Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pancreatic Cancer: Glossary of Terms (I – K)

- I –

Immune system: Complex system by which the body is able to protect itself from foreign invaders.

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Immunotherapy: A type of treatment that stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapies may fight the cancer or control side effects from other cancer treatments.

Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular condition or circumstance. For example, certain medications are indicated for the treatment of hypertension during pregnancy while others are contraindicated.

Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites which are not normally present within the body. An infection may cause no symptoms and be subclinical, or it may cause symptoms and be clinically apparent. An infection may remain localized, or it may spread through the blood or lymphatic vessels to become systemic (bodywide). Microorganisms that live naturally in the body are not considered infections. For example, bacteria that normally live within the mouth and intestine are not infections.

Infiltrating cancer: Cancer, which can grow beyond its site of origin into surrounding tissue.

Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation can be external or internal.

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Informed Consent: A process by which a person learns key facts about a clinical trial, including potential risks and benefits, before deciding whether or not to participate. The informed consent process continues throughout the trial.

Infusaport: A type of permanent catheter, round in shape, surgically inserted into a neck vein. Allows administration of IV fluids, blood products and medicines. Blood can also be drawn through it.

Inpatient Hospice Care: A type of hospice care that is delivered in healthcare facilities, such as a hospice facility, hospital, or nursing home. It is used when pain and other symptoms cannot be addressed at home.

In situ: A term used to indicate that cancerous cells are present in the duct but have not spread to the glandular tissue.

Insoluble Fiber: A tough, indigestible structure commonly found in fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. This fiber does not dissolve readily in water. Fiber types include cellulose, most hemicelluloses, and lignins. Possible health effects include softened stools, regulation of bowel movements, and lowered blood cholesterol.

Insulin: A natural hormone made by the pancreas that controls the level of the sugar glucose in the blood. Insulin permits cells to use glucose for energy. Cells cannot utilize glucose without insulin.

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Internal medicine: The medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and medical treatment of adults. A physician who specializes in internal medicine is referred to as an internist. Subspecialties of internal medicine include allergy and immunology, cardiology (heart diseases), endocrinology (hormone disorders), hematology (blood disorders), infectious diseases, gastroenterology (diseases of the gut), nephrology (kidney diseases), oncology (cancer), pulmonology (lung disorders), and rheumat-ology (arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders).

Interventional: Pertaining to the act of intervening, interfering or interceding with the intent of modifying the outcome.

Interventional radiologist: A radiologist who uses image guidance methods to gain access to vessels and organs. Interventional radiologists can treat certain conditions through the skin (percutaneously) that might otherwise require surgery. The technology includes the use of balloons, catheters, microcatheters, stents, and therapeutic embolization (deliberately clogging up a blood vessel). The specialty of interventional radiology overlaps with other fields, including interventional cardiology, vascular surgery, endoscopy, laparoscopy, and other minimally invasive techniques, such as biopsies. Specialists performing interventional radiology procedures today include not only radiologists but also other types of physicians such as general surgeons, vascular surgeons, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, gynecologists, urologists, and nephrologists.

Intestine: The long, tubelike organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. It consists of the small and large intestines.

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Intravenous infusion: When a medicine or a fluid, such as blood, is fed directly into a vein, it's called an intravenous infusion (or IV). To give you an intravenous infusion, a nurse, technician or a doctor places a narrow plastic tube into a vein (usually in your arm) using a needle. The needle is then removed and the fluid is infused (or dripped) through the tube into the vein.

Islet cell tumor: A tumor that arises from the islet cells of the pancreas. The islet cells normally produce insulin and other hormones, and so the tumors frequently, but not always, produce one of these hormones. Islet cell tumors can be benign or malignant and generally cause symptoms related to the hormone produced by the tumor. Specific types of islet cell tumors include insulinomas, glucagonomas, and gastrinomas. People with a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type I (MEN I) are at an increased risk for the development of islet cell tumors. Treatments depend upon the type of tumor and may include surgery, chemotherapy, and medications to treat the symptoms of hormone excess.

Invasive Pancreatic Cancer: Cancer that originates in the pancreas, and then continues to grow and spread deeper into healthy tissue located in and nearby the pancreas. Invasive pancreatic cancer is more aggressive and may require a different treatment approach than in situ (non-invasive) pancreatic cancer.

- J –

Jaundice: Yellow staining of the skin and sclerae (the whites of the eyes) by abnormally high blood levels of the bile pigment bilirubin. The yellowing extends to other tissues and body fluids. Jaundice was once called the "morbus regius" (the regal disease) in the belief that only the touch of a king could cure it.

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Jejunostomy Tube (j-tube): A feeding tube inserted through the abdomen into the small intestine, bypassing the stomach. Special liquid food is given to the patient through the j-tube. Pancreatic enzymes may be added to the liquid to aid in the breakdown and absorption of nutrients.

Jejunum: Part of the small intestine. It is half-way down the small intestine between its duodenum and ileum sections.

- K –

Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and produce urine. As blood flows through the kidneys, the kidneys filter waste products, chemicals, and unneeded water from the blood. Urine collects in the middle of each kidney, in an area called the renal pelvis. It then drains from the kidney through a long tube, the ureter, to the bladder, where it is stored until elimination. The kidneys also make substances that help control blood pressure and regulate the formation of red blood cells.

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