+ Reply
Log in or Register to participate in these discussions
7 Posts

I have given up reading most posts because of all the acronyms. To me a sample post looks like this “ I have ??? which was ??? and diagnosed as ??? and then treated with ??? As a result I developed ?? which caused ???” Is there anywhere that explains the acronyms to newbies? Without this I give up.

13 Replies
1037 Posts


hi there,

perhaps you are scrolling thru breast cancer (er +… ect) but these things only relate to breast cancer.
I have a type of soft tissue cancer. Stage 4.

hows your hubby? You warm down there?

we now have snow and I’m cold! 🥶

Runner Girl
2726 Posts

Hello @GailHM

I am Runner Girl - also known as Gayle.

See if I can help you out a bit:

5-FU 5-Fluorouracil (anti cancer drug)
6-MP 6-Mercaptopurine (anti cancer drug)
6-TG 6-Thioguanine (anti cancer drug)
AA Anaplastic Anaemia
ABC Advanced Breast Cancer
ABMT Autologous bone marrow transplant
ADR Adverse Drug Reaction
AE Adverse event
AFP Alphafetoprotein - eg. expressed by germ cell tumours and other cancers
AIDS Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
ALAT Alanine aminotransferase / alinine transaminase
ALCL Anaplastic Large-cell Lymphoma
ALL Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
ALT Alanine Aminotransferase
AMKL acute megakaryocytic leukemia
AML Acute Myeloid leukaemia
ANC Absolute neutrophil count
ANED Alive no evidence of disease
ANLL Acute non-lymphatic leukaemia
ARMS Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma
ASR Age Standardised Rate (Incidence)
AUC Area under the curve
B-ALL B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia
BAER Brainstem Auditory Evoked Responce
BCC Basal Cell Carcinoma
BID / BD Twice a day (bis in die)
BM Bone Marrow
BM Blood Monitoring (eg for glucose)
BMJ British Medical Journal
BMR Basal Metabolic Rate
BMT Bone Marrow Transplant
BNF British National Formulary
BP Blood pressure
BRM Biological Response Modifier
BSA Body Surface Area
BSE Breast Self Examination
Bx Biopsy
C/O Complaining of
C/W Continue With
C1 - C7 Cervical vertebrae (spine eg. C7 = seventh cervical vertebra)
Ca Cancer; carcinoma
Ca Calcium
cALL Common ALL
CAT Computerised axial tomography (scan)
cc Cubic centimeter
CCF Congestive Cardiac Failure
CCR Continuous complete remission
CEA Carcinoembryonic Antigen (tumour marker)
CGH Comparative Genomic Hybridisation - cytogenetics method
CGL Chronic Granulocytic Leukaemia
cGy Centi Gray (unit of radiation)
CHF Congestive heart failure
CLL Chronic lymphocytic Leukaemia
cm centimeter - 0.01 meters
CML Chronic myeloid leukaemia
CMML chronic myelomonocytic leukemia
CMV Cytomegalo virus
CNS Central nervous system - the brain and spine
CPM Cyclophosphamide (anti cancer drug)
CPR Cardio pulmonary resuscitation
CR Complete remission / complete response
CRA Clinical Research Associate
CRC Colorectal carcinoma
CRF Case Report Forms
CRF Chronic renal failure
CRO Contract Research Organisation
CSF Cerebro spinal fluid
CSF Colony-stimulating Factor
CT Computerised axial tumography (scan)
CT Chemotherapy
CTC Common Toxicity Criteria
CTCL Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
CTO Clinical Trials Office
CTX Clinical Trials Exemption
CUP Cancer of Unknown Primary / Carcinoma of Unknown Primary
CVA Cardiovascular Accident (stroke)
CVC Central venous catheters
CVP Central Venous Pressure
CXR Chest X-Ray
D/C Discharge
D/H Drug History
D/W Discussed With
DCIS Ductal Carcinoma In Situ - type of breast cancer
DDAVP Desmopressin test for urine osmolality
DDx Differential diagnosis
DFI Disease Free Interval
DFS Disease Free Survival - time without disease prior to relapse or last follow-up
DI Diabetes Incipidus
dl deciletre - 0.01 litres
DLBCL Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma
DLCL Diffuse large-cell lymphoma
DLS Date last seen
DLT Dose limiting toxicity - determined by phase 1 studies
DMC Data Monitoring Commitee
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid
DNA Did Not Attend (clinic)
DNR Do Not Resusitate
