Glossary of Terms

Listed below are some terms and phrases to be familiar with as you talk to your healthcare provider about squamous cell skin cancer, and whether DecisionDx®-SCC is right for you:

Adjuvant: Additional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will come back.

Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues for examination by a pathologist. The pathologist may study the tissue under a microscope or perform other tests on the cells or tissue.

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): Cancer that begins in cells that form the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). SCC may appear as a firm red bump, a scaly red patch, an open sore, or a wart that may crust or bleed easily.

Dermis: The layer of the skin lying immediately under the outer layer of the skin. It contains hair follicles and their smooth muscle fibers, and sebaceous glands, sweat glands, and their associated ducts.

Epidermis: The outermost layer of the skin.

Excisional biopsy: A surgical procedure in which an entire lump or suspicious area is removed for diagnosis. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.

Gene expression profile (GEP): The determination of the specific genes that a cell (such as a cancer cell) actively produces.

Genomic: Relating to genetic information; a term encompassing gene expression profile and other advanced tests.

Lymph node: A small bean-shaped structure that is part of the body’s immune system. Lymph nodes filter substances that travel through the lymph fluid, and they contain lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help the body fight infection and disease.

Metastasis: The spread of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from the original (primary) tumor, travel through the blood or lymph system, and form a new tumor in other organs or tissues of the body.

Nodule: A growth or lump that may be malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer).

Pathologist: A doctor who has special training in identifying diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

Perineural invasion (PNI): Tumor growing into the space around a nerve or tumor growing into a nerve or group of nerves.

Squamous cells: Flat cells that cover surfaces inside and outside the body. They make up the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and can be found in tissues in the body such as the lungs and the lining of the digestive tract.

Stage: The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

UVR: Ultraviolet radiation.

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