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Mesothelioma Dictionary

Mesothelioma Dictionary of Legal & Medical Terms
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Loss of body weight and muscle mass, and weakness that may occur in patients with cancer, AIDS, or other chronic disease. Cachexia is a common manifestation of late stage mesothelioma.
The process in which tissue becomes hardened as a result of calcium deposits.
A general term for a large group of diseases, all characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Cancer is either benign (localized) or malignant (capable of spreading).
Cancer Care Team
The group of health care professionals who work together to find, treat, and care for people with cancer. The cancer care team may include any or all of the following and others: primary care physician, pathologist, oncology specialists (medical oncologist, radiation oncologist), surgeon, nurse, oncology nurse specialist and oncology social worker. Whether the team is linked formally or informally, there is usually one person who takes the job of coordinating the team.
Cancer Center
A hospital that specializes only in the care of patients with cancer. An NCI designated cancer center is specifically recognized and partially funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Cancer in Situ
The stage where the cancer is still confined to the tissue in which it started.
An obsessive fear of cancer.
A tumor, usually benign or of low-grade malignancy, which is often found in the intestines.
Pertaining to the heart and the blood vessels.
Cancer-Related Checkup
A routine health examination for cancer in persons without obvious signs or symptoms of cancer. The goal of the cancer-related checkup is to find the disease, if it exists, at an early stage, when chances for cure are greatest. Clinical breast examinations, Pap smears, and skin examinations are examples of methods used in cancer-related checkups. (See also detection.)
A disease caused by a species of the yeast-like fungus Candida, usually C. albicans. Candidiasis can affect the skin, nails and mucous membranes throughout the body including the mouth (thrush), esophagus, vagina (yeast infection), intestines and lungs.
A derivative of red pepper that is used as a topical analgesic, especially for the pain of peripheral neuropathy.
A chemotherapy drug used against some forms of cancer (mainly ovarian carcinoma, lung, head and neck cancers). It was introduced in the late 1980s and has since gained popularity in clinical treatment due to its vastly reduced side-effects compared to its parent compound Cisplatin.
A substance that causes cancer. For example, nicotine in cigarettes is a carcinogen that causes lung cancer.
Substances that produce cancer or cancer growth.
Any cancer that arises from epithelial cells in the skin or the lining of organs. It is malignant by definition: carcinomas invade surrounding tissues and organs, and may spread to lymph nodes and distal sites (metastasis). Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is a pre-malignant condition, in which cytological signs of malignancy are present, but there is no histological evidence of invasion through the epithelial basement membrane.
Cervical Carcinoma
A cancer of the cervix (the neck of the uterus).
Cardiac Tamponade
Bleeding into the pericardium, or heart sac, which interferes with the functioning of the heart.
A specialist in the treatment of conditions related to the heart who would perform the appropriate tests to see if a patient is functionally able to tolerate surgery.
An enlargement of the heart.
Carve-Out Policy
A contracted agreement between an insurance company and another company which provides special services to its members, such as prescription drugs or cancer treatment.
Case Manager
The member of a cancer care team, usually a nurse or oncology nurse specialist, who coordinates the patient's care throughout diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. The case manager is a new concept that provides a guide through the complex system of health care by helping cut through red tape, getting responses to questions, managing crises, and connecting the patient and family to needed resources.
A flexible tube used to deliver fluids into or withdraw fluids from the body.
CAT Scan
A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called computerized axial tomography, computed tomography (CT scan), or computerized tomography.
Holes in the two outer layers of a tooth called the enamel and the dentin. The enamel is the outermost white hard surface and the dentin is the yellow layer just beneath enamel. Both layers serve to protect the inner living tooth tissue called the pulp, where blood vessels and nerves reside. Small cavities may not cause pain, and may be unnoticed by the patient. Larger cavities can collect food, and the inner pulp of the affected tooth can become irritated by bacterial toxins, foods that are cold, hot, sour, or sweet - causing toothache. Also referred to as caries.
CBC (Complete Blood Count)
Determines whether the proper number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are present in the patient's blood.
CCR-5 (CKR-5)
A protein found on certain blood cells that acts as a receptor site for chemokines; CCR-5 binds with the chemokines MIP-1 alpha, MIP-1 beta and RANTES. CCR-5 functions as a co-receptor which HIV uses to infect cells. Individuals who lack 2 functional copies of the gene that makes
A protein marker on the surface of certain types of T-lymphocytes and other cells. HIV uses the CD4 receptor to enter the cell.
