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Glossary

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Laboratory Study: Research done in a laboratory. These studies may use test tubes or animals to find out if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful. Laboratory studies take place before any testing is done in humans.

Laboratory Test: A medical procedure that involves testing a sample of blood, urine, or other substance from the body. Tests can help determine a diagnosis, plan treatment, check to see if treatment is working, or monitor the disease over time.

Leukemia: Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream.

Leukocyte: A white blood cell. Refers to a blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin. White blood cells include lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, macrophages, and mast T-cells. These cells are made by bone marrow and help the body fight infection and other diseases.

Leukopenia: A condition in which the number of leukocytes (white blood cells) in the blood is reduced.

Leukoplakia: A white patch that may develop on mucous membranes such as the cheek, gums, or tongue and may become cancerous.

Lymph: The clear fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infections and other diseases. Also called lymphatic fluid.

Lymph Gland: A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph glands filter lymph (lymphatic fluid), and they store lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are located along lymphatic vessels. Also called a lymph node.

Lymph Node: A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph nodes filter lymph (lymphatic fluid), and they store lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are located along lymphatic vessels. Also called a lymph gland.

Lymph Node Dissection: A surgical procedure in which lymph nodes are removed and examined to see whether they contain cancer. Also called lymphadenectomy.

Lymph Node Drainage: The flow of lymph from an area of tissue into a particular lymph node.

Lymph Node Mapping: The use of dyes and radioactive substances to identify lymph nodes that may contain tumor cells. Also called lymphatic mapping.

Lymph Vessel: A thin tube that carries lymph (lymphatic fluid) and white blood cells through the lymphatic system. Also called lymphatic vessel.

Lymphadenectomy: A surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes are removed and examined to see whether they contain cancer. For a regional lymph node dissection, some of the lymph nodes in the tumor area are removed; for a radical lymph node dissection, most or all of the lymph nodes in the tumor area are removed. Also called lymph node dissection.

Lymphadenopathy: Disease or swelling of the lymph nodes.

Lymphangiogram: An x-ray of the lymphatic system. A dye is injected into a lymphatic vessel and travels throughout the lymphatic system. The dye outlines the lymphatic vessels and organs on the x-ray.

Lymphangiography: An x-ray study of the lymphatic system. A dye is injected into a lymphatic vessel and travels throughout the lymphatic system. The dye outlines the lymphatic vessels and organs on the x-ray.

Lymphangiosarcoma: A type of cancer that begins in the cells that line lymph vessels.

Lymphatic Fluid: The clear fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infections and other diseases. Also called lymph.

Lymphatic Mapping: The use of dyes and radioactive substances to identify lymph nodes that may contain tumor cells. Also called lymph node mapping.

Lymphatic System: The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and lymphatic vessels (a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells). Lymphatic vessels branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.

Lymphatic Vessel: A thin tube that carries lymph (lymphatic fluid) and white blood cells through the lymphatic system. Also called lymph vessel.

Lymphedema: A condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. It may occur in the arm or leg after lymph vessels or lymph nodes in the underarm or groin are removed or treated with radiation.

Lymphoblast: A lymphocyte that has gotten larger after being stimulated by an antigen. Lymphoblasts look like immature lymphocytes, and were once thought to be precursor cells.

Lymphocyte: A type of white blood cell. Lymphocytes have a number of roles in the immune system, including the production of antibodies and other substances that fight infection and diseases.

Lymphocytic: Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

Lymphocytic Leukemia: A type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (white blood cells).

Lymphoid: Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Also refers to tissue in which lymphocytes develop.

Lymphoma: Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One kind is Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slowly progressing) course and those that have an aggressive (rapidly progressing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer.


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