ABCD rating: A prostate cancer staging system, using ABCD. The words “A” and “B” refer to prostate-confined cancer. “C” refers to cancer that has grown from the prostate but has not spread to lymph nodes or other areas inside the body. “D” refers to cancer, which has spread to lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. Often called the Jewett staging system or the Whitmore-Jewett staging system.
Ablation: A minimally invasive surgical technique to treat solid cancers. Unlike the normal procedure, special probes are used to “heat” or “freeze” cancers.
Abscess: An enclosed pus accumulation in tissues, glands, or confined body spaces. An abscess is a symptom of infection and is normally inflamed and swollen.
Action study: A research, in cancer prevention trails that focuses on figuring out what actions people take will prevent cancer in clinical cancer prevention trials.
Acute: Symptoms or signs, which quickly start and worsen; not chronic.
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: (lim-fo-BLAST-ik loo-KEE-mee-a) ALL. A rapidly developing condition in which the blood and bone marrow produces too many immature white blood cells (called lymphoblast).
Acute lymphocytic leukaemia: (lim-fo-SIT-ik loo-KEE-mee-a) ALL. A rapidly developing condition in which the blood and bone marrow produces too many immature white blood cells (called lymphoblast). Often referred to as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Acute myelogenous leukaemia: (mye-eh-LAH-jen-us loo-KEE-mee-a) AML. A rapidly developing condition in which the blood and bone marrow produce too many immature white blood cells (not lymphocytes). Often referred as acute myeloid leukaemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukaemia.
Acute myeloid leukaemia: (MY-eh-loyd loo-KEE-mee-a) AML. A rapidly developing condition in which the blood and bone marrow produces too many immature white blood cells (not lymphocytes). Also referred to as acute myelogenous leukaemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukaemia.
Acute nonlymphocytic leukaemia: A quickly developing disease, in which the blood and bone marrow contain too many immature blood-forming cells. Also known as acute myeloid leukaemia or myelogenous leukaemia.
Adenocarcinoma: (AD-in-o-kar-sin-O-ma) Cancer that starts in cells that line some internal organs and have glandular properties (secretory).
Adjunct agent: A medication or substance used in cancer treatment, in addition to the main treatment.
Adjunctive therapy: The treatment, which is used alongside the primary care. Its aim is to assist primary therapy.
Adjuvant therapy: (AD-joo-vant) Treatment offered to improve chances of a cure following primary treatment. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, or biological therapy may be used as adjuvant therapy.
Adverse effect: An unintended side effect of treatment.
Agent study: A research that measures whether consuming other pharmaceutical products, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements will prevent cancer. Sometimes named the Study of Chemoprevention.
Aggressive: A rapidly growing cancer.
Agranulocyte: (A-gran-yoo-lo-SITE) A type of white blood cell; monocytes and lymphocytes are agranulocytes.
AJCC staging system: A method created for defining the level of cancer in a patient’s body, by the American Joint Committee on Cancer. The definitions include TNM: T describes the tumour size and, if it has invaded surrounding tissue, N describes any involved lymph nodes, and M describes metastasis (cancer spread from one part of the body to another).
Alkaloid: A part of a broad group of chemicals made from plants and containing nitrogen.
Alkylating agent: A drug, which is used in cancer care. It interferes with the DNA of the cell, thus inhibiting cell growth.
ALL Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: A rapidly developing condition in which the blood and bone marrow contain too many young white blood cells or lymphoblast. Often referred to as acute lymphocytic leukaemia.
All-trans retinoic acid: A type of vitamin A which is used in the acne treatment. This is also being used in cancer prevention and, typically in conjunction with other medications, as a therapy for acute promyelocytic leukaemia. Sometimes known as Tretinoin.
Allogeneic: (Al-o-jen-AY-ik) Taken from various individuals of the same species. Sometimes classified as Allogeneic.
Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation: (AL-o-jen-AY-ik) The procedure in which a person receives stem cells from a non-identical, but genetically similar donor.
Allogeneic stem cell transplantation: (AL-o-jen-AY-ik) A procedure in which a person receives stem cells from a non-identical yet genetically similar donor.
Allogenic: Taken from different individuals of the same species. Also called allogeneic.
Alpha-fetoprotein: (AL-fa-FEE-toe-PRO-teen) AFP. A protein, which a foetus normally produces. AFP levels in stable adult men or women (who are not pregnant) are typically undetectable in their blood. An elevated level of AFP indicates either a primary cancer of the liver or a tumour of the germ cells.
AML Acute myelogenous leukaemia:. A quickly developing disease, in which the blood and bone marrow contain too many immature blood-forming cells. Often referred to as Acute myeloid leukaemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukaemia.
Analgesic: A medication which reduces pain. Analgesics include aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.
Analog: In chemistry, a substance that is similar, but not identical, to another.
Anaphylactic shock: A extreme and at times life-threatening reaction of the immune system to an antigen that a person was previously exposed to. The reaction may involve itchy skin, oedema, burst blood vessels, fainting, and breathing difficulties.
Anaplastic: (an-ah-PLAS-tik) A term used to characterize rapidly dividing cancer cells, with little to no similarity to normal cells.
Androgen: (AN-dro-jen) A type of hormone that promotes the production of male sex characteristics and their maintenance.
Androgen ablation: Treatment intended to inhibit or block male hormone output. The reduction of androgen is accomplished by surgical removal of the testes, through taking female sex hormones, or through taking other medications (antiandrogens). Sometimes called suppression of androgen.
Androgen suppression: Treatment intended to inhibit or block male hormone output. The elimination of androgen is accomplished by surgical removal of the testicles, through taking female sex hormones or through taking other medications, antiandrogens. Sometimes called ablation of androgen.
Androgen-independent: Describes the capacity of tumour cells to expand in the absence of androgens (hormones that facilitate male sex characteristics growth and maintenance). Most early prostate cancers require growth androgens, but advanced prostate cancers are often androgen-independent.
Anaemia: (a-NEE-mee-a) A condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal.
Anaesthesia: (an-es-THEE-zha) Drugs or substances which cause feeling or consciousness loss. Local anaesthetics in one part of the body induce a loss of sensation. General anaesthetics allowed the person to sleep.
Anaesthesiologist: A doctor who is specialized in administering medications or other substances to avoid or alleviate discomfort during surgery or other medical procedures.
Aesthetic: (an-es-THET-ik) A substance which causes a loss of sensation or consciousness. Local anaesthetics in one part of the body induce a loss of sensation. General anaesthetics allow the person to sleep.
Angiogenesis: (an-gee-o-GEN-eh-sis) Blood vessel formation. Angiogenesis of the tumour is the development of blood vessels from surrounding tissue into a solid tumour. This is caused by tumour releasing chemicals.
Angiogenesis inhibitor: Substance, which can prevent blood vessel formation. An angiogenesis promoter in anticancer therapy stops the expansion of the blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a firm tumour.
Angiostatin: A protein, which the body normally produces. This can also be performed in the laboratory, and is being tested in cancer care. Angiostatin may prevent new blood vessels from developing from surrounding tissue to a solid tumour. This is a member of the drug family called angiogenesis inhibitors.
Antiangiogenesis: Prevention of the growth of new blood vessels.
Antibiotic: (An-tih-by-AH-tik) A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms.
Antibody: (AN-tih-BOD-ee) A type of protein formed by certain white blood cells in response to a foreign (antigen) material. Each antibody will bind to only one particular antigen. The aim of this binding is to help in the destruction of antigen. Antibodies can act in different ways, depending on the antigen’s nature. Many antibodies specifically attack antigens. Others make the degradation of the antigens simpler for white blood cells.
Antibody therapy: An antibody therapy, a drug that can directly destroy specific tumour cells or activate the immune system to destroy tumour cells.
Antiestrogen: A material that blocks the function of oestrogens, the family of hormones that facilitate the production and maintenance of characteristics of the female sex.
Antifolate: Substance which blocks folic acid activity. Antifolates are used for cancer treatment.
Antifungal: A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.
Antigen: A substance that causes the immune system to make a specific immune response.
Antigen-presenting cell: APC. A cell that displays antigen to other immune-system cells on its surface. This is a big part of an immune response.
Antigen-presenting cell vaccine: A vaccine made from cells that contain antigens and antigens. Often known as APC Vaccine.
Antihormone therapy: Drug therapy, surgery, or radiation for blocking a hormone ‘s development or action. Antihormone therapy can be used in the treatment of cancer as certain hormones may promote the development of certain forms of tumours.
Antimetabolite: A drug that in a typical biochemical reaction in cells is somewhat similar to natural chemicals but is special enough to interfere with the typical division and functions of cells.
Antimicrotubule agent: A drug which stops cell division by inhibiting cell development. Antimicrotubulating agents are used as cancer therapies. Also referred to as Antimitotic agents, mitotic inhibitors, and taxanes. Docetaxel and paclitaxel are antimicrotubule agents.
Antimitotic agent: A drug which stops cell division by inhibiting cell development. Antifungal compounds are used as cancer therapies. Also called Antimicrotubule agents, mitotic inhibitors, and taxanes. The antimitotic agents are docetaxel and paclitaxel.
Antineoplaston: A material derived from normal human blood and urine which is being checked for certain cancers and AIDS as a form of treatment.
Antiparasitic: A medication used to treat bacteria- and parasite-caused infections. This is also used in the treatment of other cancers.
Apheresis: A procedure where blood is collected, part of the blood is taken out such as platelets or white blood cells, and the remainder of the blood is returned to the donor. Also called pheresis.
Apnea: cessation of breathing
Apoptosis: (ap-o-TOE-sis) A natural sequence of occurrences in a cell leading to its death.
Arctigenin: A substance found in certain plants, including burdock. This has had effects on antivirals and anticancer. Arctigenine is part of a group of substances known as lignans.
Arctiin: A material found in certain plants like the burdock. This has demonstrated effects on anticancer.
Arginine butyrate: A material under investigation in cancer treatment. Aromatase inhibitor (a-ROW-ma-tays in-HIB-it-er) A drug that interferes with the aromatase enzyme by preventing the production of estradiol, a female hormone. Aromatase inhibitors are used as a form of hormone therapy for women who have hormone-dependent breast cancer in postmenopausal.
Arsenic: A radioactive substance used to destroy weeds and plagues. Used also for cancer treatment.
Arsenic trioxide: A material that induces programmed cell death in some cancer cells (apoptosis). This is a member of the drug family called antineoplastics.
Arterial embolization: (ar-TEE-ree-al EM-bo-lih-ZAY-shun). This can be done as a treatment for blocking blood flow to a tumour.
Arthralgia: A joint pain.
Asthenia: corporeal loss or lack of strength; weakness; weakness.
Astrocytoma: (as-troe-sye-TOE-ma) A tumour that starts in small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes inside the brain or spinal cord.
Ataxia: Lack of coordination between muscles.
Ataxic gait: Awkward, uncoordinated walking.
Athymic, nude mouse: A type of hairless laboratory mouse, missing a normal thymus gland, and having a deficient immune system due to a genetic mutation. Athymic, naked mice are commonly used in cancer research because mice or other animals do not reject tumour cells.
Atypical teratoid / rhabdoid tumour ATT / RHT or AT / RT: An aggressive central nervous system, kidney, or liver cancer which occurs in very young children.
Autologous: (aw-TAHL-o-gus) Taken from tissues, cells or DNA of a person.
Autologous bone marrow transplantation: (aw-TAHL-o-gus) A procedure in which a person’s bone marrow is removed, stored, and then returned to the person after intensive care.
Autologous stem cell transplantation: (aw-TAHL-o-gus) A process in which stem cells (cells from which all the blood cells develop) are removed, preserved, and then returned to the same organism.
B cell: A white blood cell which produces anticorps and is an important part of the immune system. B cells reside in the bone marrow. Also called B lymphocyte
B lymphocyte: A white blood cell that produces antibodies and it is an essential part of the immune system. B lymphocytes reside in the bone marrow. Often referred to as B Cell.
Bacillus Calmette Guérin: (bah-SILL-us KAL-met GAY-ran) BCG. A kind of bacteria used to activate the immune system in cancer care. It is also used for anti-tuberculosis vaccination.
Bacteremia: Bacteria are present in the blood.
Bacterial toxin: a bacterial toxic agent that can be programmed to destroy different cells of the tumour without harming normal cells.
Barium enema: A process in which a barium liquid is inserted through the anus in the rectum and colon. Barium is a silver-white metallic compound which helps to display an x-ray image of the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Barium solution: A barium sulfate liquid that is used in x-rays to highlight areas of the digestive system.
Basal cell carcinoma: (BAY-sal sel kar-sin-O-ma) The type of skin cancer that originates from basal cells, small, round cells located in the lower part (or base) of the epidermis, the outer skin layer.
Benign: (beh-NINE) Not cancer. Benign tumours do not spread to adjacent tissues or to other areas of the body.
Benign proliferative breast disease: A group of non-cancerous conditions which may increase the risk of breast cancer developing. Types include ductal hyperplasia, hyperplasia in the lobules and papilloma.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia: (hye-per-PLAY-zha) BPH. A benign (noncancerous) disease in which prostate tissue overgrowth presses against urethra and bladder and prevents urinary flow. Sometimes called hypertrophy benign to the prostatic.
