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Cancer Glossary - R

R115777  
An anticancer drug that inhibits the transformation of normal cells to cancer cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors.
rabies  
A disease of the nervous system caused by the rabies virus. Rabies is marked by an increase in saliva production, abnormal behavior, and eventual paralysis and death.
radiation  
Energy released in the form of particles or electromagnetic waves. Common sources of radiation include radon gas, cosmic rays from outer space, and medical x-rays.
radiation fibrosis  (ray-dee-AY-shun fye-BRO-sis)
The formation of scar tissue as a result of radiation therapy.
radiation nurse  
A health professional who specializes in caring for people who are receiving radiation therapy.
radiation oncologist  (ray-dee-AY-shun on-KOL-o-jist)
A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.
radiation physicist  
A person who makes sure that the radiation machine delivers the right amount of radiation to the correct site in the body. The physicist works with the radiation oncologist to choose the treatment schedule and dose that has the best chance of killing the most cancer cells.
radiation surgery  
A radiation therapy technique that delivers radiation directly to the tumor while sparing the healthy tissue. Also called radiosurgery and stereotactic external beam irradiation.
radiation therapist  
A health professional who gives radiation treatment.
radiation therapy  (ray-dee-AY-shun)
The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiotherapy.
radical cystectomy  (RAD-ih-kal sis-TEK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the bladder as well as nearby tissues and organs.
radical lymph node dissection  
A surgical procedure to remove most or all of the lymph nodes that drain lymph from the area around a tumor. The lymph nodes are then examined under a microscope to see if cancer cells have spread to them.
radical mastectomy  (RAD-ih-kal mas-TEK-toe-mee)
Surgery for breast cancer in which the breast, chest muscles, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm are removed. For many years, this was the operation most used, but it is used now only when the tumor has spread to the chest muscles. Also called the Halsted radical mastectomy.
radical prostatectomy  (RAD-ih-kal pros-ta-TEK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the entire prostate. The two types of radical prostatectomy are retropubic prostatectomy and perineal prostatectomy.
radioactive  (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv)
Giving off radiation.
radioactive drugs  
Drugs containing a radioactive substance that are used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in pain management of bone metastases. Also called radiopharmaceuticals.
radioactive fallout  (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv)
Airborne radioactive particles that fall to the ground during and after an atomic bombing, nuclear weapons test, or nuclear plant accident.
radioactive iodine  (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv EYE-uh-dine)
A radioactive form of iodine, often used for imaging tests or as a treatment for cancer. For imaging tests, the patient takes a small amount of radioactive iodine by mouth, and it collects in the thyroid. A probe is used to scan the thyroid. For treatment, the patient takes a large dose of radioactive iodine, which kills thyroid cells.
radiofrequency ablation  
The use of electrodes to heat and destroy abnormal tissue.
radioimmunoguided surgery  
A procedure that uses radiolabeled substances to detect tumors for surgical removal.
radioimmunotherapy  
Treatment with a radioactive substance that is linked to an antibody that will attach to the tumor when injected into the body.
radioisotope  
An unstable element that releases radiation as it breaks down. Radioisotopes can be used in imaging tests or as a treatment for cancer.
radiolabeled  
Any compound that has been joined with a radioactive substance.
radiologist  (RAY-dee-OL-o-jist)
A doctor who specializes in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are produced with x-rays, sound waves, or other types of energy.
radiology  
The use of radiation (such as x-rays) or other imaging technologies (such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose or treat disease.
radionuclide scanning  
A test that produces pictures (scans) of internal parts of the body. The person is given an injection or swallows a small amount of radioactive material; a machine called a scanner then measures the radioactivity in certain organs.
radiopharmaceuticals  
Drugs containing a radioactive substance that are used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in pain management of bone metastases. Also called radioactive drugs.
radiosensitization  
The use of a drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.
radiosensitizers  
Drugs that make tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.
radiosurgery  
A radiation therapy technique that delivers radiation directly to the tumor while sparing the healthy tissue. Also called radiation surgery and stereotactic external beam irradiation.
radiotherapy  (RAY-dee-o-THER-a-pee)
The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiation therapy.
radon  (RAY-don)
A radioactive gas that is released by uranium, a substance found in soil and rock. Breathing in too much radon can damage lung cells and lead to lung cancer.
raloxifene  
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and is used in the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Raloxifene is also being studied as a cancer prevention drug.
raltitrexed  
An anticancer drug that inhibits tumor cells from multiplying by interfering with cells' ability to make DNA. Also called ICI D1694.
randomized  
Describes an experiment or clinical trial in which animal or human subjects are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments.
randomized clinical trial  
A study in which the participants are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments; neither the researchers nor the participants can choose which group. Using chance to assign people to groups means that the groups will be similar and that the treatments they receive can be compared objectively. At the time of the trial, it is not known which treatment is best. It is the patient's choice to be in a randomized trial.
rapid-onset opioid  
An opioid that relieves pain quickly.
ras gene  
A gene that has been found to cause cancer when it is altered (mutated). Agents that block its activity may stop the growth of cancer. A ras peptide is a protein fragment produced by the ras gene.
RBC  
Red blood cell. RBCs carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
rebeccamycin  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastic antibiotics.
receptor  
A molecule inside or on the surface of a cell that binds to a specific substance and causes a specific physiologic effect in the cell.
recombinant  
Made through genetic engineering, which is also called gene splicing or recombinant DNA technology. By putting human genes into the genetic material of bacteria or yeast cells, these microorganisms can be turned into "factories" to make human proteins for medical uses.
reconstructive surgeon  
A doctor who can surgically reshape or rebuild (reconstruct) a part of the body, such as a woman's breast after surgery for breast cancer.
reconstructive surgery  
Surgery that is done to reshape or rebuild (reconstruct) a part of the body changed by previous surgery.
rectal  
By or having to do with the rectum. The rectum is the last 6 inches of the large intestine and ends at the anus.
rectum  
The last 6 inches of the large intestine.
recur  
To occur again.
recurrence  
The return of cancer, at the same site as the original (primary) tumor or in another location, after the tumor had disappeared.
recurrent cancer  
Cancer that has returned, at the same site as the original (primary) tumor or in another location, after the tumor had disappeared.
red blood cells  
RBCs. Cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called erythrocytes.
red date  
The fruit of the jujube plant. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems.
Reed-Sternberg cell  
A type of cell that appears in people with Hodgkin's disease. The number of these cells increases as the disease advances.
reflux  
The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.
refractory cancer  
Cancer that has not responded to treatment.
regimen  
A treatment plan that specifies the dosage, the schedule, and the duration of treatment.
regional  
In oncology, describes the body area right around a tumor.
regional cancer  
Refers to cancer that has grown beyond the original (primary) tumor to nearby lymph nodes or organs and tissues.
regional chemotherapy  (kee-mo-THER-a-pee)
Treatment with anticancer drugs directed to a specific area of the body.
regional enteritis  
Inflammation of the intestines, but usually only of the small intestine. Regional enteritis increases the risk for developing colon cancer. Also called Crohn's disease.
regional lymph node  
In oncology, a lymph node that drains lymph from the region around a tumor.
regional lymph node dissection  
A surgical procedure to remove some of the lymph nodes that drain lymph from the area around a tumor. The lymph nodes are then examined under a microscope to see if cancer cells have spread to them.
regression  
A decrease in the size of a tumor or in the extent of cancer in the body.
relapse  
The return of signs and symptoms of cancer after a period of improvement.
relative survival rate  
A specific measurement of survival. For cancer, the rate is calculated by adjusting the survival rate to remove all causes of death except cancer. The rate is determined at specific time intervals, such as 2 years and 5 years after diagnosis.
relaxation techniques  
Methods used to reduce tension and anxiety, and control pain.
remission  
A decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although there still may be cancer in the body.
remission induction therapy  
The initial chemotherapy a person receives to bring about a remission.
remote brachytherapy  
A type of internal radiation treatment in which the radioactive source is removed between treatments. Also called high-dose-rate remote brachytherapy or high-dose-rate remote radiation therapy.
renal capsule  
The fibrous connective tissue that surrounds each kidney.
renal cell cancer  
Cancer that develops in the lining of the renal tubules, which filter the blood and produce urine.
renal fascia  
A fibrous envelope of tissue that surrounds the kidney. Also called Gerota's fascia.
renal pelvis  
The area at the center of the kidney. Urine collects here and is funneled into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.
renal tubular acidosis  (REE-nal TOO-bu-lar as-ih-DO-sis)
A rare disorder in which structures in the kidney that filter the blood are impaired, producing urine that is more acid than normal.