CD4 Cell (CD4 Lymphocyte, T-Helper Cell)
A type of white blood cell that carries the CD4 surface marker and helps the body fight infection. CD4 cells engulf and process invaders (e.g., viruses) and release cytokines that coordinate a broad range of immune system activities. The CD4 cell count is the number of CD4 lymphocytes in a cubic millimeter (mm3) of blood.
CD8 Cell (CD8 Lymphocyte)
A type of white blood cell that helps regulate and/or carry out the body's immune response. Two major subsets of T-cells express the CD8 surface marker: T-suppressor cells and cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL).
CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen)
Antigens found in fetal tissue. If found CEA is found in an adult, they may be a symptom of cancerous tumors. Tests for these antigens may help in diagnosing cancer and in finding out if the cancer has spread.
CEA Test
The CarcinoEmbryonic Antigen Test measures the amount of this protein that may appear in the blood of some people who have certain kinds of cancers, especially large intestine (colon and rectal) cancer. It may also be present in people with cancer of the pancreas, breast, ovary, or lung.
The basic structural and functional unit in people and all living things. Each cell is a small container of chemicals and water wrapped in a membrane.
Cell Antiviral Factor (CAF)
A soluble substance produced by CD8 cells that inhibits HIV replication in infected cells.
Cell-Mediated Immunity (Cellular Immunity, Th1 Response)
The immune response mediated by the Th1 subset of CD4 cells. Cell-mediated immunity is stimulated by the cytokines IL-2, IL-12 and gamma interferon, and carried out by cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) and macrophages.
The inflammation of an area of the skin (epithelial layer).
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC)
The U.S. Federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that monitors disease occurrence and develops policies for preventing diseases and maintaining the health of the population.
Central Line
A central line can be used to give you treatments such as chemotherapy, antibiotics and intravenous fluids. It can also be used to take samples of your blood for testing. Central lines can also be used to give liquid food into the vein if your digestive system is not able to cope with food for any reason. Also see Central Venous Catheter.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
The brain and spinal cord.
Central Venous Catheter
Small, flexible plastic tube inserted into the large vein above the heart, through which drugs and blood products can be given, and blood samples withdrawn painlessly (also called central line).
Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)
A clear, nutrient-rich fluid that circulates around and through the brain and spinal cord.
Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN)
Abnormal growth of cells of the uterine cervix, suggestive of an early stage of cervical cancer.
Cervical Nodes
Lymph nodes in the neck.
A factor that attracts cells (e.g., immune system white blood cells) to places in the body where they are needed.
Chemotherapeutic Agent
A chemical agent that has a specific toxic effect on micro-organisms or cancer.
A soluble factor secreted by certain immune system cells that stimulates the activity of other cells. Chemokines have chemoattractant properties and act as messengers between cells. Alpha chemokines contain an amino acid between 2 cysteine residues; beta chemokines do not contain an intervening amino acid. Certain chemokines (e.g., MIP-1-alpha, MIP-1-beta, RANTES) have been shown to affect the activity of HIV; certain chemokine receptors (e.g., CCR-5, CXCR-4) are necessary for entry by HIV into cells.
Prevention or reversal of disease using drugs, chemicals, vitamins, or minerals. While this idea is not ready for widespread use, it is a very promising area of study. The Breast Cancer Prevention Trial has shown that the drug tamoxifen can prevent some cases of breast cancer among women with high risk of the disease. But the drug may have some serious side effects.
Chemopreventive Agent
The use of natural or synthetic substances to reduce the risk of developing cancer, or to reduce the chance that cancer will recur (come back)
Responds to chemotherapy, e.g., a tumor is chemo-responsive if it shrinks in size following chemotherapy.
Drug treatment to destroy cancer cells. The chemotherapeutic agents can be administered either systemically (in the blood stream) or intrapleurally (in the pleural cavity itself.)
Combination Chemotherapy
The use of more than one drug to treat cancer.
The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains the lungs, the heart and part of the aorta. The walls of the chest are supported by the dorsal vertebrae, the ribs, and the sternum.