Benign prostate hypertrophy/BPH: A benign (noncancerous) disease in which prostate tissue overgrowth presses against urethra and bladder and prevents urinary flow. Sometimes labelled hyperplasia benign to the prostatic.
Benign tumour: Non-cancerous growth that does not penetrate or spread to other areas of the body nearby.
Beta carotene: The precursor of vitamin A. Beta carotene is in the family of fat-soluble vitamins known as carotenoids
Beta-glucan: A type of polysaccharide (Sugar Molecules String) obtained from many mushroom types. This is being tested as both a cancer drug and a stimulant to the immune system.
Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin/ß-hcg. A substance usually found during pregnancy in both the blood and urine. Some tumour cells can also generate it. An elevated ß-hcg level can be a sign of testis, uterine cancer, ovary, kidney, stomach, pancreas, or lung cancer. Also, ß-hcg may be developed in response to certain non-cancer conditions. In the diagnosis of Kaposi’s sarcoma ß-hcg is being tested.
Bias: A defect in the design of a sample or the process of collecting or analysing information in a clinical trial. Biases may lead to misconceptions about what the research or trial has shown.
Biological response modifier: BRM. Treatment to enhance or repair the immune system’s capacity to fend off pathogens and other diseases. Known also to reduce the side effects that can be caused by such cancer therapies. Sometimes known as biochemical, immunotherapy, and/or biotherapy.
Biological therapy: Treatment for improving or repairing the immune system’s capacity to combat pathogens and other diseases. Known also to reduce the side effects that can be caused by such cancer therapies. Often known as treatment for immunotherapy, biotherapy, or the agent of biological reaction (BRM).
Biomarker: A material that is present often in the blood, other body fluids or tissues. High biomarker levels can mean that there is a certain form of cancer in the body. Examples of biomarkers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (cancers of the lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract, and PSA (prostate cancer). Often called tumour marker.
Biopsy: (BY-op-see) Deletion of cells or tissues for microscopic examination. The operation is called an incisional biopsy or core biopsy when only one tissue sample is collected. By extracting an entire lump or suspect region, the operation is called an excisional biopsy. If a tissue or fluid sample is removed with a needle, a needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration is called the operation.
Biopsy specimen: Tissue removed from the body and microscopically analysed to assess if a disease is present.
Biotherapy: Treatment for improving or repairing the immune system’s capacity to combat pathogens and other diseases. Known also to reduce the side effects that can be caused by such cancer therapies. Sometimes known as treatment for biological therapy, immunotherapy, or modification of the biological response (BRM).
Blast: An immature cell in the blood
Blessed thistle/ Cnicus Benedictus: In some cultures, a plant whose leaves, stems, and flowers are being used to treat some medical conditions. Blessed thistle may have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. Sometimes called St. Benedict’s thistle, cardin, holy thistle, and spotted thistle.
Blinded study: A type of study in which patients (single-blinded) or patients (double-blinded) do not know which treatment or therapy is being administered. An open-label analysis is the reverse of a blinded test.
Blood cell count: A measure to assess the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a blood sample. Sometimes known as the entire blood count (CBC).
Blood-brain barrier: A network of closely spaced blood vessels that make it difficult for potentially dangerous substances (such as anticancer drugs) to penetrate the walls of the blood vessel and enter the brain.
Blood-brain barrier disruption/BBBD: The use of drugs to build gaps in blood-brain barriers between cells. The blood-brain barrier is a defensive network of blood vessels and tissue that protects the brain from harmful substances, but can also prevent the entry of anticancer drugs. When the door is raised, to treat brain tumours, anticancer drugs can be injected into an artery that goes to the brain.
Bolus: A single dose of the drug normally administered into the blood vessel for a short period. Often known as a bolus infusion.
Bone marrow: Soft, sponge-like tissue in most large bones in the middle. This produces red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Bone marrow ablation: Bone marrow is damaged by radiation or by medications.
Bone marrow aspiration: The removal of a small amount of bone marrow (usually from the hip) by means of a needle for microscopic examination.
Bone marrow biopsy: Removal of a tissue sample from the bone marrow with a needle for microscopic analysis.
Bone marrow metastases: Cancer that has spread to the bone marrow from the initial (primary) tumour.
Bone marrow transplantation: A procedure for replacing the bone marrow that has been damaged by heavy doses of anticancer medications or radiation therapy. Transplantation can be autologous (saved before diagnosis by an individual’s own marrow), allogeneic (marrow donated by someone else), or syngeneic (marrow donated by an identical twin).
Bone metastases: Cancer that spread to the bone from the initial (primary) tumour.
Bone scan: A method for producing representations of bones on a computer or video screen. A small amount of radioactive material is inserted into a blood vessel and passes through the bloodstream; it remains in the bones, and a scanner identifies it.
Brachytherapy: A process in which radioactive material enclosed in needles, seeds, tubes, or catheters is directly inserted in or around a tumour. Often called internal radiation, radiation from implants or interstitial radiation therapy.
Bradycardia: Slow Heartbeat.
Brain metastasis: Cancer that has spread to the brain from the initial (primary) tumour.
Brain stem: The part of the brain attached to the spinal cord.
Brain stem glioma: A tumour found in the spinal cord (brain stem) part of the brain. Depending on the tumour grade, it can develop quickly or slowly.
Brain stem tumour: A tumour that is linked to the spinal cord in the brain section.
In situ breast cancer: The irregular cells limited to the breast ducts or lobules. Two types occur, called in situ ductal carcinoma (DCIS) and in situ lobular carcinoma (LCIS).
Breast duct endoscopy: A procedure used to search for an irregular tissue in the lining of the breast ducts. A very thin, flexible, lighted tube that is connected to a camera is inserted through the nipple and threaded deep in the breast ducts. Throughout the treatment, tissue and fluid samples can be taken out.
Bronchoscope: (BRON-ko-scope) A small, lighted tube used to view the inside of the trachea and bronchi, the channels of air leading to the lungs.
Bronchoscopy: (bron-KOS-ko-pee) A process involving the insertion of a small, lighted tube through the nose or mouth. This helps both the inside of the trachea and the bronchi (air passages leading to the heart), and the heart, to be examined. Bronchoscopy can be used to diagnose cancer or to perform other procedures for the treatment.
Bryostatin: A drug under review for cancer treatment. This is from a marine organism.
Burdock/Arctium lappa: In certain cultures, a plant whose seeds and root have been used to treat some medical conditions. This may have effects on antioxidants. Also known as lappa, and happy major.
Burkitt’s lymphoma: An active (rapidly progressing) type of non-Hodgkin’s B-cell lymphoma that most frequently occurs in children and young adults. The disease may affect the jaw, central nervous system, intestines, lungs, ovaries, or other organs. There are three main forms of Burkitt lymphoma (related to sporadic, chronic, and immunodeficiency). Sporadic Burkitt’s lymphoma occurs globally, and sporadic Burkitt’s lymphoma is common in Africa. Burkitt’s lymphoma associated with immunodeficiency is the most often found in patients with AIDS.
C-erbb-2: The gene that regulates cell growth by producing the human epidermal growth factor 2. Also identified as HER2 / neu.
CA 19-9 Assay: A test which measures blood level CA 19-9. CA 19-9 is a tumour marker released from cancer cells and normal cells into the bloodstream. A symptom of gallbladder or pancreatic cancer or other disorders may be greater than average levels of CA 19-9 in the blood.
Cachexia: (ka-KEK-see-a) Loss of body weight and muscle mass, and fatigue that may occur in cancer patients with AIDS or other chronic diseases.
Cancer: A term for diseases where abnormal cells divide uncontrollably. Cancer cells may invade surrounding tissues and can spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream and lymph system. There are several different forms of cancer. Carcinoma is cancer that starts to line or cover of internal organs, in the skin or in tissues. Sarcoma is cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or tissue that supports it. Leukaemia is cancer that occurs in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow which induces the formation of large numbers of irregular blood cells which reaches the bloodstream. Lymphoma is cancer that begins in immune system cells
Carcinogenesis: The mechanism of converting normal cells into cancer cells.
Carcinoma: Cancer that starts in the skin or tissues that line or cover internal organs.
Carcinoma in situ: (KAR-si-NO-ma in SYE-too) Cancer affecting only the cells in which it originated and which has not spread to surrounding tissues.
Carcinosarcoma: A malignant tumour that is a combination of carcinoma (skin and tissue cancer that forms or surrounds the internal organs) and sarcoma (connective tissue cancer such as bone, cartilage and fat).
Carcinosis: A disease in which cancer is common across the body or, in some cases, in a fairly large portion of the body. Often known as carcinomatosis
Cardiotoxicity: A heart-affecting toxicity.
Cardiovascular: Has to do with the blood vessels and back.
Carotenoid: A compound found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables and in leafy vegetables of dark green colour. Carotenoids may reduce the risk that cancer can develop.
Case report: A comprehensive description of a particular patient’s diagnosis, recovery, and follow-up. Case reports often include certain patient demographics (e.g., age, gender, ethnic origin).
Case series: A collection or series of accounts of cases involving patients seeking similar care. Case series reports typically provide extensive details about the patients themselves. This includes demographic details (for example, age, gender, ethnic origin) as well as details on diagnosis, care, treatment response and post-treatment follow-up.
Case-control study: A research that contrasts two groups of people: those with the disease or condition being observed (cases), and a very similar group of people without the disease or condition (controls). Studies are researching the people’s medical and lifestyle backgrounds in each population to learn what causes may be associated with the disease or disorder. Another community, for example, may have been exposed to a certain substance that the other was not. Sometimes called a thesis retrospective.
CAT scan: A collection of detailed pictures of areas within the body, taken from various angles; a computer connected to an x-ray machine produces the photographs. Often called computerized axial tomography (CT scan), or computerized tomography.
Cauterization: (KAW-ter-ih-ZAY-shun) Tissue damage by means of a hot device, electric current, or caustic material.
CBC / Complete blood count: A procedure for measuring the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a blood sample. Often known as blood cells count.
CEA/Carcinoembryonic antigen: A substance that is often present in the blood of people that have other illnesses, certain diseases or who smoke in an elevated volume. This is used as a colorectal cancer marker for tumours.
CEA assay: A laboratory test to measure carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a substance that is often present in the blood of people with certain cancers by an increased volume.
Cell differentiation: The cycle during which young, immature (unspecialized) cells acquire individual characteristics and achieve their mature form and function.
Cell proliferation: An increase in cell count as a consequence of cell growth and cell division.
Cellular adoptive immunotherapy: A medication used to support the cancer-fighting immune system. T cells (a type of white blood cell) of a cancer patient are collected and developed in the laboratory to increase the number of T cells capable of destroying cancer cells in the individual. Such cancer-specific T cells are given back to the patient to support the cancer-fighting immune system.
Central nervous system (CNS): The brain and spinal cord.
Central nervous system primitive neuroectodermal tumour /CNS PNET: A type of cancer that originates from a specific cell type inside the brain or spinal cord.
Cerebellopontine: (SER-uh-BEL-o-PON-teen) It is connected to two brain structures, the cerebellum (located at the lower back of the brain) and the pons (located at the base of the brain before the cerebellum) and the space between them.
Cerebellum: (ser-uh-BEL-um) The brain portion between the cerebrum and the brain stem in the back of the ear. The cerebellum regulates walking and standing balance, among other dynamic motor functions.
Cerebral hemisphere: (seh-REE-bral HEM-is-feer): One half of the cerebrum, the portion of the brain that regulates muscle functions, and also regulates voice, thinking, feelings, reading, writing, and learning. The right hemisphere regulates the body’s left-hand muscles, while the left hemisphere regulates the body’s right-hand muscles.
Cerebrospinal fluid: (seh-REE-broe-SPY-nal) CSF. The fluid that flows through the spinal cord and the brain. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced inside the brain’s ventricles.
Cerebrum :(seh-REE-brum) The largest portion of the brain. It is divided into two hemispheres, called the cerebral hemispheres, or halves. Areas within the muscle control functions of the cerebrum which also regulate speech, feeling, feelings, reading, writing which learning.
Cervix: (SER-viks) The lower, narrow uterine end forming a canal between the uterus and the vagina.
Chemoembolization: A technique that blocks the blood flow to the tumour surgically or manually, and administers anticancer drugs directly into the tumour. It allows for a longer period of time to provide a higher concentration of the drug in contact with the tumour.
Chemoimmunotherapy: Combined with immunotherapy, the chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses multiple medications to destroy or delay the growth of cancer cells; immunotherapy uses therapies to improve or repair the immune system’s ability to combat cancer.
Chemoradiation: Treatment which combines radiation therapy with chemotherapy. Also named chemoradiotherapy.
Chemotherapy (kee-mo-THER-a-pee) Treatment with cytotoxic anticancer drugs (toxic to cells).
Chinese rhubarb: Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale. In certain cultures, the root of this plant was used to treat other medical conditions. It may have antimicrobial and anticancer effects. Often named rhubarb, da-huang, Indian rhubarb, and Turkish rhubarb.
Choroid plexus tumour: A rare form of cancer found inside brain ventricles. For children younger than 2 years it typically occurs.
Chromosome (KRO-mo-some): Part of a cell which contains information about genes. All human cells, except the sperm and eggs, produce 46 chromosomes.
