloves that use compression to help manage LE. Day are active, night are passive.

Pros - prosthesis

Posts: 92
Joined: Sep 2012

I have to google those abbreviations alot. And I have to admit, sometimes I just skipped the post altogether because there were too many of them and I didn't know what the heck the person was saying. I have gone through the chemo, lumpectomy and now facing radiation and I just can't get the jargon down. Maybe because my doctors don't talk much. I am still confused as to what I even have.

Thanks Vicki!

Kat11's picture
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

Hey Vicki, I had AC and I had Nodes Pos, now the rest of the list there is know way I would remember this your going to scare the newbies off. LOL

Posts: 92
Joined: Sep 2012

LOL= Land o' Lakes ?

That's what my daughter used to tell her ignorant mother a long time ago.

Posts: 3644
Joined: Aug 2009

It was known that I had positive nodes and I did A/C neoadjuvant.

Winyan - The Power Within


PS to newbies
Neoadjuvant is chemo done before surgery to shrink and/or try to get good margins.

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

Vicki Sam... these abbreviations are so helpful. The medical lingo can be so overwhelming to someone newly diagnosed with cancer. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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