B

BCG
(Tuberculosis Vaccine, TB)


Injection to prevent Tuberculosis (TB). You should not have this vaccination if you are having Chemotherapy, as it is 'live'. See Chemotherapy, Vaccination.

B Cell Lymphoma

A cancer of the Lymphatic System, where the cells that have become cancerous are a type of White Blood Cell called, B Lymphocytes. See B
Lymphocytes, Lymphatic System.

B Lymphocytes
(B Cells)


Type of White Blood Cell. Lymphocytes make up a quarter to a third of the White Blood Cells. Then, there are two types of Lymphocytes, B and T Cells. The B Lymphocytes make Antibodies, in response to disease or anything the body recognizes as foreign. The Antibody Response is part of the Immune Response. A cancer of the B Lymphocytes, is called a, B Cell Lymphoma. See Antibodies, Immune Response, Lymphatic System, T Lymphocytes, White Blood Cells.

B Symptoms

A group of symptoms which doctors use to stage Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The B symptoms are unexplained high temperatures, heavy sweating at night, weight loss (losing at least 10% of total body weight). See Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Bacteria

Single Cell Micro-organisms. Some of these cause diseases if they get into the body through a cut, the digestive system, respiratory system. etc. Most bacterial infections can be cured by antibiotics, but there are some bacteria which are becoming resistant.

Barium
(Barium Enema, Barium Meal)


Barium is actually a soft, white metal. Barium Sulfate is used for X rays of the Digestive System. It is given as a white liquid drink (Barium Meal) or into the back passage (Barium Enema). X rays cannot go through it, so when the X ray pictures are taken, the outline of the stomach or bowel shows up on the X ray. See X ray.

Barrier Methods

Types of contraception which put a barrier between the penis and cervix - for example, Condom (Sheath) or Cap.

Basement Membrane

The layer of tissue that cells 'sit' on. If cancer cells from a tumor have broken through the 'basement membrane', then the cancer can spread and is called 'invasive'. See Cell, Carcinoma in Situ.

Batimastat

A research drug that may be 'antiangiogenic' i.e. stop blood vessels from supplying a growing cancer. See Angiogenesis, Antiangiogenic drugs

Becker's Implant

Type of breast implant which is inflated with Sterile salt water, to the same size as the natural breast.

Benign Breast Lumps

Lumps in the breast which are not cancerous.

Benign Cyst

Fluid filled breast lump which is not cancerous.

Benign Polyps

Little growths which are not cancerous. Polyps can be found on the skin or inside the bowel.

Benign Pro Static Hyperplasia

Commonly called Enlarged Prostate. Literally means non cancerous growth of the Cells of the Prostate Gland.

Benign

Not cancerous. A Benign Tumor is a harmless growth, which may or may not be operated on.

Best Current Treatment

The best treatment being used at the moment for a particular cancer or situation.

Beta Carotene

Orange substance found in some fruit and vegetables, for example, carrots. Converted into vitamin A in the body. See Vitamin A.

Bias

To prefer one thing to another and so look at it more favorably. It is possible to do this without knowing it, which is why some Trials are designed so that no one knows which patient is having which treatment. See Clinical Trials.

Bicalutamide

Anti Androgen Tablet (also called Casodex). Stops the testicles from producing Testosterone (the male sex hormone).

Bilobectomy

Operation to remove Two lobes of the lung.

Biological Response Modifiers

Another name for, Immunotherapy. See Immunotherapy.

Biopsy
(Biopsies)


A piece of body tissue taken so that the cells can be looked at under a microscope.

Biphosphonates

Group of drugs used to treat high levels of Calcium in the blood. See also Hypercalcaemia.

Bladder

Stretchy bag that urine collects in before it is passed out of the body.

Bladder Irrigation

Flushing out the bladder after a prostate or bladder operation. A Urinary Catheter is put into the bladder via the penis. The catheter is connected to a bag of sterile water or salt solution which flushes out any clots of blood after surgery.

Blind Trial

Clinical Trial where the patient does not know whether they are having the treatment that is being tested, or a Fake Inactive Treatment (Placebo) that appears to be the same. See Clinical Trial, Placebo.

