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Mesothelioma Glossary

  • Adjuvant therapy – the therapy that is given after the primary therapy.
  • Angiogenesis – the process through which new blood vessels are formed from ones that already exist. Tumors develop a network of blood vessels that supply them with oxygen and nutrients so they can continue to grow. These blood vessels also remove waste materials created during cell cycles.
  • Ascites – fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity. This is a common symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma.
  • Bilateral lung disease – this is disease that is present in both lungs.
  • Brachytherapy – this is a procedure in which radiation is placed in or adjacent to the area requiring treatment. It allows higher doses of radiation to be delivered directly to the treatment area while minimizing the damage to surrounding organs.
  • Cachexia – the physical wasting away of a patient caused by disease and/or treatment.
  • Contralateral tumor – a tumor that is on the opposite side of the body from the original tumor.
  • Dyspnea – this is shortness of breath
  • Epidemiology – the medical study of the cause, spread and control of disease in the population.
  • Epithelial cells – the cells that line the insides of organs.
  • Fibrosis – the formation of scar tissue that results in hardening of tissues, which makes it difficult for fluid to flow through them.
  • Gene therapy – an experimental form of treatment that works either by altering diseased genes or replacing them.
  • Ipsilateral tumor – disease that is located on the same side of the body as the original tumor.
  • Latency period – the time that elapses between exposure to asbestos , or another cancer-causing substance, and the development of a disease like mesothelioma.
  • Marker – this is usually a protein present in the blood whose level indicates the presence/severity of disease.
  • Mediastinum – the area between the lungs. It contains all of the other organs and tissues of the chest.
  • Mesothelium – the epithelial cells that form the surface of the membrane that covers the lungs, the lining of the abdominal cavity and the sac surrounding the heart.
  • Metastasis – the spread of cancer cells from the location where it originated to other parts of the body.
  • Multi-modality therapy – the use of two or more therapies to treat a disease.
  • Neoadjuvant therapy – this is a treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy that is administered before surgery.
  • Oncology – the branch of medicine that studies cancer.
  • Palliation – treatment to alleviate symptoms of a disease.
  • Parenchyma – the elements of an organ that are necessary for it to function.
  • Parietal pleura – the part of the pleura that lines the chest wall.
  • Pericardium – this is the sac surrounding the heart.
  • Peritoneum – this is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity.
  • Photodynamic therapy – a form of therapy that uses a sensitizing drug to make cancer cells more easily destroyed by laser.
  • Pleural effusion – fluid buildup in the space between the lung and the chest wall.
  • Recurrence – this is the return of the disease either to the site where it originated or to another location.
  • Resectable tumor – a tumor that can be surgically removed.
  • Tri-modality therapy – the combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to treat mesothelioma.
  • Visceral pleura – the part of the pleura that covers the lungs.

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