Glossary of terms

This glossary defines many of the terms used throughout the site.

B

Biopsy: A procedure in which tissues or cells are removed from the body so that a pathologist can look at them with a microscope to determine if a disease or characteristic is present.

Bone scans use radioactive material to check if the cancer has moved to the bones. A bone scan might be used if a PET scan is unclear.

Bronchoscopy: A procedure using a thin bronchoscope tube with a light and lens, to examine the air passages leading to the lungs and the lungs themselves. A tool for taking out tissue to be examined may also be used.

C

Cancer: A group of diseases that happen when cells in the body grow and divide out of control, and older cells don’t die out as they should.

Cancer cells: Abnormal cells that make copies of themselves when they shouldn’t and spread throughout the body, interfering with normal cells.

Chemotherapy: Treatment with chemicals that can kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is not designed to affect specific cells, so it may affect both healthy and cancerous cells.

Chest x-ray: An image of the chest produced by x-rays that is used to look for masses or spots on the lungs.

CT scan: A computed tomography scan is produced by a machine that takes multiple images of the body using x-rays. The images are combined for a detailed picture of soft tissues.

D

Diarrhea: Loose watery stools that come more than three times in a day may occur, along with bloating, cramps, and an urgent need to use the bathroom.

E

EGFR: Epidermal growth factor receptor is a protein that may be found on the surface of non-small cell lung cancer cells. When mutated, EGFR plays a role in causing cancer cells to grow and spread as tumors.

I

Immunohistochemistry tests determine if some kinds of proteins will bind to certain substances in cancer cells.

M

Median: The middle number in a group of numbers arranged from lowest to highest.

Mediastinoscopy: A procedure done to take a look behind the breast bone in front of the windpipe. A lighted tube is inserted through the neck, and instruments are passed through the tube to collect tissue.

Mediastinotomy: A procedure in which an incision is made between the ribs next to the breastbone so that lymph nodes in that area can be examined.

Molecular tests look for specific changes in the genes of cancer cells. These tests can point the way to further treatments.

MRI scan: Magnetic resonance imaging uses radio waves and magnetic fields to create detailed pictures, and is usually used to check if lung cancer has spread to the brain or spinal cord.

Mutation: A change that happens in the DNA of a cell. Not all mutations cause cancer, but all cancers are thought to be a result of mutations.

N

NSCLC: Non-small cell lung cancer is one of two main types of lung cancer, and is the most common.

P

PET scan: Positron emission tomography uses a radioactive sugar to find out if the cancer has spread beyond the lungs to other organs or bones.

PFTs: Pulmonary function tests measure how well your lungs are working by having you breathe through a tube connected to equipment that measures airflow.

Progression-free survival: In a clinical study, this means how long a person lives with cancer without the disease getting worse through the growth or spread of cancer cells.

Protein: A kind of large molecule that is important for many of the processes that happen in and around cells in the body.

R

Rash: Irritated, itchy, red, and/or swollen skin.

S

Side effect: An unwanted reaction in the body from a treatment or therapy.

T

Targeted therapy, targeted treatment: A cancer treatment that is designed to affect a specific activity in the cells.

Thoracoscopy: A procedure in which a lighted tube is inserted in the space between the lungs and chest wall to look for potential cancer deposits. Small pieces of tissue can be taken out through the tube.

Tumor: A mass or lump made up of cancer cells.

U

Ultrasound tests use instruments that are passed into the esophagus to send out sound waves that make an image of the inside of the chest.

Important Safety Information

Before taking IRESSA, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have lung or breathing problems
  • ever had liver problems
  • have vision or eye problems
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. IRESSA can harm your unborn baby.
    • Females who are able to become pregnant should use an effective method of birth control during treatment with IRESSA and for at least 2 weeks after the last dose of IRESSA. You should avoid becoming pregnant during treatment with IRESSA.
    • Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant during treatment with IRESSA.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if IRESSA passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with IRESSA. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby during this time.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

If you take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), H2 blocker, or an antacid medicine, talk to your healthcare provider about the best time to take it during treatment with IRESSA.

