TermSource - National Cancer InstituteSource -
AcuteSymptoms or signs that begin and worsen quickly; not chronic.Means sudden or severe.
Adjuvant-ChemotherapyAdditional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will come back. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or biological therapy.Chemotherapy given as an "add-on" to primary cancer treatment, as in surgery or radiotherapy.
AdriamycinA drug that is used to treat many types of cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Adriamycin PFS comes from the bacterium Streptomyces peucetius. It damages DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic. Also called Adriamycin RDF, doxorubicin, doxorubicin hydrochloride, hydroxydaunorubicin, and Rubex.A trade name for doxorubicin.
Age-Adjusted-Mortality-RateAge is a very important factor in determining mortality, for example people tend to get different cancers at different ages. To compare the mortality rates of two or more populations, differences in the age distributions of the population are removed by using an age-adjusted rate.
AnemiaA condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal.Below normal levels of erythrocytes (red blood cells) causing a decrease in the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
AntiangiogenesisPrevention of the growth of new blood vessels. One angiogenesis inhibiting drug used today is Avastin (bevacizumab). It was the first angiogenisis inhibitor drug proven to delay tumor growth and therfore extend patients lives.
Antibody TherapyTreatment with an antibody, a substance that can directly kill specific tumor cells or stimulate the immune system to kill tumor cells.
Antibody-Dependent Cell-Mediated CytotoxicityA type of immune reaction in which a target cell or microbe is coated with antibodies and killed by certain types of white blood cells. The white blood cells bind to the antibodies and release substances that kill the target cells or microbes. Also called ADCC and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity.
AntigenAny substance capable of stimulating a specific immune response (i.e., a specific antibody) in the body.
Antigens are proteins that are present on the surface of all cells and bacteria and viruses. If foreign antigens (such as bacteria, viruses, or grains of pollen) are detected then the body's immune system will attack them.
AscitesAbnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen that may cause swelling. In late-stage cancer, tumor cells may be found in the fluid in the abdomen. Ascites also occurs in patients with liver disease.
AspirateFluid withdrawn from a lump (often a cyst) or a nipple.To suck fluids out of a cavity eg bone marrow aspiate
Avastin(see antiangiogenesis)
B-CellsLymphocytes responsible for humoral (fluid based) immunity and antibody production.
BenignNot cancerous. Benign tumors may grow larger but do not spread to other parts of the body. Also called nonmalignant.Not cancerous - not spreading, usually a more mild disease. Non-malignant.
Bevacizumab(see antiangiogenesis)
Biological-TherapyTreatment to boost or restore the ability of the immune system to fight cancer, infections, and other diseases. Also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Agents used in biological therapy include monoclonal antibodies, growth factors, and vaccines. These agents may also have a direct antitumor effect. Also called biological response modifier therapy, biotherapy, BRM therapy, and immunotherapy.Cancer treatment that uses natural substances or substances made in a laboratory to stimulate or restore the ability of the body's immune system to fight disease. Interferon and interleukin-2 therapies are examples. Therapies such as these are often used in conjunction with other treatments. Also called immunotherapy.
BiopsyThe removal of cells or tissues for examination by a pathologist. The pathologist may study the tissue under a microscope or perform other tests on the cells or tissue. There are many different types of biopsy procedures. The most common types include: (1) incisional biopsy, in which only a sample of tissue is removed; (2) excisional biopsy, in which an entire lump or suspicious area is removed; and (3) needle biopsy, in which a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle. When a wide needle is used, the procedure is called a core biopsy. When a thin needle is used, the procedure is called a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.This is the removal of a small section of the tumour, the sample will be analysed by a histopathologist in order to establish a precise diagnosis. Surgical procedure. This may be a needle biopsy, where a very fine needle is used to take a tiny sample of the tumour. Occasionally a surgeon may remove the whole tumour prior to diagnosis; a resection biopsy.
Bone-MarrowThe soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones. It produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.The spongy material that fills the inner spaces of the bones. It is the place where many blood elements, such as red blood cells, are produced. High doses of radiation can destroy bone marrow during cancer treatment.
BrachytherapyA type of radiation therapy in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called implant radiation therapy, internal radiation therapy, and radiation brachytherapy.A type of radiation therapy is which radioactive materials are placed in direct contact with the tissue being treated.
