Cancer of the Mouth and Throat Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Cancer of the Mouth and Throat article.

Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Acne: Localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of the oil glands at the bas...

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Adjacent: Lying nearby. Related terms include superjacent, subjacent, and circumjacent. Fr...

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Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or awareness, as when an anesthetic is administered before sur...

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Antibody: An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introdu...

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Aspiration: Removal by suction of fluid and cells through a needle. Aspiration also refer...

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Benign: Not malignant. A benign tumor is one that does not invade surrounding tissue or sp...

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Betel nut: The nut of the Areca palm tree and an ingredient of betel nut quid, an addictiv...

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Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to check for ...

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Bladder: A hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. The kidneys filter waste f...

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Brachytherapy: Radiation treatment given by placing radioactive material directly in or ne...

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Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Bronchi: The plural of bronchus.

Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Cancer causes: In most individual cases of cancer, the exact cause of cancer is unknown. T...

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Cancer of the cervix: See: Cervical cancer.

Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover body organs. Ex...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Cervix: The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, ...

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Chemotherapy: 1. In the original sense, a chemical that binds to and specifically k...

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Chewing tobacco: Tobacco that is chewed, not smoked. A form of smokeless tobacco.

Chin: Medically, the mentum. The lower portion of the face below the lower lip including t...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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CT scan: Computed tomography scan. Detailed images of internal organs are obtained by this...

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Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Dry mouth: The condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. This is due to...

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Ear: The hearing organ. There are three sections of the ear, according to the anatomy tex...

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Epidermal: Pertaining to the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.

Epidermal growth factor: EGF.

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Epidermal growth factor receptor: EGFR.

Erythroplakia: An abnormal reddened patch with a velvety surface that is found in the mout...

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Esophagus: The tube that connects the pharynx (throat) with the stomach. The esophagus lie...

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External radiation therapy: Radiation therapy in which the source of radiation is a machin...

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Genital: Pertaining to the external and/or internal organs of reproduction.

Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thy...

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Head and neck cancer: The common carcinomas of the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx as wel...

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Heartburn: An uncomfortable feeling of burning and warmth occurring in waves rising up be...

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Hoarseness: Hoarseness is a term referring to abnormal voice changes. Hoarseness may be ma...

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Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activit...

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HPV: Human papillomavirus.

Human papilloma virus: See: Human papillomavirus.

Incidence: The frequency with which something, such as a disease or trait, appears in a pa...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Jaw: The movable junction of the bones below the mouth (the mandible) and the bone just ab...

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Laryngoscopy: Examination of the larynx (voice box), either with a mirror (indirect laryng...

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Larynx: A tube-shaped organ in the neck that contains the vocal cords. The larynx is about...

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Lesion: An area of abnormal tissue change. Lesions vary in severity from harmless to serio...

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Leukoplakia: A white spot or patch on the mucous membranes in the mouth (for instance, ins...

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Lips: Aside from the lips of the mouth, there are two pairs of lips at the entrance to the...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Lymph: The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system, carrying cell...

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Lymph node: One of many small, bean-shaped organs located throughout the lymphatic system....

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Lymphoma: A tumor of the lymphoid tissue. The major types of lymphoma are Hodgkin's diseas...

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Malignancy: A tumor that is malignant (cancerous), that can invade and destroy nearby tiss...

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Malignant: 1. Tending to be severe and become progressively worse, as in malignant ...

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Metastasis: 1. The process by which cancer spreads from the place at which it firs...

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Metastasize: The spread from one part of the body to another. When cancer cells metastasiz...

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Microscope: An optical instrument that augments the power of the eye to see small objects....

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Molecule: The smallest unit of a substance that can exist alone and retain the character o...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging.

Mucosa: Having to do with a mucous membrane. For example, the oral mucosa.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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Node: Literally a knot, a node is a collection of tissue. For example a lymph node, is a ...

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Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, c...

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Nuclear medicine: The branch of medicine concerned with the use of radioisotopes in the di...

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Nutrition: 1: The process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism, and repai...

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Oncologist: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. After a ...