If you take a blood thinner called warfarin, your healthcare provider should do blood tests regularly to check how fast your blood clots, during treatment with IRESSA.

 

What are the possible side effects of IRESSA?

IRESSA may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Lung or breathing problems. IRESSA may cause inflammation of the lung that may lead to death. Symptoms may be similar to those symptoms from lung cancer. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new or worsening lung problems, or any combination of the following symptoms: trouble breathing or shortness of breath, cough, or fever.
  • Liver problems. IRESSA may cause inflammation of the liver that may lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of a liver problem which may include: yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eyes (jaundice), dark or brown (tea colored) urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), decreased appetite, or pain on the right side of your stomach (abdomen).Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check your liver function during your treatment with IRESSA.
  • A tear in the wall of your stomach or intestines (perforation). Get emergency medical help right away if you have severe stomach (abdomen) pain.
  • Diarrhea. Diarrhea is common with IRESSA and can sometimes be severe. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have severe diarrhea or diarrhea that will not go away.
  • Eye problems. Tell your healthcare provider if you get watery eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, eye pain, eye redness, or vision changes.
  • Skin reactions. Skin redness, rash, itching, and acne are common with IRESSA. This may occur on any part of your body. Get medical help right away if you develop severe skin reactions such as peeling or blistering of your skin.

IRESSA may cause fertility problems in females. Talk to your healthcare provider if you plan to become pregnant.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of IRESSA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is IRESSA?

IRESSA is a prescription medicine used to treat people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of the body and:

  • that have certain types of abnormal epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) genes, and
  • who have not had previous treatment for cancer

Your healthcare provider will perform a test to make sure that IRESSA is right for you.

Please see full Prescribing Information including Patient Information.

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Important Safety Information

Before taking IRESSA, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have lung or breathing problems
  • ever had liver problems
  • have vision or eye problems
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. IRESSA can harm your unborn baby.
    • Females who are able to become pregnant should use an effective method of birth control during treatment with IRESSA and for at least 2 weeks after the last dose of IRESSA. You should avoid becoming pregnant during treatment with IRESSA.
    • Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant during treatment with IRESSA.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if IRESSA passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with IRESSA. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby during this time.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

If you take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), H2 blocker, or an antacid medicine, talk to your healthcare provider about the best time to take it during treatment with IRESSA.

If you take a blood thinner called warfarin, your healthcare provider should do blood tests regularly to check how fast your blood clots, during treatment with IRESSA.

What are the possible side effects of IRESSA?

IRESSA may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Lung or breathing problems. IRESSA may cause inflammation of the lung that may lead to death. Symptoms may be similar to those symptoms from lung cancer. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new or worsening lung problems, or any combination of the following symptoms: trouble breathing or shortness of breath, cough, or fever.
  • Liver problems. IRESSA may cause inflammation of the liver that may lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of a liver problem which may include: yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eyes (jaundice), dark or brown (tea colored) urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), decreased appetite, or pain on the right side of your stomach (abdomen).Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check your liver function during your treatment with IRESSA.
  • A tear in the wall of your stomach or intestines (perforation). Get emergency medical help right away if you have severe stomach (abdomen) pain.
  • Diarrhea. Diarrhea is common with IRESSA and can sometimes be severe. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have severe diarrhea or diarrhea that will not go away.
  • Eye problems. Tell your healthcare provider if you get watery eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, eye pain, eye redness, or vision changes.
  • Skin reactions. Skin redness, rash, itching, and acne are common with IRESSA. This may occur on any part of your body. Get medical help right away if you develop severe skin reactions such as peeling or blistering of your skin.

IRESSA may cause fertility problems in females. Talk to your healthcare provider if you plan to become pregnant.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of IRESSA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is IRESSA?

IRESSA is a prescription medicine used to treat people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of the body and:

  • that have certain types of abnormal epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) genes, and
  • who have not had previous treatment for cancer

Your healthcare provider will perform a test to make sure that IRESSA is right for you.

Please see full Prescribing Information including Patient Information.