Radiation oncologist - A physician who specializes in treating cancer patients with radiation therapy.
Radiation oncology (radiation therapy) - Treatment of disease by x-rays or other ionizing energy.
Radical Mastectomy (Halsted Radical) - The surgical removal of the breast, breast skin, nipple, areola, chest muscles, underlying muscles, and underarm (axillary) lymph nodes
Radiologist - A physician who specializes in diagnoses of diseases by the use of x-rays.
Radiolucent - Allows x-rays to pass through.
Radiopaque - Blocks x-rays; appears as white on an x-ray film.
Raloxifene (Evista) - Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), also called designer estrogens, are drugs developed to replace traditional estrogen therapy. Provide protection against osteoporosis, potentially without the associated risk of breast cancer. May have some benefit in breast cancer protection, but further study is needed.
Randomized - Chosen at random. In a randomized research study, subjects are chosen to receive a particular treatment by means of a computer programmed to randomly select names.
Randomized clinical trial - An investigation of the effects of a drug administered to human subjects. The goal is to define the clinical efficiency and pharmacological effects (toxicity, side effects, interactions) of the substance. This is done by a random method of assigning subjects to experimental treatment or nontreatment groups.
Receptors - A cell component that combines with a drug, hormone, or chemical mediator to alter the function of the cell.
Recessive gene - A gene the character of which will only be expressed if paired with a similar gene (allele).
Reconstruction - The action of constructing again. In breast reconstruction, the surgically altered breast is returned to its approximate original state.
Reconstructive mammaplasty (breast reconstruction) - Rebuilding of the breast by plastic surgery techniques.
Rectus abdominis muscles - The vertical paired muscles on either side of the midline of the abdomen. These muscles can be used as donor tissue for breast reconstruction (see TRAM flap breast reconstruction).
Reduction mammaplasty - Operation for reducing the size of the breasts by removing glandular and fatty tissue.
Remission - Complete or partial disappearance of the signs and symptoms of disease in response to treatment. The period during which a disease is under control. A remission, however, is not necessarily a cure.
Reproductive system - The name given to all the organs involved in reproduction. In males these 'comprise the testicles, vasa deferentia, prostate gland, seminal vesicles, urethra and penis. In females, the reproductive system consists of the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina and vulva.
Retraction - Process of skin pulling in toward breast tissue. Often referred to as dimpling.
Risk Factors - Anything that increases an individual's chance of getting a disease. The risk factors for breast disease are a first-degree relative with breast cancer, early menstruation, late menopause, first child after 30 or no children.
Risk Reduction - Techniques used to reduce chances of getting a certain cancer. For example, reducing dietary fat may help prevent breast cancer.