Glossary

AJCC Staging System

The American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system which describes the extent of the spread of a cancer in Roman numerals from 0 through IV. Also called the TNM system.

 

alveoli

Branchings of the respiratory tree where oxygen exchange in the lungs takes place.

 

amosite

A type of asbestos that is heat and acid proof and is used for heat and pipe insulation.

 

amphibole

A mineral with crystal structures which contain a silicate chand and combinations of calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron and aluminum.

 

asbestos

Fibrous amphibole used for making fireproof things; inhaling these fibers can cause lung cancer or asbestosis.

 

asbestos corns

Warts caused when rigid asbestos fibers penetrate the skin, especially the skin on the hands, causing a chronic skin irritation. Asbestos corns are not symptomatic of mesothelioma.

 

asbestosis

Pulmonary fibrosis caused by the inhalation of asbestos particles. Asbestosis causes breathing difficulties and strain on the heart.

 

aspiration

 

To suction out. When used in the phrase "fine needle aspiration," a fine needle is used to aspirate tissue samples for microscopic examination.

 

biopsy

The removal of a tissue sample to ascertain whether cancer cells are present.

 

bronchi

The two main air passages leading from the trachea which allow air to move in and out of the lungs.

 

carcinogen

A substance that causes cancer or helps cancer grow.

 

chemotherapy

 

Treatment with anti-cancer drugs.

 

chrysotile

A type of asbestos that is fireproof and can be made into asbestos cloth.

computed tomography

A radiographic technique that uses a computer to combine multiple xray images into two dimensional images. Also called a CT scan.

 

CT scan

 radiographic technique that uses a computer to combine multiple xray images into two dimensional images. Also called computed tomography.

 

crocidolite

A type of asbestos that is acid proof and is used for making electric battery cases and cement.

 

cryosurgery

A procedure performed with an instrument that freezes, thereby destroying abnormal tissues.

 

crocidolite

A type of asbestos that is acid proof and is used for making electric battery cases and cement.

 

decortication

A medical procedure which involves an incision with instruments and which is performed to repair damage or arrest disease.

 

diaphragm

 

A muscular partition separating the abdominal and thoracic cavities.

 

extraperineal

 

Outside the perineum.

 

extrapleural

 

Outside the pleural layer.

 

fibrosis

An abnormal formation of fibrous tissue.

 

hemithorax

One side of the chest.

 

hemothorax

Blood in the pleural space.

 

intracavitary

 

Into a cavity, specifically in the pelvis, abdomen, or pleural cavity of the chest.

 

ipsilateral

 

Having to do with the same side of the body.

 

latency period

The time between exposure to a substance and the onset of a disease.

 

lobectomy

A surgical procedure in which one lobe of a lung is removed.

 

magnetic resonance imaging

A special scan that uses magnetic fields, radio waves, and a computer to create images of various areas of the body. Also known as an MRI.

 

malignant 

Characterized by progressive and uncontrolled growth; cancerous.

 

mediastinum

The mass of tissue and organs -- including the heart, esophagus --  in the center of the chest which separates the lungs.

 

mediastinal

 

Pertaining to the mediastinum.

 

mediastinum

The portion of the thoracic cavity which is between the lungs. The mediastinum contains the heart, aorta, trachea, esophagus, and thymus.

 

mesothelial cells

Specialized cells making up the membranes that line the chest and abdominal cavity. Mesothelial cells help protect these organs by producing a lubricating fluid that allows the organs to move without irritating the nerves.

 

mesothelioma

Malignant tumor of the mesothelium of the percardium, pleura, or peritoneum. The only known cause of mesothelioma in the U.S. is exposure to asbestos or asbestos fibers.

 

mesothelium

Membranous tissue covering internal organs and internal body surfaces.

 

metastasis

(Plural: metastases)

 

The spread of cancer from one place on the body to another. A tumor which has spread is called a metastatic tumor, secondary tumor, or metastasis.

 

metastasize

 

To spread (cancerous cells) from one part of the body to another.

 

MRI

A special scan that uses magnetic fields, radio waves, and a computer to create images of various areas of the body. Also known as magnetic resonance imaging.

 

oncologist

A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

 

palliative treatment

Therapy aimed at releiving symptoms but not expected to cure the cancer. The main purpose of palliative treatment is to improve the patientís quality of life.

 

pericardial mesothelioma

This very rare type of mesothelioma invades the pericardium and features cancerous growths around the heart area as well.

 

pericardium

 

The sac that envelops the heart and the roots of the aorta, superior and inferior vena cava, and the pulmonary veins and arteries.

 

peritoneal mesothelioma

 

Cancer of the cells that comprise the lining around the lungs, pleura, peritoneum, or other areas of the body.

 

peritoneum

 

Lining of the abdominal cavity.

 

PET

A scan that creates an image of the body after the injection of a low dose of radioactive sugar. The scan computes the rate at which the tumor is using the sugar. In general, high-grade tumors use more sugar and low-grade tumors use less. Also known as a positron emission tomography

.

pleura

 

The thin membrane that covers the lungs and lines the chest cavity.

 

pleural effusion

 

Abnormal collection of fluid between the tissue that lines the lung and wall of the chest cavity.

 

pleural mesothelioma

 

Cancer of the cells of the lining that envelops the lungs. This is the most common type of mesothelioma and accounts for three-quarters of all mesothelioma cases.

 

pleurectomy

 

A surgical procedure which involves the removal of a part of the pleura.

 

pneumonectomy

 

Removal of an entire lung.

 

positron emission tomography

A scan that creates an image of the body after the injection of a low dose of radioactive sugar. The scan computes the rate at which the tumor is using the sugar. In general, high-grade tumors use more sugar and low-grade tumors use less. Also known as a PET.

 

radiation therapy

 

The use of xrays, electrons, or gamma rays to destroy cancerous tissue. Also called radiotherapy.

 

radiotherapy

 

The use of xrays, electrons, or gamma rays to destroy cancerous tissue. Also called radiation therapy.

 

thoracentesis

 

Removal of fluid from the pleural cavity using a needle inserted between the ribs.

 

thoracic lymph nodes

A pair of lengthwise-linked chains of nodes on each side of the sternum.

 

thoracoscopy

A surgical technique in which a telescopic instrument fitted with a lighting system is inserted through a puncture in the chest wall. The physician can examine the tumor and sample tissue using a specialized instrument.

 

trachea

Windpipe.

 

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