DOA Dead on Arival
Dx Diagnosis
EBM Evidence-Based Medicine
EBV Epstein-Barr Virus
ECG Electrocardiogram - heart scan
EDTA ethylendiaminetetraacetic acid - used in measuring kidney function
EEG Electroencephalogram - brain scan
EFS Event Free Survival - time from diagnosis to defined events (eg relapse or deat
EJC European Journal of Cancer
EMC Extraskeletal Myxoid Chondrosarcoma
EMUO Early Morning Urine Osmolality (evaluating urine concentration)
ENT Ear nose throat
ESR Erythrocyte Sedimentation rate
ETS Environmental Tobacco Smoke
F/H Family history
FAB French American and British classification scheme for leukaemia
FBC Full Blood Count
FEV Forced expectorant volume (a lung test)
FFA For Further Appointment
FIGO Federation Internat. Gyn. Obst. (FIGO Gynaecological staging system)
FISH Flourescence in situ Hybridisation
FMTC Familial Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma
FNA Fine Needle Aspiration - a type of biposy using a thin needle (or FNAB)
FU Follow up
FVC Forced Vital Capacity
g gram - unit of weight
G-CSF Granulocyte colony stimulating factor promotes production of white blood cells
GA General Anaesthetic
GCP Good Clinical Practice (guidelines)
GCT Germ Cell Tumour
GCT Giant Cell Tumour Context: bone tumours
GFR Gromerular filtration rate
GI Gastrointestinal
GIST Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumours
GM-CSF Granulocyte and macrophage colony stimulating factor
GPR Good Partial Remission
GU Genito-urinary
GvHD Graft versus Host Disease
Gy Grays (units of radiation)
H&E Hematoxylin and Eosin (stain)
H/O History of
Hb Haemoglobin
HCC Hepatocellular Carcinoma
HCG Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hormone)
HCL Hairy Cell Leukaemia
HCO3 Bicarbonate
HD Hodgkin's Disease (lymphoma)
HD High dose
HDC High Dose Chemotherapy
HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus
HL-A Human Leukocyte Associated antigens (HL-A matching for BMT)
HNSCC Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
HNPCC Hereditary NonPolyposis Colorectal Cancer
HPV Human Papilloma Virus - implicated in some gynacological cancers
HR High risk
HRT Hormone replacement therapy
HTLV Human T-cell leukemia-lymphoma virus
I-131 Radioactive Iodine
ICD International Classification of Diseases (coding system)
ICDO International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (coding system)
ICF Intercellular fluid
ICU Intensive Care Unit
IL2 Interleukin2
IM Intramuscular - into a muscle
IMRT Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy
INSS International Neuroblastoma Staging System
ITU Intensive Therapy Unit
IU International units
IV Intravenous - into a vein
IVP Intravenous Pyelogram - type of Xray after injection with iodine dye
JCO Journal of Clinical Oncology
K+ Potassium
kg Kilogram - a thousand grams
l liter - unit of volume
L1 - L5 Lumbar vertebrae 1 - 5 (spine eg. L1 = 1st lumbar vertebra)
LCH Langerhans cell histiocytocis
LCIS Lobular Carcinoma In Situ - type of breast cancer
LDH Lactic dehydrogenase -high levels correlate with tumour volume in some cancers
LMM Lentigo Maligna Melanoma
LMP Low Malignant Potential (context: ovarian tumours)
LN Lymph Node
LP Lumbar puncture
LVEF Left Ventricular Fjection Fraction - a heart function test
LVSF Left Ventricular Shortening Fraction - a heart function test
Lx Lumpectomy
m meter (unit of length)
M/H Medical history
MAB - mAb Monoclonal antibody
MDR Multi drug resistant
MDS Myelo dysplastic syndrome
MEN Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia - (familial) a.k.a. FMEN
mEq/l milliequivalent per liter
mets Metastases (where the tumour has spread to secondary sites)
Mg Magnesium
mg milligram - 0.001 gram
MI Miocardial Infarction
mIBG Radioactive Iodine Metaidobenzoguanidine (mIBG scans or mIBG therapy).
ml millilitre 0.001 liter
MM Malignant Melanoma
mM millimole
mm millimeter - 0.001 meters
MM Malignant Myelanoma
MM Multiple Myeloma
mOsm milliosmole
MPNST Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumour
MPO Medical and Pediatric Oncology (journal)
