The langauge we use

Hi ladies,

I have just picked up two issues relating to the same topic, one of which I am guilty. Firstly I am not sure whether this issue should be posted here or on ‘Newly diagnosed’.

So whats the issue?
When I first started to use this forum about six weeks ago I encountered really good support from really experienced people. I felt really welcomed but I had to encounter a whole new language of abbreviations such as Dx’d, OH, LOL, mets DLC etc etc.
I recently typed DX’d and Denie was correct in asking what it meant. I have just seen a posting asking what mets meant.

I am not suggesting that we abandon the abbreviations, hey I am just getting into this stuff, I am just wondering if we can begin a thread to contribute to, a sort of ‘Glossary of Terms’ if you like. (is someone going to tell me there is already one somewhere, I don’t look properly half the time?).

So here goes, I’ll add the first.- Thanks folks

Dx’d - diagnosed

I think that is a very good idea, as I dont know what they mean half the time.

Hi ladies,
Yes it does mean you have to learn a foreign language when you join the gang.

If you check out this link:

you will find leaflets and a folder available free - many of the terms are explained clearly.

Good Luck
Maddy xxxx

hi i was the one that asked what mets meant thankfully got answer. but i was so confused by all the abbreviations people use that i felt stupid sp yes please get it started whoever can and i can join in more thanks

Try this link for some terms


LOL - Laugh out loud ( I thought is was Lots of Love just shows the need for this thread!


Oh dear - it can mean lots of love too - otherwise I am going to look really stupid if people think I have been laughing at them LOL!

What about just bringing back the good old fashioned English language?

Love K

OH - I think this is husband - old man. I used it for Occupational Health so perhaps Kelly100 has something in what she suggests.


OH is I think Other Half?


I agree with Kelly100, the LOL and OH business winds me up. I don’t have an Other Half, I have a husband, I am a whole person, not a half. I also see OH properly as Occupational Health. It’s hard enough to get to grips with the medical language that we know all need to understand to some extent, let’s keep the rest of it simple and pure and write as if writing letters. Heaven forbid we should start using the teenage text messaging acronyms and abbreviations.

Agree with you Dahlia.

Apparently its 25 years since all those ghastly smiley emoticons were introduced too.

I’m going to try to stop using cancer abbreviations too…even chemo, cause like Alan Bennett and Jenni Murray say I never felt on close enough terms to call chemotherapy chemo.

Must be showing my age.


Well I’m not much good at this kind of stuff either so I did a quick Google.

Be warned, some are a bit rude.

IBTC - Now this one is quite appropriate for many of us here!!

Maybe it would be an idea to have a ‘sticky’ for the newly diagnosed etc which explained some of the short-forms and acronyms we use.





your comment struck a chord - except i really cannot bring myself to call chemo “therapy” - when i am suffering the effects it gives me a great vent to call it being treated with cytotoxic drugs, then sulk.

the problem with the acronyms is that text messaging and internet tend to use them in different ways - like the LOL. In txt msg LOL is lots of love, in a chat room it is laughing out loud. Goes along with rolling on floor laughing (ROFL), thank you (ty), be right back (brb), welcome back (wb) and the like. Quite appropriate for a chat room. Text message abbreviations are appropriate for SMS messages - rather like Pitman’s shorthand for dictation - all really quite useless in a forum of people from mixed backgrounds.

I agree we have enough to learn with things like dx, mets, LCIS, BC and the like without having to sort out whether we have an occupational health person there or an other half!

The sticky with the BC abbreviations IS an excellent idea - took me ages to work out DCIS/ LCIS - especially as my cancer is not in situ

l8r g8rs :smiley:

I agree quisie and Jenny,

Text talk is confusing to those who do not use it, still I suppose I should consider keeping ‘up to speed’. Oh how I hate that phrase, rather like ‘pushing the envelope’ what the heck does that mean? I hear it meetings, does it mean take a bribe?
Still that’s a whole different conversation!

I haven’t come across a sticky or used a sticky, the idea sounds good though.

Have a good day all.



If you go to “Discussions” in the top left hand, this will bring up all recent discussions, regardless of category. You will then see the “sticky” entries (sticky in blue) which keeps them at the top. I agree a good idea.


Many people on this site have difficulty typing due to myriad medical issues so I think acronyms are beneficial in our case, and not just an internet-induced laziness. Much of the medical jargon we need to use compounds this problem. ‘AI’ e.g., is far easier to write than ‘aromatase inhibitor’, so as well as helping to educate the novice, it would be an aide to the less nimble-fingered.


I’m happy to start a suggested glossary and will start compiling one now that I will aim to post later this morning.


hi all
I have found all this very interesting as i had to ask what mets was a few days ago. I Also find everybody talks about dcis and the other one. Someone very kindly explained them to me when i asked but i did find it silly asking. As i have children in the twenties now i have grown to understand text messages and use them a lot as quicker and saves money. but that’s the only reason…
I would like to know why there is a section for dcis and not the invasive type. i have the invasive type and was told this was most popular but no one seems to mention it…
Have a good day everyone i am off for my mri scan in the other breast today.
Julie x

Suggestions for the glossary, there will be lots more that others might like to add or are better qualified to describe than my attempt. Some are abbreviations and others are terms that might be useful for someone unfamiliar with the terminology people on this site and/or the medical profession use.

Loss of hair.

Aromatase Inhibitor (AI)
A drug that blocks the action of an enzyme called aromatase which is involved in producing oestrogen.

Breast cancer.

Breast cancer nurse.

A growth or lump that is not cancer.

This is used to collect tissue from a lump to be sent for microscopic examination.

CT scan
A CT (Computerised Tomography) scan uses x-rays to produce images of the body.

The earliest changes in the breast that can be identified as cancer are called Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ or DCIS and are limited to the ducts of the breast. DCIS often shows up on a mammogram as small, white specks.


Fine needle aspiration (FNA)
This is the drawing up a tiny sample of tissue from a lump with a needle and syringe to examine and establish a diagnosis.

Hormone therapy
Hormone therapy is used as a treatment to slow down the growth of some BC cells by lowering the levels of oestrogen and progesterone. One of the most common drugs for this purpose is Tamoxifen. Other hormone drugs are Aromatase Inhibitors (AI).

The spread of cancer cells into healthy tissue adjacent to the tumour.

Locally advanced
The cancer has grown but has not spread or metastasised.

Local recurrence
The reappearance of cancer cells at the same place as originally found.

The removal of the tumour and some surrounding tissue.

Lymph node
Glands made up of lymphatic tissue to which BC can spread.

A collection of fluid in the tissues below the skin, which leads to swelling of a limb or part of the body.

A mammogram is an x-ray of the tissue of the breast. It can reveal changes in the breast before they are noticed by a person.

Metastasis (Mets)
The spread of cancer cells from the breast to another part of the body. The original (or primary cancer) is the breast.

MRI scan
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses radio waves and a magnetic field to scan for tumours.

The study and treatment of cancer.

An indication of how a disease will respond to treatment.

Radiotherapy (radiation therapy) uses high energy rays, usually x-rays, to kill cancer cells.

A return or regrowth of cancer cells.

The period during which BC is under control.

The assessment of BC to help plan treatment.

Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce an image of the breast. It may be used when the results of a mammogram are unclear.

Wide Local Excision is surgery to remove the tumour together with an area of normal tissue.