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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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  • COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCANNING

    This term means X-rays linked to a computer to view cross-sections (slice pictures) of the body
  • COMPUTER-AIDED DETECTION (CAD)

    This means the use of a computer program to take a second look at a mammogram film to find abnormal areas after the radiologist has taken a first look.
  • CORE NEEDLE BIOPSY

    This means the use of a needle to take out tissue to look at under a microscope.
  • CYCLIC BREAST CHANGES

    This means normal tissue changes that happen in the breast during the menstrual cycle. You may sometimes feel tenderness, swelling, or pain.
  • CYST

    This is a small sac or mass in your body that fills with fluid. May also be called cyst (in breast).
  • CYTOKINES

    These are proteins made by CD4 cells. They pass messages from cell to cell. Some messages tell a cell to grow. Other messages tell them to stop growing.
  • CYTOTOXIC T LYMPHOCYTE (CTL)

    This is a T-cell that can find and break apart the cells that have a virus inside them.
  • CZ

    This is a sac or pouch that forms inside your body. The pouch fills up with fluid. The fluid gets stuck inside the pouch.

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