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging (scan)
MRT Malignant Rhabdoid Tumour
MSSU Mid stream specimen urine
MTD Maximum tolerated dose - phase 1 studies
MTX Methotrexate (anti cancer drug)
MUD Matched Urelated Donor - for bone marrow transplant
Mx Mastectomy
N/V Nausea and vomiting
Na+ Sodium
NAD No Abnormality Detected
NBCCS Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome
NBM Nil by mouth
NED No evidence of disease
ng nanogram - 0.000000001 gram
NHL Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma
NK Natural Killer cells (large lymphocytes, part of the immune system)
NK Not known
NM Nodular Melanoma
NMR Nuclear magnetic resonance (scan)
NMSC Non Melanoma Skin Cancer
NOS Not otherwise specified (see ICDO)
NPC Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
NRSTS Non-Rhabdomyosarcoma Soft Tissue Sarcoma
NSCLC Non-small cell lung cancer
NSE Neuron-Specific Enolase - a neural marker
NSR Non significant result
NSR Normal Sinus Rhythem
O/E On Examination
ONB Olfactory Neuroblastoma
OS Overall Survival
OS Osteogenic sarcoma (context bone tumours)
PBSC Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (see PBSCT)
PBSCH Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Harvest
PBSCR Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Rescue (transplant)
PBSCT Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant
PD Progressive disease
PDQ Physician's Data Query (CancerNet)
PET Positron Emmission Tomography- a scan after a small radioactive injection.
PET Pancreatic Endocrine Tumor
PFS Progression Free Survival
pg picogram - 0.000000000001 gram
pH hydrogen-ion concentration - acid / alkaline
PH Past History
PLB Primary Lymphoma of Bone
PNET Primitive neuroectodermal tumour Context: CNS tumours
PNET Peripheral neuroectodermal tumour Context: Bone tumours - see Ewing's tu
PNS Peripheral nervous system - nervous system outside the brain and spine.
PR Partial Responce / Partial Remission
PR per rectum
prn as required
prn whenever necessary (pro re nata)
PSA prostate-specific antigen - PSA test used in screening for prostate cancer
PUD Peri-Urethral Diathermy (associated with superficial bladder cancer)
QALY Quality-Adjusted Life Year
qid Four times a day (quater in die)
QoL Quality of Life
RBC Red blood cell / red blood count
RCC Renal Cell Carcinoma
RCT Randomised Controlled Trial
RFS Relapse free survival - Time from diagnosis to relapse or death.
RIGS Radioimmunoguided surgery
RMS Rhabdomyosarcoma
RNA ribonucleic acid
RT Radiotherapy
RTPCR Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction
Rx Treatment
SA Surface area (see BSA)
SAE Serious Adverse Event
SC Subcutaneous
SCC Squamous Cell Carcinoma
SCLC Small cell lung cancer
SD Stable Disease
SDV Source Data Verification
SGOT Serum glutamic oxalacetic transaminase - a liver function test
SGPT Serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase - a liver function test
SH Social history
SHO Senior House Officer
SIADH Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone
SNP Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
SOB Short of breath
SSM Superficial Spreading Melanoma
T1 - T12 Thoracic vertebrae 1-12 (spine eg. T10 = tenth thoracic vertibra)
TAMs tumour-associated macrophages
TBI Total body irradiation
TCC Transitional Cell Carcinoma (usually bladder cancer)
TCP Thrombocytopenia
tds / tid Three times a day (ter in die)
TNF Tumour Necrosis Factor
TNM Staging system - primary tumour
TPN total parenteral nutrition
TRK Transketolase
U&Es Urea and Electrolites
UA Urine analysis
ug microgram - 0.000001 gram
ULN Upper Limits of Normal
URTI Upper respiratory tract infection
US Ultasound (scan)
UTI Urinary Tract Infection
UVR Ultra Violet Radiation
VEF Ventricular ejection fraction (tests lung function)
VM-26 Teniposide (anti cancer drug)
VMA Vanillylmandelic Acid
VP-16 Etoposide (anti cancer drug)
WBC White blood cell count
WCC White cell count
WM Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia
XRT Radiotherapy (external)
YST Yolk sac tumour - (aka. germ cell tumour)

