At MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary cancer care team works to educate and inform patients to help them navigate their cancer diagnosis and treatment with as little stress as possible.

Patient Resources

Patients coping with a cancer diagnosis may hear unfamiliar medical terms related to their disease and its treatment. We have spotlighted three common cancer treatment terms below and provided brief definitions of each.

  • Ablation or Ablative: Refers to surgical removal of tissue. When discussing advanced radiation therapy techniques like Gamma Knife or TrueBeam STx, ablation refers to the process of destroying and killing cancer cells with high-dose, precisely targeted radiation. You may hear a physician say Gamma Knife delivers “ablative doses of radiation to a tumor” when discussing treatment of brain tumors.
  • Local Control: Refers to cancer that hasn’t grown and progressed and remains at the original tumor site. Radiation is used for local control of cancer cells at the site of the tumor.
  • 5-Year Survival Rate: Refers to the percentage of patients who are alive at least 5 years after their cancer diagnosis. Many of these people live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis, but the 5-year rate is used as a standard way to discuss a patient’s prognosis, or outlook for survival.

Learn more about treatment on our FAQs page.