CachexiaLoss of body weight and muscle mass, and weakness that may occur in patients with cancer, AIDS, or other chronic diseases.The rapid loss of weight along with fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite. This can be a serious problem for patients with advanced cancer.
CancerA term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. There are several main types of cancer. Carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. Sarcoma is a cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. Leukemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood. Lymphoma and multiple myeloma are cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system. Central nervous system cancers are cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Also called malignancy.The malignant uncotrolled growth of cells, that left untreated would be fatal. Cancers have the capacity to metastasize, or form secondary tumors at other sites Cancer is not a single disease but a wide range of different diseases of which there well over a hundred types. Cancers can be classified into two broad types: haematological (malignancies of the blood / bone marrow) or solid tumours. The name of the cancer depends on the type of tissue and/or site it develops from.
Cancer StagesStage 0 - A group of abnormal cells that remain in the place where they first formed. They have not spread. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Also called carcinoma in situ.

Stage I - Localized tumor and resectable

Stage II - Localized and possibly Resectable

Stage III - Cancer has spread to more than one location in the liver and/or to other parts of the body. Frequently requires multiple treatment modalities for maximum benefit. Often, surgical resection does not provide benefit to the patient.

Stage IV - The cancer involves multiple sites throughout the body. Frequently, surgery is not an option and chemotherapy is the best option. (additional source:
CarcinogenesisThe production of cancer
CarcinomaCancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organsA malignant tumour arising from epithelial tissue (cells of the glands and the outer layer of skin that lines blood vessels, hollow organs and the body's orifices).
CardiotoxicityToxicity that affects the heart.Damage to the heart : is associated with certain anti cancer drugs, especially Adriamycin. As such the total dose of these drugs may be limited to reduce the risk of cardiotoxicity.
Cell-DifferentiationThe process during which young, immature (unspecialized) cells take on individual characteristics and reach their mature (specialized) form and function.This is where normal cells go through physical changes in order to form the different specialised tissues of the body. Malignant cells may range from well-differentiated (closely resembling the tissue of origin) or undifferentiated or anaplastic (bearing little similarity to the tissue of origin). In general it is the undifferentiated or anaplastic histologies which are more aggressive.
Central-LineA thin plastic line into a vein in the chest used for the delivery of chemotherapy
ChemotherapyTreatment with drugs that kill cancer cells.The treatment of diseases such as cancer with drug therapy. Since the 1960's the development and use of drugs has dramatically improved the prognosis for many types of cancer. Chemo- means chemicals, for most types of cancer chemotherapy will consist of a number of different drugs, this is known as combination chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may be given in a variety of ways; Intravenously (IV) -into a vein is the most common, Intramuscularly (IM) -injection into a muscle, Orally -by mouth, Subcutaneously (SC) -injection under the skin, Intralesionally (IL) -directly into a cancerous area, Intrathecally (IT)-into the fluid around the spine, Topically -medication will be applied onto the skin.
ChemoembolizationFor those patients who are not surgical candidates, one less invasive option is a procedure called chemoembolization. Embolization is the process of injecting a foreign substance into the tumor to stop the flow of blood. The lack of blood deprives the tumor of needed oxygen and nutrients, eventually causing cell death. The tumor's blood supply is stopped with small pieces of material that have been saturated with chemotherapy drugs. Once the blood flow has been blocked, the tumor is soaked in a very high concentration of drugs for a prolonged period of time.
Childhood-CancerChildhood cancer is rare, about 1 in every 600 children aged under 15 develop cancer, still very little is known about it's causes. Compared with adult cancers they tend to have different histologies and occur in different sites of the body. Common adult cancers such as lung, breast, colon, and stomach are extremely rare among children. On the other hand some types of cancer are almost exclusively found in children, especially embryonal tumours which arise from cells associated with the foetus, embryo, and early postnatal period. The overall cure rate for childhood cancer has drastically improved over the last 2 decades in association with clinical trials and the development of new treatments
ChromosomePart of a cell that contains genetic information. Except for sperm and eggs, all human cells contain 46 chromosomes.Structures in the cell nucleus which contain the genes responsible for heredity. Normal human cells contain twenty-three pairs of chromosomes. One of each pair is inherited separately from a person's father and mother
ChronicA disease of a condition that persists or progresses over a longer period of time.Long lasting or slowly progressing.
