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What Did My Doctor Say?

The special words doctors and nurses use can be hard to understand. You may see or hear these words at your doctor’s office, on the Internet, on the radio or TV, or in newspapers or magazines. We call these words “medspeak.” The Medical Library Association created this site to help you understand what a doctor or nurse tells you. You’ll find tips on how to understand many health words. The terms on this site were created with the help of the Working Group for Health Literacy, Massachusetts Health Sciences Library Network (MAHSLIN)
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  • T-CELL

    This is a type of white blood cell, also called T lymphocyte. Your doctor may use this term to mean the same thing as CD4 cells. The count of your T-cells can sometimes tell your doctor when you should start some treatments for HIV.
  • TACHY

    This is part of a word. It means fast. Tachycardia means fast heartbeat.
  • TAMOXIFEN

    This is a common hormonal drug used to treat breast cancer or reduce the risk of a higher-risk patient getting cancer.
  • THERAPEUTIC DRUG MONITORING (TDM)

    measures how much of a drug is in your blood. TDM helps make sure that the medicines are at the right level. The medicine then works best.
  • THERMO

    This is part of a word. It means heat. Thermostable means stable when heated.
  • THROMBO

    This is part of a word. It means blood clot. Thrombosis means a blood clot in an artery.
  • tid

    ter in die, three times each day
  • TISSUE

    This means cells that look alike and work together for a common task. Lung tissues work together to let you breathe.

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