Home > Your Health > Glossary of Breast Cancer Terms – R – Z

R – Z Terms

Rad: A unit of measure for radiation. It stands for radiation absorbed dose.
Radiation: Energy carried by waves or by streams of particles. Various forms of radiation can be used in low doses to diagnose disease and in high doses to treat disease.
Radiologist: A doctor with special training in the use of diagnostic imaging such as CT, MRI, PET and ultrasound, to image body tissues and to treat disease.
Risk: A measure of the likelihood of some uncertain or random event with negative consequences for human life or health.
Risk factors (for cancer): Conditions or agents that increase a person’s chances of getting cancer. Risk factors do not necessarily cause cancer; rather, they are indicators, statistically associated with an increase in likelihood.
Sclerosing adenosis: A benign breast disease that involves the excessive growth of tissues in the breast’s lobules.
Screening mammogram: Breast x-ray used to look for signs of disease such as cancer in people who are symptom-free.
Sonogram: The image produced by ultrasound.
Specimen x-ray: An x-ray of tissue that has been surgically removed (surgical specimen).
Stereotactic localization biopsy: A technique that employs three-dimensional x-ray to pinpoint a specific target area. It is used in conjunction with needle biopsy of nonpalpable breast abnormalities.
Surgical biopsy: The surgical removal of tissue for microscopic examination and diagnosis. Surgical biopsies can be either excisional or incisional. (See Excisional biopsy and Incisional biopsy.)
Tamoxifen: A hormonally related drug that has been used to treat breast cancer and is being tested as a possible preventive strategy. Women on this medication should have regular ultrasounds of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) because of potential changes there.
Thermography: A diagnostic technique in which an infrared camera is used to measure temperature variations on the surface of the body, producing images that reveal sites of abnormal tissue growth used especially as a screening method for detection of breast cancer
Tumor: An abnormal growth of tissue. Tumors may be either benign or cancerous.
Tumor markers: Proteins (either amounts or unique variants) made by altered genes in cancer cells that are involved in the progression of the disease.
Two-step procedure:  Biopsy and treatment done in two stages, usually a week or two apart.
Ultrasound: The use of sound waves to produce images of body tissues.
X-ray: A high-energy form of radiation. X-rays form an image of body structures by traveling through the body and striking a sheet of film. Breast x-rays are called mammograms.