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start of page contentdysplastic nevi: Atypical moles; moles whose appearance is different from that of common moles. Dysplastic nevi are generally larger than ordinary moles and have irregular and indistinct borders. Their color often is not uniform and ranges from pink or even white to dark brown or black; they usually are flat, but parts may be raised above the skin surface.

encapsulated: Confined to a specific area; an encapsulated tumor remains in a compact form.

endometrial: Having to do with the mucous membrane that lines the cavity of the uterus.

environmental tobacco smoke: Smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette and smoke that is exhaled by smokers. Also called ETS or secondhand smoke. Inhaling ETS is called involuntary or passive smoking.

epidemiology: Study of the factors that affect the prevalence, distribution, and control of disease.

epidermis: Upper or outer layer of the two main layers of cells that make up the skin.

Epstein-Barr virus: Virus that has been associated with the development of infectious mononucleosis and also with Burkitt lymphoma.

estrogen: Female hormone produced by the ovary. Responsible for secondary sex characteristics and cyclic changes in the lining of the uterus and vagina.

etiology: Study of the causes of abnormal condition or disease.

familial polyposis: Inherited condition in which several hundred polyps develop in the colon and rectum. These polyps have a high potential to become malignant.

fecal occult blood test: Test to reveal blood hidden in the feces, which may be a sign of colon cancer.

fiber: Parts of fruits and vegetables that cannot be digested. Also called bulk or roughage.

fibroid: Benign uterine tumor made up of fibrous and muscular tissue.

gene therapy: Treatment that alters genes (the basic units of heredity found in all cells in the body). In studies of gene therapy for cancer, researchers are trying to improve the body's natural ability to fight the disease or to make the tumor more sensitive to other kinds of therapy.

genetic: Inherited; having to do with information that is passed from parents to children through DNA in the genes.

grade: Describes how closely a cancer resembles normal tissue of its same type, along with the cancer's probable rate of growth.

grading: System for classifying cancer cells in terms of how malignant or aggressive they appear microscopically. The grading of a tumor indicates how quickly cancer cells are likely to spread and plays a role in treatment decisions.

herpes virus: Member of the herpes family of viruses. One type of herpes virus is sexually transmitted and causes sores on the genitals.

hormonal therapy: Treatment of cancer by removing, blocking, or adding hormones.

human papillomaviruses: Viruses that generally cause warts. Some papillomaviruses are sexually transmitted. Some of these sexually transmitted viruses cause wartlike growths on the genitals, and some are thought to cause abnormal changes in cells of the cervix.

hyperplasia: Precancerous condition in which there is an increase in the number of normal cells lining an organ.

imaging: Tests that produce pictures of areas inside the body.

immunotherapy: Treatment that uses the body's natural defenses to fight cancer. Also called biotherapy or biological modifier response therapy.

incidence: Number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.

incidence rate: Number of new cases per year per 100,000 persons.

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