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Norris Cotton Cancer Center
In This Section


You will hear various technical terms used during your diagnosis and treatment for cancer. Some of the more common terms are listed here:


A test that obtains a sample of tissue in order to determine if the tissue contains cancer cells.


Treatment using anti-cancer drugs. The anti-cancer drugs may be used alone or in combination to destroy cancer cells or prevent the growth of cancer.

Chest X-Ray

An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest.


Chemotherapy which is given in combination with radiation therapy.

CT Scan (Computed Tomography Scan)

A series of x-ray pictures of a part of the body put together by a computer to give doctors a detailed picture.


A long, flexible tube with a light which is placed into the nose or mouth and guided down the throat in order to see different parts of the respiratory or upper digestive tract.


The delivery of medication to the body through the veins.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

A test that uses magnetic technology to produce high quality images of the organs inside the body.


Chemotherapy or radiation given before surgery to shrink a tumor so there is a greater chance of it being completely removed.

PET Scan (positron emission tomography scan)

An image that shows cell activity in the body. Cancer cells appear brighter in the scan so doctors can see exactly where the cancer is located.


A cancer treatment that is tested through a clinical trial. Clinical trials are carefully controlled and monitored in order to improve the ways we diagnose and treat cancer.

Tumor Board

The results of your tests are presented at a Tumor Board meeting, which includes many types of cancer specialists. The doctors make recommendations based on their knowledge and experience, as well as the latest research. Your treatment may require some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Following the presentation of your case at a Tumor Board, your doctor will meet with you and your family to discuss the various options for treatment and arrange the necessary appointments.