You may hear various medical terminology used when describing treatment for cancer. Below is a list of common terms that may be related to your care. We hope these descriptions help, but if you have any questions understanding your treatment, please let us know. 

Biological Therapy
This type of therapy uses substances that occur naturally in your body or are made from living organisms in a laboratory. This type of therapy enhances or suppresses your immune system, depending on the type of cancer being treated.

A tissue-equivalent material used to change the surface distribution of a radiation beam. 

The use of radioactive sources placed directly into a tumor bearing area to generate local regions of high intensity radiation. 

The use of drugs or medications to directly attack cancer at the cellular level by disrupting the cell metabolic or reproductive cycle. 

The schedule of fractions of treatment as it is delivered. This is usually expressed as the number of fractions or treatment sessions delivered over a specific period of time. 

Genetic Counseling
Genetic counseling can determine if you have the change in genes that accounts for between 5 and 10 percent of all cancer. People who do are at a higher risk of developing cancer before the age of 50.

Genetic Testing
A test, usually a blood test, that is sent to a lab to determine if you have a genetic condition or may develop or pass on to your children certain cancers and other genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.

Any technique of radiation treatment that delivers more than one treatment session per day. Hyperfractionation is normally done twice and usually is separated by a period of 4 to 6 hours. 

A type of biological therapy that helps your immune system fight cancer. Immunotherapy may be given through a vein by IV, as pills or capsules your swallow, creams you rub onto your skin, or directly into the bladder (intravesical).

A condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of a type of white blood cells, called neutrophils, in the blood.

The use of radiation therapy in an attempt to decrease symptoms such as pain, bleeding or other dysfunctions. This sometimes results in the prolongation of life, but the main goal is to improve the quality of life. 

A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including chemotherapy and intravenous fluids. It is usually placed under the skin on the right side of the chest and is attached to a catheter that goes into a vein. A portacath may stay in place for a long time and helps reduce repeated needle sticks.

Portal Films 
X-rays taken during the delivery of radiation treatment utilizing the treatment beam of the machine. Portal films demonstrate the exact shape, size and area covered by each individual treatment beam during an actual treatment. 

Treatment planning 
The cognitive process carried out by the physician to determine all of the parameters in a given course of radiation therapy.