replicate  
To make a copy or duplicate of something.
replication cycle  
In biology, refers to the reproduction cycle of viruses. A repliction cycle begins with the infection of a host cell and ends with the release of mature progeny virus particles.
reproductive cells  
Egg and sperm cells. Each mature reproductive cell carries a single set of 23 chromosomes.
reproductive system  
In women, this system includes the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus (womb), the cervix, and the vagina (birth canal). The reproductive system in men includes the prostate, the testes, and the penis.
resectable  (ree-SEK-tuh-bull)
Part or all of an organ that can be removed with surgery.
resected  
Surgical removal of part or all of an organ.
resection  (ree-SEK-shun)
Removal of tissue or part or all of an organ by surgery.
residual disease  
Cancer cells that remain after attempts to remove the cancer have been made.
resistance  
Failure of a cancer to shrink after treatment.
respiratory syncytial virus  
RSV. A virus that causes respiratory infections with cold-like symptoms.
respiratory system  (RES-pih-ra-tor-ee)
The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.Also known as the respiratory tract.
respiratory therapy  (RES-pih-ra-tor-ee)
Exercises and treatments that help improve or restore lung function.
respiratory tract  
The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.Also known as the respiratory system.
response  
In medicine, an improvement related to treatment.
response rate  
The percentage of patients whose cancer shrinks or disappears after treatment.
resting  
In biology, refers to a cell that is not dividing.
retinoblastoma  
An eye cancer that most often occurs in children younger than 5 years. It occurs in hereditary and nonhereditary (sporadic) forms.
retinoid  
Vitamin A or a vitamin A-like compound.
retinol  
Vitamin A. It is essential for proper vision and healthy skin and mucous membranes. Retinol is being studied for cancer prevention; it belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.
retinyl palmitate  
A drug being studied in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.
retroperitoneal  (RET-row-PAIR-ih-toe-NEE-ul)
Having to do with the area outside or behind the peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen).
retropubic prostatectomy  (re-tro-PYOO-bik pros-ta-TEK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made in the abdominal wall.
retrospective  
Looking back at events that have already taken place.
retrospective study  
A study that looks backward in time, usually using medical records and interviews with patients who already have or had a disease.
retroviral vector  
RNA from a virus that is used to insert genetic material into cells.
RevM10 gene  
An antiviral gene being studied for treatment of cancer in patients who have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
rhabdoid tumor  
A malignant tumor of either the central nervous system (CNS) or the kidney. Malignant rhabdoid tumors of the CNS often have an abnormality of chromosome 22. These tumors usually occur in children younger than 2 years.
rhabdomyosarcoma  
A malignant tumor of muscle tissue.
rheumatism  
A group of disorders marked by inflammation or pain in the connective tissue structures of the body. These structures include bone, cartilage, and fat.
rhizoxin  
An anticancer drug isolated from a fungus. It is similar to the family of drugs called vinca alkaloids.
ribavirin  
A drug used to treat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in the lungs.
ribonucleic acid  
RNA. One of the two types of nucleic acids found in all cells. The other is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Ribonucleic acid transfers genetic information from DNA to proteins produced by the cell.
risk factor  
Anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease, including a substance, agent, genetic alteration, trait, habit, or condition.
ritonavir  
A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called protease inhibitors. It interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.
rituximab  
A type of monoclonal antibody used in cancer detection or therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.
RMP-7  
A substance that is being studied for its ability to help other drugs reach the brain. It belongs to the family of drugs called bradykinin agonists. Also called lobradimil.
RNA  
Ribonucleic acid. One of the two types of nucleic acids found in cells. The other is DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). RNA plays a role in sending information from DNA to the protein-forming system of the cell.
Ro 31-7453  
An anticancer drug that may prevent cancer cells from dividing.
rosiglitazone  
A drug taken to help reduce the amount of sugar in the blood. Rosiglitazone helps make insulin more effective and improves regulation of blood sugar. It belongs to the family of drugs called thiazolidinediones.
RPI.4610  
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.
RPR 109881A  
A drug that belongs to the family of anticancer drugs called taxanes.
RSR13  
A drug that may increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy.
RSV  
Respiratory syncytial virus. A virus that causes respiratory infections with cold-like symptoms.

 

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