damaged (mutated), a person is at a higher risk of developing breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer.


—loss of body weight and muscle mass, and weakness that may occur in patients with cancer, AIDS, or other chronic diseases.


—the use of natural or laboratory-made substances to prevent cancer.


—the treatment of disease by means of chemicals that have a specific toxic effect on the disease-producing microorganisms (antibiotics) or that selectively destroy cancerous tissue (anticancer therapy).

chronic condition

—a condition that is continuous or persistent over an extended period of time. A chronic condition is one that is longstanding, and not easily or quickly resolved.

clinical practice guidelines

—systematically defined statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances.

clinical trial

—a formal study carried out according to a prospectively defined protocol that is intended to discover or verify the safety and effectiveness of procedures or interventions in humans.

cohort study

—a research study that compares a particular outcome (such as lung cancer) in groups of individuals who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic (for example, female nurses who smoke compared with those who do not smoke).


—an examination of the inside of the colon using a thin, lighted tube, called a colonoscope, inserted into the rectum. Samples of tissues may be collected for examination under a microscope.


—an opening into the colon from the outside of the body. A colostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed.

comorbid conditions

—disorders or syndromes occurring at the same time in the same patient.


—refers to the co-occurrence of two or more disorders or syndromes (not symptoms) in the same patient.

dental caries

—tooth decay.


—swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues.

end-of-life care

—care provided during the period of time in which an individual copes with declining health from an ultimately terminal illness.


—the use of a thin, lighted tube (called an endoscope) to examine the inside of the body.

enterostomal nurses

—nurses that specialize in the care of ostomies. They help patients adjust to an ostomy and learn to manage it.

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