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Term Definition

Advanced Breast Biopsy Instrument

Adjuvant therapy

use of anti-cancer drugs – chemotherapy or hormones – in addition to surgery to delay or prevent a recurrence.


Loss of hair. A common complication of chemotherapy. May be partial or complete but full recovery always takes place.


Abberations of Normal Development and Involution. Normal changes which occur in the breast in relation to breast growth and regression, eg fibrous tissue formation "nodularity", "lumpiness", cysts, fibroadenomas, numerous benign pathologies.

Aspiration biopsy

suction of cells in fluid from a cyst or from a solid mass through a fine needle for microscopic examination and diagnosis. (See FNA)


the armpit; axillary, the adjective, as in the axillary lymph nodes.

Benign lesion

a non-malignant growth which does not spread to other parts of the body.


and removal of material for microscopic diagnosis. Can be aspiration by a needle to remove cells, can be removal of a tissue sample by a "core" needle, or surgical removal of part or all of the lesion. (See also Localisation Biopsy and ABBI.)

BRCA1, 2

Technical term for two genes involved in familial breast cancer.

Breast conservation

The treatment of breast cancer by tumour excision and radiotherapy in which the breast is retained (conserved) in contrast to its removal (mastectomy). Rarely, radiation therapy is omitted.


Cancer which, in the breast, begins in the lining of lobules or ducts, thus giving lobular carcinoma and ductal carcinoma.

Chemotherapy (cytotoxic therapy)

A treatment for cancer using drugs, usually given by injection into a vein.

Chemotherapy cycle

Chemotherapy is administered at regular intervals. The interval which includes time for treatment and time for recovery is a cycle – usually 3-4 weeks.

Clinical trial

Scientific study comparing two or more treatments.


A common combination of three drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer. Cyclophosphamide, Methotrexate and 5-fluoro-uracil.

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