Chronic (KRAHN-ik): A condition or disease that occurs or evolves over a long period of time.
Clinical study: A type of research study that uses volunteers to test new ways to screen, avoid, diagnose, or treat a disease. The court can be held in a clinic or other medical institution. Often called a clinical trial.
Clinical trial: A type of research study that uses volunteers to test new ways to screen, avoid, diagnose, or treat a disease. The court can be held in a clinic or other medical institution. Also called a clinical research or study.
CNS Central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord.
CNS metastasis: Cancer that has spread into the central nervous system from the initial (primary) tumour.
CNS prophylaxis: (pro-fih-LAK-sis) Chemotherapy, or radiation therapy provided as a preventive treatment to the central nervous system ( CNS). This is used to destroy cancer cells that could be in the brain and spinal cord when there has been no cancer found. Often known as CNS sanctuary care.
CNS tumour: A central nervous system tumour, including glioma in the brain stem, craniopharyngioma, medulloblastoma and meningioma.
Cobalt 60: A metal cobalt radioactive substance which is used as a radiation source for cancer treatment.
Coenzyme Q10: A material found in the majority of body tissues, and in many foods. This can be performed in the laboratory, too. The body uses it to produce energy for the cells and as an antioxidant. It is being investigated in cancer care and in helping to reduce side effects caused by certain cancer therapies. Sometimes known as Q10, coq10, vitamin Q10, or ubiquinone.
Colon :(KO-lun) The longest portion of the large intestine, which is a tube-like organ attached at one end to the small intestine and at the other to the anus. The colon absorbs water from the partially digested food and some nutrients and electrolytes. The residual stuff, solid waste called stool, passes up to the rectum through the colon and exits the body through the anus.
Colon cancer :(KO-lun) Cancer that starts in the tissues of the colon.
Colonoscopy :(ko-lun-AHS-ko-pee) The internal inspection of the colon using a small, lighted tube (called a colonoscope) that is inserted into the rectum. When irregular areas are detected, tissue may be removed and microscopically examined to determine if the disease is present.
Colony-stimulating factor: Substance which stimulates blood cell development. Colony-stimulating factors include colony-stimulating factors (also called G-CSF and filgrastim), colony-stimulating factors with granulocyte-macrophage (also known as GM-CSF and sargramostim), and promegapoietin.
Colorectal (ko-lo-REK-tul): Related with the colon or the rectum.
Combination chemotherapy: Treatment with various chemotherapy medications.
Comorbidity: The state of developing two diseases or more at the same time.
Complete blood count (CBC): A procedure for measuring the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a blood sample. Often known as blood cells count.
Complete hysterectomy: Surgery to remove the whole cervix including the whole uterus. Often the cervix is not completely covered. Sometimes known as total hysterectomy.
Complete metastasectomy :(meh-TAS-ta-SEC-tuh-mee) Surgery to remove all metastases (tumours developed from primary tumour-spreading cells).
Complete remission: All symptoms of cancer disappearing in reaction to treatment. It does not necessarily mean the cancer was cured. Called a complete response, too.
Complete response: All symptoms of cancer disappearing in reaction to treatment. It does not necessarily mean the cancer was cured. Also called a complete remission.
Computed tomographic colonography (CTC): A process in which an x-ray machine connected to a device produces a clear image of the colon. Often called CT scan or CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) colon scan.
Computed tomography (tuh-MAH-gra-fee) CT scan: A collection of informative pictures of areas within the body taken from various angles; a computer connected to an x-ray machine produces the photographs. Sometimes called computerized tomography and axial tomography scanning (CAT).
Computerized axial tomography :(com-PYEW-ter-ized AX-ee-al tuh-MAH-gra-fee): A collection of informative pictures of areas within the body taken from various angles; a computer connected to an x-ray machine produces the photographs. Often called CAT scan, CT scan, or Computerized tomography.
Computerized tomography: A collection of informative pictures of areas within the body taken from various angles; a computer connected to an x-ray machine produces the photographs. Often called axial computerized tomography (CAT) scanning and computed tomography (CT scanning).
Concurrent therapy: A treatment which is offered simultaneously with another.
Consecutive case series: A clinical trial that involves all qualifying patients that the researchers found during the registration process. Normally, this type of study lacks a control group.
Consolidation therapy: A type of high-dose chemotherapy often administered as the second step (after induction therapy) of a leukaemia treatment regimen. Sometimes called reward therapy.
Control group: The group that does not undergo the latest medication under evaluation in a clinical trial. Each group is linked to the group undergoing the new medication, in order to see how the new treatment works.
Controlled clinical trial: A clinical research which includes a group for comparisons (controls). The reference group receives a placebo, another drug, or simply no medication.
Controlled study: An experiment or clinical trial which includes a group of comparisons (controls).
Cooperative group: A network of doctors , hospitals, or both developed in order to treat a large number of patients in the same way so that a new procedure could be easily tested. Clinical trials of experimental cancer therapies also involve a great deal more patients than a single doctor or hospital can take care of.
Coq10: A material found in the majority of body tissues, and in many foods. This can be performed in the laboratory, too. The body uses it to produce energy for the cells and as an antioxidant. It is being investigated in cancer care and in helping to reduce side effects caused by certain cancer therapies. Often named coenzyme Q10, Q10, vitamin Q10, and ubiquinone.
Craniotomy (kray-nee-AH-toe-mee): An operation that creates an opeing in the skull.
Cruciferous vegetable: A member of the vegetables group containing kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower , cabbage, sprouts from Brussels, and turnips. Such vegetables contain substances which can provide protection against cancer.
Cryopreservation: The method of cooling and preserving extremely low or freezing temperatures of cells , tissues, or organs to save them for potential use.
Cryosurgery (KRYE-o-SER-juh-ree): Treatment performed with a device that is used for freezing and killing abnormal tissues.
Cryotherapy: Any method which uses cold temperature to treat illness.
CSF: Cerebrospinal fluid. The fluid that flows through the spinal cord and the brain. CSF is produced inside brain ventricles.
CT scan: Computed tomography scan. A collection of informative pictures of areas within the body taken from various angles; a computer connected to an x-ray machine produces the photographs. Sometimes called computerized tomography and axial tomography scanning (CAT).
Cumulative dose: In medicine, over time, the average amount of a drug or radiation administered to a patient; for example, the cumulative radiation dose administered in a series of radiation treatments.
Cytology: Cell analysis using microscopy.
Cytotoxic chemotherapy: Drugs which kill cells, particularly cancer cells.
Cytotoxic T cell: A type of white blood cell that can kill specific cells straight away. T cells may be isolated, grown in the laboratory, from other blood cells and then given to a patient to kill tumour cells. A patient may also be given other cytokines to help shape cytotoxic T cells in the patient’s body.
Da-huang: Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale. For certain cultures, the root of this plant was used to treat other medical conditions. It may have antimicrobial and anticancer effects. Often named rhubarb, Chinese rhubarb, Indian rhubarb, and Turkish rhubarb.
DCIS: Ductal carcinoma in situ. A noninvasive, precancerous disease in which the lining of a breast duct includes irregular cells. The irregular cells did not spread out into other breast tissues beyond the duct. DCIS may in some cases become invasive cancer and spread to other tissues, but at this point, it is not understood how to predict which lesions may become invasive. Sometimes known as intraductal carcinoma.
De novo (dih NO-vo): In reference to cancer, the first occurrence of cancer in the body.
Dendritic cell: A special type of cell presenting an antigen (APC) that stimulates the T lymphocytes.
Dendritic cell vaccine: A vaccine made from cells that present antigens and dendritic antigen (apcs).
Differentiation: In cancer, refers to the maturity (development) of cancer cells in a tumour. Differentiated tumour cells mimic normal cells and appear to develop and spread at a slower pace than undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tumour cells, which lack the usual cell structure and function and grow uncontrollably.
Disease progression: Cancer that continues to grow or spread.
Disease-free survival: Long post-treatment period during which no cancer is detected. Can be stated in respect to an particular patient or research population.
Disease-specific survival: The number of subjects in a sample who have survived a chronic condition for a given period of time. Stated usually as time from diagnosis or treatment. Only deaths from the disease under study are counted when measuring this figure. The measure does not include certain subjects who died from any other cause.
Disseminate (dih-SEM-ih-NATE): Distribute or scatter over a wide area or spectrum.
(DNA) Deoxyribonucleic acid: Within cells, the molecules that hold genetic material and transfer it from one generation to another.
Dose-limiting: Describes the side effects of a drug or other treatment that are sufficiently severe to prohibit an improvement in the medication’s dosage or level.
Dosimetrist (do-SIM-uh-trist): A person who is deciding the appropriate dose of radiation for treatment.
Double-blinded: A clinical trial in which neither the medical staff nor the patient knows which of many potential treatments the person receives.
Double-contrast barium enema: A test in which colon and rectum x-rays are taken after inserting a liquid containing barium into the rectum. Barium is a silver-white metallic substance that shows an x-ray of the colon and rectum and helps to display anomalies. To further strengthen the x-ray, air is pumped into the rectum and colon.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DUK-tal KAR-si-NO-ma in SYE-too) DCIS: A noninvasive, precancerous disease in which the lining of a breast duct includes irregular cells. The irregular cells did not spread out into other breast tissues beyond the duct. For certain cases, for situ ductal carcinoma may become invasive cancer and spread to other tissues, but at this point, it is not understood how to predict which lesions may become invasive. Sometimes known as intraductal carcinoma.
Dukes’ classification: A staging method that defines the severity of colorectal cancer. Stages vary from A (early stage) to D (advantaged stage).
Dysplasia (dis-PLAY-zha): Cells which look anomalous under a microscope but are not cancerous.
Dyspnea: Difficult or labored breathing.
EBV: Epstein-Barr virus. A virus which remains dormant in most people. This has been linked with other cancers including lymphoma of Burkitt, immunoblastic lymphoma and carcinoma of the nasopharyngeal system.
Edema (eh-DEE-ma): Swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues.
Efficacy: Effectiveness. In medicine, the capacity of an action to achieve the desired beneficial result (for example, a prescription or surgery).
Eligibility criteria: Specifications that must be met in clinical trials for an patient to be included in a study. Such criteria help ensure that patients in a trial are identical in terms of different factors such as age, cancer type and stage, general health and prior care. If all participants meet the same eligibility requirements, there is greater trust among researchers that the study outcomes are induced by the method being studied and not by other causes.
Embolization (EM-bo-lih-ZAY-shun): Blocking an artery by a clot or foreign material. Embolization can be performed to block blood flow to a tumour as a treatment.
Embryonal tumour: A mass of fast growing cells that originate in embryonic (fetal) tissue. Embryonic tumours may be benign or malignant and include tumours of Wilms and neuroblastomas. Often named embryoma.
Endocrine therapy: Treatment that replaces, blocks or extracts hormones. Hormones are provided to change the low hormone levels for certain conditions (such as diabetes or menopause). To delay or stop the growth of certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer), synthetic hormones or other medications may be administered to block the natural hormones of the body. Often, surgery is required to remove the hormone-making gland. Sometimes called hormonal therapy or hormone therapy.
Endoscopy (en-DAHS-ko-pee): The use of a small, lighted tube to view the inside of the body (called an endoscope).
Endpoint: During clinical trials, an occurrence or effect that can be objectively assessed to determine whether the intervention being tested is effective. The endpoints of a clinical trial are typically integrated into the aims of the research. Several examples of endpoints include longevity, changes in quality of life, symptom relief and tumour removal.
Enteritis Bowel inflammation, related primarily to small intestine inflammation.
Ependymoma (ep-en-dih-MOE-mah): A type of brain tumour that may occur in the brain or spinal cord ventricles. Often called tumour ependymal.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV): A virus which remains dormant in most people. This has been linked with other cancers including lymphoma of Burkitt, immunoblastic lymphoma and carcinoma of the nasopharyngeal system.
ER Estrogen receptor: Protein found on some cancer cells to which estrogen will bind.
ER+ Estrogen receptor positive: Breast cancer cells have a protein (the receptor molecule) that will bound to estrogen. ER+ breast cancer cells need the hormone estrogen to develop and will typically respond to hormone (antiestrogen) therapy that blocks these receptor sites.
ER- Estrogen receptor negative: Breast cancer cells that do not have a protein (the receptor molecule) that will bound to estrogen. Breast cancer cells that are ER- do not need the hormone estrogen to develop, nor do they normally respond to hormone (antiestrogen) therapy that blocks these receptor sites.
Erbb1: Epidermal growth factor receptor. The protein found on certain cells’ surface and to which the epidermal growth factor binds, inducing division of the cells. It is present on the surface of several types of cancer cells at an abnormally high rate, so these cells can divide excessively in the presence of epidermal growth factor. Sometimes labeled EGFR, or HER1.
Erythema: Redness of the skin.
Erythrocyte (eh-RITH-ro-site): A cell which carries oxygen to all body parts. Previously recognized as red blood cell ( RBC).
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): For a blood sample, the distance red blood cells moves in one hour as they fall to the bottom of a test tube. The rate of sedimentation in inflammation, tuberculosis, cancer, rheumatic diseases, and blood and bone marrow diseases is increased. Often called the sedimentation rate.
