- Alopecia – The medical name for hair loss.
- Anaemia – A condition, caused by a lack of red blood cells or a lack of haemoglobin in your red blood cells, which leaves you feeling totally worn out.
- Anaesthetic – A drug used to stop you feeling pain. A local anaesthetic numbs a specific area. A general anaesthetic sends you to sleep before an operation.
- Analgesic – The medical name for a painkiller.
- Antibiotics – Drugs used to fight or prevent infection.
- Anti-emetics – Drugs used to stop you being or feeling sick.
- Aspiration – The removal of fluid from your body using a needle.
- Benign – The medical term for a growth in your body that isn’t cancerous.
- Biopsy – A procedure involving a small amount of tissue being taken from your body so cells can be studied under a microscope. Biopsies are done using an anaesthetic.
- Blood count – The number of different blood cells (white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets) in your blood.
- Blood transfusion – A process involving blood from a blood donor being given to you through an intravenous line.
- Bone marrow – The soft, spongy stuff in your bones that creates blood cells.
- Cancer – A general term for lots of different diseases, all of which are caused by cells not behaving normally.
- Carcinoma – The name given to types of cancer that start in your skin or in the tissues that cover your internal organs.
- Catheter – A small tube that’s put into your body. Fluids are injected or removed through the tube.
- Central line – A catheter that’s placed into a vein near your chest. It’s used to give you fluids and blood, and to take blood counts.
- Chemotherapy – Often known as chemo, chemotherapy is a drug treatment used to kill off cancer cells.
- Clinical trial – A type of medical research that involves studying the results treatments have on patients.
- CT scan – It stands for computerised tomography and it’s also known as a CAT scan, but what you really need to know is that a CT scan takes x-rays from a lot of different angles to build up detailed images of your body.
- Cytotoxic drugs – Drugs used to kill off cancer cells.
- Diagnosis – The identification of a disease.
- Donor – A person who donates blood, body tissue or organs to be used by another person.
- External beam radiation – A type of radiation treatment. It’s ‘external’ because the radiation is targeted at the outside of your body. And it’s ‘beam radiation’ because a machine is used to create radiation beams that target cancerous cells.
- Frozen section – A procedure involving body tissue being taken and then quickly frozen so it can be studied under a microscope.
- Graft – Healthy tissue that’s taken either from a healthy part of your body or from someone else and then used to replace damaged tissue.
- HPV – Stands for human papillomavirus. Some types of HPV are linked to certain cancers, including cervical cancer.
- Haemoglobin – The part of red blood cells that transports oxygen around your body.
- Haematology – The branch of medicine that focuses on blood. Doctors who specialise in blood are called haematologists.
- Hormone – Chemicals that are released by glands in your body. They affect things like your growth, mood and energy levels.
- Immune system – The cells and organs in your body that combine to protect you from illness.
- Immuno-compromised – The medical term for a weakened immune system.
- Infusion – The slow injection of drugs, blood and other fluids into your body.
- Intravenous (IV) – Drugs, blood and other fluids that are given to you directly into a vein.
- Leukaemia – The name given to various types of cancer that begin in your bone marrow and affect white blood cells.
- Localised cancer – Cancer that hasn’t spread to other parts of your body.
- Lymph – A clear fluid that flows through your lymphatic system and fights infection by collecting unwanted bacteria and viruses so they can be filtered out through your lymph nodes.
- Lymphoma – The name given to various types of cancer that start in your lymphatic system.
- Lymphatic system – A network of thin tubes that runs throughout your body, transporting lymph and fighting infection. It forms part of your immune system.
- Lymph nodes – Glands, found in places like your groin, neck and armpits, that form part of your lymphatic system and help to fight infection by filtering out unwanted bacteria and viruses.
- Malignant - The medical name for a growth in your body that is cancerous and may spread.
- Melanoma – A type of skin cancer that affects cells called melanocytes.
- Metastasis – A secondary tumour caused by cells from a primary tumour spreading to another part of your body.
- Oedema – Swelling caused by a build-up of fluid in your body.
- Oncologist – A doctor who specialises in treating cancer.
- Palliative care – Treatment designed to relieve the symptoms of cancer that can’t be cured.
- Plasma – The part of your blood that transports blood cells and platelets around your body.
- Platelets – The part of your blood that helps to stop bleeding by causing blood to clot.
- Primary cancer – The place where cancer begins. If cancer spreads to somewhere else in your body, it’s called secondary cancer.
- Prognosis – The most likely outcome of a disease.
- Prosthesis – An artificial replacement for a part of the body that has to be removed.
- Proton beam therapy – A kind of external radiotherapy that targets cancer cells with particles called protons instead of x-rays.
- Radiotherapy – A cancer treatment that works by targeting cancer cells using various types of radiation.
- Radiation – A type of energy that can be used to damage and destroy cancer cells. X-rays are the main type of radiation used to treat cancer.
- Red blood cells – The cells in your blood that contain haemoglobin, which transports oxygen around your body.
- Relapse – The return of a disease, usually after treatment and a period of remission.
- Remission – A period when the signs and symptoms of a disease are no longer evident.
- Sarcoma – The name given to various types of cancer that start in your muscles, bones, nerves, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels or tissues.
- Secondary cancer – A type of cancer that has spread from a primary cancer somewhere else in your body.
- Side effects – Secondary, usually unpleasant, effects caused by medical treatments and drugs.
- Stem cells – The cells, found in your bone marrow, that develop into blood cells.
- Terminal – The medical term for a disease that can’t be cured.
- Total body irradiation – A type of radiotherapy usually used to treat leukaemia that’s given to your whole body, rather than to a particular area of cancerous cells.
- Tumour – An abnormal growth in your body.
- Tumour marker – A substance produced by a tumour. It’s found in your blood and can help doctors understand how a tumour is behaving.
- White blood cells – The cells in your blood that help to fight infection.