Cisplatin(see platinum chemotherapy)
Clinical-TrialA type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. Also called clinical study.Research conducted with patients, usually to evaluate a new treatment. Each trial is designed to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to treat individuals with a specific disease. Many times cancer patients can receive new, experimental treatments by participating in a clinical trial.
Clinical Trial PhasesPhase 1 - Tests new types of treatment and aim to define a safe dose that will be used for further studies. This is usually the first testing of a treatment on humans after extensive laboratory work. Recruitment for Phase I trials are usually from patients for whom no other effective therapy is known.

Phase 2 - Test the anti-cancer effects of the new treatment, and include very detailed toxicity investigations. If there is effective antitumour activity, it may be incorporated in a future phase III study.

Phase 3 - Compare one or more treatments of proven efficacy. Often patients will be randomised between an established 'standard' treatment and a new 'experimental' treatment - it is not known which is the better treatment. .
Computed-Tomography (CT-Scan)A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called CAT scan, computerized axial tomography scan, computerized tomography, and CT scan.Computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) makes a cross-sectional x-ray picture of a "slice" of the body. The machine rotates around the patient taking x-rays from different angles, the images are then processed by a computer.
CyberKnifeA frameless robotic radiosurgery system used for treating benign tumors, malignant tumors and other medical conditions. The two main elements of the CyberKnife are (1) the radiation produced from a small linear particle accelerator and (2) a robotic arm which allows the energy to be directed at any part of the body from any direction. The CyberKnife system is a method of delivering radiotherapy, with the intention of targeting treatment more accurately than standard radiotherapy. (source:
CystA sac or capsule in the body. It may be filled with fluid or other material.A fluid filled sac or cavity.
CytokinesA substance that is made by cells of the immune system. Some cytokines can boost the immune response and others can suppress it. Cytokines can also be made in the laboratory by recombinant DNA technology and used in the treatment of various diseases, including cancer.Also known as colony stimulating factors
CytotoxicCell-killing.A substance which kills or damage cells.
DNAThe molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next. Also called deoxyribonucleic acid.This abbreviation stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is the component of the chromosomes that carries the genetic code
Dose-IntensityIn chemotherapy, the total amount of drug delivered in a one-week period. Can be given all at once or over a period of several days.
DoxorubicinA drug that is used to treat many types of cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Doxorubicin comes from the bacterium Streptomyces peucetius. It damages DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic. Also called Adriamycin PFS, Adriamycin RDF, doxorubicin hydrochloride, hydroxydaunorubicin, and RubexDoxorubicin hydrochloride: An antibiotic used to treat several forms of cancer. Also known as Adriamycin.
Drug-ResistanceThe failure of cancer cells, viruses, or bacteria to respond to a drug used to kill or weaken them. The cells, viruses, or bacteria may be resistant to the drug at the beginning of treatment, or may become resistant after being exposed to the drug.This is where tumour cells become resistant to chemotherapy. Some tumour cells will be chemo-sensitive and are killed by anticancer drugs; the cells that remain are likely to be more resistant. Thus by selection it is the most resistant cells survive and divide, they may be resistant to a particular drug, a class of drugs, or all drugs
DysplasiaCells that look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer.The abnormal pathological development of cells, indicating possible malignancy
EchocardiographyA procedure that uses ultrasonic waves directed over the chest wall to obtain a graphic record of the heart's position, motion of the walls, or internal parts such as the valves.This is where an image of the heart is formed when high frequency sound waves are reflected from themuscles of the heart. An echocardiogram may be done before treatment starts to establish a baseline from which to compare future tests.
EpidemiologyThe study of the patterns, causes, and control of disease in groups of people.The study of the distribution and causes of diseases in a population.
FebrileThis means with fever .
