Cancer Term Glossary

WAGR syndrome(... SIN-drome)
A rare, genetic disorder that is present at birth and has two or more of the following symptoms: Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer); little or no iris (the colored part of the eye); defects in the sexual organs and urinary tract (the organs that make urine and pass it from the body); and below average mental ability. This syndrome occurs when part of chromosome 11 is missing. Also called Wilms tumor-aniridia-genitourinary anomalies-mental retardation syndrome.
Waldenström macroglobulinemia(VOL-den-strurm MA-kroh-GLAH-byoo-lih-NEE-mee-uh)
An indolent (slow-growing) type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma marked by abnormal levels of IgM antibodies in the blood and an enlarged liver, spleen, or lymph nodes. Also called lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma.
warfarin
A drug that prevents blood from clotting. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants (blood thinners).
warm ischemia(… is-KEE-mee-uh)
In surgery, keeping a tissue, organ, or body part at body temperature after its blood suppy has been reduced or cut off.
warm ischemia time(… is-KEE-mee-uh …)
In surgery, the time a tissue, organ, or body part remains at body temperature after its blood supply has been reduced or cut off but before it is cooled or reconnected to a blood supply.
wart
A raised growth on the surface of the skin or other organ.
watchful waiting(WACH-ful WAY-ting)
Closely monitoring a patient's condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change. Also called active surveillance, expectant management, and observation.
water-soluble vitamin(… SOL-yoo-bul VY-tuh-min)
A vitamin that can dissolve in water. Water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body's tissues but are not stored in the body. They are found in plant and animal foods or dietary supplements and must be taken in daily. Vitamin C and members of the vitamin B complex are water-soluble.
watercress
Parts of the flowering plant have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects. The scientific name is Nasturtium officinale. Also called Indian cress.
WBC
A type of immune cell. Most WBCs are made in the bone marrow and are found in the blood and lymph tissue. WBCs help the body fight infections and other diseases. Granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes are WBCs. Also called leukocyte and white blood cell.
wedge resection(wej ree-SEK-shun)
Surgery to remove a triangle-shaped slice of tissue. It may be used to remove a tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it.
well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma(LIM-foh-SIH-tik lim-FOH-muh)
An indolent (slow-growing) type of lymphoma in which too many immature lymphocytes (white blood cells) are found mostly in the lymph nodes. This causes the lymph nodes to become larger than normal. Sometimes cancer cells are found in the blood and bone marrow, and the disease is called chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The disease is most often seen in people older than 50 years. Well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Also called SLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma.
Wellcovorin(well-coh-VOR-in)
A drug used to lessen the toxic effects of substances that block the action of folic acid, especially the anticancer drug methotrexate. Wellcovorin is used to treat some types of anemia and is also used together with fluorouracil to treat colorectal cancer. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer and other conditions. Wellcovorin is a form of folic acid. It is a type of chemoprotective agent and a type of chemosensitizing agent. Also called calcium levoleucovorin, citrovorum factor, and leucovorin calcium.
Wermer syndrome(WER-mer SIN-drome)
A rare, inherited disorder that affects the endocrine glands and can cause tumors in the parathyroid and pituitary glands and the pancreas. These tumors are usually benign (not cancer). They cause the glands to secrete high levels of hormones, which can lead to other medical problems, such as kidney stones, fertility problems, and severe ulcers. In some cases, tumors inside the pancreas can become malignant (cancer). Also called MEN1 syndrome, multiple endocrine adenomatosis, and multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome.
Western medicine(... MEH-dih-sin)
A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called allopathic medicine, biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, and orthodox medicine.
WGA study(... STUH-dee)
A study that compares the complete DNA of people with a disease or condition to the DNA of people without the disease or condition. These studies find the genes involved in a disease, and may help prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease. Also called genome-wide association study, GWAS, and whole genome association study.
whey protein powder(WAY PROH-teen …)
A powdered form of proteins taken from whey, which is the liquid left over when cheese is made from cow’s milk. Whey protein powder is used to increase protein in the diet and is being studied for possible health benefits.
Whipple procedure
A type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. The head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and other nearby tissues are removed.
white blood cell
A type of immune cell. Most white blood cells are made in the bone marrow and are found in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells help the body fight infections and other diseases. Granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes are white blood cells. Also called leukocyte and WBC.