Esophagitis: Inflammation of the oesophagus.
Estrogen receptor ER: Protein present on some cancer cells to which estrogen will bind.
Estrogen receptor negative ER-: Breast cancer cells that do not have a protein (the receptor molecule) that will bound to estrogen. Breast cancer cells that are ER- do not need the hormone estrogen to develop, nor do they normally respond to hormone (antioestrogen) therapy that blocks these receptor sites
Estrogen receptor positive ER+: Breast cancer cells that have a protein (the receptor molecule) that will bound to oestrogen. Breast cancer cells that are ER- do not need the hormone estrogen to develop, nor do they normally respond to hormone (antioestrogen) therapy that blocks these receptor sites.
Estrogen receptor tests: A laboratory check to assess if estrogen receptors are present in breast cancer cells. If the cells have receptors for oestrogen, their growth can depend on estrogen. Such knowledge can impact how you treat breast cancer.
Estrogen replacement therapy ERT: Hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, or both) prescribed to postmenopausal women or women who have surgically removed their ovaries. Hormones are given to replace the ovaries not producing estrogen anymore.
Etiology: The cause or origin of a disease.
Evaluable disease: Disease that can not be specifically determined by the tumour size but can be calculated using other measures unique to a particular clinical trial.
Evaluable patients: Patients whose reaction to a diagnosis is measurable because adequate information has been collected.
Ewing’s sarcoma (YOO-ingz sar-KO-ma): A type of cancer of the bone that typically grows in the middle (shaft) of large bones. Previously identified as sarcoma / primitive neuroectdermal tumour (PNET) in Ewing.
Extensive-stage small cell lung cancer: Cancer has spread out into other areas of the body or beyond the lung in which it started.
External radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): Cancer has spread beyond the lung in which it originated or to other areas of the body. Radiation therapy that uses a computer to treat the cancer with high-energy rays. External-beam radiation is sometimes named.
External-beam radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): Radiation therapy which uses a machine to treat the cancer with high-energy rays. Often known as thermal radiation.
Extravasation: A discharge or escape, as of blood, from a vessel into the tissues.
False-negative test result: A test result that suggests a person does not have a particular disease or condition when the person already has the disease or condition.
False-positive test result: A clinical finding that indicates a person has a particular disorder or condition when the person does not necessarily have the disease or condition.
Fecal occult blood test (FEE-kul o-KULT) FOBT: A test to scan for stool blood. (Fecal refers to stool; occult means concealed.)
Fibroblast: A connective cell in the tissue that produces and secretes proteins in collagen.
Fibroid (FYE-broyd): A benign tumour of the smooth muscle, usually in the uterus or gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes called leiomyoma.
Filgrastim: A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates neutrophil development (a form of white blood cell); This is a cytokine belonging to the drug family, called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. The colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is also called granulocyte.
First-line therapy: The first form of care offered for an illness or condition.
Flow cytometry: A method for calculating the number of cells in a sample, the percentage of live cells in a sample, and other cell characteristics such as size , shape, and tumour marker presence on the cell surface. The cells are painted with a light-sensitive dye, put in a fluid, and passed before a laser or other kind of light in a current. The measurements are based on how the dye sensitive to light responds to the light.
Follicular mixed cell lymphoma (fo-LIK-yu-ler mixed cell lim-FO-ma): An indolent (slow-growing) type of non-Hodgkin’s B-cell lymphoma (lymphatic system cancer), in which both small and large cancer cells are present.
Fractionation: Divide the overall radiation therapy dose into several smaller, equivalent doses administered over a several-day period.
G-CSF: Factor which stimulates the colony of granulocytes. A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates neutrophil development (a form of white blood cell); This is a cytokine belonging to the drug family, called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. Previously known as filgrastim.
Gamma irradiation: A type of radiation therapy where gamma radiation is used. Gamma radiation is a form of high-energy radiation but different form x-rays.
Gamma knife: Radiation therapy, in which high-energy rays in a single treatment session are delivered to a tumour from several angles.
Gastrointestinal tract (GAS-tro-in-TES-tih-nul): The stomach and intestines.
Gene: The functional and physical heredity structure transferred from parent to offspring. Genes are bits of DNA, and most genes contain the information needed to produce a specific protein.
Gene therapy: A treatment which changes a gene. Scientists are seeking to enhance the natural capacity of the body to combat the disease in gene therapy trials for cancer, or to make the cancer cells more responsive to certain forms of treatment.
Gene transfer: The insertion of genetic material into a cell.
Genetic markers: DNA modifications that may suggest an increased risk of a particular disease or condition developing.
Germ cell tumour: A type of tumour that starts with sperm or eggs in the cells. Tumours of germ cells may occur almost anywhere in the body, and can be either benign or malignant.
Gleason score (GLEE-sun): A method in which prostate cancer cells are classified based on how they appear under a microscope. Gleason scores range from 2 to 10, which indicate how likely a tumour is to spread. A low Gleason score means that cancer cells are close to normal prostate cells and are less likely to spread; a high Gleason score indicates that cancer cells are somewhat different from average, and are more likely to spread.
Glial cell (GLEE-al): A type of cell which surrounds and keeps the nerve cells in place. The glial cells are also mutually insulating nerve cells.
Glial tumour: A general term for central nervous system tumours that include astrocytomas, ependymal tumours, multiforme glioblastoma, and primitive neuroectodermal tumours.
Glioblastoma (glee-o-blas-TOE-ma): A general term referring to malignant astrocytoma, a type of brain tumour.
Glioblastoma multiforme (glee-o-blas-TOE-ma mul-tih-FOR-may): A type of brain tumour arising from the brain’s glial (supportive) tissue. It grows very fast and has cells, which look very different from normal cells. Sometimes classified as grade IV astrocytoma.
Glioma (glee-O-ma): A brain cancer that starts in glial cells ( cells which surround and support nerve cells).
Gliosarcoma: A type of glioma (cancer of the brain that comes from glial, or supportive, cells).
GM-CSF: Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the development of white blood cells, in particular granulocytes and macrophages, and platelet-precursor cells (in the bone marrow). This is a cytokine belonging to the drug family, called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. Sometimes known as sargramostim.
Grade: The degree of a tumour depends on how abnormal the cancer cells appear under a microscope, and how rapidly the tumour is likely to expand and spread. In each type of cancer, the grading techniques are different.
Grade IV astrocytoma: A type of brain tumour arising from the brain’s glial (supportive) tissue. It grows very fast and has cells which look very different from normal cells. Sometimes called Multiform Glioblastoma.
Grading: A system where cancer cells are categorized in terms of how irregular they look when viewed under a microscope. The aim of a grading system is to provide information about the tumour’s likely growth rate and its propagation propensity. The methods used for tumour grading differ with each cancer type. Grading plays a part in actions related to care.
Granulocyte (GRAN-yoo-lo-site): A white blood cell type which fights bacterial infection. The granulocytes are neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils.
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF): A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates neutrophil development (a form of white blood cell); this is a cytokine belonging to the drug family, called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. Known simply as filgrastim.
Hairy cell leukemia: A rare form of leukaemia, where irregular B-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) arise in the bone marrow, spleen, and peripheral blood. Such cells tend to be riddled with tiny hair-like projections when viewed under a microscope.
Hand-foot syndrome: A disorder characterized by hand or foot pain, swelling, numbness, tingling or redness. This also happens as a side effect of some medications used to treat cancer. Often classified as palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia.
Hedyotis diffusa: A herb used for treating some medical conditions in traditional Chinese medicine. This has been used to improve the immune system and may have effects against cancer.
Hematologic: Referring to blood and blood forming tissues.
Hematologic malignancy: Blood cancer or a bone marrow disease, such as leukaemia or lymphoma. Sometimes known as haematological cancer.
Hematologist (hee-ma-TOL-o-jist): A physician specialized in the management of blood disorders.
Hematopoietic tissue: Tissue which is creating new blood cells.
Hemiperesis: Muscle weakness which affects one side of the body.
Hemoglobin (HE-muh-GLOW-bun): The substance inside red blood cells which binds to oxygen and carries it to the tissues from the lungs.
Haemorrhage: Blood loss from damaged blood vessels in medicine. A haemorrhage may be internal or external, usually causing a great deal of bleeding in a short time.
Hepatectomy: Surgery for removing whole or part of the liver.
Hepatic: Refers to the liver.
Hepatic arterial infusion: A technique for directly administering chemotherapy to the liver. In the groin, catheters are inserted into an artery that leads directly to the liver and medicines are delivered through the catheter.
Hepatic artery: The vital blood vessel that carries blood to the liver.
Hepatoblastoma (HEP-a-toe-blas-TOE-ma): A type of liver tumour occurring in infants and children.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HEP-a-toe-SEL-yoo-ler kar-sin-O-ma): A type of adenocarcinoma-the most common type of tumour in the liver.
Hepatocyte (HEP-a-toe-site): A liver cell.
Hepatoma (hep-a-TOE-ma): A liver tumour.
HER1 Epidermal growth factor receptor: The protein present on certain cells’ surface and to which the epidermal growth factor binds, inducing division of the cells. This is present on the surface of several types of cancer cells at an abnormally high rate, and these cells can divide excessively in the presence of epidermal growth factor. Also recognized as the erbb1 the EGFR.
HER2/neu Human epidermal growth factor receptor: 2. The HER2 / neu protein contributes to the growth of certain cancer cells. Also called c-erbb-2.
Herba scutellaria barbatae: A plant used for treating some medical conditions in traditional Chinese medicine. This may have effects on cancer.
High grade: A term used to describe cells which appear abnormal under a microscope when referring to cancerous and precancerous growths. During low-grade cancerous and precancerous growths, these cells are more likely to expand and spread rapidly than cells.
High-dose chemotherapy: An aggressive drug therapy that kills cancer cells, but also destroys the bone marrow and can cause other serious side effects including sepsis death (infection). High-dose chemotherapy is typically accompanied by transplantation of bone marrow or stem cells to restore the bone marrow.
High-energy photon therapy: A method of radiation therapy that uses photons of high energy (Light energy units). High-energy photons penetrate deep into tissues to enter tumours while supplying less radiation to surface tissues like the scalp.
High-risk cancer: Cancer that is likely to recur (come back), or spread.
Histology: The study of tissues and cells under a microscope.
Hodgkin’s disease: A malignant lymph system disorder characterized by painless enlargement of the lymph nodes , spleen, or other lymph tissue. Certain signs may include fever, weight loss, tiredness, or night sweats. Often named Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A malignant lymph system disorder characterized by painless enlargement of the lymph nodes , spleen, or other lymph tissue. Certain signs may include fever, weight loss, tiredness, or night sweats. Often known as the Hodgkin disease.
Holy thistle: Cnicus benedictus. In some cultures, a plant whose leaves, roots, and flowers were used to treat some medical conditions.
Holy thistle may have anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects. Often termed blessed thistle, St. Benedict’s thistle, cardin, and spotted thistle.
Hormonal therapy: Treatment that replaces, blocks or extracts hormones. Hormones are provided to change the low hormone levels for certain conditions (such as diabetes or menopause). To delay or stop the growth of certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer), synthetic hormones or other medications may be administered to block the natural hormones of the body. Often, surgery is required to remove the hormone-making gland. Often called hormone therapy, treatment with hormones, or therapy with endocrines.
Hormone receptor: A protein on a cell’s surface, bound to a specific hormone. The hormone allows the cell to undergo several changes.
Hormone replacement therapy HRT: Hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, or both) given to women during menopause to replace the hormones that the ovaries no longer contain. Often referred to as menopausal hormone therapy.
Hormone responsive: In oncology, explains cancer that reacts to the treatment with hormones.
Hormone therapy: Treatment that replaces, blocks or extracts hormones. Hormones are provided to change the low hormone levels for certain conditions (such as diabetes or menopause). To delay or stop the growth of certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer), synthetic hormones or other medications may be administered to block the natural hormones of the body. Often, surgery is required to remove the hormone-making gland. Sometimes called hormonal therapy, treatment with hormones, or therapy with endocrines.
Hormone treatment: Treatment that replaces, blocks or extracts hormones. Hormones are provided to change the low hormone levels for certain conditions (such as diabetes or menopause). To delay or stop the growth of certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer), synthetic hormones or other medications may be administered to block the natural hormones of the body. Often, surgery is required to remove the hormone-making gland. Sometimes called hormonal therapy, treatment with hormones, or therapy with endocrines.
Host cell: A cell infected with a virus, or some kind of microorganism.
HRT Hormone replacement therapy: Hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, or both) given to women during menopause to replace the hormones that the ovaries no longer contain. Often referred to as menopausal hormone therapy.
HTLV-1: Human type T-cell leukaemia virus 1. A retrovirus that infects T-cells and can cause leukemia and lymphoma (a form of white blood cell). HTLV-1 is distributed by sharing injection drug syringes or needles, by sexual intercourse, and from mother to child at birth or by breast-feeding.
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 HER2/neu: The protein HER2 / neu is involved in the development of many cancer cells. Often called c-erbb-2.
Human T-cell leukaemia virus type 1: A retrovirus that infects T-cells and can cause leukaemia and lymphoma (a form of white blood cell). HTLV-1 is distributed by sharing injection drug syringes or needles, by sexual intercourse, and from mother to child at birth or by breast-feeding.