Chest Pain
There are many causes of chest pain. One is angina which results from inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle. Angina can be caused by coronary artery disease or spasm of the coronary arteries. Chest pain can also be due to a heart attack (coronary occlusion) and other important diseases such as, for example, dissection of the aorta and a pulmonary embolism . Do not try to ignore chest pain and "work (or play) though it." Chest pain is a warning to seek medical attention.
Chest Wall
Consists of all the anatomical structures that surround the lungs and pleura, including the intercostals, the ribs, and the diaphragm.
Chest X-Ray
A chest x-ray is a radiology test that involves exposing the chest briefly to radiation to produce an image of the chest and the internal organs of the chest. Chest x-rays can be used to define abnormalities of the lungs such as excessive fluid, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, cysts, and cancers.
The most common type of steroid in the body, cholesterol has gotten something of a bad name. However, cholesterol is a critically important molecule.
Persisting over a long period of time.
Chronic Bronchitis
A condition associated with prolonged exposure to nonspecific bronchial irritants (usually cigarette smoke) and accompanied by alterations in the bronchi. It is characterized by a chronic productive cough. A condition characterized with increased mucus secretions and caused by viral infections, manifested with prolonged exposure to bronchial irritants. Sometimes masks symptoms of mesothelioma in early stages.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
A progressive lung disease process characterized by difficulty breathing, wheezing, and a chronic cough. Complications include bronchitis, pneumonia and lung cancer.
Chronic Pain
Pain that may range from mild to severe and persists or progresses over a long period of time.
The most common type of asbestos, it is also known as "white asbestos," which comprises approximately 90%-95% of all asbestos in the United States. It is made up of minerals that crystallize in the "serpentine" pattern, which means its crystals are formed in sheets. Chrysotile has been linked with all asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers are extremely durable and are heat and fire resistant. Asbestos also serves as a strong binder for other materials. Because of these properties, asbestos was used in over 3000 different products in a variety of industrial, commercial, and consumer products. Because of their size and shape, asbestos fibers can easily become airborne and can remain in the air for long periods of time. Once asbestos settles, it can be redistributed into the air easily through a process called re-entrainment. Unfortunately, once asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they tend to remain in the body for many years.
Chrysotile Peritoneal Mesothelioma
An asbestos-related cancer that attacks the lining of the abdominal cavity. Chrysotile causes peritoneal mesothelioma when the small fibers are inhaled or swallowed and become lodged in the tissue. Chrysotile linked peritoneal mesothelioma has a long latency period, often diagnosed more than 40 years after exposure.
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds. Cisplatin is used in the treatment of a wide range of malignancies, including advanced cancer of the ovary, testis, and bladder. Cisplatin is given intravenously. Its full chemical name is cis-dichlorodiammineplatinum.
In law, a claim is a demand for money or relief in a complaint. It can also be a record of medical services provided to a patient and submitted by the provider to the insurance company for payment.
Claims Review
The method by which a patient’s health care service claims are reviewed before reimbursement is made. This is done to validate the appropriateness of services given and that the cost is not excessive.
Class Action
A lawsuit filed by one or more personal injury victims (plaintiffs) on their own behalf as well as a larger group “who are similarly situated”. The decision is binding to all parties.
Clear CellTumors
Part of the surface epithelial-stromal tumor group of Ovarian cancers, accounting for 6% of all neoplastic cases. Clear cell tumors are also associated with the pancreas and salivary glands.
The person who hires a lawyer for legal services.
1. Having to do with the examination and treatment of patients. 2. Applicable to patients. A laboratory test may be of clinical value (of use to patients).
Clinical Trails
Research studies that test how new medical treatments and other interventions work in people. Tests may be preventative, diagnostic or therapeutic. Mesothelioma clinical trials.
A condition characterized by increased curvature of the nails, blood congestion in nail beds, and increased size of the distal phalanges. Clubbing may appear in advanced cases of asbestosis, but it appears more frequently in other types of pneumoconioses.
Central Nervous System.
To fuse or blend separate parts
Cobalt Machine
A radioactive machine using a form of the metal cobalt, which is used as a source of radiation to treat cancer.
Carboxyhemoglobin. A compound formed from hemoglobin on exposure to carbon monoxide.
A group of individuals in a study who share a statistical factor (e.g., age, study site).
A provision which limits the amount of the coverage paid by an insurance plan to a certain percentage, with the remaining costs paid by the member.
