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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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  • BENIGN

    This means “not cancer.” A benign tumor is one that does not have cancer.
  • BENIGN

    This means “Not” cancer or there is no cancer.
  • BENIGN BREAST CHANGES

    This means changes in the breast that may cause pain or lumpiness, but they are not cancer. Some changes (such as fibrocystic disease and swollen breasts) may increase the chance of getting breast cancer.
  • BETA BLOCKERS

    These are drugs often used to treat high blood pressure. They help the heart beat more slowly and gently.
  • bid

    bis en die, twice each day
  • BIOPSY

    This means taking out a small amount of body tissue to test or look at under a microscope to diagnose or find out what the problem is.
  • BLOOD CLOT

    This is a clump of blood that sticks together in the blood vessels (tubes that carry blood). A blood clot can stop the blood from flowing.
  • BONE MARROW SUPPRESSION

    BONE MARROW SUPPRESSION

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