Hydrazine sulphate: A material that has been tested as a cancer cure and as a cure associated with advanced cancer for cachexia (body-waste).
Hydrocephalus (hye-dro-SEF-uh-lus): The excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid inside brain ventricles.
Hyperbaric oxygen: Oxygen which is higher at an atmospheric pressure than sea level pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen breathing is being researched to assess if it enhances the effectiveness of the radiation therapy.
Hypercalcemia (hye-per-kal-SEE-mee-a): Abnormally high blood calcium.
Hyperfractionation: A means of administering radiation therapy in lower than normal doses two or three times a day rather than once a day.
Hyperglycemia: Abnormally high blood sugar.
Hypernephroma (HYE-per-neh-FRO-ma): Kidney cancer is the most common form. This starts at the lining of the kidney renal tubules. The blood is absorbed by renal tubules, containing urine. Renal cell cancer is sometimes called cancer.
Hyperplasia (hye-per-PLAY-zha): An irregular rise in cell count within an organ or tissue.
Hyperthermia therapy (hye-per-THER-mee-a): A type of treatment that exposes body tissue to high temperatures to destroy and kill cancer cells or make cancer cells more prone to radiation effects and other anticancer drugs.
Hyperuricemia: A concentration of uric acid (a by-product of metabolism) in the blood; certain anticancer medications side effect.
Hyponatremia: Deficiency of sodium in the blood.
Idiopathic: Describes a disease of unknown cause.
Ileostomy (il-ee-AHS-toe-mee): An opening from the outside of the body into the ileum, a part of the small intestine. An ileostomy offers a new route for waste material to leave the body after removal of part of the intestine.
Ileus: Obstruction of the intestines.
IM: Intramuscular. Within or into muscle.
Immune response: The immune system response against foreign (antigenic) substances.
Immune system (im-YOON): The diverse community of organs and cells that protect the body from diseases and other illnesses.
Immunocompetent: Have the ability to produce normal immune response.
Immunocompromised: Having a weakened immune system caused by certain diseases or treatments.
Immunodeficiency: The decreased ability of the body to fight infection and illness.
Immunotherapy (IM-yoo-no-THER-a-pee): Treatment to enhance or repair the immune system’s capacity to fend off pathogens and other diseases. Known also to reduce the side effects that can be caused by such cancer therapies. Sometimes known as treatment for biological medicine, biotherapy, or modification of the biological response (BRM).
Immunotoxin: An antibody that can bind to a harmful material. Some immunotoxins can bind to, and kill, cancer cells.
Implant radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): A process in which enclosed radioactive material is inserted directly into or near a tumour in needles, seeds, tubes, or catheters. Often called brachytherapy, radiation from inside, or interstitial radiation.
Implantable pump: A small device installed beneath the skin to administer a steady dose of medication.
In situ cancer: Early cancer that has not spread to neighbouring tissue.
Incidence: The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.
Incisional biopsy (in-SIH-zhun-al BY-op-see): A surgical procedure in which the diagnosis requires removing a portion of a lump or suspicious region. Afterwards the tissue is examined under a microscope.
Indian cress Nasturtium officinale: In certain cultures parts of the flowering plant were used to treat other medical conditions. This may have effects on cancer. Sometimes known as watercress.
Indian elm Ulmus fulva or Ulmus rubra: In some cultures the inner bark of this plant was used to treat certain medical problems. It may have effects on antioxidants. Often known as slippery elm, grey elm, red elm, sweet elm.
Indian rhubarb Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale: In some cultures the root of this plant is being used to treat certain medical problems. It may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Known as rhubarb, da-huang, rhubarb Chinese, and rhubarb Turkish.
Indian valerian Valeriana officinalis: A plant whose roots used as a sedative and for the treatment of other medical conditions. It is being observed in cancer patients as a way to improve their sleep. Often named valerian, garden valerian, Pacific valerian, Mexican valerian, garden heliotrope, and Valerianae radix.
Indolent (IN-doe-lint): A type of cancer that grows slowly.
Induction therapy: Treatment intended to be used as a first step in cancer reduction and in the evaluation of drug and other agent reaction. Further treatment is accompanied by induction therapy to try to remove any remaining cancer.
Infiltrating cancer: Cancer that has spread beyond the tissue layer in which it has grown and is spreading into healthy tissues that surround it. Sometimes labelled Invasive Cancer.
Infiltrating ductal carcinoma: The most common form of invasive breast cancer. It begins in the cells that line the breast’s milk ducts, develops outside the ducts, and also spreads out to the lymph nodes.
Inflammation (in-fla-MAY-shun): Redness, swelling , pain and/or a sense of heat in a body area. It is a defensive response to tissue damage, disease or discomfort.
Informed consent: A method in which a person discovers key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate in a study, including possible risks and benefits.
Infusion: A system for bringing fluids into the bloodstream like medications. Often known as intravenous infusion.
Inoperable: Describes a condition that cannot be treated by surgery.
Institutional Review Board (IRB): A group of scientists, physicians, clergy and consumers involved in a clinical trial. IRB’s are designed to protect participants in the study. They review the action plan for every clinical trial, and will approve it. They track to see that the study is well-designed, does not include unnecessary risks, and provides patient protections.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMR): A type of 3-dimensional radiation therapy that displays the size and shape of the tumour using computer-generated images. Thin beams with various intensities of radiation are directed from several angles to the tumour. This form of radiation therapy eliminates tissue damage close to the tumour.
Interferon (in-ter-FEER-on): A booster for the biological response (a material that can enhance the normal response of the body to infections and other diseases). Interferons interfere with cancer cell division, and can delay the growth of tumours. There are several interferon types, among them interferon-alpha, -beta, and -gamma. Typically those substances are formed by the body. They are also designed for treating cancer and other diseases in the laboratory.
Interleukin (in-ter-LOO-kin): A biological response booster (a material that can enhance the normal response of the body to infection and disease) that helps the immune system battle cancer and infection. The body naturally creates certain substances. They are also designed for use in the laboratory to treat cancer and other diseases.
Interstitial radiation therapy: A process in which enclosed radioactive material is inserted directly into or near a tumour in needles, seeds, tubes, or catheters. Often called brachytherapy, radiation from inside, or radiation from implants.
Intrahepatic (in-tra-hep-AT-ik): Within the liver.
Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT).: Radiation treatment aimed directly at a tumour during surgery.
Intraperitoneal chemotherapy (IN-tra-per-ih-toe-NEE-al KEE-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment in which anticancer drugs are inserted through a thin tube directly into the abdominal cavity.
Intrathecal (in-tra-THEE-kal): Describes the fluid-filled area between the thin tissue layers that surround the brain and the spinal cord. Drugs can be pumped into the blood, or a fluid sample can be taken for examination.
Intrathecal chemotherapy (in-tra-THEE-kal KEE-mo-THER-a-pee): Anti-cancer medications injected into the fluid-filled area between the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord.
Intravenous (in-tra-VEE-nus): IV. Within a blood vessel.
Intravenous pyelogram (in-tra-VEE-nus PYE-el-o-gram): IVP. An collection of kidney x-rays, ureters, and bladder. The x-rays are taken following injection of a dye into a blood vessel. The dye is absorbed in the urine, showing the x-rays on the kidneys, ureters and bladder.
Investigational: In clinical trials, refers to a medication (including a new product, dosage, combination, or route of administration) or treatment that has undergone basic laboratory testing and has been approved in humans by regulatory bodies. The regulatory bodies may authorize a drug or procedure for use of one disease or condition, but certain diseases or conditions may be considered investigational. Similarly called experimental.
IORT: Intraoperative radiation therapy. Radiation treatment aimed directly at a tumour during surgery.
IP: Intraperitoneal. Within the peritoneal cavity or the area that contains the abdominal organs.
IRB: A group of scientists, physicians, clergy and consumers involved in a clinical trial. IRB’s are designed to protect participants in the study. They review the action plan for every clinical trial, and will approve it. They track to see that the study is well-designed, does not include unnecessary risks, and provides patient protections.
Irradiation (ih-RAY-dee-AY-shun): The application of x-rays , gamma rays, neutrons, and other forms of high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells and compress tumours. Radiation can come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy) or from radio isotopic materials. Radioisotopes emit radiation and can be positioned either in or near the tumour, or near cancer cells in the field. It is called internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, interstitial radiation, or brachytherapy. Systemic radiation treatment uses a radioactive material that circulates in the body , for example a radiolabelled monoclonal antibody. Irradiation is also known as radiotherapy, radiation therapy and x-ray therapy.
Irreversible toxicity: Side effects caused by toxic substances or something that is harmful to the body and is not going away.
IV Intravenous (in-tra-VEE-nus). Injected into a blood vessel.
Jewett staging system: A prostate cancer staging system, using ABCD. The words “A” and “B” refer to prostate-confined cancer. “C” refers to cancer that has developed from the prostate but has not spread to lymph nodes or other places within the body. “D” refers to cancer which has spread to lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. Also called Whitmore-Jewett.
Karnofsky Performance Status KPS. A common way of assessing cancer patients’ ability to perform ordinary tasks. The rating ratings on Karnofsky range from 0 to 100. A higher score means the patient is better able to carry out daily activities. KPS can be used to assess the prognosis of a patient, to evaluate changes in a patient’s ability to function, or to decide whether a patient should be included in a clinical trial.
KPS Karnofsky Performance Status. A common way of assessing cancer patients’ ability to perform ordinary tasks. The rating ratings on Karnofsky range from 0 to 100. A higher score means the patient is better able to carry out daily activities. KPS can be used to assess the prognosis of a patient, to evaluate changes in a patient’s ability to function, or to decide whether a patient should be included in a clinical trial.
Laparoscopy (lap-a-RAHS-ko-pee): Inserting a small, lighted tube through the abdominal wall (called a laparoscope) to examine the interior of the abdomen and extract tissue samples.
Laparotomy (lap-a-RAH-toe-mee): A surgical incision made in the abdominal wall.
Large cell carcinoma (kar-sin-O-ma): Lung cancer in which the cells are large and appear large and irregular.
Lentinan: A beta-glucan (a kind of polysaccharide) from the Lentinus edodes mushroom (shiitake mushroom). In Japan, it was studied as a cancer treatment.
Leptomeningeal: Having to do with the two innermost tissue layers, which cover the brain and the spinal cord.
Leptomeningeal cancer: A tumour involving the tissues which cover the brain and spinal cord.
Leptomeningeal metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumour to the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.
Lesion (LEE-zhun): An area of tissue which is abnormal. A lesion can be either benign (noncancerous), or cancerous.
Leucopenia: A decrease in the number of white cells in the blood.
Leukapheresis: Blood removal to collect individual blood cells; the remaining blood is returned to the body.
Leukemia (loo-KEE-mee-a): Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and triggers the formation and entrance of large numbers of blood cells into the blood stream.
Leukocyte (LOO-ko-site): A cell composed of white blood. Refers to a cell in the blood that contains no hemoglobin. White blood cells include lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, mast cells and macrophages. Bone marrow makes these cells and helps the body combat infections and other diseases.
Leukopenia (LOO-ko-PEE-nya): A decrease in the number of white cells in the blood.
Lignan: A component of a group of substances that have been found in plants with estrogenic and anticancer effects. In certain cultures lignans were used to treat other medical problems.
Limited-stage small cell lung cancer: Cancer develops in one lung, the tissues surrounding the lungs and even the adjacent lymph nodes.
Linac: A device that produces high-energy radiation for cancer care, using electricity to form a stream of quickly moving subatomic particles. Also called linear accelerator mega-voltage (mev), or linear accelerator.
Linear accelerator: A device that produces high-energy radiation for cancer care, using electricity to form a stream of quickly moving subatomic particles. Also called linear accelerator mega-voltage (MEV), or linear accelerator.
Linseed: The Flax plant seed. It is a rich source of fatty acid, protein, omega-3 and a compound called lignin. This is being researched on prostate cancer prevention. Often called flaxseed.
Liver metastases: Cancer that has spread to the liver from the initial (primary) tumour.
Local cancer: An invasive malignant cancer confined exclusively to the organ from which the cancer originated.
Local therapy: Treatment that affects tumour cells and neighbouring area.
Localized: Limited to the place of origin, with no evidence of spread.
Locally advanced cancer: Cancer which only spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes.
Low grade: A term used to describe cells which look almost normal under a microscope, when referring to cancerous and precancerous growths. These cells are less likely to grow and spread rapidly than cells in cancerous or precancerous high-grade growths.
Lower GI series: Colon and rectum x-rays (lower gastrointestinal tract) which are taken after barium enema is given to a person.
Lumbar puncture: A procedure whereby a needle is inserted in the lower part of the spinal column to collect cerebrospinal fluid or to intrathecally administer anticancer drugs. Often known as spinal tap.
Lymph (limf): The clear fluid that passes through the lymphatic system and contains cells that help cure diseases and other illnesses. Sometimes known as lymphatic fluid.
Lymph gland: A circular mass of lymphatic tissue encircled by a connective tissue capsule. Lymph glands concentrate lymph (lymphatic fluid) and store white blood cells (lymphocytes). They lie behind lymphatic vessels. Often known as the lymph node.