Blocked Line

Drip or Central Line that is blocked. Can sometimes be unblocked, or may have to be Resited (put in again). See Central Line.

Blood Cells
(Blood Cell)


There are three types of blood cells: White Cells which fight infection; Red Cells which carry oxygen around the body; and Platelets which help the blood to clot. See Platelets, Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells.

Blood Cholesterol

Level of a fat called, Cholesterol in the blood. People with high levels of Cholesterol are thought more likely to have heart attacks.

Blood Clot

See Clot.

Blood Count
(Blood Cell Count)


Blood test to count how many of each type of blood cells there are in the blood. See Blood Cells.

Blood Level
(Blood Levels)


How much there is of something in the blood.

Blood Pressure

The pressure in the Circulatory System. Blood pressure is an Indicator of general health. It is measured with two numbers, one on top of the other. The number on the top is the pressure measured, when, the heart is pumping the blood through; the number underneath is. the pressure between heart beats, when the heart is at rest. In other words, blood pressure is measured as the maximum pressure over the minimum pressure.

Blood Stream

The circulating blood in the body.

Blood Sugar

How much sugar is in the blood. If the blood sugar becomes too high, this could indicate diabetes. The normal range is between 2.5 - 4.7 mmol/l although this can be higher after a meal.

Blood Tests
(Blood Test)


Tests on samples of blood to check general health or to look for specific substances (for example, PSA, HCG and APP levels). See Hormones, Marker.

Blood Transfusion

Giving extra blood via a drip into a vein. Can be own blood collected earlier and stored, or more usually blood donated by someone else.

Blood Vessels
(Artery, Arteries, Blood Vessel, Capillary, Capillaries, Vein(s))


Tubes which carry blood around the body. There are three types of blood vessels. The largest are, Arteries, which carry blood containing oxygen around the body. Veins carry blood back to the heart to pick up more oxygen. The smallest blood vessels are capillaries which join Arteries to veins. The capillaries carry the blood and its oxygen to all the tissues of the body.

Body Image

How we imagine ourselves physically. After surgery that changes body appearance, it can be sometime before we get used to seeing ourselves differently.

Bone Density

Thickness of bone.

Bone Marrow

Spongy substance in the center of the bones where Red and White Blood Cells and Platelets are made.

Bone Marrow Harvest

Collecting Bone Marrow for Transplanting later on. The harvest is done under General Anesthetic and, usually means an overnight stay in hospital. Up to six punctures are made over the hip bones (and less usually, the chest bone). The Marrow is sucked out of the puncture sites into a syringe. For adults, about a liter of Bone Marrow is taken. This is then frozen until it is needed for transplant. The after effects, are bruising at the puncture sites for a few days. Paracetamol is usually given for this. See Bone Marrow Transplant, General Anesthetic, Paracetamol.

Bone Marrow Sample
(Bone Marrow Biopsy, Bone Marrow Test, Sample of Bone Marrow)


Taking a small amount of Bone Marrow to see if there are any Cancer Cells in it. A Local Anesthetic is put into the skin over the hip bone. A needle is put into the hip and a small amount of Bone Marrow sucked out. This is examined under a microscope. The test takes only a few minutes, but can be uncomfortable. Some people prefer to have a Sedative as well as the Local Anesthetic. See Biopsy, Bone Marrow, Local Anesthetic, Sedative.

Bone Marrow Transplant
(BMT, Bone Marrow Transplants)


Treatment for cancer (and some other diseases). Very high doses of Chemotherapy are given to kill cancer. This also kills the Bone Marrow, so a Transfusion (Drip) containing Bone Marrow needs to be given. This can be the patient's own Marrow, which has been frozen and stored (Autologous Transplant) or someone else's that matches the patient's (Allogeneic Transplant). See Allogeneic Transplant, Autologous Transplant, Drip.

Bone Metastases
(Bone Secondaries)


Cancer that has spread to the bones from a cancer somewhere else in the body.

Bone Scan

Scan which looks for damage to bone. A small dose of a Radioactive Substance is injected into the bloodstream, gets into the bones, and is then photographed with a special camera, called, A Gamma Camera. Damaged bone takes up more radioactivity and so gives off more radiation. This shows up as a 'hot spot' on the scan.