Five-Year-Survival RateThe percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are alive five years after they were diagnosed with or treated for a disease, such as cancer. The disease may or may not have come back.A term commonly used as the statistical basis for successful treatment. A patient with cancer is generally considered cured after five or more years without recurrence of the disease
Fluorourcil(5-FU) chemotherapy drup to slow growth of cancer cells. Given by infusion or injection. Potential side effects: general unwell feeling, increased risk of bruising or bleeding (source:
GeneThe functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.Hereditary unit. Each gene carries the genetic code, or blue print, for a specific protein. Each human cell has about 80,000 genes, but most of these are not active in a given type of cell
HematologyThe branch of medicine that specialises in the study and treatment of blood and blood tissues (including bone marrow).
HemoglobinThe substance inside red blood cells that binds to oxygen in the lungs and carries it to the tissues.The oxygen-carrying pigment of the red blood cells; combines with oxygen from the lungs and carries it to the body's cells.
HemorrhageIn medicine, loss of blood from damaged blood vessels. A hemorrhage may be internal or external, and usually involves a lot of bleeding in a short time.Bleeding
HistopathologyThe study of diseased cells and tissues using a microscope.The study of cells relating to the disease. (Histology is the microscopic study of cells and tissues, Pathology is the study of the disease). The histopathologist will determine a precise diagnosis by laboratory tests and microscopic examination of the cells.
HospiceHealth care treatment for the terminally ill that emphasizes pain control and emotional support for the patient and family. Typically refraining from taking extraordinary measures to prolong life. (source:
Immune-SystemThe complex group of organs and cells that defends the body against infections and other diseases.The body system, made up of many organs and cells, that defends the body against infection, disease, and foreign substances. The immune system is often stimulated in specific ways to fight cancer cells.
ImmunosuppressionSuppression of the body's immune system and its ability to fight infections and other diseases. It may also result from certain diseases such as AIDS or lymphoma or from anticancer drugs.The prevention or supression of the immune system. For example some drugs may have the side effect of dampening the immune system making the patient prone to infections.
ImmunotherapyTreatment to boost or restore the ability of the immune system to fight cancer, infections, and other diseases. Also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Agents used in immunotherapy include monoclonal antibodies, growth factors, and vaccines. These agents may also have a direct antitumor effect. Also called biological response modifier therapy, biological therapy, biotherapy, and BRM therapy.Treatment of disease by stimulating the body's own immune system. This is a type of therapy currently being researched as a treatment for cancer.
In-SituIn its original place. For example, in carcinoma in situ, abnormal cells are found only in the place where they first formed. They have not spread.In place; localised and confined to one area. In situ tumours are at an early stage of development, when the cancer cells are still confined to one layer of tissue. In situ cancers tend to have a high cure rate
In-VitroIn an artificial environment. For example many cancer research experiments are in vitro (in the test tube), using cell cultures (cells grown in the lab); either from established cell lines or from material collected at biopsy/surgery.
In-VivoWithin the living body.
IncidenceThe number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.The number of occurrences of a given disease within a population. Cancer incidence is the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed in one year. Data on the incidence of cancer are kept by regional and national cancer registries.
Informed-ConsentA process in which a person is given important facts about a medical procedure or treatment, a clinical trial, or genetic testing before deciding whether or not to participate. It also includes informing the patient when there is new information that may affect his or her decision to continue. Informed consent includes information about the possible risks, benefits, and limits of the procedure, treatment, trial, or genetic testing.Patients agree to a treatment or randomisation to a clinical trial having a reasonable understanding of it.
InterferonA biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infections and other diseases). Interferons interfere with the division of cancer cells and can slow tumor growth. There are several types of interferons, including interferon-alpha, -beta, and -gamma. The body normally produces these substances. They are also made in the laboratory to treat cancer and other diseases.Interferons: are Proteins produced by the body with the specific purpose of regulating cell functions. Interferons are produced in the laboratory in large quantities, and are sometimes used in the treatment of certain cancers.
InterleukinOne of a group of related proteins made by leukocytes (white blood cells) and other cells in the body. Interleukins regulate immune responses. Interleukins made in the laboratory are used as biological response modifiers to boost the immune system in cancer therapy. An interleukin is a type of cytokine. Also called IL.
Interleukin-2A hormone-like substance produced by the body (certain blood cells, specifically) that stimulates the growth of blood cells important to the body's immune system.
