Not normal. Describes a state, condition, or behavior that is unusual or different from what is considered normal. An abnormal lesion or growth in or on the body may be benign (not cancer), precancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer), or malignant (cancer).
An enclosed collection of pus in tissues, organs, or confined spaces in the body. An abscess is a sign
of infection and is usually swollen and inflamed.
A measure of the risk of a certain event happening. In cancer research, it is the likelihood that a
person who is free of a specific type of cancer at a given age will develop that cancer over a certain
period of time. For example, a woman 35 years of age, with no known risk factors for breast cancer,
has an absolute risk of getting breast cancer over a lifetime of 90 years of about 13.5%, meaning one
out of every seven women will develop breast cancer.
Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is given over a shorter period of time (fewer
days) compared to standard radiation therapy.
A type of radiation therapy given only to the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Accelerated
partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-
breast radiation therapy. Accelerated partial-breast irradiation may be given using internal or external
sources of radiation. Also called partial-breast irradiation.
Closely following a patient’s condition but not giving treatment unless there are changes in test
results. Active surveillance may avoid or delay the need for radiation or surgery. It is used to find
early signs that the condition is getting worse. During active surveillance, certain exams and tests,
including biopsies, are done on a regular schedule. It is used in prostate cancer. It is a type of
The tasks of everyday life. These activities include eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or
chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet. Instrumental activities of daily living are activities
related to independent living and include preparing meals, managing money, shopping, doing
housework, and using a telephone. Also called ADL.
Pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively short time.
Symptoms or signs that begin and worsen quickly; not chronic.
A tumor that is not cancer. It starts in gland-like cells of the epithelial tissue (thin layer of tissue that
covers organs, glands, and other structures within the body).