Glossary (What does that word mean?)

Adjuvant – additional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment.
Anaemia – a low red-blood-cell count.
Anaesthetic (general or local) – a general anaesthetic uses medications to cause loss of consciousness (this puts you into a deep sleep so you don’t feel pain). Local anaesthetic numbs only a certain area.
Antihistamine – medications used mainly to treat allergies such as hay fever, hives and itching. They may be used to help reduce feeling sick (nausea) and being sick (vomiting).
Cells – the ‘building blocks’ of the body. A human is made of millions of cells, which are adapted for different functions. Cells are able to reproduce themselves exactly, unless they are abnormal or damaged, as are cancer cells.
Chemoradiation – a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It is also sometimes called chemoradiotherapy. It may be given before surgery, to help shrink the cancer and reduce the risk of cancer coming back.
Dietician – an expert who gives advice about food and diet.
Infection – a disease in a part of your body that is caused by bacteria or a virus.
Infusion pump – a small, portable device that allows a patient to have their chemotherapy medication at home.
Interactions - an effect produced by a combination of two or more medications together which is different from the effect of each if used alone.
Intravenous (IV) – giving fluids and medicines using a needle or a thin tube (a catheter) that is put into a vein.
Lumbar puncture – the insertion of a hollow needle into the lower spinal canal to withdraw fluid for diagnosis or to give medications.
Medical oncologist – a specialist doctor who treats cancer using medications such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted treatment and hormone treatments.
Neo adjuvant – a treatment given as a first step before the main treatment, which is usually surgery.
Palliative – controlling the symptoms of a disease rather than curing it.
Platelet – a type of blood cell that helps stop bleeding by plugging up holes in blood vessels after an injury.
Primary – a malignant tumour that starts in one site of the body, where it is known as the primary tumour.
Scans – the use of X-rays, high-frequency sound waves or radioactive substances to make detailed pictures of the inside of a body. Scans commonly used in cancer include MRI, CT, PET, ultrasound, bone, brain and liver scans.
Tumour marker – a substance found in tissue, blood and other body fluids. It can be used to help diagnose cancer, plan treatment, monitor the effects of treatment or see if cancer has returned.
Vaccine – a modified version of a germ or other substance related to a disease, which is given, usually by injection, to stimulate the immune system to resist that disease.
Viruses – very small organisms (micro-organisms) that cause infections. They can grow and reproduce only in living cells.

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