Booster

Extra dose of Radiotherapy given to part of the Radiotherapy field at the end of a course of treatment. See Radiotherapy Field.

Bowel Cancer

Cancer of the Colon or Rectum. Also called Colorectal Cancer. See Colon, Colorectal Cancer, Rectum.

Bowel Habits

How often you normally open your bowels (go to the toilet).

Bowel Motion

The solid waste left over from digested food that is passed out of the body.

Bowel Obstruction

Blockage in the bowel. Can be completely or partly blocked.

Bowel Washout

Cleaning out the inside of the bowel. A tube is put into the bowel through the Anus. Clean or sterile water is flushed through the tube and allowed to drain out again. This is repeated until the water is clean. Usually done before major surgery to the bowel, to lower the risk of infection after the operation.

Brachytherapy

Another word for Internal Radiotherapy. See Internal Radiotherapy.

Brain Tumor
(Brain Tumors)


Benign Tumor or Malignant Tumor (cancer) of part of the brain. There are many different types of Brain Tumors, depending on which type of brain cells are affected. See Benign, Malignant. See also Primary Brain Tumor, Secondary Brain Tumor.

Breast Cancer

Cancer of the breast, usually in women, but does occur rarely in men.

Breast Cancer Gene
(BRCA1, BRCA2)


Genes that increase the risk of getting Breast Cancer. Only 5% of Breast Cancers are caused by Inherited Genes. Carriers of BRCA1 are thought to have a 90% risk of developing Breast Cancer at some point in their lives.

Breast Enhancer
(Breast Enhancers)


Partial Artificial Breast, for use by women who have had a Segmentectomy.

Breast Examination

Medical examination of the breasts, to look for anything wrong, including lumps. Can be done by a doctor or Breast Care Nurse.

Breast Implant
(Breast Implants)


Artificial breast put under the skin, during an operation. Used to replace a breast that has had to be removed for medical reasons. Can also be used for cosmetic reasons to make the breast look bigger. See also Breast Reconstruction.

Breast Lump
(Breast Lumps)


Lump in the breast that may or may not be cancerous. NINE out of TEN breast lumps, are not cancer.

Breast Prostheses
(Breast Prosthesis)


Artificial breasts. Can be external (worn outside the body in a bra) or internal (put in during an operation).

Breast Reconstruction

Operation to make a new breast, after one has been removed. Can be done by putting in a Breast Implant, or by using muscle and skin from the back or abdomen. See Abdomen, Breast Implant.

Breast Screening

Examining healthy women to see if Breast Cancer can be picked up early; usually before there are any symptoms. See Mammogram.

Breast Self Awareness

Being aware of how one's breasts normally look and feel so that any abnormal changes will be noticed as soon as possible.

Breast Tumors

Cancers of the breast.

Breast Ultrasound

Scanning of the breast, using sound waves.

Breathlessness

Difficulty getting one's breath.

Bronchi
(Bronchus)


The airways of the lungs. The main Bronchi are the airways that connect the windpipe (Trachea) to each lung. There is a right and a left Bronchus. The Bronchi connect to the Secondary Bronchi, that go to each lobe of the lungs. There are even smaller Tertiary Bronchi, that go to each segment of the lungs. See Airways, Lungs, Secondary Bronchi, Trachea.

Bronchioles
(Bronchiole)


These are the smallest airways in the lungs. They connect the smallest Tertiary Bronchi to the Alveoli (air sacs), where oxygen is absorbed. See Airways, Alveoli, Bronchi.

Bronchoscope

A flexible tube with an eye piece and a light, that enables doctors to see inside the windpipe (Trachea) and the main airways of the lungs.

Bronchoscopy

A medical examination of the airways. A sedative is given to the patient, then a flexible tube is put down the nose or into the mouth, and down into the airways. The doctor can see the inside of the airways, using an eye piece. Samples of tissue can be taken (Biopsies) for examination under the microscope. You can have a Bronchoscopy as an out patient, but will need someone to take you home afterwards, because of the sedative. See Airways, Bronchoscope, Sedative.


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