Area of the body below the ribs, lungs, and above the hip bones. Contains many of the body organs: Stomach, small and large bowel, pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys.

Abdominal Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy given to anywhere in the abdomen. This is the area below the ribs and above the hip bones. See Abdomen.

Abdominal Side Effects

Unwanted effects of treatment to the abdomen. See Abdomen.

Abdominal Ultrasound

Body scan of the area below the waist, using sound waves to make up a picture of the organs inside the body.

Acoustic Neuroma
(Responsible For Hearing)

Slow growing, benign Brain Tumor. Grows on the Auditory Nerve. See Benign, Schwannoma.

Active Drug

Working drug. Term used in drug trials to distinguish between drug and Placebo. See Clinical Trials, Placebo.


A cancer of Glandular Tissue. A Glandular tissue is a tissue made up of cells that secrete (make and give off) something. For example, an Adenocarcinoma of the lung, is a cancer of the Glandular Cells Lining the airways that secrete Mucus. See Mucus, Non Small Cell Lung Cancer.

(Nasopharyngeal Tonsils)

Lymph tissue at the back of the nose.

Adjuvant Tamoxifen

Tamoxifen that is being taken after surgery, to try to prevent a cancer from coming back. See Tamoxifen.

Adjuvant Therapy

A treatment given in addition to the main treatment (for example, Chemotherapy, as well as surgery) to try to prevent a cancer from coming back.

Adrenal Glands
(Adrenal Gland)

Two small glands, one on top of each kidney. They are in two parts: The Cortex which makes steroids and small amounts of the sex hormones; and the Medulla which makes adrenaline. See Steroids.


An Anti-Cancer drug.

Advanced Breast Cancer

See Advanced Cancer.

Advanced Cancer

Term usually used, to mean cancer, that has spread from where it started to another part of the body.

Affected Lymph Nodes

Usually means Lymph Nodes that have cancer cells in them.


Mold found on peanuts that can cause Primary Liver Cancer.

After Loading

Used about Internal Radiotherapy. The tubes which will hold the radioactive source, are put in under anesthetic. The radioactive source is put in after you are back on the ward, or "after loaded". See Radioactive Source, Radiotherapy.


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Condition resulting from infection with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). People with AIDS are slightly more likely to get Lymphoma than the general population.


The pipes that make up the Respiratory System. See Bronchi, Bronchioles, Secondary Bronchi, Trachea.


Substance found in the bloodstream of some men with Testicular Cancer. The level rises when the cancer is growing and falls when the cancer is shrinking. So a blood test can measure the progress of the disease and success of treatment.

Allogeneic Transplant
(Donor Stem Cell Transplants, Donor Transplant)

Means a Bone Marrow Transplant using Bone Marrow from a donor. The donor must be tested to check that their marrow is as close a match as possible to the person receiving it, so that the marrow is less likely to be rejected. Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplants are just beginning to be done experimentally. See Bone Marrow Transplant, Stem Cell Transplant.


Hair loss.

(Air Sacs)

Little bags at the end of the airways in the lungs. This is where oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream and the waste gas carbon dioxide filters back to be breathed out.


Drug used to treat Breast Cancer which stops the Adrenal Gland from making sex hormones. Has to be taken with Steroid tablets as it also stops steroid production. See Adrenal Glands, Steroids.


Detailed look at something.


Re-connecting or joining together. In bowel surgery, part of the bowel can be cut out and the two cut ends joined together or anastomosed.


Drug used to treat Breast Cancer. Hormone treatment which stops Estrogen being produced. See also Aromatase Inhibitors.


Being short of Red Blood Cells, and so having a Low Blood Hemoglobin. Measured by blood test. Treated with iron tablets or blood transfusion.

(General Anesthetic, Local Anesthetic)

Drug which stops feeling, especially pain. A General Anesthetic will also make you unconscious. A Local Anesthetic just stops feeling in part of the body.


Growth of blood vessels. Growing cancers can attract new blood vessels to grow towards them so that they can get their own blood supply.

Angiogenic Factors

Chemicals given off by cells that cause new blood vessels to grow. See Angiogenesis.

Anti Androgen
(Anti Androgens)

Androgen, is another word for male sex hormone. An Anti Androgen, is a drug that stops male sex hormones from being produced or stops them working. See Cyproterone, Flutamide, Bicalutamide.

Antiangiogenic Drugs

Drugs that can stop cancers from forming their own blood supply. There is research going on into this that will hopefully form the basis of a new type of cancer treatment.


Drugs which fight Bacterial Infections.


Blood Proteins, that are produced by White Blood Cells when the body recognizes that something foreign (unfamiliar) has got in; for example, Infecting Bacteria. The antibodies attach themselves to the invading bacteria or viruses, which are then destroyed. See Immune Response, White Blood Cells.

Anti Diarrhea Drugs
(Anti Diarrhea Tablets)

Drugs to stop diarrhea. See Diarrhea.

Anti Emetic
(Anti Emetics, Anti Emetic Drug)

Anti sickness drug.


Something foreign to the body that stimulates the white blood cells to make antibodies. See Antibodies, Immune System, Immune Response.


Opening to the outside of the body, at the end of the bowel and rectum.


'Programmed Cell Death'. Normal cells automatically die off once they have reproduced about 60 times.


Holder for Radioactive Source, which is put inside the Vagina during Internal Radiotherapy for cancer of the Cervix or Vagina. See Radioactive Source.


See Anastrazole.

Aromatase Inhibitors

A group of drugs used to treat Breast Cancer. Works by affecting the way the Adrenal Glands work, and stopping them from producing Estrogen (a female sex Hormone) in Post Menopausal women. See Adrenal Glands, Hormones, Estrogen, Post Menopausal.


Inflammation (swelling) of the joints.

Artificial Progesterone
(A Female Sex Hormone)

Man-made Progesterone.

Artificial Saliva

Spray or lozenges used to moisten the mouth in people who don't make enough saliva naturally. See Saliva.


A fibrous material made from Silica. Very heat resistant, so was often used in the past in buildings for insulation. Now banned because it is a health risk. Exposure to asbestos, can cause a lung disease called, Asbestosis, and also a type of cancer that affects the lungs called Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma can occur up to 40 years after the exposure to asbestos.


Fluid collected in the abdomen. Can be a sign of cancer affecting the liver or ovaries. See Abdomen.


Pain killer and anti-inflammatory drug. Also used as a type of blood thinner. Should not be taken regularly without the advice of a doctor, or on an empty stomach.


Type of Brain Tumor. Most common type of Glioma. Develops from cells called Astrocytes. Grade IV Astrocytoma, also called Glioblastoma Multiforme. See Glioblastoma, Glioma.


A Clinical Trial, to find out for how long, women who have had surgery for early Breast Cancer, should take Tamoxifen. See Clinical Trial, Tamoxifen.

Auto immune Diseases

A disease caused when the body mistakenly identifies something that is natural to it as foreign. For example, Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease caused by an antibody reaction to the body's own joints. See Antibodies, Immune Response.

Autologous Transplant

Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplant using the person's own marrow or stem cells. Their cancer is put into remission and some of their own Marrow or Stem Cells taken out. This is frozen and stored while the person has high dose Chemotherapy Treatment (and sometimes Radiotherapy). The Marrow or Stem Cells are then given back. See Bone Marrow Transplant, High Dose Chemotherapy, Stem Cell Transplant.



Axillary Clearance

Operation to remove all the Lymph Glands from under the arm. See Lymph Glands.

Axillary Dissection

Operation to remove some, or all, of the Lymph Glands from under the arm. See Lymph Glands

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