Glossary The words listed here are common cancer terms that your doctor and other health professionals may use when working with you. A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | X A accelerated radiotherapyReceiving a higher dose of radiotherapy in a shortened period of time. adenocarcinomaA cancer that starts in the glandular tissue. adjuvant analgesicPain relief that is given with or shortly after the primary treatment. anti-oestrogensDrugs used to treat cancer that depend on hormones to grow. astrocytomaA type of malignant brain tumour. axillary lymph nodesLymph nodes in and around the armpit. B benignNot cancerous or malignant. bilateral mastectomySurgical removal of both breasts. bilateral salpingo-oophorectomySurgical removal of both ovaries and Fallopian tubes. biopsyThe removal of a small sample of tissue from the body, for examination under a microscope, to help diagnose a disease. brachytherapyA type of radiotherapy treatment that implants radioactive material sealed in needles or seeds into or near cancerous cells. Also called internal radiotherapy. C carcinoembryonic antigen (cea)A chemical in the blood which, in part, can reflect the amount of cancer cells in the body. carcinoid tumourA type of cancer that affects hormone-producing cells. carcinomaA cancer that starts in the tissue lining the skin and internal organs of the body. chemoembolisationAn alternative to standard chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is injected into the tumour directly, so stronger drugs can be used without creating as many side effects. cholangiocarcinomaPrimary liver cancer that starts in the cells lining the bile duct. cryotherapy/cryosurgeryThe process of inserting a probe into a cancerous tumour to freeze and destroy cancer cells. D dendritic cellsSpecialised cells that are part of the immune system. desmoplastic melanomaA rare type of cutaneous melanoma. ductal carcinoma in situ (dcis)Abnormal cells in the breast ducts, which may develop into breast cancer. dysplasiaA change in size, shape and arrangement of normal cells. Dysplastic cells are precancerous, not cancerous. Also called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). dysplastic naevusA mole with irregular shape and patchy colour. E endometrial aspirationRemoving the lining of the uterus (endometrium) though a needle. endometrial stromal sarcomaA type of uterine sarcoma. endoscopic ultrasoundA diagnostic test. An endoscope with a probe on the end is inserted into the body, and the probe releases soundwaves that are translated into a picture on a computer screen. ependymomaA type of malignant brain tumour. excision biopsyThe complete removal of a lump or patch of abnormal skin or tissue by cutting out (excising) the affected area. F familial adenomatous polyposis (fap)A benign condition that causes polyps to form in the large bowel. The polyps will become cancerous if untreated. familial medullary cancerA hereditary type of medullary thyroid cancer. flat urothelial carcinomaA tumour that grows in the lining of the bladder. follicular thyroid cancerThe second most common type of thyroid cancer, developing from the follicular cells. G gallium scanA test using a weak radioactive substance, gallium, which shows where the cancer has spread. gastric stromal tumoursCancer of the stomach’s connective tissue and muscle. gleason scoreA way of grading prostate cancer biopsies. A low Gleason score indicates a slow-growing (less aggressive) cancer and a higher score indicates a faster-growing (more aggressive) cancer. glioblastomaA type of malignant brain tumour. H helicobacter pyloriBacteria that can live in the stomach and small bowel and lead to stomach ulcers and cancer. hepatic arterial infusionChemotherapy delivered directly through a tube into the artery to the liver. hepatocellular carcinoma (hcc)A type of primary liver cancer that starts from the main cells in the liver, which are called hepatocytes. human papillomavirus (hpv)A group of viruses that can cause infection in the skin surface of different areas of the body including the genital area. HPV may be a risk factor for some types of cancer. Also called the wart virus. I indolent or low-grade lymphomaA slow-growing cancer that starts in the cells of the lymphatic system. integrative medicine (integrative therapies)The use of both evidence-based complementary therapies and conventional medicine. intensity modulated radiation therapy (imrt)The use of multiple beams of radiation to target a tumour. intraperitoneal chemotherapyA technique of administering chemotherapy into the abdominal cavity via injection into the perineum. J jaundiceA condition caused by increased amounts of bile in the blood. This causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to turn yellow. K keratosesAlso called sunspots, they are a sign of sun damage to the skin. They appear as flattish scaly areas on the skin. L large cell carcinomaA type of lung cancer that usually develops in the airways and is characterised by large rounded cells. leiomyosarcomaA type of uterine sarcoma (cancer). lymphomaA type of cancer affecting the lymphatic system. There are two main types of lymphomas: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease. M malignantCancer. Malignant cells can spread (metastasise) and can eventually cause death if they cannot be treated. melanocytesOne of the three types of cells that make up the skin’s epidermis layer. These cells produce melanin. melanomaCancer of the melanocytes. The cancer usually appears on the skin, but may affect the eye, nervous system and mucous membranes (lining of the mouth and nasal passages). meningiomaA type of benign brain tumour. metastasisA cancer that has spread from another part of the body. Also known as secondary cancer. multiple endocrine neoplasia (men)A benign condition that increases a person’s risk of developing endocrine tumours. N neoplasiaAny new or abnormal growth of tissues, in which the growth is uncontrolled and progressive. neuromaA type of benign brain tumour. O oligodendrogliomaA type of malignant brain tumour. oophorectomyThe removal of one or both ovaries. See bilateral salpingo oophorectomy. P papillary thyroid cancerThe most common type of thyroid cancer, developing from the follicular cells. pet scanA positron emission tomography scan. A specialised imaging test that uses a radioactive glucose solution to identify cancer cells in the body. photodynamic therapy (pdt)The use of a light source and special cream to treat skin cancer. R radioactive iodine therapyTreatment that is intended to destroy thyroid cancer cells in the body. radiofrequency ablation (rfa)A treatment that uses radio waves to heat and destroy cancer cells. renal cell carcinomaThe most common form of kidney cancer. renal sarcomaA rare form of cancer that affects the connective tissues of the kidney. S sarcomaA malignant tumour that starts in connective tissue. secondary cancerA tumour that has spread from the original site to another part of the body. Also called a metastasis. seminomaOne of two types of testicular cancer. sputum cytology testExamination of sputum under a microscope to look for cancer cells. squamous cell carcinoma (scc)A cancer that arises in the squamous or skin-like cells of the body. superficial spreading melanomaThe most common type of cutaneous melanoma, making up almost 50% of all cases. T tnm systemA type of staging system detailing the extent of the cancer’s metastasis. T stands for tumour, N for lymph nodes and M for metastasis. topical chemotherapyTreatment with a drug that is applied to an area of your skin, rather than being given by injection or tablet. tylosisA genetic syndrome linked to oesophageal cancer. U ulcerative colitisA benign type of inflammatory bowel disease that may increase a person’s risk of developing bowel cancer. urothelial (transitional cell) carcinomaTumours that start growing in the urothelium (mucous membrane) of the bladder. They are the most common type of bladder cancer. uterine sarcomaA cancer affecting the smooth muscle of the uterus or the stroma (connective tissue around the lining of the uterus). V verrucous carcinomaA rare, slow-growing type of vulvar cancer, which looks like a large wart. von hippel-lindau disease (vhl)A rare genetic condition that involves abnormal tumour growth in parts of the body rich in blood supply. People with VHL may have a higher risk of developing kidney cancer. vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (vin)A condition that occurs in the skin of the vulva and can develop into vulvar cancer if left untreated. W whipple surgeryAn operation to remove part of the pancreas. Also called a Whipple operation. wide local excisionA surgical procedure to remove a cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it. X xerostomiaDry mouth.