GlossaryAdjuvant therapy: A treatment method used in addition to the main (primary) therapy
Brachytherapy: Internal radiation treatment achieved by implanting radioactive material directly into the tumor or close to it.
Cancer: uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells that can invade and destroy healthy tissues.
Catheter: A thin, flexible tube through which fluids or other materials enter or leave the body.
Dosimetrist: A person who plans and calculates the proper radiation dose for treatment.
External radiation: Radiation therapy that uses a machine located outside of the body to aim high-energy rays at cancer cells.
Implant: A small container of radioactive material placed in or near a cancer.
Internal radiation: A type of therapy in which a radioactive substance is implanted into or close to the area needing treatment.
Metastasis: The spread of cancer cells to distant areas of the body by way of the lymph system or bloodstream.
Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in caring for people who have cancer
Palliative care: Treatment to relieve, rather than cure, symptoms caused by cancer. Palliative care can help people live more comfortably.
Rad: Short form for "radiation absorbed dose"; an older term of measurement of the amount of radiation absorbed by the body (1 rad = 1 cGy).
Radiation: Energy carried by waves or a stream of particles. Types of radiation used to treat cancer include x-ray, electron beam, alpha and beta particle, and gamma ray. Radioactive substances include cobalt, radium, iridium cesium, iodine, and palladium.
Radiation oncologist: A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.
Radiation physicist: A person trained to ensure that the radiation machine delivers the right amount of radiation to the treatment site. He or she works with the radiation oncologist and dosimetrist to design, plan, and calculate the proper dose for radiation treatment.
Radiation therapist: A person with special training to work the equipment that delivers the radiation.
Radiosensitivity: Cells that divide frequently are especially radiosensitive and are more affected by radiation.
Tumor: An abnormal lump or mass of tissue. Tumors are either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Unsealed internal radiation therapy: Internal radiation therapy given by injecting a radioactive substance into the bloodstream or a body cavity. This substance is not sealed in a container.
White blood cells: The blood cells that help defend the body against infection.
X-ray: One form of radiation that can be used at low levels to produce an image of the body on film or at high levels to destroy cancer cells.