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Word of the Week: Adjuvant

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Each week, Verywell explains a term from health, medicine, science, or technology.

Word of the Week: Adjuvant

How to say itAdjuvant (ah-JAH-vent)

What it means: Something that helps prevent, treat, or cure a disease or condition. For example, an ingredient that makes a treatment work better or an intervention added to a treatment to enhance its effectiveness.

Where it comes from: From Latin, adjuvāre, to aid or help.

An assortment of different pills on a bright orange background.

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Where you might see or hear it: Your doctor may want you to start a new treatment (adjuvant therapy) to help the medication or treatment that you already use for your condition work better.

When you might want to use it: If you have cancer and need to have surgery, you might need to have treatments after the procedure to make sure that the cancer is really gone. You could explain to your loved ones that the chemotherapy that you will have after your operation is an adjuvant treatment to the surgery that removed the tumor.

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  • Merriam-Webster. Definition of Adjuvant.