From a clinical trial article:

enter image description here

The table describes the locations in which breast cancer tumors recurred in patients. I think that Ax means "axillary" or "axilla", but I don't understand the whole phrase: "Counter side Ax". Where might this be?

Might it mean, for instance, if the tumour was in the left breast, when "Counter side Ax" is merely the axilla on the right side of the body?

(Another question concerning the same excerpt)

1 Answer 1


Contralateral (opposite site) is the opposite of ipsilateral (same side) in anatomical terminology. In looking for references for this, I found "counter side" used in place of "contralateral" primarily in surgical literature, but it is not quite as common as contralateral, and ut isn't listed anywhere I could find with a clear definition. Nonetheless I think this is the most likely correct interpretation of it.

Ax would most likely be "axillary tail" (the portion of the breast that extends into the axilla) in this setting, or possibly "axilla" as the ipsilateral axillary lymph nodes are generally the first site of cancer spread.

  • Thank you! I'll be grateful if you look at this question with cryptic Ps, Sp! I tried asking at translators' sites, but to no avail thus far, and contacting the authors is an uncertain thing. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 6:46
  • 3
    @CopperKettle I agree it's the contralateral. Re: ax, I suspect it's more likely the axillary tail, not the armpit, but the part of the breast that extends toward the armpit, also called the tail of Spence (i.e., I would read this line as the location of a recurrent tumor, NOT lymph node involvement). The table is really quite poorly done, though, and it's not surprising that it has generated so many questions.
    – De Novo
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 17:25
  • @DeNovo - wow, I've never heard of "axillary tail"! Thank you! Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 17:31
  • Good point!! Edited, thank you @DeNovo
    – DoctorWhom
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 23:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.