Barrett's Esophagus

Glossary of Terms

M - O

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A painless method for taking pictures of internal organs. A tube-like machine with a powerful magnet generates images of the inside of the body.
Malignant tumor
A cancer that has the potential of invading nearby tissues, spreading to other organs (metastasizing) and possibly leading to the patient's death.
Metaplasia
The replacement of the lining of an organ with the type of lining normally found in another site. For example, in lung bronchi, the normal cell type found is "ciliated columnar epithelium". In smokers, this lining is replaced by a cell type normally found in the mouth (squamous epithelium), and is called "squamous metaplasia". In the esophagus, the normal lining is squamous epithelium, but in patients with reflux (regurgitation of stomach contents into the esophagus), the esophagus lining may be replaced with a cell type normally found in the intestines (intestinal metaplasia). Patients with intestinal metaplasia of the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus) are at an increased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.
Metastatic cancer
A cancer that has spread from one organ to another. In general, cancers that have metastasized are generally not treated surgically, but instead are treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Mutation
An alteration in the DNA of a cell.
Neoadjuvant chemo and radiation therapy
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy given to patients before surgery. Some centers feel that the use of neoadjuvant therapy improves local and regional control of disease and that it may make more patients surgical candidates.
Neoplasm
An abnormal new growth of tissue that grows more rapidly than normal cells and will continue to grow if not treated. These growths will compete with normal cells for nutrients. This is a general term that can refer to benign or malignant growths. It is almost a synonym for the word tumor, which means a mass or growth.
Oncologist
A medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of tumors.
-ostomy
A surgically created opening in an organ that can also be referred to as an anastamosis.