Bioinformatics: use of computers and specialized software to organize and analyze biological information and data.
Biomarker: see tumor marker.
Biopsy: excision of a small piece of tissue for diagnostic examination; can be done surgically or with needles.
Blind study: a study in which the identity and relevant characteristics of the study subjects are concealed from the investigators.
BRCA1: a gene located on the short arm of chromosome 17; when this gene is mutated, a woman is at greater risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, or both, than women who do not have the mutation.
BRCA2: a gene located on chromosome 13; a germ-line mutation in this gene is associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
Breast lavage: a procedure in which a small catheter is inserted into the nipple and the breast ducts are flushed with fluid to collect breast cells.
Breast self-examination: monthly physical examination of the breasts with the intent of finding lumps that could be an early indication of cancer.
Carcinogen: any substance or agent that produces or incites cancer.
Carcinogenesis: the production or origin of cancer.
Carcinoma in situ: a lesion characterized by cytological changes similar to those associated with invasive carcinoma, but with the pathologi cal process limited to the lining epithelium and without visible evi dence of invasion into adjacent structures.
Catheter: a tube passed through the body for evacuating or injecting fluids into body cavities.
cDNA: complementary DNA synthesized by RNA-directed DNA poly merase using RNA as a template; may be used as a probe for the presence of a gene code.
Cell culture: the growth of cells in vitro for experimental purposes.
Chromophore: any chemical that when present in a cell displays color.
Chromosome: chromosomes carry the genes, the basic units of heredity. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, one member of each pair is from the mother and the other is from the father. Each chromosome can contain hundreds or thousands of individual genes.
Clinical breast examination: a physical examination of the breasts, per formed by a doctor or nurse, with the intent of finding lumps that could be an early indication of cancer.
Clinical outcome: the end result of a medical intervention, e.g., survival or improved health.
Clinical trial: a formal study carried out according to a prospectively defined protocol that is intended to discover or verify the safety and