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Sex Glossary

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Cancer: A disease that occurs when abnormal cells in a part of the body divide and grow out of control.

Candida: A species of fungus that normally lives in small numbers in the vagina, as well as in the mouth and digestive tract of both men and women.

Carcinomas: A type of cancer that arises from the lining cells of the body, called epithelial cells. Epithelial cells form the outer layer of the skin, and the membranes lining the digestive tract, bladder, and uterus, as well as the tubes and ducts that run through the body's organs.

Carcinoma in situ: This is a condition that is considered a pre-cancer, because cancer cells are found on the surface of the organ or tissue. ("In situ" literally means "in its proper place.")

Cervix: The lowest part of the womb, or uterus, through which babies pass when they are born.

Cervical cancer: Cancer that occurs when abnormal cells in a woman's cervix -- the lowest part of the uterus (womb) through which babies pass when they are born -- divide and grow out of control.

Cervical biopsy: A procedure in which the doctor removes a small amount of tissue from the cervix to be examined more closely.

Chemotherapy: The use of drugs to kill cancer cells.

Chest X-ray: X-rays use high-energy radiation in low doses to create images of the body to help diagnose diseases and determine the extent of injuries. A chest X-ray is done to check that the heart and lungs are healthy.

Chlamydia: A germ that is primarily sexually transmitted and infects genital organs.

Chronic hepatitis: An ongoing infection of the liver that can lead to cirrhosis, a hardening of the liver that causes liver tissue to scar and stop working.

Circumcision: An operation in which the doctor removes the foreskin from the penis. The foreskin is the skin that covers the tip of the penis.

Clear cell adenocarcinoma: A special type of adenocarcinoma that occurs in women who were exposed to the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) while in the womb. (Many pregnant women from 1945 to 1970 were given DES to prevent miscarriage.)

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