IntravenousInto or within a vein. Intravenous usually refers to a way of giving a drug or other substance through a needle or tube inserted into a vein. Also called IV.(IV) means into a vein.
LaparoscopyA procedure that uses a laparoscope, inserted through the abdominal wall, to examine the inside of the abdomen. A laparoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.A surgical procedure in which a tiny scope is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision. It is used for a variety of procedures, and often to diagnose disease of the fallopian tubes and pelvic cavity.
LobeA portion of an organ, such as the liver, lung, breast, thyroid, or brain.A portion of an organ such as the liver, lung, breast, brain or thyroid.
LobectomySurgery to remove a whole lobe (section) of an organ (such as the lungs, liver, brain, or thyroid gland).Surgical resection of a lobe of an organ such as the liver or thyroid.
LocalisedRestricted to the site of origin, without evidence of spread.An invasive neoplasm confined entirely to the organ of origin
Lymph NodesA rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph nodes filter lymph (lymphatic fluid), and they store lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are located along lymphatic vessels. Also called lymph gland.These are small, bean-shaped organs that supply lymphoctyes (a type of white blood cell) to the bloodstream. They also filter out bacteria and other foreign substances from the lymph fluid that contains white blood cells. Lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) are located througout the body.
Lymphatic-SystemThe tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and lymphatic vessels (a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells). Lymphatic vessels branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.The tissues and organs that produce and store the white blood cells used to fight infection. This includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes.
MacrophageA type of white blood cell that surrounds and kills microorganisms, removes dead cells, and stimulates the action of other immune system cells.A type of white blood cell that assists in the body's fight against bacteria and infection by engulfing and destroying invading organisms.
Magnetic-Resonance-Imaging (MRI)A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. Magnetic resonance imaging makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) or x-ray. Magnetic resonance imaging is especially useful for imaging the brain, the spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called MRI, NMRI, and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.A technique used to image internal stuctures of the body, particularly the soft tissues (muscles,organs, tendons, etc.). An MRI image is often superior to a normal X-ray image.
MalignancyA term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Malignant cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. There are several main types of malignancy. Carcinoma is a malignancy that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. Sarcoma is a malignancy that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. Leukemia is a malignancy that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood. Lymphoma and multiple myeloma are malignancies that begin in the cells of the immune system. Central nervous system cancers are malignancies that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Also called cancer.The tendency of certain diseases to become progressively worse. A malignancy is often resistant to treatment and can result in death.
MalignantCancerous. Malignant cells can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.Cancerous, spreading
MetastasisThe spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumor formed by cells that have spread is called a “metastatic tumor” or a “metastasis.” The metastatic tumor contains cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor. The plural form of metastasis is metastases (meh-TAS-tuh-SEEZ).Where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body beyond the primary site. Metastatic sites (secondaries) may be regional or distant from the original tumor.
Monoclonal-AntibodyA type of protein made in the laboratory that can bind to substances in the body, including tumor cells. There are many kinds of monoclonal antibodies. Each monoclonal antibody is made to find one substance. Monoclonal antibodies are being used to treat some types of cancer and are being studied in the treatment of other types. They can be used alone or to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive materials directly to a tumor.An antibody produced in the laboratory that can target specific antigens (substances that provoke an immune response). They can be made in large quantities, and are being tested for their use in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
MorbidityA disease or the incidence of disease within a population. Morbidity also refers to adverse effects caused by a treatment.Any departure, subjective or objective, from a state of physiological or psychological well-being. In this sense, sickness, illness, and a morbid condition are synonymous.
MortalityThe state of being mortal (destined to die). Mortality also refers to the death rate, or the number of deaths in a certain group of people in a certain period of time. Mortality may be reported for people who have a certain disease, live in one area of the country, or who are of a certain gender, age, or ethnic group.Looking at the death rates caused by a disease.
MugaNuclear ventriculography is a test that uses radioactive materials called traces to show the heart chambers. The procedure is non-evasive. (MUGA- Multiple gate acquisition scan). As some chemotherapies can effect the heart (i.e. doxyrubicin), MUGAS can indicate when to stop treatment. (
NecrosisDeath of a localized portion of animal or plant tissue, as from an interruption of the blood supply to that part. (source:
MyelodysplasiaAbnormal bone marrow cells that may lead to myelogenous leukemia.Abnormal production and maturation of blood cells; often leading to deficiency of red cells, white cells and platelets; sometimes leading to bone marrow failure or leukemia.