Lymph node (limf node): A circular mass of lymphatic tissue encircled by a connective tissue capsule. Lymph nodes filter lymph (lymphatic fluid) and store white blood cells (lymphocytes). They lie behind lymphatic vessels. Sometimes known as the lymph gland.
Lymphocyte (LIM-fo-site): A type of white cell in the blood. Throughout the immune system, lymphocytes have a variety of functions including the development of antibodies and other substances that combat pathogens and diseases.
Lymphocytic leukemia: A type of cancer, where too many lymphocytes (white blood cells) are made by the bone marrow.
Lymphoma (lim-FO-ma): Cancer which begins in immune system cells. There are two main lymphoma types. One type is Hodgkin’s lymphoma, defined by the presence of a cell type called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is the lymphomas of non-Hodgkin, which comprises a broad, diverse community of immune system cells cancers. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas may be further classified into cancers with an indolent course (slowly progressing) and those with an aggressive course (rapidly progressing). Those subtypes are behaving differently and reacting to treatment.
Lytic: Are linked to lysis. In biology lysis refers to a cell being disintegrated by disrupting its plasma membrane. Lysis can be caused by chemical or physical means (e.g., high-energy sound waves) or an infection with the virus.
Magnetic resonance imaging (mag-NET-ik REZ-o-nans IM-a-jing) MRI. A procedure whereby radio waves and a powerful magnet connected to a computer are used to create detailed images of areas within the body. Such images demonstrate the difference between normal tissue and diseased tissue. MRI images of organs and soft tissue are better than other scanning techniques, such as CT or x-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the head, spine, soft joint tissue and inside of bones.
Maintenance therapy: Treatmnet offered to help preserve function in a primary (original) therapy. Maintenance therapy is often administered to help keep cancer at bay.
Malignant (ma-LIG-nant): Cancerous. Malignant tumours can invade and kill tissue nearby, and spread to other parts of the body.
Malignant ascites: A situation in which the fluid in the abdomen that includes cancer cells collects.
Malignant meningioma: A rare, rapidly developing tumour that develops in the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and provide protection.
Malignant mesothelioma: A uncommon form of cancer in which the sac lining the chest or abdomen contains malignant cells. Exposure to particles from airborne asbestos raises one’s risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.
Mammogram (MAM-o-gram): An x-ray of the breast.
Mammography (mam-OG-ra-fee): The use of x-rays to create a picture of the breast.
Margin: During cancer surgery, the edge or boundary of the tissue removed. When the pathologist finds no cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, the margin is defined as negative or clean, meaning all the cancer has been removed. When the pathologist finds cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, the margin is described as positive or involved, suggesting that not all of the cancer was removed.
Mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): Operation to remove the breast (or as much of the breast tissue as possible).
Matrix metalloproteinase: A component of a group of enzymes that can break down proteins, such as collagen, usually found in tissue spaces between cells (i.e., extracellular protein matrixes). They are called metalloproteinases since these enzymes require zinc or calcium atoms to act properly. Matrix metalloproteinases are involved in cell metastasis of wounds, angiogenesis and tumour.
Measurable disease: A tumour that is precisely measurable in size. This information can be used to judge therapeutic response.
Median: A statistics term. The middle value in a set of measurements.
Median survival time: The interval from either diagnosis or treatment at which half of the patients with a given illness find themselves either alive, or supposed to be. Median survival time in a clinical trial is one way of determining how successful a medication is.
Medulloblastoma (MED-yoo-lo-blas-TOE-ma): A malignant brain tumour that begins in the lower part of the brain and can spread to the spine or other body parts. Medulloblastomas are primitive neuroectodermal (PNET) tumours.
Mega-voltage linear accelerator: MEV linear accelerator. A system that produces high-energy radiation for cancer care, using electricity to form a stream of rapidly moving subatomic parts. Also called linac or linear accelerator.
Meningeal: Refers to the meninges, the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord.
Meningeal metastases: Cancer that has spread to the tissue surrounding the brain, spinal cord or both from the initial (primary) tumour.
Meninges (meh-NIN-jeez): The three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, and secure them.
Meningioma (meh-nin-jee-O-ma): A type of tumour that occurs in the meninges, the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas usually grow slowly.
Mesothelioma: A benign (noncancerous) or malignant ( cancerous) tumour that affects chest or abdominal lining. Asbestos particulate contamination in the air raises the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.
Metastasis (meh-TAS-ta-sis): Cancer’s spread from one part of the body to another. A tumour developed by spreading cells is called a “metastatic tumour” or a “metastasis.” The metastatic tumour includes cells identical to those present in the original (primary) tumour.
Metastasize (meh-TAS-ta-size): To spread from one part of your body to the next. The cells in the metastatic tumour are identical to those in the original (primary) tumour as cancer cells metastasize and form secondary tumours.
Metastatic (MET-uh-STAT-ik): Linked to metastasis. This is the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another.
Metastatic cancer: Cancer that has spread from the place in which it started to other parts of the body.
Micrometastases: Low numbers of cancer cells that have spread from the primary tumour to other areas of the body, and are too small for screening or diagnostic tests to be performed.
Microwave thermotherapy: A type of treatment that exposes body tissue to high temperatures to damage and kill cancer cells or make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation effects and certain anticancer drugs. Often known as microwave therapy.
Milk thistle: A plant that has been used to treat some medical conditions, including stomach, liver and gallbladder disorders. The active thistle seed extract is called silymarin. Its role in the prevention of liver damage caused by certain cancer treatments is being studied. Also known as Silybum marianum.
Miraluma test: A type of test for breast imaging that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of certain women with irregular mammograms or dense breast tissue. The Miraluma test is not used for screening, or a mammogram is used instead. In this study, a woman receives an injection of a small amount of a radioactive material called technetium 99 which is consumed by cancer cells and a gamma camera is used to take pictures of the breasts.
Mistletoe: A semi parasitic plant which grows on certain types of trees. Mistletoe extracts are under investigation as cancer therapies.
Mixed glioma: A brain tumour occurring in more than one cell type including astrocytes, ependymal cells, and oligodendrocytes.
Modality: A treatment process. For example, the modalities of treatment are surgery and chemotherapy.
Modified radical mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): Breast cancer surgery in which the breast, most or all of the lymph nodes under the neck, and the padding over the chest muscles, are removed. The surgeon also often removes some of the muscles in the chest wall.
Monoclonal antibody (MAH-no-KLO-nul AN-tih-BAH-dee): A material developed in the laboratory that can theoretically locate and bind to cancer cells wherever it is in the body. Most monoclonal antibodies are used for cancer detection or therapy; on certain cancer cells, each recognizes a different protein. Monoclonal antibodies can be used on their own or they can be used specifically to transfer medications, toxins or infectious substances to a tumour.
Morbidity: A disease, or disease incidence within a population. Morbidity also refers to the adverse effects that a treatment causes.
Morinda citrifolia: A type of tropical shrub. An extract from the fruit is being used as a cancer cure, and in some cultures extracts from the fruit, leaves, or roots have been used to treat certain conditions. Named noni too.
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging (mag-NET-ik REZ-o-nans IM-a-jing): A procedure whereby radio waves and a powerful magnet connected to a computer are used to create detailed images of areas within the body. Such images demonstrate the difference between normal tissue and diseased tissue. MRI images of organs and soft tissue are better than other scanning techniques, such as CT or x-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the head, spine, soft joint tissue and inside of bones.
Mucositis: A complication of certain cancer therapies, which inflames the lining of the digestive system. Sometimes seen in the mouth, as sores.
Multicenter study: A clinical trial which is performed in more than one medical institution.
Mutate: To change the genetic material within a cell. The changes (mutations) can be harmful, beneficial or have no effect.
Mutation: Any change on a cell’s DNA. During cell division, mutations may be caused by mistake, or they may be caused by exposure to environmental DNA-damaging agents. Mutations may be harmful, beneficial or have no effect. These can be inherited if these occur in cells that produce eggs or sperm; if mutations occur in other cell types, they are not hereditary. Some mutations may cause cancer or other illnesses.
Myalgia (my-AL-juh): Pain in a muscle or muscles.
Myelin (MYE-eh-lin): The fatty substance covering and protecting the nerves.
Myelogram (MY-eh-lo-gram): An x-ray of the spinal cord after the dye is inserted into the area between the spinal cord lining and the brain.
Myeloid (MY-eh-loyd): Having to do with the bone marrow. May also be referred to certain types of hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow. Sometimes used as a synonym for myelogenous.
Myelosuppression: A disease in which the activity of the bone marrow is decreased resulting in fewer red blood cells , white blood cells and platelets. Myelosuppression is a side effect of treatments for some cancers. If there is serious myelosuppression it is called myeloablation.
Natural killer cell: NK cell. A type of white blood cell which contains enzyme granules which can destroy tumour cells or microbial cells. Often named a large granular lymphocyte.
Necrosis (ne-KRO-sis): Refers to the death of living tissues.
Needle biopsy: The removal of tissue or fluid to be examined under a microscope using a needle. Often called fine-needle aspiration.
Neoadjuvant therapy (NEE-o-AD-joo-vant): Treatment given prior to key therapy. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy are examples of neoadjuvant therapy.
Neoplasia (NEE-o-PLAY-zha): Abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth.
Neoplasm: An irregular tissue mass that results from excessive division of the cells. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancerous), or cancerous. Also termed a tumour.
Neoplastic meningitis: A disease in which cancer cells spread through the meninges.
Nephrectomy (neh-FREK-tuh-mee): Surgery for removing a part of a kidney or a kidney. A part of one kidney or tumour is removed in a partial nephrectomy but not a whole kidney. One kidney is removed during a simple nephrectomy. A whole kidney, adjacent adrenal gland and lymph nodes, and other underlying tissue, are removed in a radical nephrectomy. The kidneys are cut out in a bilateral nephrectomy.
Nephrotoxicity: Toxic or destructive to kidney cells.
Neuroblastoma: Cancer that occurs in immature nerve cells, and mostly affects infants and children.
Neurocognitive: It is related to the ability to think and reason. This includes concentrating, remembering things, processing information, learning, speaking and understanding.
Neuroectodermal tumour: A tumour of the central or peripheral nervous system.
Neuropathy: A peripheral nerve function problem (any part of the nervous system except the brain and spinal cord), causing pain , numbness, tingling, swelling, and muscle weakness in different parts of the body. Neuropathies may be caused by physical damage, illness, toxic chemicals, disease (e.g., cancer , diabetes, renal failure, or malnutrition), or medication such as anticancer drugs. Also known as peripheral neuropathy.
Neurotoxicity: Some treatments have a tendency to cause damage to the nervous system.
Neutropenia: An abnormal drop in neutrophil count, a type of white blood cell.
Neutrophil (NOO-tro-fil): A form of white blood cell.
Node-negative: Cancer that has not migrated to the lymph nodes.
Node-positive: Cancer that has migrated to the lymph nodes.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A group of cancers of the lymphoid system, including B-cell lymphoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, diffuse cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, immunoblastic large cell lymphoma, lymphoblastic lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, mycosis fungoides, post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disorder, small non-cleaved cell lymphoma, and T-cell lymphoma.
Non-small cell lung cancer: A group of lung cancers including squamous, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma
Noni: Morinda citrifolia A tropical shrub. An extract from the fruit is being used as a cancer cure, and in some cultures extracts from the fruit, leaves, or roots have been used to treat certain conditions.
Nonrandomized clinical trial: A clinical trial in which specific care classes are not assigned to the patients by chance. Participants may select which group they wish to be in, or researchers may allocate them to the groups.
Objective improvement: An improvement which the health care provider can calculate (for example, a reduction in pain can be assessed by how much pain medication the patient takes).
Objective response: A measurable response.
Occult stage non-small cell lung cancer: Cancer cells can be found in sputum (mucus coughed from the lungs), but by imaging or bronchoscopy no tumour can be found in the lung, or the primary tumour is too small to be examined.
Off-label: Describes the use of a prescription drug to treat a disease or condition for which the drug has not been approved by the regulatory bodies.
Oligoastrocytoma: A rare type of brain tumour consisting of two types of cells, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, which are brain cells that nourish nerve cells and sustain them. Also called mixed glioma.
Oligodendroglial tumour: A rare, slow-growing tumour that starts in oligodendrocytes (brain cells that nourish nerve cells and support them). Also called oligodendroglioma.
Oligodendroglioma (OL-ih-go-den-dro-glee-O-ma): A rare, slow-growing tumour that starts in oligodendrocytes (brain cells that nourish nerve cells and support them). Also known as an oligodendroglial tumour.
Omega-3 fatty acid: A kind of fat involved in immunity.
Ommaya reservoir (o-MY-a REZ-er-vwahr): A tool that is surgically inserted under the scalp and used to supply anticancer drugs to the fluid that covers the brain and the cord.
Oncologist (on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who has expertise in cancer care. Some oncologists specialize in the treatment of a particular type of cancer. A radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
Oncology: The study of cancer.
Oncolysis: A degradation of a tumour, or lysis. It can happen by means of mechanical, chemical, or infectious agents such as viruses. Most normal cells are not lysed by oncolytic viruses.
Open label study: A type of study in which both health care providers and patients are aware of the administered drug or treatment.
Operable: A condition that can be treated by surgery.
