When doctors use words we don’t understand

New Discoveriesby Hannah Leatherbury, Education Contributor

It can sometimes be difficult to understand what your doctor is saying, especially when you receive a cancer diagnosis. Perhaps you’ve had an experience when you went to a doctor for help and left feeling more confused and anxious. The good news – often times, your doctor is using unfamiliar words to describe new treatment options and how they might work for you. Here are a few terms that may not be as familiar to you as chemotherapy and radiation:

  • Monoclonal Antibodies (MABs or MoAbs) – Antibodies that help anti-cancer drugs target tumor cells. Think of these like a GPS helping your treatment find its way to the right location
  •  Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors (EGFR) – Many types of cancer cells have high levels of EGFR. When abnormally high levels of EGFR are present on a cell’s surface, it begins to divide very rapidly. Some anti-cancer drugs work by preventing EGFR from further dividing cancer cells, thereby inhibiting tumor growth.
  • Anti-Angiogenesis – A method to stop new blood vessels from growing in cancer cells, thereby “starving” (and eventually killing) the cancer cells.

To learn more about these and other new discoveries in cancer treatment, request a free copy of Frankly Speaking About Cancer: New Discoveries. Now in its fifth edition, this booklet features even more cancer treatment options than were showcased in the fourth edition.

by Hannah Leatherbury

About Ivy Ahmed

Ivy Ahmed is the Vice President of Education and Outreach at the Cancer Support Community. In this position she oversees the development, promotion and implementation of national CSC education programs. She also oversees the development of online educational materials and national professional outreach related to education programs. Ivy has over 15 years in public health and has worked in both the private and public sectors promoting cancer education. She served as a health educator and case manager with the District of Columbia’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and as the health communications manager with Lockheed Martin on a contract to support to the NCI’s Cancer Information Service. Ivy holds two degrees from the George Washington University, a Bachelor in Literature and a Master of Public Health.

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