NeoplasmAn abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called tumor.A new growth of tissue serving no physiological function
NephrotoxicPoisonous or damaging to the kidney.Some anti cancer drugs may have the side effect of damaging the kidneys, for example ifosfamide and cisplatin are known to be nephrotoxic. There are two categories; glomerular and tubular toxicity relating to the two main areas of the nephron. In studies of ifosfamide the degree of nephrotoxicity is thought to be related to the cumulative dose, but there is a good deal of variability between patients.
NeutropeniaA condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell).Below normal levels of leukocytes in the blood. Febrile-neutropenia (neutropenia with fever) is a common toxicity following chemotherapy.
NeutrophilA type of immune cell that is one of the first cell types to travel to the site of an infection. Neutrophils help fight infection by ingesting microorganisms and releasing enzymes that kill the microorganisms. A neutrophil is a type of white blood cell, a type of granulocyte, and a type of phagocyte.Type of white blood cell; also called a poly; granulocyte; the body's primary defense against harmful bacteria.
NexavarA drug used to treat advanced cancer and a type of liver cancer that cannot be removed by surgery. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Nexavar stops cells from dividing and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. also called sorafenib.
OedemaAbnormally large amounts of fluid in the intercellular tissue spaces.
OncogeneA gene that is a mutated (changed) form of a gene involved in normal cell growth. Oncogenes may cause the growth of cancer cells. Mutations in genes that become oncogenes can be inherited or caused by being exposed to substances in the environment that cause cancer.
OncologistA doctor who specializes in treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation.A physician who, after extensive training, specializes in cancer treatment.
OncologyThe study of cancer.A science dealing with the physical, chemical, and biologic properties and features of cancer, including causes and the disease process.
Oxaliplatin(see platinum chemo therapy)
Pediatric OncologyThe branch of medicine which specialises in the study and treatment of childhood cancer. Treating children requires different considerations compared with adult oncology, for example potential treatment side effects may be different to those in adults.
Palliative careCare given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.Treatment which relieves the symptoms and pain.
ParacentisisA procedure in which a thin needle or tube is put into the abdomen to remove fluid from the peritoneal cavity (the space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver).
Parenteral NutritionA form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Parenteral nutrition does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using parenteral nutrition. Also called hyperalimentation, total parenteral nutrition, and TPN.A method of delivering nutrition or other substances directly into a vein. Fluids given usually include salt (saline), glucose, amino acids, electrolytes, vitamins, and medications.
PathologistA doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.A doctor who specializes in the nature, structure, and identification of disease.
PathologyThe branch of medicine concerned with disease, especially its structure and its functional effects on the body.
Pathology ReportThe description of cells and tissues made by a pathologist based on microscopic evidence, and sometimes used to make a diagnosis of a disease.
Peripheral-BloodBlood circulating throughout the body.The blood in the bloodstream.
Peripheral NeuroapthyPeripheral Neuropathy affects those nerves which includes sensory nerves to receive feelings such as heat, parn or touch, 2) motor nerves that control how muscles move and, 3) automatic nerves that control automatic functions as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and bladder function. Most commonly starts in the longest nerves - the ones that reach your toes. Signs and symptoms may include: gradual onset of numbness and tingling in feet or hands which could spread upward, burning pain; sharp jabbing pain; extreme sensitivity to touch; lack of coordination; muscle weakness; bowel or bladder problems if automatic nerves are affected. A common side effect of platinum based drugs.
PetechiaePinpoint, unraised, round red spots under the skin caused by bleeding.Tiny red dots on the skin due to bleeding under the skin caused by low platelet count.
PhagocytosisThe process by which a phagocyte (a type of white blood cell) surrounds and destroys foreign substances (such as bacteria) and removes dead cells.Cell eating: the engulfment and destruction of dangerous microorganisms or cells by certain white blood cells, including neutrophils
PlasmaThe clear, yellowish, fluid part of the blood that carries the blood cells. The proteins that form blood clots are in plasma.A colorless fluid which contains water and other components in which red cells, white cells, and platelets are suspended.