Opportunistic infection: An infection caused by an organism that normally does not cause illness. In people with compromised immune systems, occasional infections occur.
Osteosarcoma (AHS-tee-o-sar-KO-ma): A bone cancer that usually affects the large arm or leg bones. It most commonly occurs in young people and affects more males than females. Also called osteogenic sarcoma.
Ototoxicity: To be poisonous or deleteriously affecting the eighth nerve or hearing and balance organs.
Outpatient: A patient who attends a testing or treatment facility without staying overnight.
Overall survival: The percentage of subjects in a sample that have survived for a given time period. Stated usually as time from diagnosis or treatment. Often known as survival rate.
P-value: A statistics term. A measure of probability that a discrepancy between groups occurred by chance during an experiment. For instance, a p-value of .01 (p = .01) means that there is a probability of 1 in 100 that the outcome has occurred by chance. The lower the p-value, the more likely it is that treatment was causing the difference between groups.
P53 gene: A tumour suppressor gene which normally inhibits tumour development. In many cancers this gene is affected.
Palliative care (PAL-ee-yuh-tiv): Treatment provided to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from a severe or life-threatening illness. The purpose of palliative care is to avoid or manage disease symptoms, side effects caused by disease treatment, and psychological, social , and spiritual issues related to the disease or its treatment as early as possible. Often named comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
Palliative therapy (PAL-ee-yuh-tiv): Treatment given to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the cancer and other life-threatening diseases that cause suffering. Along with other cancer treatments, palliative cancer therapies are provided from the time of diagnosis, through recovery, survivorship, recurrent or advanced disease, and at the end of life.
Pancreatic cancer: A condition in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the pancreatic tissues. Also called exocrine cancer.
Paresis: Slight or incomplete paralysis.
Paresthesias: Abnormal sensations of touch, such as burning or prickling, occurring without stimulation from outside.
Partial remission: By reaction to medication, a reduction in the size of a tumour, or the severity of cancer in the body. Sometimes termed partial response.
Partial response: By reaction to medication, a reduction in the size of a tumour, or the severity of cancer in the body.
Pathologist (pa-THOL-o-jist): A doctor who detects illnesses by microscopic examination of cells and tissues.
Pathology report: A pathologist ‘s analysis of the cells and tissues based on microscopic data, and often used to make a disease diagnosis.
Patient advocate: A person who helps a patient communicate with those who influence the wellbeing of the patient including physicians, insurance providers, employers, case managers and lawyers. A patient advocate works to address health-care problems, medical costs, and work discrimination due to a patient’s health condition. Cancer advocacy groups are seeking to raise public awareness of major treatment issues, such as the need for programs to combat treatment, care, and science. These organisations are working to bring about progress which would benefit patients with cancer and their families.
Pediatric: Having to do with children.
Performance status: A test of how well an individual can conduct ordinary tasks and perform everyday activities.
Perfusion: Bathing an organ or tissue with a fluid. In regional perfusion, large doses of anticancer drugs are administered through a blood vessel in a particular area of the body (usually an arm or a leg). Such a procedure is undertaken for the treatment of cancer that has not spread.
Perioperative: About the time of operation; usually lasts from the time the patient goes home to the hospital or doctor’s office for operation.
Peripheral blood: Blood circulating throughout the body.
Peripheral neuropathy: A disease that induces numbness, tingling, burning or weakness in the nervous system. It typically starts in the hands or feet, and may be triggered by other drugs for anticancer.
PET scan: Positron emission tomography scan. A process in which a small amount of radioactive glucose ( sugar) is inserted into a vein and a scanner is used to take accurate, computerized images of places within the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the images can be used to identify cancer cells in the body.
Phase I trial: The first phase in clinical research of a new drug. Such trials test the best way to deliver a new drug (e.g. By mouth, intravenous infusion, or injection) and the appropriate dosage. Typically the dosage is raised a bit at a time to find the maximum dose that does not cause adverse side effects. Since little is understood about the potential risks and benefits of the therapies being studied, Phase I trials typically only involve a limited number of patients who have not been aided with other procedures.
Phase I/II trial: A trial to research safety, level of dosage and outcome to a new treatment.
Phase II trial: A research to check whether a new drug has an anticancer effect (e.g., whether it shrinks a tumour or improves the results of blood tests) and whether it works against a certain cancer.
Phase II/III trial: A trial to research the reaction to a new medication and the treatment effectiveness compared to the current care regimen.
Phase III trial: A research to compare the outcomes of people taking a new therapy with those of people taking standard therapy (for example, which group has better success rates or less side effects). In most cases, studies only pass into phase III after a treatment appears to operate in phases I and II. Phase III trials may include hundreds of individuals.
Phase IV trial: Once a drug has been approved and is being marketed, the assessment of side effects which were not evident in the Phase III study will be tested in a Phase IV study. Phase IV trial requires thousands of people.
Phenylacetate: A drug being studied in the treatment of cancer.
Phenylbutyrate: An anticancer drug which is part of the drug family called differentiating agents.
Pheresis (fer-E-sis): A procedure where blood is collected, part of the blood is taken out such as platelets or white blood cells, and the remainder of the blood is returned to the donor. Often called apheresis.
Philadelphia chromosome: Chromosome 22 an anomaly in which part of chromosome 9 is transferred to it. In chronic myelogenous leukaemia, bone marrow cells that contain the Philadelphia chromosome are often identified.
Phlebitis: Inflammation of a vein.
Phlebotomy: The puncture of a vein with a needle for drawing blood. Sometimes called venipuncture.
Photodynamic therapy (foe-toe-dye-NAM-ik): Drug which becomes active when exposed to light. Those drugs kill cells with cancer.
Photopheresis: A process in which blood is processed outside the body, with ultraviolet light and medications that become active when exposed to light and returned to the body afterwards. It is being investigated as a treatment for certain diseases of the blood and bone marrow, including graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Often named extracorporeal photophoresis.
Pilocytic Made up of cells that look like fibres when looked under a microscope.
Pilot study: The initial study testing a new method or treatment.
Pineoblastoma (PIN-ee-o-blas-TOE-ma): A type of rapidly growing brain tumour that occurs inside or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the centre of the brain.
Placebo-controlled: A clinical study in which the control patients receive a placebo.
Plasma (PLAS-ma): The clear, yellowish, fluid blood component which carries the blood cells. The proteins which make up blood clots are in plasma.
Platelet (PLAYT-let): A type of blood cell that helps prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form. Also called a thrombocyte.
PNET: Primitive neuroectodermal tumour. One of a group of cancers that arises from the same early cell type, and share similar biochemical and genetic characteristics. Some PNETS form in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), and others form outside the brain at locations such as the arms, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET).
Polymerase chain reaction PCR: A laboratory process used to produce several copies of a single DNA sequence.
Pons: Part of the central nervous system located between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain at the base of the brain. They are part of the brainstem.
Port-a-cath: An implanted machine from which blood can be drained, and medications can be injected without regular needle sticks. Also called a port.
Positron emission tomography scan PET scan: A process in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is inserted into a vein and a scanner is used to take accurate, computerized images of places within the body where the glucose is used. Since cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the images can be used to identify cancer cells in the body.
Postmortem: After death. Often used to describe an autopsy.
Postoperative: After surgery.
PR+ Progesterone receptor positive: Breast cancer cells have a protein (receptor molecule) which can bind to progesterone. Breast cancer cells with PR+ allow the production of the hormone progesterone and will typically respond to hormonal therapy.
PR- Progesterone receptor negative: Breast cancer cells not possessing a protein (receptor molecule) to which progesterone is to be attached. Breast cancer cells which are PR- do not need to develop the hormone progesterone and do not normally respond to hormonal therapy.
Preclinical study: Analysis using animals to find out whether it is going to be effective for a medication, procedure or treatment. Preclinical tests are performed before any human research is completed.
Primary tumour: The original tumour.
Primitive neuroectodermal tumour PNET: Part of a group of cancers that arise from the same early cell type, and share similar biochemical and genetic characteristics. Some pnets develop in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), while others develop outside the brain at locations such as the arms, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET).
Progression: Increase in the size of a tumour or spread of cancer within the body.
Progression-free survival: One type of assessment that can be used to help assess if a new procedure is successful in a clinical study or trial. It refers to the chance of a patient staying alive, without the condition getting worse.
Progressive disease: Cancer that is increasing in scope or severity.
Prospective cohort study: A research study that tracks, over time, groups of people who are similar in several respects but vary by some characteristic (for example , female smoking nurses and non-smoking nurses) and compares them for a particular outcome (such as lung cancer).
Prostate (PROS-tate): A gland in the male reproductive system below the bladder. The prostate covers part of the urethra (the canal that empties the bladder) and contains a semen-forming fluid.
Prostate-specific antigen test: A blood test that determines the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Increasing PSA levels may be a sign of prostate cancer.
Prostatectomy (pros-ta-TEK-toe-mee): An operation to remove part or all of the prostate. Radical prostatectomy (or total) is the removal of the entire prostate and some of the tissue surrounding it.
Protocol: A Clinical Trial Action Plan. The plan states what, how and why the research will do. It specifies how many participants will be in it, who is qualified to participate, what agents of the research or other services will be offered to them, what assessments they will undergo and how much and what information will be collected.
Proton beam radiation therapy (…ray-dee-AY-shun…): A type of radiation therapy that uses special machine-generated protons. A proton is a form of high-energy radiation distinct from that of an x-ray.
PSA Prostate-specific antigen: A prostate-produced material that can be detected in the blood of men with prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate infection or inflammation, in an elevated quantity.
Pulmonary: Relating to the lungs.
Quality of life: The overall enjoyment of life. Most clinical trials assess the cancer’s effects on quality of life. These studies assess aspects of the sense of wellbeing of an person and the capacity to perform different tasks.
Radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): Energy produced in particulate matter or electromagnetic waves. Popular radiation sources include radon gas, outer-space cosmic rays and medical x-rays.
Radiation physicist: A person who ensures the radiation machine is supplying the right amount of radiation to the appropriate body location. The physicist works with the radiation oncologist to select the plan and dosage of treatment that would have the highest chance of destroying most cancer cells.
Radiation surgery: A technique in radiation therapy that provides direct radiation to the tumour while protecting the healthy tissue. Often termed radiosurgery and stereotactic external beam irradiation.
Radiation therapy (ray-dee-AY-shun THER-ah-pee): The application of x-rays , gamma rays, neutrons, and other forms of high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells and compress tumours. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or may come from radioactive material inserted in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation treatment uses a radioactive material that circulates in the body, for example a radiolabelled monoclonal antibody. Often called radiotherapy.
Radical mastectomy (RAD-ih-kul mas-TEK-toe-mee): Breast cancer surgery in which all of the lymph nodes under the arm are separated from the breast, chest muscles and. Over several years this has been the most commonly used treatment on breast cancer, but it is seldom used now. Physicians only suggest radical mastectomy when the tumour has spread to the muscles of the throat. Often called radical mastectomy at Halsted.
Radical nephrectomy (RAD-ih-kul neh-FREK-toe-mee): Surgery to extract entire kidney, adrenal gland and lymph nodes nearby, and other surrounding tissue.
Radioactive iodine (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv EYE-uh-dine): A radioactive source of iodine, sometimes used for medical scans, or as a thyroid cancer treatment and some other cancers. In medical scans, the patient takes a small dose of radioactive iodine that absorbs and can be detected by a microscope in thyroid cells and other forms of tumours. The patient takes a huge dose of radioactive iodine to treat thyroid cancer, which destroys the thyroid cells. Radioactive iodine is often used for breast cancer, intraocular (eye) melanoma and carcinoid tumours in internal radiation therapy. Radioactive iodine is provided by infusion or sealed in seeds to destroy cancer cells, which are inserted in or near the tumour.
Radioactive seed: A small, radioactive pellet placed inside or near a tumour. The energy that is given off when the radioactive material decays (breaks down) destroys cancer cells.
Radioimmunotherapy: Treatment with a radioactive agent which, when inserted into the bloodstream, is tied to an antibody that binds to the tumour.
Radiolabeled: Any compound that has been attached with a radioactive substance.
Radiologist (RAY-dee-OL-o-jist): A physician who specializes in the production and analysis of images of areas within the body. The images are created by means of x-rays, sound waves, or other energy forms.
Radiology: To detect or treat illness, using radiation (such as x-rays) or other medical techniques (such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging).
Radionecrosis: Destruction of tissue or ulceration caused by radiation.
Radiopharmaceutical: A medication that contains a radioactive material that is used in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and in bone metastasis pain relief. Sometimes called a drug with radioactive influence.
Radiosurgery: A technique in radiation therapy that provides direct radiation to the tumour while protecting the healthy tissue. Often called radiation surgery and stereotactic external beam irradiation.
Radiotherapy (RAY-dee-o-THER-a-pee): The application of x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other forms of high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells and compress tumours. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or may come from radioactive material inserted in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation treatment uses a radioactive material that circulates in the body, for example a radiolabelled monoclonal antibody.
Randomization: The method by which animal or human subjects are assigned by chance to separate groups that equate specific treatments or other procedures when referring to an experiment or clinical trial. Randomisation provides an equal opportunity to each individual to be allocated to each of the groups.
