Medical Dictionary


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31. blood

The body fluid that flows through all the vessels except the lymph vessels and performs a number of critical functions. blood is composed of a liquid portion called plasma and three other components: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

32. blood chemistries

Multiple chemical determinations of the blood content. these tests are helpful in assessing your kidney and liver function.

33. blood count

A lab study to evaluate the amount of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

34. blood transfusion

The infusion of red blood cells or platelets into your blood stream to replace blood loss or to correct anemia.

35. blood typing

Making sure that the blood from a donor is compatible with yours before a blood transfusion. blood cells contain factors that are not the same in all people. before a transfusion can be given, blood samples from the donor and you are typed, or classified according to which of these factors are present. the four principal red blood cell types or groups are a, b, ab or o. other factors such as rh factor must also be checked. (see the section on blood transfusions in what treatment really means)

36. bone marrow

The spongy material that fills the cavities of the bones and is the substance in which blood is produced. in order to determine the condition of the marrow, a doctor may take a small sample from one of the bones in the chest, hip, spine or leg. (see the section on bone marrow biopsies)

37. bone marrow biopsy

A procedure in which a needle is placed into the cavity of a bone, usually the hip or breast bone, to remove a small amount of bone marrow for examination under a microscope.

38. bone marrow transplant

A very rigorous treatment for cancer which severely injures or destroys the patientÕs bone marrow. you are given high doses of chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells. the drugs also destroy the remaining bone marrow, thus robbing your body of its natural ability to fight infection. total body radiation (tbi) is sometimes administered. ¤ in allogeneic transplantation, bone marrow from another individual, usually a brother or sister with the same tissue type is given to the patient. this bone marrow develops in the patient and eventually begins producing blood cells. ¤ in autologous bone marrow transplantation, some of your own bone marrow is removed and set aside before treatment and then re-infused. it starts producing blood cells a few weeks later. ¤ in umbilical cord blood transplantation, the use of stem cells in blood removed from the umbilical cords of newborns (a very rich source) is used for transplantation.

39. bone scan

An imaging method that gives important information about the bones, including the location of cancer that may have spread to the bones. a low-dose radioactive substance is injected into a vein and pictures are taken to see where the radioactivity collects, pointing to an abnormality

40. bowel

Pertaining to your intestines.

41. brain scan

An imaging method used to find anything not normal in the brain, including brain cancer and cancer that has spread to the brain from other places in the body. a radioactive substance is injected into a vein and pictures are taken to show where the radioactivity collects, indicating an abnormality.

42. broviac catheter

Soft plastic catheters that are surgically placed in one of the neck veins and advanced to the opening of the heart in order to easily administer intravenous solutions and to obtain blood for testing.

43. cancer

Develops when cells in your body begin to grow out of control. normal cells grow, divide, and die naturally. instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new abnormal cells. cancer cells often travel to other body parts where they grow and replace normal tissue. this process is called metastasis. cancer cells develop because of damage to dna. dna is in every cell and directs all its activities. when dna becomes damaged, the body is usually able to repair it. in cancer cells, the damage is not repaired. people can inherit damaged dna, which accounts for inherited cancers. many times, dna becomes damaged by exposure to something in the environment, like smoking. many cancers have no known cause.

44. capillaries

Tiny blood vessels located throughout the tissues of your body which connect your arteries with your veins and through which substances pass to nourish your cells.

45. cardiac

Pertaining to your heart.

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