Glossary of Terms


P-32

A radioactive form of the element phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer.

p53 gene

listen ( jeen) A tumor suppressor gene that normally inhibits the growth of tumors. This gene is altered in many types of cancer.

PA

A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a doctor. A PA may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds, and give injections and immunizations. Also called physician assistant.

PABA

listen A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need PABA to survive. PABA is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called aminobenzoic acid and para-aminobenzoic acid.

pacemaker

listen (PAYS-may-ker) An electronic device that is implanted in the body to monitor heart rate and rhythm. It gives the heart electrical stimulation when it does not beat normally. It runs on batteries and has long, thin wires that connect it to the heart. Also called artificial pacemaker and cardiac pacemaker.

Pacific valerian

listen (puh-SIH-fik vuh-LEER-ee-un) A plant whose roots are used as a sedative and to treat certain medical conditions. It is being studied as a way to improve sleep in cancer patients undergoing treatment. Also called garden heliotrope, garden valerian, Indian valerian, Mexican valerian, valerian, Valeriana officinalis, and Valerianae radix.

pack year

listen (pak yeer) A way to measure the amount a person has smoked over a long period of time. It is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked. For example, 1 pack year is equal to smoking 1 pack per day for 1 year, or 2 packs per day for half a year, and so on.

paclitaxel

listen (PA-klih-TAK-sil) A drug used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also used together with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimitotic agent. Also called Taxol.

paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation

listen (PA-klih-TAK-sil al-BYOO-min-STAY-bih-lized NA-noh-PAR-tih-kul for-myoo-LAY-shun) A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

paclitaxel liposome

listen (PA-klih-TAK-sil LY-poh-some) A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. It may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Paclitaxel liposome blocks the ability of cells to divide and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called LEP-ETU, liposomal paclitaxel, LipoTaxen, and PNU-93914.

paclitaxel poliglumex

listen (PA-klih-TAK-sil PAH-lee-GLOO-mex) A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel combined with a protein called poliglumex that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CT-2103, paclitaxel polyglutamate, and Xyotax.

paclitaxel polyglutamate

listen (PA-klih-TAK-sil PAH-lee-GLOO-tuh-mayt) A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel combined with a protein called poliglumex that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CT-2103, paclitaxel poliglumex, and Xyotax.

paclitaxel-loaded polymeric micelle

listen (PA-klih-TAK-sil-LOH-ded PAH-lih-MAYR-ik MY-sel) A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also used with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel is mixed with very tiny particles of a substance that makes it easier to dissolve in water. This allows higher doses of paclitaxel to be given. It is a type of antimitotic agent.

PAD

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat multiple myeloma. It includes the drugs bortezomib, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone. Also called PAD regimen.

PAD regimen

listen (... REH-jih-men) An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat multiple myeloma. It includes the drugs bortezomib, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone. Also called PAD.

Paget disease of bone

listen (PA-jet dih-ZEEZ ...) A chronic condition in which both the breakdown and regrowth of bone are increased. Paget disease of bone occurs most frequently in the pelvic and leg bones, skull, and lower spine. It is most common in older individuals, and may lead to bone pain, deformities, and fractures. Also called osteitis deformans.

Paget disease of the nipple

listen (PA-jet dih-ZEEZ ...) A condition in which abnormal cells are found in the nipple. Symptoms commonly include itching and burning and an eczema-like condition around the nipple. There may also be oozing or bleeding from the nipple.

PAH

A type of chemical formed when coal, oil, gas, garbage, tobacco, meat, and other substances are burned. These chemicals are also made for use in many products, including coal tar, creosote, roofing tar, pesticides, mothballs, dandruff shampoos, and some medicines. Being exposed to one of these chemicals over a long time may cause cancer. Also called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.

pain flare

listen (payn flayr) A sudden increase in pain that may occur in patients who already have chronic pain from cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other conditions. A pain flare usually lasts for a short time. During a pain flare, the level of pain may be severe but the type of pain and where it is in the body are usually the same as the patients chronic pain. Stress, illness, and certain activities, such as exercising or coughing, may lead to pain flares. Pain flares are usually not a symptom of a new condition or a condition that has gotten worse.

pain threshold

listen (payn THRESH-holde) The point at which a person becomes aware of pain.