Randomized clinical trial A study in which participants are distributed by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments; it is not possible for either researchers or participants to choose which group. Using the chance to allocate people to groups means the groups should be identical, and the care they receive can be critically compared. What treatment is safest is not known at the time of the trial.
RBC Red blood cell: Rbcs carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
Rectum The last several inches of the large intestine. The rectum ends at the anus.
Recur To occur again: Recurrence The return of cancer, at the same site as the original tumour or in another location, after the tumour had disappeared.
Recurrent cancer: Cancer that has returned after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected. The cancer may appear at the same site as the original tumour or at another part of the body.
Red blood cell: RBC. A type of cell that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called an erythrocyte.
Red clover: Trifolium pratense. A plant whose flowers are being used to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in relieving the symptoms of menstruation and may have anticancer influence. Often named purple clover and wild clover.
Refractory: A disease or condition that does not respond to treatment.
Refractory cancer: Cancer that has not responded to treatment.
Regimen: A plan that determines the dosage, the schedule, and the duration of treatment.
Regression: A reduction in the size of a tumour or in the extent of cancer in the body.
Relapse: The return of symptoms of cancer after a period of improvement.
Relative survival rate: In cancer, the rate is determined by adjusting the rate of survival to exclude all causes of death except for cancer. The prevalence is calculated at different time periods such as 2 years after diagnosis, and 5 years after.
Remission: A reduction in cancer signs and symptoms or their absence. Many, but not yet, cancer signs and symptoms have vanished at partial remission. All signs and symptoms of cancer vanishes in full remission while cancer may still be present in the body.
Remote brachytherapy: A method of treatment of internal radiation, in which the radioactive source between treatments is removed. Often termed high-dose-rate remote brachytherapy or high-dose-rate remote radiation therapy.
Resectable (ree-SEK-tuh-bull): Part or all of an organ that is removable with operation.
Resected: Surgical removal of part or all of an organ.
Resection (ree-SEK-shun): Removal of tissue or part or all of an organ by operation.
Residual disease: Cancer cells which remain after attempts were made to remove the cancer.
Resistance: Failure of a tumour to shrink after treatment.
Response: The shrinking of a tumour with cancer treatment.
Response rate: The percentage of patients whose cancer reduces or disappears after treatment.
Retinoblastoma: An eye cancer that occurs more commonly in children under 5 years. It occurs in inherited and non-hereditary forms.
Retinoid: Vitamin A or a vitamin A-like compound.
Retinol: Vitamin A.
Retrospective study: A research that contrasts two groups of people: those with the disease or condition being observed (cases), and a very similar group of people without the disease or condition (controls). Scientists are studying the people’s medical and lifestyle history in each group to learn what causes may be associated with the disease or condition. Another group, for example, may have been exposed to a certain substance that the other was not. Also called a case-control study.
Rhabdoid tumour: A malignant tumour either of the central or kidney nervous system (CNS). CNS malignant rhabdoid tumours also have chromosome abnormality 22. Typically, these tumours occur in children under 2 years of age.
Rhabdomyosarcoma: A malignant tumour of muscle.
Rush: A strong contractile wave of movement that travels extremely long distances down the small intestines; it is caused by severe irritation or excessive distension.
Sarcoma: A cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.
Scan: A view of the corporeal structures. Scans commonly used in disease diagnosis, planning , and monitoring include liver scans, bone scans, and computed tomography ( CT) scans, or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans, and MRI scans.
Schedule: The step-by – step schedule on how patients are to be treated in clinical trials; on example, what medications are to be given, the order and process by which they are to be given, the period of time each infusion requires, the amount of time between courses, and the overall duration of care.
Second-line therapy: Treatment that is given when initial treatment or first-line therapy doesn’t work, or stops working.
Second-look surgery: Operation performed after primary treatment to determine whether tumour cells remain.
Secondary cancer: A term used to describe either a new primary cancer or cancer that has spread to other areas of the body from the point at which it began.
Sedimentation rate: In a blood sample, the distance red blood cells falls in about one hour, to the bottom of a test tube. The rate of sedimentation in inflammation, tuberculosis, cancer, rheumatic diseases, and blood and bone marrow diseases is increased. Also called erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
Selection bias: An mistake in selecting the individuals or groups to participate in a sample. Ideally, the participants of a sample would be very similar to each other and to the wider population they come from (for example, all people with the same illness or condition). Where there are major variations, the study findings can not be true.
Sepsis (SEP-sis): The presence of bacteria in the blood or tissues.
SGOT: Serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase. An enzyme found in the liver, heart, and tissues. A high level of SGOT released into the blood may be a sign of heart or liver damage, cancer or other illnesses. Sometimes called aspartate transaminase.
Shunt: A surgeon inserts or creates a shunt from one part of the body to another to transfer blood or other fluid. A surgeon, for example, can implant a tube that drains cerebrospinal fluid from the brain to the abdomen. A surgeon can also alter natural blood flow by linking together two blood vessels.
Simulation: A process used to plan radiation therapy so that the target area is precisely located and marked.
Somnolence: Sleepiness or unnatural drowsiness.
Spinal tap: A procedure in which a needle is inserted in the lower part of the spinal column to extract cerebrospinal fluid or to administer medicine. Often named a lumbar puncture.
Spleen: An organ which is a part of the lymph system. The spleen creates lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and kills old cells.
Stable disease: Cancer that is neither decreasing nor increasing in size or severity.
Stage: The magnitude of a cancer within the body. The stage explains how far it has spread from the original location to other areas of the body, whether the cancer has spread.
Staging (STAY-jing): Perform tests and tests to learn the extent of cancer in the body, especially if the disease has spread from the original site to other areas of the body. Knowing the stage of the illness is crucial to prepare the best treatment plan.
Standard of care: The treatment that experts agree to be best, accepted, and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide patients with the standard of care.
Standard therapy: The treatment that experts agree to be best, accepted, and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide patients with the standard of care.
Stem cell transplantation: A mechanism to replace immature cells forming blood that have been killed by cancer treatment. During care the stem cells are returned to the person to help the bone marrow recover and continue to produce healthy blood cells.
Stent: A tool placed in the body to provide protection or hold the structure open (such as a blood vessel or gastrointestinal tract).
Stereotactic biopsy (STAIR-ee-o-TAK-tik BY-op-see): A biopsy technique that uses a computer and a 3D scanning tool to locate a tumour site and direct tissue removal for microscope inspection.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy: A method in radiation therapy that uses special equipment to position the patient and administer a large dose of radiation specifically to a tumour and not to normal tissue.
Stereotactic external-beam radiation: A method of radiation therapy for brain tumours using a rigid head brace attached to the skull. The frame is used to help specifically target the tumours with high-dose radiation beams and not normal brain tissue. There is no surgery involved in that operation. Often called stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotaxic radiosurgery.
Stereotactic radiation therapy: A method of radiation therapy for brain tumours using a rigid head brace attached to the skull. The frame is used to help specifically target the tumours with high-dose radiation beams and not normal brain tissue. There is no surgery involved in that operation. Often called stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotaxic radiosurgery
Stereotactic radiosurgery: A method of radiation therapy for brain tumours using a rigid head brace attached to the skull. The frame is used to help specifically target the tumours with high-dose radiation beams and not normal brain tissue. There is no surgery involved in that operation. Often called stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotaxic radiosurgery
Stomatitis: Inflammation or irritation of the mucous membranes inside the mouth.
Subjective improvement: An change which the patient reported, but which cannot be assessed by the health care provider (for example, “I feel better”).
Survival rate: The percentage of people who are alive following diagnosis for a given period of time in a research or care population. It is generally described as lasting for 5 years.
Syncope: A temporary loss of consciousness on account of widespread cerebral ischemia; a faint or swoon.
Systemic (sis-TEM-ik): Affecting the entire body.
Systemic chemotherapy: Treatment by anticancer medications that pass through the bloodstream, entering cells all over the body and affecting them.
Systemic disease: Disease that affects the whole body.
Thrombocyte (THROM-bo-site): A blood cell which helps prevent bleeding by preventing the formation of blood clots. A platelet was also named.
Thrombocytopenia, thrombopenia: A reduction in the amount of platelets in the blood which can lead to quick swelling and heavy bleeding in mucous membranes and other tissues.
Thrombosis (throm-BOW-sis): The formation or development of a clot inside a blood vessel.
Time to progression: A measure of time following diagnosis (or treatment) of a disease before it starts to get worse.
TNM staging system: A method to explain how much cancer there is in a patient’s body. T describes the size of the tumour and whether it has infected surrounding tissue, N describes those involving lymph nodes and M describes metastasis (cancer spread from one part of the body to another).
Total parenteral nutrition TPN: Intravenous feeding providing necessary nutrients, when a person is unable to eat normally.
Total-body irradiation: Radiation therapy to the entire body.
Toxic: Referred to poison or something harmful to the body.
Transformation: The change that a normal cell undergoes as it becomes malignant.
Transfusion Infusion of blood or entire blood components into the blood stream: The blood may be donated by another person, or the person may have taken it earlier and stored it until needed.
Transrectal ultrasound (TRANS-REK-tal) TRUS: A process whereby a probe is inserted into the rectum and sends out high-energy sound waves. The sound waves bounce off the inner tissues or organs and echo. The echos form a body tissue representation called a sonogram. TRUS is used to scan for irregularities in the rectum and associated structures, including the prostate.
Transurethral biopsy: A procedure in which a tissue sample is taken from the prostate for microscopic analysis. A thin, lighted tube is inserted into the prostate through the urethra and a tiny piece of tissue is extracted with a cutting string.
Transurethral needle ablation: A technique used for diagnosis of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). A tiny probe is inserted into the prostate via the urethra, which gives off low-level radiofrequency energy. The probe’s energy heats up and kills the damaged prostate tissue without destroying the urethra itself. Often called radiofrequency ablation in transurethral form.
Transurethral resection Surgery performed with a special instrument inserted through the urethra.
Transurethral resection of the prostate Surgical procedure to remove tissue from the prostate using an instrument inserted through the urethra.
Treatment field: The place on the body where the radiation beam is aimed.
Tumour: A mass of excess tissue that results from abnormal cell division.
Tumour board review: An approach to care planning in which a variety of doctors who are specialists in various specialties (disciplines) review and discuss a patient’s medical condition and care options. A tumour board analysis may include a medical oncologist (who provides drug treatment for cancer), a surgical oncologist (who provides surgical treatment for cancer), and a radiation oncologist (who provides radiation treatment for cancer) in cancer care.
Tumour burden: Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumour, or the amount of cancer in the body.
Tumour debulking: Removing as much of the tumour as possible, by surgery
Tumour load: Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumour, or the amount of cancer in the body.
Tumour marker: A material that is present often in the blood, other body fluids or tissues. High biomarker levels can mean that there is a certain form of cancer in the body. Examples of biomarkers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (cancers of the lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract, and PSA (prostate cancer). Often called biomarker.
Tumour necrosis factor (TOO-mer ne-KRO-sis): A type of modifier of the biological response (a substance which can enhance the natural response of the body to the disease). They described three forms of tumour necrosis factor: alpha, beta , and gamma. Tumour necrosis factor appears to play a role in cancer cell breakdown.
Tumour suppressor gene: Genes in the body that can suppress or block the development of cancer.
Tumour-specific antigen: A protein or other molecule unique to, or much more common in, cancer cells. Normally located in the plasma (outer) membrane, these molecules are thought to be potential targets for immunotherapy or other forms of anticancer therapy.
Uncontrolled study: A clinical study that lacks a comparison (i.e., a control) group.
Undifferentiated: A term used to identify tissues or cells that have no specific structures or functions. Undifferentiated cancer cells can expand and spread rapidly.
Unresectable: Unable to be removed with surgery.
Unresectable gallbladder cancer: Cancer that has spread to the tissues around the gallbladder (such as the liver, stomach, pancreas, intestine, or lymph nodes in the area) and cannot be surgically removed.
Vaccine therapy: A type of treatment using a substance or group of substances to activate the immune system to kill a tumour or infectious micro-organisms like bacteria or viruses.
Valerian: Valeriana officinalis. A plant with roots used as a sedative and for the treatment of other medical conditions. This is being studied in cancer patients as a way to improve their sleep. Also called garden valerian, Indian valerian, Pacific valerian, Mexican valerian, garden heliotrope, and Valerianae radix.
WBC: White blood cell. Refers to a cell in the blood that contains no hemoglobin. White blood cells include lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, mast cells and macrophages. Bone marrow makes these cells and helps the body combat infections and other diseases.
Wild clover: Trifolium pratense. A plant whose flowers are used to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in relieving the symptoms of menstruation and may have anticancer influence. Also called red clover and purple clover.
Wilms’ tumour: A kidney cancer that usually occurs in children younger than 5 years old.
Wobe-Mugos E: A mixture of an extract of the calf thymus gland and enzymes (proteins that stimulate chemical reactions in the body) from the papaya plant, cow pancreas, and pig pancreas. Throughout Europe it was used as a therapy for a number of diseases and infections with herpes viruses.
X-ray therapy: The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours.
Xenograft: The cells of one species transplanted to another species.
Yttrium (IH-tree-um): A rare elemental metal. A radioactive form of yttrium is used in radiation therapy and some types of immunotherapy.