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Canine Melanoma Vaccine – Glossary of Common Cancer Terms

The terms used to describe cancer can be very confusing, but using the precise language can be very helpful in discussing prognosis and treatment options. The following are a few of the most common terms used on this Web site.

Benign:
A tumor that is not likely to spread or cause illness or death.

Biopsy:
The removal of a portion or section of the growth in order to find out more information about the type and severity.

Cancer:
Abnormal and malignant growth of cells

Carcinoma:
Tumors that are made of any tissue other than connective tissue.

Chemotherapy:
A method of cancer treatment with toxic chemicals. 

Cycle:
Cancer treatments given on a consistent schedule.

Cytology:
The study of cell structures.

Grading:
Microscopic assessment of a tumor’s aggressiveness.

Malignant:
A tumor that is likely to spread or cause death.

Metastasis:
The spread of cancer from its original location to other parts of the body.

Neoplasm:
See cancer.

Oncology/Oncologist:
The study of cancer or a doctor that specializes in cancer medicine.

Primary Site:
The first location where the tumor developed.

Prognosis:
The expected outcome for a patient.

Protocol:
The overall treatment plan.

Radiation Therapy:
A method of cancer treatment using high-energy X-rays.

Sarcoma:
Cancerous tumor that forms in connective tissues, including cartilage, bone, and muscle.

Staging:
Determination of how advanced the cancer is.

Tumors:
Any lump or bump that isn’t normal and may or may not be cancerous.