Dictionary of Terms

Words have the power to heal, guide and motivate us, but they can also cause confusion. Whether you’re going in for a screening or you’ve received a cancer diagnosis, it’s important you understand the information you’re provided so you can navigate next steps. How can you make an informed medical decision without an understanding of the information you’re provided?  You may feel like you’re getting a crash course in biology during a time when you might also be on an emotional roller coaster. Take the time to ask questions when you don’t understand, look up terms when you need clarification, and do additional research to help fill in the gaps. We’ve provided a few resources to help you make sense of some of the words you might want to better understand.

101 Useful Cancer Terms
We’ve curated some of the most useful terms based on feedback from many of the patients we’ve worked with to help you get started. You can also download a copy here.

Words Do Matter
What word(s) in health care have you found to be confusing? Tell us about it here!

NCI Drug Dictionary
The NCI Drug Dictionary includes the technical definitions of drugs that are used in cancer treatment.

NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms
The NCI Dictionary of Genetic Terms provides you with the definitions of genetic-related terms.

The National Cancer Institute Dictionary has over 8,000 terms and definitions.