An insoluble fibrous protein that appears in bones and connective tissue fibrils.
Collagen Disease
One of a group of chronic diseases affecting the connective tissue as well as multiple joints and organs.
Collapsed Lung
Failure of full expansion of a once fully expanded lung. Medically called atelectasis. The word comes from the Greek "a-" (without) + "telos" (complete) + "rectasis" (expansion) = without complete expansion.
A substance (such as gelatin or starch) which, when dissolved in water, diffuses very slowly through a membrane.
The large intestine, part of the digestive tract. The colon is a muscular tube about 5 feet long.
A procedure to look at the colon or large bowel through a lighted, flexible tube.
Colony-Stimulating Factor (CSF)
An injectable substance that promotes growth and division of blood-producing cells in the bone marrow. CSFs are naturally produced in the body. But extra amounts may be given as a treatment to reduce or prevent certain side effects of chemotherapy due to not having enough blood cells.
A surgical procedure by which an opening is created between the colon and the outside of the abdomen to allow stool to be emptied into a collection bag. A colostomy is sometimes needed after surgery for cancer of the rectum.
Examination of the vagina and cervix with an instrument called a colposcope.
Combined Modality Therapy
Two or more types of treatment used alternately or together to get the best results. For example, surgery for cancer is often followed by chemotherapy to destroy any cancer cells that may have spread from the original site.
Complaint: The formal document filed with a trial court to start a lawsuit that explains the facts of a particular case and lists the legal theories that justify an award or recovery from the defendant.
Complementary Medicine
Practices that are meant to enhance or complement standard medical treatment for a particular disease.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Forms of treatment that are used in addition to (complementary) or instead of (alternative) standard treatments. These practices generally are not considered standard medical approaches. CAM may include dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.
Complementary Therapy
Therapies used in addition to standard therapy. Some complementary therapies may help relieve certain symptoms of cancer, relieve side effects of standard cancer therapy, or improve a patient’s sense of well–being.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Also known as full blood count (FBC) or full blood exam (FBE) or blood panel, is a test requested by a doctor or other medical professional that gives information about the cells in a patient's blood. A lab technician (US: "medical technologist") performs the requested testing and provides the requesting Medical Professional with the results of the CBC. A CBC is also known as a "hemogram".
Complete Response
The disappearance of all signs of cancer in response to treatment. This does not always mean the cancer has been cured. Also called a complete remission.
Computerized Tomography (CT)
Radiographic imaging technique that gives detailed anatomic information; involves projection of x-ray beams through the body and cross-sectional imaging of body planes via computer
See preparative regimen.
Present from the time of birth.
Congestive Heart Failure
A buildup of fluid in the lungs or extremities, or both (especially the legs). This occurs if the heart cannot pump the blood adequately.
Eye inflammation.
Shortening of muscle, skin and other soft tissue, usually in the limbs. May occur in patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease.
On the opposite side of the body relative to an organ affected by disease
A substance that is present in a certain amount of soil, water, air, food, blood, hair, urine, breath, or any other media.
Contingency Based Payment
The payment for services (generally legal services) is contingent, or depends on, the settlement received. If no settlement is received, there is no payment.
Contingency Fees
A method of payment for legal fees frequently used in personal injury and wrongful death actions in which the client pays the attorney a percentage of any recovery or award achieved for the client, but does not pay any legal fees if no recovery is won.
Any circumstance or symptom that makes a method of treatment inadvisable in a particular case.
Controlled Trial
A clinical trial in which a group receiving an experimental therapy is compared to a control group that is not given the intervention under study.
The portion of a claim that a member must pay out-of-pocket.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: See "obstructive lung disease."
An inflammation of the cartilage of the chest wall, usually involving that which surrounds the breastbone (sternum). It causes local pain and tenderness of the chest around the sternum.
Costophrenic Angle
The angle between the diaphragm and the chest wall.
A mixture of alkaloids extracted from Solanum linnaeanum (Devil's Apple). It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is manufactured by Solbec Pharmaceuticals LTD (Perth AU) and known by the “Coramsine” trademark.
A second receptor required for entry into a cell or initiation of a biological process. HIV requires both the CD4 receptor and a co-receptor (e.g., CCR-5 or CXCR-4) to enter a cell.
