Have you ever been in a situation where your doctor has used medical jargon that you don’t understand? The average person doesn’t have a large vocabulary of niche-specific medical terms, so it’s understandable if you’ve been in this position before.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top 50 medical terms related to breast health, breast enhancement, and other related areas. We’ve organized them in alphabetical order to make it easier for you to navigate.
This is a type of cancer that starts in glandular cells, which are cells that produce and secrete substances like hormones or mucus.
This is a type of hyperplasia where the cells look abnormal under a microscope. It is a risk factor for breast cancer.
Axillary lymph node dissection
A surgical procedure in which lymph nodes in the armpit area are removed and examined to determine if breast cancer has spread beyond the breast.
A procedure in which a small amount of tissue is removed from the breast and examined under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous or non-cancerous.
This is a painful collection of pus that can form in the breast tissue. It often happens in women who are breastfeeding.
This refers to a difference in size or shape between the two breasts. It is common for most women to have some degree of breast asymmetry.
Breast cancer gene 1 and 2 (BRCA1 and BRCA2)
Genes that, when mutated, can increase a person’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. People with a family history of these cancers may choose to get tested for these mutations.
Breast cancer recurrence
The return of breast cancer after initial treatment. It may occur in the same breast or in other parts of the body.
Breast cancer survivorship
The period of time after completing treatment for breast cancer. It can involve ongoing medical care, monitoring for cancer recurrence, and management of any lingering side effects of treatment.
This is a fluid-filled sac in the breast tissue. It is usually noncancerous but can cause breast pain and discomfort.
This is a condition where there is excess fluid in the breast tissue, causing swelling and discomfort. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including injury or infection.
This is a medical device that is inserted into the breast tissue to increase breast size or restore breast volume after a mastectomy.
A type of imaging test that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the breast tissue. It may be used in addition to mammography or ultrasound in certain situations.
This is a term used to describe sagging or drooping of the breasts. It can happen due to factors like aging, weight changes, or breastfeeding.
This is a surgical procedure that rebuilds a breast after it has been removed due to cancer or other reasons.
This is a surgical procedure that reduces the size and weight of the breasts to alleviate physical discomfort or improve appearance.
A type of imaging test that uses sound waves to create images of the breast tissue. It may be used in addition to mammography or as a follow-up to abnormal mammogram results.
This is the process of feeding a baby with breast milk produced by the mother’s mammary glands.
A type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. It may be used before or after surgery for breast cancer.
This is a condition where the milk ducts in the breast become widened and filled with fluid. It can cause breast pain and discharge.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
This is a type of breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts but has not yet spread to nearby tissue.
This is a protein found in breast cells that binds to the hormone estrogen, which can stimulate cell growth and division.
This is a noncancerous breast tumor that is made up of both glandular and fibrous tissue. It is most common in young women.
This is a condition where the breasts produce milk in someone who is not pregnant or breastfeeding. It can be caused by certain medications or hormone imbalances.
This is a condition where males develop breast tissue that is larger than usual. It can happen because of changes in hormone levels or certain medications.
A type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to block hormones (like estrogen) that can promote the growth of certain breast cancers.
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)
A protein that can be found on the surface of some breast cancer cells. It can be tested for to determine if a person’s breast cancer is HER2-positive, which may impact their treatment options.
This is a condition where there is an abnormal increase in the number of cells in a particular tissue.
This is a noncancerous growth in the milk ducts of the breast. It can cause breast pain and discharge.
Invasive ductal carcinoma
This is a type of breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts and has spread to nearby tissue.
Invasive lobular carcinoma
This is a type of breast cancer that starts in the milk-producing glands and has spread to nearby tissue.
This is the process of producing and secreting milk from the mammary glands.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
This is a type of breast cancer that starts in the milk-producing glands but has not yet spread to nearby tissue.
A surgical procedure in which a breast tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed. It is typically performed for early-stage breast cancer.
This is the glandular tissue in the breast that produces milk.
A type of imaging test that uses low-dose X-rays to create images of the breast tissue. It is commonly used as a screening tool to detect breast cancer.
This is another word for breast pain. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including hormone changes, injury, or infection.
A surgical procedure in which the entire breast is removed. It may be performed as a treatment for breast cancer or as a preventive measure for those at high risk.
This is an infection of the breast tissue that can cause pain, swelling, and redness. It often happens in women who are breastfeeding.
This is a benign tumor that grows in the nipple or the areola.
This is a type of eczema that affects the skin around the nipple.
This refers to any fluid that comes out of the nipple that is not breast milk. It can be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as an infection or a benign tumor.
This is a skin condition that causes redness, itching, and flaking of the skin around the nipple.
This is a condition in which the nipple is pulled inward instead of pointing outward. It can be congenital or acquired due to breastfeeding, injury, or surgery.
This is the practice of inserting jewelry through the nipple. It can increase the risk of infection and other complications.
This is a protein found in breast cells that binds to the hormone progesterone, which can also stimulate cell growth and division.
This is a type of benign tumor that grows in the pituitary gland and can lead to an overproduction of the hormone prolactin, which can cause milk production in both men and women.
A type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. It may be used after surgery to help prevent cancer recurrence.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy
A less invasive procedure in which only the lymph nodes closest to the breast tumor are removed and examined.
A type of cancer treatment that targets specific molecules or pathways that are involved in cancer growth.
Understanding medical terminology related to breast health is important, whether you’re a medical professional or a patient. By having a grasp on these terms, you can better communicate with your healthcare provider and have a clearer understanding of your diagnosis and treatment options.
We hope this list of 50 terms has been helpful to you in expanding your knowledge of breast health and enhancing your ability to engage in productive conversations with your healthcare team.