Glossary of Key Terms

Be empowered when it comes to discussing your TNBC. Here are a few key terms you might hear from your medical professionals

Adjuvant therapy/treatment

Treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) given after surgery.

Advanced breast cancer

A commonly used term for secondary, metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer

Alopecia

Hair loss

Areola

The area around the nipple

Axillary dissection/clearance

The removal of some or all of the lymph nodes from the armpit to see if the breast cancer has spread beyond the breast.

Benign

Not cancerous

Biopsy

The removal of cells or tissue from the body to see if they are cancer cells

BRCA1 and BRCA2

People with a fault, or mutation, in one of these genes have a higher than normal chance of developing certain cancers, such as a breast cancer.

Breast conserving surgery

Surgery to remove breast cancer and a small area of healthy tissue around the cancer. Also known as lumpectomy.

Chemotherapy

Treatment for cancer using drugs

Clinical trials

Studies involving patients to see if a new treatment is better or safer than an existing one.

Complementary medicines

Complementary medicines are products that are used in addition to conventional medical treatments (e.g. chemotherapy and hormone therapies). Complementary medicines include vitamin and mineral supplements, such as fish oil capsules or vitamin D tablets, and herbal medicines.

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies are practices that are used in addition to conventional medical treatments (e.g. chemotherapy and hormone therapies).Some examples of complementary therapies often used by women with breast cancer include massage, yoga, acupuncture and reflexology.

Double mastectomy

Removal of both breasts during breast cancer surgery

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)

Non-invasive breast cancer confined to the ducts of the breast

Early breast cancer

Breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast or lymph nodes under the arm

Early menopause

Menopause occurring in women under 45 years of age. Early menopause is often a side effect of some common treatments for breast cancer.

Lumpectomy

Another name for breast conserving surgery

Lymph nodes

Glands in the armpit and other parts of the body that filter and drain lymph fluid, trapping bacteria, cancer cells and any other particles that could be harmful to the body

Lymphoedema

A condition that sometimes develops when lymph nodes have been removed during breast cancer surgery and the lymph fluid no longer drains freely, causing swelling in the arm, hand or breast

Mastectomy

The removal of the whole breast during breast cancer surgery

Metastatic breast cancer

Another term for secondary, advanced, or stage 4 breast cancer

Multidisciplinary Team

Often abbreviated to MDT. A team of health professionals who work together to manage a patient’s treatment and care

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy

Chemotherapy treatment given before breast cancer surgery (sometimes used to reduce the size of the tumour to make it easier for the surgeon to operate)

Oestrogen

A type of hormone that can encourage breast tissue to grow.

Partial mastectomy

Another term for breast conserving surgery

PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)

A scheme funded by the Australian Government to subsidise the cost of certain drugs for eligible Australians.

Progesterone

A type of hormone that can encourage breast tissue to grow.

Radiotherapy

Treatment for cancer using X-rays that target a particular area of the body

Secondary breast cancer

Breast cancer that has spread from the breast to other, more distant parts of the body, most commonly the bones, lungs, liver and sometimes the brain. Also known as advanced, metastatic, or stage 4 breast cancer.

Sentinel node biopsy

Identification and removal of the first lymph node to which the breast cancer may have spread for testing by a pathologist

Seroma

Fluid that collects in or around a scar after surgery

Start typing to see posts you are looking for.

Glossary of Key Terms

These are explanations of terms that medical professionals and others may use when discussing your TNBC.

Advanced breast cancer

A commonly used term for secondary, metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer

Adjuvant therapy/treatment

Treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) given after surgery.

Alopecia

Hair loss

Areola

The area around the nipple

Axillary dissection/clearance

The removal of some or all of the lymph nodes from the armpit to see if the breast cancer has spread beyond the breast.

Benign

Not cancerous

Biopsy

The removal of cells or tissue from the body to see if they are cancer cells

BRCA1 and BRCA2

Women with a fault, or mutation, in one of these genes have a higher than normal chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer

Breast conserving surgery

Surgery to remove breast cancer and a small area of healthy tissue around the cancer. Also known as lumpectomy.

Chemotherapy

Treatment for cancer using drugs

Clinical trials

Studies involving patients to see if a new treatment is better than an existing one

Complementary medicines

Complementary medicines are products that are used in addition to conventional medical treatments (e.g. chemotherapy and hormone therapies). Complementary medicines include vitamin and mineral supplements, such as fish oil capsules or vitamin D tablets, and herbal medicines.

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies are practices that are used in addition to conventional medical treatments (e.g. chemotherapy and hormone therapies).Some examples of complementary therapies often used by women with breast cancer include massage, yoga, acupuncture and reflexology.

Double mastectomy

Removal of both breasts during breast cancer surgery

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)

Non-invasive breast cancer confined to the ducts of the breast

Early breast cancer

Breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast or lymph nodes under the arm

Early menopause

Menopause occurring in women under 45 years of age. Early menopause is often a side effect of some common treatments for breast cancer.

Lymph nodes

Glands in the armpit and other parts of the body that filter and drain lymph fluid, trapping bacteria, cancer cells and any other particles that could be harmful to the body

Lymphoedema

A condition that sometimes develops when lymph nodes have been removed during breast cancer surgery and the lymph fluid no longer drains freely, causing swelling in the arm, hand or breast

Lumpectomy

Another name for breast conserving surgery

Mastectomy

The removal of the whole breast during breast cancer surgery

Metastatic breast cancer

Another term for secondary, advanced, or stage 4 breast cancer

Multidisciplinary Team

Often abbreviated to MDT. A team of health professionals who work together to manage a patient’s treatment and care

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy

Chemotherapy treatment given before breast cancer surgery (sometimes used to reduce the size of the tumour to make it easier for the surgeon to operate)

Oestrogen

A type of female hormone

Partial mastectomy

Another term for breast conserving surgery

PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)

A scheme funded by the Australian Government to subsidise the cost of certain drugs for eligible consumers

Progesterone

A type of female hormone

Radiotherapy

Treatment for cancer using X-rays that target a particular area of the body

Secondary breast cancer

Breast cancer that has spread from the breast to other, more distant parts of the body, most commonly the bones, lungs, liver and sometimes the brain. Also known as advanced, metastatic, or stage 4 breast cancer.

Sentinel node biopsy

identification and removal of the first lymph node to which the breast cancer may have spread for testing by a pathologist

Seroma

Fluid that collects in or around a scar after surgery

Suggestions for OurTNBC?

If you’re a patient, patient organisation, carer or healthcare professional, please let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions for our site.


AU-UNB-0475