PALA

A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase the effectiveness of the anticancer drug fluorouracil.

palate

listen (PAL-et) The roof of the mouth. The front portion is bony (hard palate), and the back portion is muscular (soft palate).

palatine uvula

listen (PA-luh-teen YOO-vyoo-luh) The soft flap of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth (at the edge of the soft palate). Also called uvula.

palbociclib

listen (PAL-boh-SY-klib) A drug used to treat hormone-receptor positive (HR+), HER2 negative (HER2-) breast cancer that is advanced or has spread to other parts of the body. It is used with fulvestrant in women whose disease has gotten worse after treatment with hormone therapy. It is used with letrozole in postmenopausal women who have not been treated with hormone therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Palbociclib blocks certain proteins, which may help keep cancer cells from growing. It is a type of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. Also called Ibrance.

palifermin

listen (pa-lee-FER-min) A form of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) that is made in the laboratory. KGF stimulates the growth of cells that line the surface of the mouth and intestinal tract. Palifermin is used to prevent and treat oral mucositis (mouth sores) caused by high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy in leukemia and lymphoma. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) in other types of cancer. Palifermin is a type of recombinant human keratinocyte growth factor. Also called Kepivance.

palliation

listen (PA-lee-AY-shun) Relief of symptoms and suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliation helps a patient feel more comfortable and improves the quality of life, but does not cure the disease.

palliative care

listen (PA-lee-uh-tiv kayr) Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.

palliative sedation

listen (PA-lee-uh-tiv seh-DAY-shun) The use of special drugs called sedatives to relieve extreme suffering by making a patient calm, unaware, or unconscious. This may be done for patients who have symptoms that cannot be controlled with other treatment. Palliative sedation may be used in patients who are near the end of life to make them more comfortable. It is not meant to shorten life or cause death.

palliative therapy

listen (PA-lee-uh-tiv THAYR-uh-pee) Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliative cancer therapies are given together with other cancer treatments, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship, recurrent or advanced disease, and at the end of life.

palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia

listen (PAL-mer-PLAN-ter eh-RITH-roh-DIS-es-THEE-zhuh) A condition marked by pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or redness of the hands or feet. It sometimes occurs as a side effect of certain anticancer drugs. Also called hand-foot syndrome.

palonosetron hydrochloride

listen (pa-loh-NOH-seh-tron HY-droh-KLOR-ide) A drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is also used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery. Palonosetron hydrochloride blocks the action of the chemical serotonin in the brain, which may help lessen nausea and vomiting. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called Aloxi.

palpable disease

listen (PAL-puh-bul dih-ZEEZ) A term used to describe cancer that can be felt by touch, usually present in lymph nodes, skin, or other organs of the body such as the liver or colon.

palpation

listen (pal-PAY-shun) Examination by pressing on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath.

palpitation

listen (PAL-pih-TAY-shun) A rapid or irregular heartbeat that a person can feel.

Pamelor

listen (PA-meh-lor) A drug used to treat depression. It may also be used to treat panic or anxiety disorders and certain types of pain, and to help people quit smoking. Pamelor increases the levels of norepinephrine and other natural chemicals in the brain. This helps improve mood and may reduce a persons craving for nicotine. It is a type of tricyclic antidepressant. Also called Aventyl and nortriptyline.

pamidronate disodium

listen (puh-MIH-droh-nayt dy-SOH-dee-um) A drug used to treat hypercalcemia (high blood levels of calcium) caused by certain types of cancer. It is also used with other anticancer drugs to treat multiple myeloma and breast cancer that has spread to bone. It is also used to treat Paget disease of the bone. Pamidronate disodium may help keep bone from breaking down and prevent the loss of calcium from the bones. It is a type of bisphosphonate. Also called Aredia.

panacea

listen (PA-nuh-SEE-uh) A cure-all.

Pancoast tumor

listen (PAN-koste TOO-mer) A type of lung cancer that begins in the upper part of a lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Most Pancoast tumors are non-small cell cancers. Also called pulmonary sulcus tumor.

pancreas

listen (PAN-kree-us) A glandular organ located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion, and it produces several hormones, including insulin. The pancreas is surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and other organs.

pancreatectomy

listen (PAN-kree-uh-TEK-toh-mee) Surgery to remove all or part of the pancreas. In a total pancreatectomy, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.

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