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Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer: Glossary

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 16:08

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are definitions of medical terms related to stomach cancer.

Anemia: A blood condition in which the concentration of the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the blood is below normal. Anemia is not a disease itself but an indication or result of many different diseases and disorders.

Absorption: The movement of a substance through a membrane. For example, the movement of nutrients from the digestive tract into the bloodstream.

Antibody: A protein manufactures by lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) to neutralize an antigen.

Anesthesia: The loss of normal sensation or feeling.

Antigen: A protein foreign to the body whose presence triggers an immune response. Some examples of antigens are: microorganisms, toxins, and tissues from another person used in organ transplantation.

Bacteria: A small, simple organism which may cause disease.

Barium: A harmless metallic chemical unaffected by x-rays, used to provide an outline image on x-ray film.

Bone marrow: tissue found in bone cavities. Composed of soft, fatty tissue, it manufactures most of the blood cells.

Cancer: Cancer is any group of diseases whose symptoms are caused by the rampant growth of cells in one of the body organs or tissues.

CT (computed tomography) scan: A diagnostic technique that uses a computer to analyze x-rays that pass through the body at different angles to produce cross-sectional images (slices) of the tissue being examined. Also known as CAT scan, or computed axial tomography. The CT scan provides more detailed information than ordinary x-rays and minimizes the amount of radiation exposure.

Diaphragm: The thin muscle below the lungs that separates the chest from the abdomen.

Digestion: The process of breaking food down into smaller nutrients when can then be absorbed into the body.

Duodenum: The first portion of the small intestine, attached to the stomach.

Enzyme: A specialized protein that aids a reaction in the body.

Esophagus: The tube that connects the mouth with the stomach.

Gastrointestinal: Pertaining to the digestive tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines.

Gastrectomy: Removal of all or part of the stomach.

Genetic engineering: A branch of the study of genetics concerned with the alteration of genetic material to produce a desired change in the characteristics of an organism.

Genetics: The study of inheritance and how characteristics are passed from one generation to another.

Helicobacter pylori: A type of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers; infection with this organism also plays a role in stomach cancer.

Immune system: The collection of cells and proteins that work to protect the body from harm. The immune system plays a vital role in the control of infection, disease, and cancer. It is also responsible for the phenomena of allergy, hypersensitivity, and rejection problems when organs are transplanted.

Immunoglobulins: Proteins also known as antibodies, produced by certain cells of the immune system called B-lymphocytes. Immunoglobulins bind to foreign antigens to help destroy them.

Immunostimulant: A substance that causes stimulation of the immune system.

Immunotherapy (cancer): Stimulation of the immune system to treat cancer.

Interferon: The name given to a group of proteins that the body produces naturally in response to viral infections and other stimuli. Interferon increases the activity of natural killer cells (types of lymphocytes that are part of the body's immune system).

Large intestine: Also called the colon. The lower portion of the digestive tract, whose role is the absorption of water, and forming and expelling of waste from the body.

Leukemia: Any of several types of cancer in which there is an abnormal growth of white blood cells in the bone marrow. Leukemias are classified into acute and chronic types, and according to the type of white cell that is being abnormally produced.

Lymph node: Also known as a lymph gland, a lymph node is a small organ lying along the course of a lymphatic vessel.

Lymphatic system: A system of vessels (lymphatics) that returns lymph from all over the body into the bloodstream. This system is part of the immune system, which plays a major part in the body's defense against infection and cancer.

Menetrier's disease: A form of gastritis (stomach inflammation) in which the stomach walls develop large, thick folds; enlarged glands, and fluid-filled cysts. While the cause is not known, about 10 percent of people with this disease develop stomach cancer.

Stomach ulcer: A raw or inflamed area of the stomach lining (also called a gastric ulcer).

Stomach polyps: Noncancerous round growths that project into the stomach cavity.

Tumor: An abnormal mass of cells, also called a neoplasm, that no functional use in the body. Tumors may be benign (harmless), or malignant (cancerous).

Ultrasound: Also called sonography, ultrasound scanning is a diagnostic technique in which very high frequency sound waves (inaudible to the human ear) are passed into the body. The reflected echoes are detected and analyzed to build a picture of the internal organ, or of a fetus in the uterus. The procedure is considered safe and is painless.

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