Whitmore-Jewett staging system(WIT-mor-JOO-et STAY-jing SIS-tem)
A staging system for prostate cancer that uses ABCD. “A” and “B” refer to cancer that is confined to the prostate. “C” refers to cancer that has grown out of the prostate but has not spread to lymph nodes or other places in the body. “D” refers to cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or to other places in the body. Also called ABCD rating and Jewett staging system.
WHO
A part of the United Nations that deals with major health issues around the world. The WHO sets standards for disease control, health care, and medicines; conducts education and research programs; and publishes scientific papers and reports. A major goal is to improve access to health care for people in developing countries and in groups who do not get good health care. The headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. Also called World Health Organization.
whole cell vaccine(HOLE sel vak-SEEN)
Vaccine made from whole tumor cells that have been changed in the laboratory.
whole genome association study(hole JEE-nome uh-SOH-see-AY-shun STUH-dee)
A study that compares the complete DNA of people with a disease or condition to the DNA of people without the disease or condition. These studies find the genes involved in a disease, and may help prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease. Also called genome-wide association study, GWAS, and WGA study.
whooping cough(WOOP-ing kof)
A serious bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes that spreads easily. Whooping cough begins like a cold, but develops into severe coughing and gasping for air. Long spells of coughing may cause vomiting, and broken blood vessels in the eyes and on the skin. Also called pertussis.
wide local excision(…ek-SIH-zhun)
Surgery to cut out the cancer and some healthy tissue around it.
wild clover
Trifolium pratense. A plant with flowers that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in the relief of menopausal symptoms and may have anticancer effects. Also called purple clover, red clover, and Trifolium pratense.
will
A legal document in which a person states what is to be done with his or her property after death, who is to carry out the terms of the will, and who is to care for any minor children.
Wilms tumor
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the kidney, and may spread to the lungs, liver, or nearby lymph nodes. Wilms tumor usually occurs in children younger than 5 years old.
Wilms tumor-aniridia-genitourinary anomalies-mental retardation syndrome(wilmz TOO-mer-an-ih-RID-ee-uh-JEH-nih-toh-YOOR-ih-nayr-ee uh-NAH-muh-leez-MEN-tul ree-tar-DAY-shun SIN-drome)
A rare, genetic disorder that is present at birth and has two or more of the following symptoms: Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer); little or no iris (the colored part of the eye); defects in the sexual organs and urinary tract (the organs that make urine and pass it from the body); and below average mental ability. This syndrome occurs when part of chromosome 11 is missing. Also called WAGR syndrome.
windpipe
The airway that leads from the larynx (voice box) to the bronchi (large airways that lead to the lungs). Also called trachea.
wire localization(... LOH-kuh-lih-ZAY-shun)
A procedure used to mark a small area of abnormal tissue so it can be removed by surgery. An imaging device is used to guide a thin wire with a hook at the end through a hollow needle to place the wire in or around the abnormal area. Once the wire is in the right place, the needle is removed and the wire is left in place so the doctor will know where the abnormal tissue is. The wire is removed when a biopsy is done. Also called needle localization and needle/wire localization.
wisdom tooth(WIZ-dum tooth)
The last tooth to come in at the back of each side of the upper and lower jaws. These teeth usually come in between 17 and 23 years of age, but not everyone has them. Also called third molar.
Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome(WIS-kot AL-drich SIN-drome)
An inherited immune disorder that occurs in young boys. It causes eczema (a type of skin inflammation), a decrease in the number of platelets (blood cells that help prevent bleeding), and frequent bacterial infections. People with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome are at increased risk of developing leukemia and lymphoma. Also called Aldrich syndrome.
Wobe-Mugos E
A mixture made from an extract of the calf thymus gland and enzymes (proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the body) from the papaya plant, the pancreas of cows, and the pancreas of pigs. It has been used in Europe as a treatment for a variety of cancers and for herpes virus infections.
womb(woom)
The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which a fetus develops. Also called uterus.
World Health Organization
A part of the United Nations that deals with major health issues around the world. The World Health Organization sets standards for disease control, health care, and medicines; conducts education and research programs; and publishes scientific papers and reports. A major goal is to improve access to health care for people in developing countries and in groups who do not get good health care. The headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. Also called WHO.
wound(woond)
A break in the skin or other body tissues caused by injury or surgical incision (cut).
WX-671
A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. It blocks the action of certain enzymes, and it may help keep cancer cells from growing and spreading. It is a type of serine protease inhibitor.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu