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    Cancer that begins in the tissues that line or cover an organ.


Any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division; it may spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream.

A structural unit of an animal or plant that serves a specific function.


Carcinoembryonic antigen
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a protein found in many types of cells but associated with tumors and the developing fetus.

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
Antigen present during embryonic development which normally disappears but reappears in malignant tissue.

A cancer-causing substance.

Of a substance which causes cancer.

Carcinoid syndrome
A syndrome due to carcinoid tumor which secretes large amounts of the hormone serotonin. The syndrome is directly due to the serotonin. Features include flushing and blushing, swelling of the face (especially around the eyes), flat angiomas (little collections of dilated blood vessels) on the skin, diarrhea, bronchial spasm, rapid pulse, low blood pressure and tricuspid and pulmonary stenosis (narrowing of the tricuspid and pulmonic valves of the heart), often with regurgitation.

Carcinoid tumor
A tumor which secretes large amounts of the hormone serotonin. Carcinoid tumor is also called an argentaffinoma. The tumor usually arises in the gastrointestinal tract, anywhere between the stomach and the rectum (the favorite spot is in the appendix) and from there may metastasize (spread) to the liver. In the liver the tumor produces and releases large quantities of serotonin into the systemic bloodstream.

Carcinoma in situ
Cancer that involves only the place in which it began and that has not spread. Carcinoma in situ is an early-stage tumor.

Carcinoma of the breast, infiltrating ductal
Infiltrating ductal carcinoma is one of several recognized specific patterns of cancer of the breast. It is so named because it begins in the cells forming the ducts of the breast. It is the most common form of breast cancer, comprising 65-85% of all cases.

Carcinoma of the breast, infiltrating lobular
Infiltrating lobular carcinoma is the second most common type of invasive breast cancer next to infiltrating ductal carcinoma, accounting for 5 to 10% of breast cancer.

Carcinoma, ampullary
Cancer of a structure called the ampulla of Vater, a small muscle located at the junction where the common bile duct (carrying bile from the liver and secretions from the pancreas) empties into the duodenum (upper small intestine).

Carcinoma, basal cell
The most common type of skin cancer, a disease in which the cancer cells resemble the basal cells of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.

Carcinoma, hepatocellular
A tumor in which the cancer starts during adulthood in cells in the liver. Also called adult primary liver cancer.

Carcinoma, Merkel cell
An infrequent but highly malignant type of skin cancer. Characteristically starts in a sun-exposed area (of the head, neck, arms or legs) in whites 60-80 years of age as a firm, painless, shiny lump that can be red, pink, or blue in color and vary in size from less than a quarter of an inch (a half cm) to more than two inches (5 cm) in diameter. The tumor grows rapidly and often metastasizes (spreads) to other parts of the body. Even relatively small tumors are capable of metastasis, particularly to the regional (nearby) lymph nodes. Merkel cell carcinoma follows an aggressive course like that of melanoma, and has a predilection to spread to (in order of frequency) liver, bone, brain, lung, and skin. The prognosis (outlook) is accordingly poor.


Calcium channel blocker
Or calcium blocker. A medication that lowers blood pressure.

Stones or solid lumps such as gallstones.

Campylobacter pylori
The original name for the bacterium that causes ulcers. The new name is Helicobacter pylori.

A mild infection caused by the Candida fungus, which lives naturally in the gastrointestinal tract. Infection occurs when a change in the body, such as surgery, causes the fungus to overgrow suddenly.

Tiny blood vessels between arteries and veins that distribute oxygen-rich blood to the body.


Cardiac arrest
The stopping of heartbeat.

Cardiac catheterization
A diagnostic procedure in which a tiny, hollow tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery to go to the heart in order to image the heart and blood vessels.

Cardiac output
The amount of blood that goes through the circulatory system in one minute.

The clinical study and practice of treating the heart.

A disease of the heart muscle that causes it to lose its pumping strength.

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