Bladder Cancer

Glossary of Terms

P - S

Paclitaxel
Generic name for chemotherapy drug Taxol(r)
Palliative
Any treatment that reduces the severity of a disease or its symptoms.
Papillary
A term used to describe certain tumors which grow in finger-like projections. Pathologists mostly use this term.
Paraplatin(r)
Trade/brand name for chemotherapy drug carboplatin
Pathologist
A medical doctor specially trained to study disease processes.
Peritoneum
The serous membrane lining the walls of the abdominal and pelvic cavities and contained organs
Platinol(r)
Trade/brand name for chemotherapy drug cisplatin
Pleomorphic
Able to assume different forms
Primary cancer
A cancer found in the organ it started in. A primary cancer of the esophagus is one that started in the esophagus as opposed to a cancer that started somewhere else and only later spread to the esophagus.
Prognosis
A forecast for the probable outcome of a disease based on the experience of large numbers of other patients with similar stage disease. Importantly, making a prognosis is not an exact science. Some patients with poor prognosis beat the odds and live longer than anyone would have predicted. Steve Dunn's Cancer Guide has an excellent article on statistics and prognoses and stories of other cancer patients.
Radiation Therapy
The use of high-energy waves similar to x-rays to treat a cancer. Radiation therapy is usually used to treat a local area of disease and often is given in combination with chemotherapy.
Resectable
Able to be removed surgically.
Sarcoma
A malignant tumor that mimics connective tissues (bone, cartilage, muscle) under the microscope.
Sepsis
An infection of the blood.
Small intestine
A long (20 foot) tube that stretches from the stomach to the large intestine. It helps absorb nutrients from food as the food is transported to the large intestine. There are three sections: the duodenum, the jejunum and the ileum. Due to its proximity to the pancreas, the duodenum is the section most often affected by pancreatic and distal common bile duct cancers.
Spectrometry
an instrument used for measuring wavelengths of light
Spleen
A maroon, rounded organ in the upper left part of the abdomen, near the tail of the pancreas. This organ is part of your immune system and filters the lymph and blood in your body.
Squamous cell
A flat, scale-like cell.
Stent
A slender hollow tube inserted into the body to relieve a blockage. For example, bile duct cancers often narrow the bile duct. This can block the flow of bile and cause the patient to become jaundiced. In these cases the flow of bile can be reestablished by placing a stent into the bile duct, through the area of blockage.