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Oncology: The field of medicine that is devoted to cancer. Clinical oncology consists of t...

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Operating room: A facility that is equipped for performing surgery. Abbreviated OR.

Operation: In medicine, a surgical procedure. Many operations are named after persons. The...

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Oral cancer: Cancer within the mouth. Oral cancer is associated with smoking cigarettes an...

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Oral surgeon: A dentist who has special training in surgery to correct problems of the mou...

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Oropharynx: The part of the throat that is at the back of the mouth, in contrast to the na...

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Otolaryngologist: A physician specialized in diagnosing and treating diseases of the head ...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Papilloma: A small solid benign tumor with a clear-cut border that projects above the surr...

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Pathologist: A physician who identifies diseases and conditions by studying abnormal cells...

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PET scan: The popular name (and abbreviation) of Positron Emission To...

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Pharynx: The hollow tube that is about 5 inches long and starts behind the nose and ends a...

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Physical therapist: A person who is trained and certified by a state or accrediting body t...

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Plastic surgeon: A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may ...

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Precancerous: Pertaining to something that is not yet overtly cancerous, but appears to be...

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Premalignant: Pertaining to tissue that is not yet malignant but is poised to become malig...

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Primary care: A patient's main source for regular medical care, ideally providing continui...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Prosthetics: The art and science of developing artificial replacements for body parts. Dep...

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Prosthodontist: A dentist with special training in making replacements for missing teeth o...

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Radiation: 1. Rays of energy. Gamma rays and X-rays are two of the types of energy ...

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Radiation oncologist: A physician whose specialty is the use of radiation therapy as a tre...

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Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy rays to damage cancer cells, stopping them from ...

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Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive substances a...

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Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical c...

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Receptor: 1. In cell biology, a structure on the surface of a cell (or inside a cel...

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Recurrence: The return of a sign, symptom, or disease after a remission. The reappearance ...

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Recurrent: Appearing or occurring again. For example, a recurrent fever is a fever that ha...

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Residual: Something left behind. With residual disease, the disease has not been eradicate...

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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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Rule out: Term used in medicine, meaning to eliminate or exclude something from considera...

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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Smokeless tobacco: Tobacco that is not smoked but used in another form such as chewing tob...

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Snuff: Tobacco in the form of a powder that is inhaled into the nose, not smoked.

Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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Sore throat: Pain in the throat. Sore throat may be caused by many different causes, inclu...

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Speech therapist: An older term for a speech- language pathologist.

Squamous cells: Flat cells that look like fish scales. The word "squamous" came from the L...

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Stage: As regards cancer, the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spre...

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Staging: stagingDoing exams and tests to learn the extent of a cancer, especially whether ...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Sunburn: Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin that develops in response to exposure to u...

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Sunscreen: A substance that blocks the effect of the sun's harmful rays. Using lotions tha...

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Supportive care: Treatment given to prevent, control, or relieve complications and side ef...

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Surgeon: A physician who treats disease, injury, or deformity via operative or manual meth...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of th...

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Thyroid: 1. The thyroid gland. Also, pertaining to the thyroid gland. 2. A p...

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Thyroid hormone: A chemical substance made by the thyroid gland for export into the bloods...

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Tired: A feeling of a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment,...

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Tobacco: A South American herb (Nicotiana tabacum) whose leaves contain 2 to 8 percent nic...

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Tongue: A strong muscle that is anchored to the floor of the mouth. The tongue is covered ...

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Tonsils: Small masses of lymphoid tissue at the back and on both sides of the throat.

Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be ...

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Ulcer: A lesion that is eroding away the skin or mucous membrane. Ulcers can have various ...

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Ultraviolet radiation: Invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the su...

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Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back t...

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Viral: Of or pertaining to a virus. For example, if a person has a viral rash, the rash wa...

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Viral infection: Infection caused by the presence of a virus in the body. Depending on th...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Vitamin A: Vitamin A is retinol. Carotene compounds (found, for example, in egg yolk, butt...

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Voice box: The voice box, or larynx, is the portion of the respiratory (breathing) tract ...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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