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Q. Where can I find a simple explanation of medical terms?


After being diagnosed with cancer, you enter a world that is unfamiliar to you—with its own language, including medical terms and jargon. You often see not only one doctor, but a team of health care professionals, who speak to you using different medical terms and phrases.

This online resources will help you find simple explanations for complex medical terms and procedures: National Cancer Institute’s online glossary

Knowledge is a powerful tool to cope with cancer. In addition to using the glossaries, make sure to ask your medical oncologist and health care team questions. Whenever your doctor uses a term that you don’t understand, be sure to ask what the word means. It’s okay to say to your doctor, “I don’t know what that word means. Could you please explain to me?” Asking questions regularly will help you better understand medical terms and their implications for your cancer and its treatments.

Contact your health care team when you have a question. They are the best source of consistent information for you. Most importantly, do not wait until your next scheduled appointment to ask a question. Call your health care team when you have a question so that you get the answers you need.

CancerCare’s fact sheet, Your Health Care Team: Your Doctor is Only The Beginning, describes the health care professionals on your team and how they can help you.

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