PlateletA tiny piece of a cell found in the blood that breaks off from a large cell found in the bone marrow. Platelets help wounds heal and prevent bleeding by forming blood clots. Also called thrombocyte.A blood component that is instrumental in clot formation, which stops bleeding in injured areas and prevents hemmorhage. Blood cell fragments containing clotting factors which prevent bleeding and bruising.
Platinum ChemotherapyThis uses platinum-based drugs to fight certain cancers and lower the potential for certain treatment side effects. Three most commonly used: cisplatin, carboplatin, and oxaliplatin. The medications achieve their effects by altering DNA strands inside cancer cells. Cisplatin side effects: bone marrow abnormalities (myelosuppressions), anemia, hearing damage, and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage). Carboplatin side effects: myelosuppression and peripheral neuropathy. Oxaliplatin side effects: nerve damage-related throat pain, myelosuppressions and peripheral neuropathy. (Source:
PolypA growth that protrudes from a mucous membrane.A benign growth protruding from a mucous membrane, commonly found in the nose, uterus, and rectum. Certain polyps, particularly those found in the colon, can become cancerous and may require surgical removal.
Portal VeinA large y-shaped vein that carries blood from the stomach and the intestines to the liver. (Source:
PrognosisThe likely outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery or recurrence.The expected outcome of a disease. This may be influenced by a variety of factors such as stage, age, site etc. depending on the particular type of cancer. For example, in general a patient with localised disease may have a more favourable prognosis compared to a patient with widespread disease which may be less favourable.
PyrexiaFever / abnormally high body temerature
RadiatiotherapyThe use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body. Also called irradiation and radiotherapy.Cancer treatments which utilize high-energy waves or particles of radiation.
RadiologyThe use of radiation (such as x-rays) or other imaging technologies (such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose or treat disease.The branch of medicine dealing with radioactive substances including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Red-Blood-CellA cell that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called erythrocyte and RBC.Red blood cell (erythrocyte): Oxygen-carrying cell in the blood which contains the pigment hemoglobin; produced in the bone marrow.
RefractoryIn medicine, describes a disease or condition that does not respond to treatment.This is where the cancer is resistant to treatment.
RegionalIn oncology, describes the body area right around a tumor.A tumour that has extended beyond the limits of the organ where it started, growing directly into surrounding organs or tissues, but has not spread to distant parts of the body.
RelapseThe return of a disease or the signs and symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement.This is when the disease reoccurs after a period in remission.
RemissionA decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.This is where the symptoms of cancer are no longer present. There is no longer any evidence of the disease using the available investigations.
ResectionSurgery to remove tissue or part or all of an organ.Surgical removal of an area of tissue or of an entire organ. The surgical specimen may be examined by a pathologist to determine if it is likely to have removed all of the tumour. If there is any tumour left after surgery this may be macroscopic (visible to the eye) or microscopic, in either case radiotherapy may be needed to kill the remaining tumour cells.
Risk FactorSomething that increases the chance of developing a disease. Some examples of risk factors for cancer are age, a family history of certain cancers, use of tobacco products, being exposed to radiation or certain chemicals, infection with certain viruses or bacteria, and certain genetic changes.Anything that has been identified as increasing an individual's chance of getting a disease.
SarcomaA cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.A cancerous growth of the bone, muscle, or connective tissues, usually appearing first as a painless swelling.
ScreeningChecking for disease when there are no symptoms. Since screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (breast), colonoscopy (colon), Pap smear (cervix), and PSA blood level and digital rectal exam (prostate). Screening can also include checking for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease by doing a genetic test.Tests that sort out apparently well persons who probably have a disease from those who probably do not. If positive, they would be referred to a physician for diagnosis.
Sorafenib(See Nexavar)
StageThe extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.Staging is where the disease is categorised as to how far it has spread. The precise staging system used will depend on the type of cancer the patient has. In general low stage patients are those with localised tumours that are easily resectable, whilst high stage patients are those with widespread metastases. The treatment given may largely depend upon which stage the patient is at diagnosis.