Cor Pulmonale
Also known as right heart failure, is a medical term used to describe a change in structure and function of the right ventricle of the heart as a result of a respiratory disorder. Right ventricular hypertrophy or RVH is the predominant change in chronic cor pulmonale although in acute cases dilation dominates. Both hypertrophy and dilation are the result of increased right ventricular pressure.
Any of a number of steroid substances obtained from the cortex of the adrenal glands. They are sometimes used as an anti-cancer treatment.
An early, nonspecific symptom of asbestosis is a dry cough, sometimes associated with chest pains. It is most common in asbestos workers with a history of cigarette smoking.
A 5-digit code that applies to medical services delivered.
A protein in muscles and blood.
One of the five types of Amphibole asbestos. This means the fibers in Crocidolite are made up of mineral crystals that look like chains. Crocidolite is often called "blue asbestos," and occurs naturally in Austrial, South Africa, the former Soviet Union, and Canada.
The development of resistance to one agent (e.g., drug) which also confers resistance to another (often similar) agent.
The use of an extremely cold probing instrument to destroy unwanted abnormal tissues. Sometimes used to treat prostate or other cancers.
The use of liquid nitrogen to freeze an abnormal lesion.
See Colony Stimulating Factor.
CT Scan
Computerized tomography scan. Pictures of structures within the body created by a computer that takes the data from multiple X-ray images and turns them into pictures on a screen. CT stands for computerized tomography.
Curative Treatment
Treatment aimed at producing a cure. Compare with palliative treatment.
Pertaining to the skin.
A bruise-like discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes, that is particularly caused by deficient oxygen content in the blood.
Also known as cytophosphane (the generic name for Cytoxan, Neosar or Ifosfamide), is a nitrogen mustard alkylating agent, used to treat various types of cancer and some autoimmune disorders. It is a "prodrug"; it is converted in the liver to active forms that have chemotherapeutic activity.
Cyst (Sist)
A fluid-filled mass that is usually benign. The fluid can be removed for analysis. (See Needle Aspiration.)
Cystic Fibrosis
A hereditary disease that mainly affects the lungs and digestive system, causing progressive disability and for some, early death. Formerly known as cystic fibrosis of the pancreas, this entity has increasingly been labeled simply "cystic fibrosis".
An inflammation of the bladder.
A diagnostic procedure where a hollow lighted tube, (cystoscope) is used to look inside the bladder and the urethra.
Cytochrome P450 System (CP450)
A process that metabolizes drugs and other foreign substances in the liver by means of enzymes.
An intercellular chemical messenger protein released by white blood cells. Cytokines facilitate communication among immune system cells and between immune system cells and the rest of the body.
Proteins which occur naturally in the human body, and which are similar to hormones. They act as intercellular mediators and differ from classical hormones in that they are produced by a number of tissue or cell types rather than by specialized glands. They may stimulate immunity and inhibit some cancers.
Cytologic Exam
An exam of cells under a microscope (by a pathologist) to check for anything abnormal. For mesothelioma, fluid is taken from around the lungs or from the abdomen. A pathologist checks the cells in the fluid.
The branch of biological science that deals with the structure and function of cells. In asbestos cases, it often refers to the testing of liquid removed from the outside of the lung.
Destruction of a cell by rupturing.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV, HHV-5)
A herpes virus. CMV infection often occurs in healthy individuals without causing symptoms. In immunocompromised individuals CMV may cause retinitis, pneumonia, colitis and/or encephalitis.
The living substance of a cell or protoplasm excluding the nucleus.
Toxic to cells; cell-killing.
Cytotoxic Agents
Drugs or chemicals toxic to cells; often used in the treatment of cancer.
Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte (CTL, T-Killer Cell)
An immune system white blood cell that targets and kills cells infected with microorganisms.
The quality of being toxic to or killing cells

Disclaimer: Mesothelioma Help Center’s Dictionary of Legal & Medical Terms is not designed to provide medical advice or professional services and is intended to be for educational use only. The information provided through Mesothelioma Help Center is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. If you have, or suspect you may have, a health problem you should consult your doctor. If you need legal help you should consult an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.

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Mesothelioma Symptoms

The most common Mesothelioma symptoms are the following:

Recent onset of shortness of breath (31%)
Recent increase in shortness of breath (30%)
Chest pain (43%)
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