Glossary of Terms

BRCA1

A gene on chromosome 17 that normally helps to suppress cell growth. A person who inherits an altered version of the BRCA1 gene has a higher risk of getting breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer.

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BRCA2

A gene on chromosome 13 that normally helps to suppress cell growth. A person who inherits an altered version of the BRCA2 gene has a higher risk of getting breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer.

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CA-125

A blood test used to measure the level of CA-125, a tumor marker that is often found in higher-than-normal amounts in the blood of women with ovarian cancer. In the current study, it is being evaluated as a possible test to screen for ovarian cancer.

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cardiovascular disease

This term refers to various medical conditions that affect the heart and the blood vessels (arteries). These conditions include coronary artery disease, heart attack, myocardial infarction (MI), angina, congestive heart failure, hardening of the arteries, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (hardening of the arteries in the legs, neck, etc).

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chemoprevention

The use of drugs, vitamins, or other agents to try to reduce the risk of, or delay the development or recurrence of, cancer.

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cohort

A cohort is a group of people who participate in a research study in which participants' health is monitored over time.

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fallopian tube

Part of the female reproductive tract. There are two long slender fallopian tubes, one for each ovary, through which eggs pass on their way from the ovaries to the uterus.

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fenretinide

A drug being studied for cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids, which are related to vitamin A.

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gene

The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.

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hereditary

Transmitted from parent to child by information contained in the genes.

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malignant

Cancerous. Malignant tumors can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

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osteoporosis

A condition that is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density, causing bones to become fragile. Persons with osteoporosis are at increased risk of developing bone fractures.

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ovary

One of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus, and they are connected to the uterus by the fallopian tubes.

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risk factor

Something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. Some examples of risk factors for cancer include age, a family history of certain cancers, use of tobacco products, certain eating habits, obesity, exposure to radiation or other cancer-causing agents, and certain genetic changes.

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salpingo-oophorectomy

Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

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screening

Checking for disease when there are no symptoms to suggest that the disease is present.

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transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS)

A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. A slender instrument is inserted into the vagina, and sound waves bounce off the organs inside the pelvic area. These sound waves create echoes, which a computer uses to create a picture called a sonogram. Also called TVUS.

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tumor marker

A substance or protein sometimes found in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A high level of tumor marker may mean that a certain type of cancer is present in the body. Examples of tumor markers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers), and PSA (prostate cancer). Also called a biomarker.

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