Stem CellsA cell from which other types of cells develop. For example, blood cells develop from blood-forming stem cells.A"generalized" cell whose division results in other specialized cells. Its descendents have the potential to develop into several different types of mature cells.
T-Cell DepletionTreatment to destroy T cells, which play an important role in the immune response. Elimination of T cells from a bone marrow graft from a donor may reduce the chance of an immune reaction against the recipient's tissues.
ThrombocyteA tiny piece of a cell found in the blood that breaks off from a large cell found in the bone marrow. Thrombocytes help wounds heal and prevent bleeding by forming blood clots. Also called platelet.Platelet
ThrombocytopeniaA condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of platelets in the blood. It may result in easy bruising and excessive bleeding from wounds or bleeding in mucous membranes and other tissues.Low platelet count.
ThyroxineA hormone that is made by the thyroid gland and contains iodine. Thyroxine increases the rate of chemical reactions in cells and helps control growth and development. Thyroxine can also be made in the laboratory and is used to treat thyroid disorders. Also called L-3,5,5’-tetraiodothyronine, T4, and thyroxin.A hormone produced by the thyroid gland. It contains iodine which is essential for the body's normal growth, and metabolism. Following therapy for thyroid cancer many patients need to take thyroxine supplements in order to maintain normal weigh and body functions.
Total-Body-IrradiationRadiation to the whole body .
ToxicityThe extent to which something is poisonous or harmful.Side effects of treatment.
TrephineA surgical tool used to cut out circular pieces of bone or other tissue.Saw to remove a circular disk of bone for testing
TumorAn abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumors may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called neoplasm.An abnormal mass of tissue that is not inflammatory, arises from cells of pre-existent tissues, and serves no useful purpose. (UK spelling: Tumour)
Tumor-Infiltrating-LymphocytesA white blood cell that has left the bloodstream and migrated into a tumor.Special cancer-fighting cells of the immune system found in tumors. In a type of experimental therapy, scientists harvest these cells from the tumor, grow them in a laboratory, and then return them to the patient with the hope of the cells destroying the tumor.
Tumor MarkerA substance that may be found in tumor tissue or released from a tumor into the blood or other body fluids. A high level of a tumor marker may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Examples of tumor markers include CA 125 (in ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (in breast cancer), CEA (in ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers), and PSA (in prostate cancer).A substance in the body that may indicate the presence of cancer. Markers may be secreted by the tumour itself or produced by the body in response to the cancer. Tumour markers may aid diagnosis or give an indicator of how treatment is progressing. These markers are usually specific to certain types of cancer. For example neuron-specific enolase (NSE) is associated with a number of types of cancers, in particular neuroblastoma. Also alphafetoprotein (AFP) levels are often abnormally high in patients with Germ cell tumours. NOTE: AFP is often elevated in hepatocellular patients but not in FCF patients.
UltrasoundA procedure in which high-energy sound waves are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echo patterns are shown on the screen of an ultrasound machine, forming a picture of body tissues called a sonogram. Also called ultrasonography.The use of sound waves to image the underlying structures of the body. Ultrasonic waves are reflected differently depending on the type of tissue they pass through, aiding the detection of abnormal tissues.
White Blood CellA type of immune cell. Most white blood cells are made in the bone marrow and are found in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells help the body fight infections and other diseases. Granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes are white blood cells. Also called leukocyte and WBC.Infection-fighting cells (lymphocytes) which are found in the blood and bone marrow.
X-RayA type of high-energy radiation. In low doses, x-rays are used to diagnose diseases by making pictures of the inside of the body. In high doses, x-rays are used to treat cancer.(1) Low dose radiation used to make images of internal body structures; or (2) High dose radiation used to treat cancer.
X-Ray TherapyA type of radiation therapy that uses high-energy radiation from x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
XelodaA drug used to treate Stage III colon caner in patients who had surgery to remove the cancer. It is also used to treat metastatic breast cancer that not improved after treatment with certain other anticancer drugs. Xeloda is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer (i.e. liver). It is taken up by cancer cells and breaks down into 5-fluoruracil, a substance that kills tumor cells. Xeloda is a type of antimetabolite.
XenograftA surgical graft of tissue from one species to an unlike species. (I.e. human to mouse). (Source: