Medical Glossary
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Malignant Is another word for a tumor being cancerous.
Mammogram Is a test to look at the breast tissue. The traditional method is where the breast tissue is captured on X-ray film with two different views but more centers are switching over to computerized method of capturing the breast images. The second way is called digital mammography. Digital mammography has been shown to be more beneficial to women that have dense breasts or who are premenopausal. Ask your doctor if you meet the criteria to have a digital mammography.
Mastectomy The removal of the breast. There are 3 types of mastectomy: Segmental mastectomy or lumpectomy where a small area of the breast is removed. Simple mastectomy or total mastectomy refers to the procedure where the whole breast is removed but does not involve surgery under the arm. Radical mastectomy is a procedure that removes the entire breast plus the underlying muscle and lymph nodes under the armpit. This is done only in rare cases when the breast cancer has involved the muscle.
Mediastinum The area in the chest between the lung that houses the heart, trachea, esophagus and lymph nodes.
Melanoma The most serious form of skin cancer.
Metastases Cancer that has spread from the original source of cancer to some other part of the body. This occurs by way of the blood stream, lymphatic system or by direct spread to adjacent organs. Specific cancers have a specific affinity to spread to specific sites. For example breast cancer cells metastasize more commonly to the bone, lung, liver and brain. Lung cancer cells spread more commonly to the adrenal glands, bone or the brain, etc.
Metastatic Referring to the spread of the cancer cells from the original place to another place in the body.
Microbiology Laboratory services relating to the study of micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Mini Transplant See Reduced Intensity Regimen
Mixed Chimerism Transplant See Reduced Intensity Regimen
Mobilization A stem cell transplant term used to describe the process of increasing the number of stem cells in the circulation. This can be accomplished by using growth factors, chemotherapy or a combination of both.
Monoclonal Antibodies Are antibodies made in the lab to lock onto a specific antigen and antigens are substances that can be recognized by the immune system. Because of this lock and key system, many cancer treatments are delivered by this method. In special circumstances, they may include a radioactive substance and called radioactive monoclonal antibodies.
Morbidity Death from a disease.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) A study that is done to look inside the body. It is most helpful looking at the areas of the spinal cord and brain. It is a painless scan where the patient is placed inside a small tube and asked to lay still for some amount of time. An IV is usually started to provide contrast. The patient will be given earplugs to use to help blunt the loud clanging noise of the machine.
Mucositis Inflammation and irritation of the fragile membranes throughout the gastrointestinal tract. The mouth is most often affected. Mouth sores, bleeding and pain is common.
MUGA Scan A MUGA Scan measures the performance of the heart muscle. A dye is injected into the bloodstream through an IV, and then x-rays are taken of the heart while lying still on a table and/or while riding a bike. The test lasts about an hour. If a chemotherapy could cause heart damage, a patient may have this test done before and after the chemotherapy.
Multiple Myeloma A cancer of the bone marrow where too many proteins are produced by the plasma cells.
Myelodysplasia Abnormal functioning of the bone marrow which causes an underproduction of one or more of the three blood cell lines. Refer to Myelodysplastic Syndrome.
Myelodysplastic Syndrome Commonly known as MDS. MDS is a group of bone marrow disorders characterized by the underproduction of one or more of the blood cells because of an underlying abnormality. Myelodysplastic Syndrome may occur on its own for an unknown reason or may be a result of medication or chemotherapy or radiation treatments earlier in life for another disease.
Myelosuppression A term used to describe a decrease in the bone marrow function in producing red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.