Runner Girl
2726 Posts


A few others that you will see here often are:

IDC = invasive ductal carcinoma

ILC = invasive lobular carcinoma

TBNC = triple negative breast cancer

ER+ = estrogen positive

HER2+ = human epidermal growth factor receptor 2

These are all involved with breast cancer.

Runner Girl

7 Posts

@Runner Girl WOW! Thanks! I think I will print this off. I am in Mexico and I don't speak Spanish…or cancerian apparently. This will help.

@GailHM - thank you for your post. It is true that when we have a cancer diagnosis, or enter the cancer “world” as a caregiver, friend or family member, we are thrust into a whole new language ( at least that was the case for me with my diagnosis ). It can then become far too familiar and for brevity sake, we often start using the acronyms. Please always feel that you can ask someone to clarify what is meant by their abbreviations and such. We all have a different understanding of some of these cancer terms.

If you want to tag someone specifically to ask them for clarity, type the @ sign and then their username ( as I have done with your name above ). This will notify the member that someone has tagged them and can come back to clarify. Or other members can also jump in and clarify for you.

Thanks for reaching out.


2263 Posts

@GailHM Hi Gail……please don't give up…..at times, we all may tend to “forget” that acronyms are not always, widely known……

(Hey at my workplace, a Canadian organization, in communications, no less…..we had a slew of “letters”……no one “talked” to anyone; we just wrote “letters”…….sheesh)

@Runner Girl Hands Down; You make the BEST LISTS. Period.



#explainThe Letters

76 Posts

A couple of acronyms related to breast cancer:

BMx or DMx - bilateral (or double) mastectomy

SMx - single mastectomy

697 Posts

@Runner Girl and @Mee ---- thank you thank you thank you for the huge list of cancer acronym definitions…. (and I erroneously thought only the Government had too many acronyms) Sheesh! 😨 D-oh !

88 Posts

@GailHM I agree with you and it's not just breast cancer, it's applied everywhere. Annoying.

88 Posts

@GailHM Don't encourage this.

7 Posts

@Boby1511 Hi Boby. My hubby had heavy duty chemo in October - and still hasn't recovered. Yesterday we had to put him on oxygen.Saw our oncologist on Saturday, one of his good days , and he scheduled a lower dose of chemo for Tuesday this week but Monday he felt terrible, had a fever, so that was cancelled. His oxygen dropped to below 80. 😟 Feeling much better now he has air.

One thing we do love down here is that we can phone message our oncologist on What's App anytime of day or night and he responds within three minutes. He works out of Guadalajara and we are about an hour away but comes here weekly. We had bloodwork done in our home here yesterday and a lung x-ray at a walk-in clinic.

Most expats here are American so today is Thanksgiving. Again. :-)

1207 Posts

I agree it is enough to deal with what your encountering . YES ! @Eddie A glossary would be helpful while waiting around in appointments etc . Cute dog 🐶

Hello ALL!

Another tool that may help you navigate the cancer language : Glossary | Canadian Cancer Society.

There are over 100 different types of cancer. We don't have to be an expert on the language and acronyms in order to understand how somebody feels.

I hope you find this helpful!


+ Reply