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Ovarian Cancer Health Center

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Chemotherapy Glossary: What Is My Cancer Doctor Talking About?


Catheter: A long, thin, flexible tube that is sometimes used to deliver chemotherapy medicines into the body.

Chemotherapy: The use of medications to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs used for ovarian cancer include Taxol, Platinol, Paraplatin, and Cytoxan.

Colony stimulating factors: See growth factors.

Combination chemotherapy: The use of two or more drugs together to treat cancer.

CT scan : An imaging test that uses X-rays to take a series of cross-sectional pictures of the body.

Cycle: One interval of chemotherapy treatment. You may receive one cycle, or dose of chemotherapy, then wait for one or more weeks and have another cycle.

Cytotoxic: Substances, such as chemotherapy drugs, that damage or kill cells.

Delayed nausea: Feeling nauseated one to five days after chemotherapy treatment.

Extravasation: The leakage of chemotherapy drugs from the veins into the surrounding tissues, which can damage the affected tissues.

First-line chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs that are given first, because research has shown them to be most effective for treating a particular type of cancer, such as ovarian cancer.

Fractionated-dose chemotherapy: A form of chemotherapy in which the dose is broken up into smaller amounts and given over three to five days, rather than being given as one large dose.

Growth factors (also called colony stimulating factors): Substances that stimulate bone marrow to produce white blood cells, the immune system cells that protect the body from infection. Chemotherapy can damage bone marrow, reducing the number of white blood cells available to fight infection. Taking growth factor can help people who are receiving chemotherapy better tolerate their treatment.

Gynecologic oncologist: A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancers of the female reproductive system, including ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers.

Infusion: The slow delivery of fluid (such as chemotherapy drugs) into a vein.

Intralesional chemotherapy: A treatment in which the chemotherapy medications are delivered directly into the tumor (cancerous growth).

Intramuscular chemotherapy: A treatment in which chemotherapy is delivered directly into a muscle.

Intraperitoneal chemotherapy: A treatment in which chemotherapy is delivered directly into the abdomen.

Intravenous: Medication or liquid that is given through a needle into a vein. Chemotherapy is often delivered intravenously (through an IV).

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