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The Knowledge

Glossary of words to know

Acetaminophen: A type of medicine that reduces pain and fever.

Adaptive immune system: The part of our immune system that develops in response to microorganisms that cause disease. Special immune cells remember what these foreign invaders look like and they are able to respond in the future to help prevent those particular diseases.

Antibody: A protective protein produced by the body's immune system that can detect harmful substances, including bacteria and viruses, and defend the body against them.

Antihistamine: A type of medicine that treats symptoms of allergies, such as itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes, caused by a substance the body makes when exposed to allergy triggers called histamines. An antihistamine may be given before treatment with BAVENCIO® (avelumab) immunotherapy as a way to help prevent side effects related to the infusion.

Biopsy: A procedure that removes fluid or tissue samples to be tested for disease.

Chemotherapy: Cancer drugs that travel in your bloodstream to kill cancer cells throughout your body.

Clinical trials: A type of research that assesses how well health tests or treatments work in people.

Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan: A procedure that uses a computer linked to an x-ray to take 3D images of the inside of the body. CAT scans, also called computerized tomography (CT) scans, can be used to diagnose a disease, plan treatment, or find out how well a treatment is working.

Cystoscopy: An examination of the bladder and urethra using a cystoscope. A cystoscope is a tube-shaped instrument that uses light and a lens for viewing the urinary tract.

Immune system: A network of cells, tissues, organs, and the substances they make that helps your body fight infections and diseases.

Immunotherapy: A type of cancer treatment, like BAVENCIO that works with the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

Innate immune system: Immunity that is present at birth and lasts a person’s entire life. Innate immunity is the first response of the immune system against harmful foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses, or disease.

Intravenous infusion: A way to dose medication directly into a vein to travel through the bloodstream.

Locally advanced: Cancer that has grown outside of the body part where it started but has not yet spread to other parts of the body.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A procedure that uses radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer to take images of the inside of the body. MRIs are useful for getting detailed images of organs and soft tissue.

Maintenance treatment: Medicine that may be given after your cancer has responded or stabilized from a first round of medication, such as platinum-based chemotherapy, to help you keep fighting your cancer.

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC): A rare type of skin cancer that tends to grow fast and spread quickly to other parts of the body.

Metastases: Cancer cells that break away from the main tumor and spread to other parts of the body forming a new “metastatic” tumor in other organs or tissues of the body.

Overall survival: The length of time from either the date of diagnosis or the start of treatment for a disease, such as cancer, that the patients are still alive.

PD-L1: A protein that normally helps keep immune cells from attacking healthy cells in the body. In some cancer types, when cancer cells have high amounts of PD-L1, they can trick the immune system and avoid being attacked as harmful substances.

Platinum-containing chemotherapy: A type of chemotherapy that contains platinum and kills cancer cells.

Radiation therapy: A treatment that uses high-energy waves, similar to x-rays, to kill cancer cells.

Targeted therapy: A cancer treatment that may target and focus on attacking specific types of cancer cells.

Urothelial carcinoma (UC): The most common type of bladder cancer that begins in cells called urothelial cells that line the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract.