A tumor suppressor gene that,
when working normally, helps to stop cells becoming cancerous. The p53
gene has been found to be damaged in most human cancers. See Gene,
Tumor Suppressor Genes.
A small electronic device that
can be implanted in the chest to help the heart beat regularly. If you
have a pacemaker, you cannot have an MRI scan as these scans are magnetic
and can interfere with how your pacemaker works. See MRI
Clinic that specializes in
treating chronic pain (pain that goes on for a long time and is unlikely
to be cured altogether). Usually run by an anesthetist, sometimes with
a doctor who specializes in palliative care. See Palliative
Drugs to control pain.
Treatment which is given to
control symptoms rather than cure disease - for example, palliative radiotherapy
can be given to reduce pain.
Care given to control symptoms
such as sickness and pain.
Treatment given to control
symptoms such as pain and sickness, rather than to cure.
Name for a lung cancer that
is found in a particular part of the lung. A pancoast tumor is found at
the very top of the lung. It can cause particular symptoms because of where
it is. It is quite common to get pain, numbness or pins and needles in
the shoulder and arm because the tumor is pressing on the group of nerves
at the top of the arm (called the brachial plexus). See Symptoms.
Organ of the digestive system
that makes insulin and some of the enzymes needed for digesting food.
A mild painkiller that can
be bought over the counter from chemists. Paracetamol can also help bring
down your temperature if you have a fever. You should never take more than
eight tablets in 24 hours and should not take paracetamol without talking
to your doctor if you have any liver problems.
This is complete liquid food
that is given through a drip into a vein. It can be used when someone is
having very intensive treatment and is losing a lot of weight. It can be
helpful when you are having difficulty eating because of a very sore mouth,
bad diarrhea or sickness.
To a researcher, this means
the cancer shrinking to at least half the original size for at least four
weeks. There must not be any sign of growth of the cancer anywhere else
in the body. See Clinical Trials.
Means breathing in other people's
cigarette, pipe or cigar smoke when you don't smoke yourself. Passive smoking
can cause lung cancer in people who don't smoke. Often affects people who
work in very smoky atmospheres such as pubs and clubs. But they are still
much less likely to get lung cancer than people who do smoke.
Broken bone which has happened
because the bone is weakened by disease (for example, secondary cancer).
Used to describe a particular
type of dimpling of the skin of the breast which can be a warning sign
of breast cancer. This phrase is used because the dimples can make the
skin look a bit like the skin of an orange.
Radiotherapy treatment given
to the pelvis.
Area of the body circled by
the hip bones.
Surgical treatment for impotence.
Rod put inside the penis to stiffen it in men who cannot get an erection.
Opening of the bowel onto the
surface of the abdomen (tummy). A bag is worn to collect the waste matter
from digestion that would normally be passed from the body as a bowel motion.
This operation cannot be reversed. Often the rectum is removed and the
anus is closed up by the surgeon. See Anus, Rectum,
Area at the back of the mouth
and nose that connects them to the esophagus (gullet).
Phase One Trial
Early trial into a new treatment
to find out the side effects and some idea of the dose to give. Likely
to include patients with different types of cancer. See Clinical
Phase Three Trial
Trial to compare a new treatment
with other treatments that are already being used. Looks at the safety
and side effects of the treatment as well as how well it works. See Clinical
Phase Two Trial
Trial that looks at whether
a new treatment works. Usually for a particular type of cancer. See Clinical
Pronounced 'Flem'. Mucus that
is coughed up from the lungs. See Mucus.
(P32, Radioactive Phosphorus)
A radioactive form of phosphorus
is used as internal radiotherapy to treat cancers and other diseases of
the bone marrow. See Internal Radiotherapy.
Person who is trained to treat
disease by physical methods such as manipulating joints and muscles, massage
and heat treatment rather than by using drugs.
Type of brain tumor affecting
the pineal gland. Occurs more often in children and teenagers than in adults.
(Goserelin, Lhrh Analogues,
Lhrh Regulators, Zoladex)
Drugs which act on the pituitary
gland in the brain. The pituitary normally signals to the testicles to
make testosterone (the male sex hormone) and the ovaries to make estrogen
(the female sex hormone). These drugs stop that signal and so stop sex
hormone production. Drug called Goserelin (also called Zoladex) is a pituitary
down regulator used in the treatment of prostate and breast cancer. See
Gland in the brain which produces
many different Hormones. These hormones control a lot of body processes
- for example, growth, metabolism, production of sex hormones.
Type of brain tumor affecting
the pituitary gland. Most are benign. One in ten brain tumors are pituitary
Dummy treatment used in some
research trials. One group of patients will get the new treatment and another
group will get the dummy treatment. The patients will not know which they
are getting and so will not unconsciously affect the results. See Blind
Trial, Clinical Trials, Double
Placebo Controlled Trial
Trial where the control group
(patients who are being compared to patients getting the new treatment)
are being given a placebo (dummy treatment). See Clinical
Trials, Randomized Controlled
Used to describe improvement
in the condition of patients who think they are being treated, but are
in fact getting a dummy treatment.
Plantar - Palmar Erythema
Side effect of continuous 5-FU
treatment. The skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet
goes red and peels. The redness and peeling clears up when the treatment
is finished. See Continuous Chemotherapy,
Fluorouracil (5-FU, 5-Fluorouracil).
The liquid part of blood that
the blood cells are suspended in. See Blood
Type of blood cell. Helps the
blood to clot. Platelet levels can drop during a course of chemotherapy.
Giving extra platelets via
a drip into a vein. Platelet transfusions are quite fast. They take about
half an hour per bag. But you may need several bags at a time. Many people
begin to get a reaction to platelet transfusions after they have had a
few. This reaction causes a very high temperature and feeling shivery.
Your doctor will prescribe 'cover' of steroids and antihistamine to try
to prevent a reaction. See Drip, Platelets,
Abnormal collection of fluid
between the sheets of skin (pleura) which cover the lungs. Causes difficulty
Sheet of skin covering the
Procedure for draining fluid
off the lungs (a pleural effusion). A needle is put into the space between
the sheets of skin that cover the lungs and the fluid drained off into
a bag. Usually done with a local anesthetic. See Local
Anesthetic, Pleural Effusion.
Operation to remove a whole
Infectious disease. You should
not have a vaccination against polio if you are having chemotherapy as
the vaccine is live. See Vaccination.
Polycythaemia Rubra Vera
Blood disease. Not a cancer.
Too many blood cells are made, so often treated with cancer treatments
such as radioactive phosphorus. See Phosphorus.
Positive Lymph Nodes
Used to mean lymph nodes that
have been found to contain cancer cells. Means there is a greater chance
that a cancer has spread and usually an indication for adjuvant treatment
such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy. See Adjuvant
Therapy, Chemotherapy, Hormone
Therapy, Lymph Glands.
Women who have been through
the 'change of life' or menopause. This means their periods have stopped.
Women who have not yet been
through the 'change of life' or menopause and so are still having periods.
A cancer which started in the
brain (rather than spreading to the brain from another part of the body).
See also Brain Tumor.
Where the cancer started. The
type of cell that has become cancerous will be the primary cancer - for
example, if a biopsy from the liver or lung contains cancerous breast cells,
then the primary cancer is breast cancer.
Primary Lung Cancer
Cancer that has started in
the lung. See Primary Cancer.
Examination of the rectum (back
passage) using a proctoscope. The proctoscope is a tube which is put into
the rectum through the anus. The tube is connected to an eyepiece which
allows the doctor to see inside the rectum. And to take biopsies (samples
of tissue) for examination under the microscope. A proctoscopy can only
examine the rectum. To look further into the bowel, a sigmoidoscopy or
colonoscopy must be done. See Colonoscopy,
One of the two female sex hormones.
To a researcher, this means
that a cancer has grown by at least a quarter in size, or that new areas
of cancer have appeared.
Prophylactic Cranial Radiotherapy
Literally means preventative
radiotherapy to the head. With some types of cancer that can spread to
the brain, doctors like to give a short course of radiotherapy to the brain.
The idea of this is that it kills off any microscopic spread that may already
be there. See Microscopic Spread,
A gland found in men surrounding
the urethra (tube which carries urine from the bladder to the penis). The
gland makes a thick white fluid which mixes with sperm to make semen.
Cancer of the prostate gland.
Substance produced by prostate
cells found in the blood. The level can be measured by a blood test. If
the level is much higher than normal, there may be a cancer in the prostate
and further tests will need to be done. It is not a test for cancer on
its own. Can also be used as a Marker in men
diagnosed with prostate cancer - the level goes up when the cancer is growing
and falls when the treatment is working and the cancer shrinking.
Fake body part. Can be internal
(for example, silicon ball inserted in scrotum to replace testicle) or
external (for example, false breast).
Detailed plan of a research
trial. See Clinical Trials.
Level of Prostate Specific
Antigen in the blood.