The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the fluorouracil topical, Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex article.
Actinic keratosis: Rough, scaly patches of skin that are considered precancerous and are due to sun exposure. Prevention is to cut sun exposure and wear sunscreen. Treatments include performing cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen), cutting the keratoses away, burning them, putting 5-fluorouracil on them, and using photodynamic therapy (injecting into the bloodstream a chemical that collects in actinic keratoses and makes them more sensitive to destruction by a specialized form of light). Also known as solar keratosis and senile keratosis.
Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.
Basal cell carcinoma: The most common type of skin cancer, which commonly presents as a sore that seems to get better and then recurs and may start to bleed. Basal cell carcinoma often occurs on the face and neck, where the skin is exposed to sunlight. These tumors are locally invasive and tend to burrow in but not metastasize (spread) to distant locations.
Blister: A collection of fluid underneath the top layer of skin (epidermis). There are many causes of blisters, including burns, friction forces, and diseases of the skin. Also known as bleb and bulla.
Breast milk: Milk from the breast. Human milk contains a balance of nutrients that closely matches infant requirements for brain development, growth and a healthy immune system. Human milk also contains immunologic agents and other compounds that act against viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Since an infant's immune system is not fully developed until age 2, human milk provides a distinct advantage over formula.
Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread).
Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small container of chemicals and water wrapped in a membrane. There are 100 trillion cells in a human, and each contains all of the genetic information necessary to manufacture a human being. This information is encoded within the cell nucleus in 6 billion subunits of DNA called base pairs. These base pairs are packaged in 23 pairs of chromosomes, with 1 chromosome in each pair coming from each parent. Each of the 46 human chromosomes contains the DNA for thousands of individual genes.
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid. One of two types of molecules that encode genetic information. (The other is RNA. In humans DNA is the genetic material; RNA is transcribed from it. In some other organisms, RNA is the genetic material and, in reverse fashion, the DNA is transcribed from it.)
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after conception, when the major structures have formed) until birth.
Generic: 1. The chemical name of a drug. 2. A term referring to the chemical makeup of a drug rather than to the advertised brand name under which the drug may be sold. 3.A term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising.
Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
Genital: Pertaining to the external and/or internal organs of reproduction.
Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation can be external or internal.
Keratosis: A localized horny overgrowth of the skin, such as a wart or callus. Among the common types of keratosis are actinic keratosis and seborrheic keratosis.
Lesion: An area of abnormal tissue change. Lesions vary in severity from harmless to serious.
Lightening: Not to be confused with a discharge of atmospheric electricity, lightening refers to the sensation that a pregnant woman feels when the baby drops. This is the time when the presenting (lowermost) part of the fetus descends into the maternal pelvis.
Lips: Aside from the lips of the mouth, there are two pairs of lips at the entrance to the vagina. They are the labia majora (the larger outside pair) and the labia minora (the smaller inside pair). Together they form part of the vulva (the female external genitalia).
Nursing: 1) Profession concerned with the provision of services essential to the maintenance and restoration of health by attending the needs of sick persons. 2) Feeding a infant at the breast.
Precancerous: Pertaining to something that is not yet overtly cancerous, but appears to be on its way to becoming a cancer. Synonymous with premalignant.
Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. This condition can be indicated by positive results on an over-the-counter urine test, and confirmed through a blood test, ultrasound, detection of fetal heartbeat, or an X-ray. Pregnancy lasts for about nine months, measured from the date of the woman's last menstrual period (LMP). It is conventionally divided into three trimesters, each roughly three months long.
Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.
Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or device for a patient. A prescription has several parts. They include the superscription or heading with the symbol "R" or "Rx", which stands for the word recipe (meaning, in Latin, to take); the inscription, which contains the names and quantities of the ingredients; the subscription or directions for compounding the drug; and the signature which is often preceded by the sign "s" standing for signa (Latin for mark), giving the directions to be marked on the container.
Psoriasis: A reddish, scaly rash often located over the surfaces of the elbows, knees, scalp, and around or in the ears, navel, genitals or buttocks. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that is mediated by T lymphocytes. It is also a very common disease, Chronic plaque psoriasis affects approximately 2% of people around the world. About 10-15% of patients with psoriasis develop joint inflammation (inflammatory arthritis). Treatment options include topical steroid creams, tar soap preparations, and exposure to ultraviolet light.
RNA: Ribonucleic acid.
Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming (afferent) nerve impulse in that part of the brain called the sensorium, which is capable of such perception. Therefore, the awareness of a stimulus as a result of its perception by sensory receptors. (Sensory is here synonymous with sensation.)
SPF (sun protection factor): A number on a scale for rating the degree of protection provided by sunscreens. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.
Sunburn: Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin that develops in response to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or from tanning beds and booths that emit UV radiation. Sunburn is manifested by reddened, painful skin that may develop blisters.
Superficial: In anatomy, on the surface or shallow. As opposed to deep. The skin is superficial to the muscles. The cornea is on the superficial surface of the eye.
Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. For example, a topical agent is applied to a certain area of the skin and is intended to affect only the area to which it is applied. Whether its effects are indeed limited to that area depends on whether the agent stays where it is put or is absorbed into the bloodstream. Cortisone creams are topical 'medications.
Ulcer: A lesion that is eroding away the skin or mucous membrane. Ulcers can have various causes, depending on their location. Ulcers on the skin are usually due to irritation, as in the case of bedsores, and may become inflamed and/or infected as they grow. Ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract were once attributed to stress, but most are now believed to be due to infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. GI ulcers, however, are often made worse by stress, smoking, and other noninfectious factors.
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