A benign tumor is a growth that is not cancerous. A malignant tumor is cancer.

Procedure to remove a small amount of tissue from the body to examine it and tell whether there is disease. Common types of biopsies include removing tissue by surgery or removing fluid using a syringe.

Bone scan
An imaging technique that looks for abnormalities in your bones. It can focus on a particular joint or bone but in cancer diagnosis it is more usual to scan a patient’s whole body. The scan involves injecting into your blood stream a small amount of a radioactive substance called radionuclide. Aside from the injection, the procedure is painless. It uses a gamma camera that picks up radioactivity where it collects in your bones. These areas are called “hot spots” and can indicate bone cancer or a number of other conditions such as arthritis.

Computed tomography (CT) scan
An X-ray procedure, usually called a CT scan (“cat” scan). It takes a lot of pictures as it rotates around you and shows detailed cross-sectional pictures of the body. Your doctor will have pictures of many slices of the part of your body under study.

Gallium scan
An imaging technique that helps doctors locate areas of tumor cells or white blood cells. First, you receive an injection of radioactive gallium. After a few days, the gallium travels through your body and tends to collect in areas of cancer activity or inflammation. Then you return for the scan, which may involve taking pictures from more than one angle or scanning your whole body.

The study of blood and the tissues that form blood.

Putting a fluid other than blood into a vein. Examples of infusions are saline solution and chemotherapy drugs.

Intravenously (IV)
Through the veins.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
An imaging technique that uses radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays. Energy from the radio waves is absorbed by the body and then released in a pattern formed by the type of tissue and by certain diseases, such as cancer. A computer translates this pattern given off by the tissues into a very detailed image of designated parts of the body. The MRI shows a cross-sectional slice of the body (like a CT scanner) and lengthwise slices as well.

A malignant tumor is cancer. A benign tumor is a growth that is not cancerous.

MIBG scan
An imaging technique that uses a radioactive material called MIBG. The patient receives an injection of a very small amount of MIBG, similar to the amount of radiation in an x-ray. Then a large camera is used to take pictures of structures inside the patient’s body.

Inflammation of the oral mucosa (lining of the inside of the mouth) with painful ulcerations and sores.

A genetic disease in which tumors grow along nerves (and sometimes other tissues) and which may cause abnormal development, such as learning disabilities

The study of cancer.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
An imaging technique that uses glucose (a form of sugar) containing a radioactive atom. A small amount is injected into your arm. While lying in a PET machine, a special camera detects the radioactivity in any part of your body. Cancer cells generally absorb large amounts of the radioactive sugar. The PET scan will help your SCCA team find any places in your body where cancer may have spread.

New episode of a type of cancer you have had in the past that comes after your cancer has been treated.

Period when there are no signs or symptoms of disease.

An imaging technique that uses sound waves to detect structures within the body. The findings of the sound waves are translated into a picture.