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Glossary

Absolute risk

The chance of developing a specific disease over a specified time period

Adjuvant

Treatment given in addition to primary (initial) treatment. For breast cancer

Arthralgia

Pain in the joints

Ashkenazi Jewish

The Eastern European Jewish population primarily from Germany, Poland, and Russia, as opposed to the Sephardic Jewish population primarily from Spain, parts of France, Italy, and North Africa.

Biopsy

Removal of cells or tissue from the body for examination under a microscope

CA125

A protein found in the blood. CA125 is known as a tumour or cancer marker as increased levels may indicate that ovarian cancer is present

CMF

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil) used alone or with other therapies to treat breast cancer.

Carboplatin

A platinum-based chemotherapy drug

Chemotherapy

Treatment for cancer using drugs

Cisplatin

A platinum-based chemotherapy drug

Clinical trials

Studies that compare new treatments with standard treatments

Contralateral breast

the other breast from the initial site of breast cancer

Distress

Emotional, mental, social or spiritual suffering. Distress may range from feelings of vulnerability and sadness to stronger feelings of depression, anxiety, panic and isolation.

Endocrine therapy

a type of hormonal treatment that acts to inhibit the grown of breast cancer cells that have hormone receptors (e.g. ovarian suppression

Gamma probe

A small radiation detector used to detect cancer cells in the lymph nodes

Genetic counselling

Genetic counselling provides an individual or family with information and support regarding health concerns which run in their family. Genetic counselling may involve the diagnosis of a genetic condition, the provision of information and supportive counselling (advice and guidance) by a team of health professionals, so that families and individuals may be better able to adjust to diagnosis.

Grade

A way of describing how fast cancer cells are growing. A low grade tumour (Grade 1) is growing slowly. A high grade tumour (Grade 3) is growing fast

Hormone replacement therapy

Hormones (oestrogen

Hysterectomy

An operation to remove the uterus (womb)

Lymph

Fluid from the body's tissues that is collected by lymphatic vessels

Lymph nodes

Glands in the armpit and other parts of the body that protect the body from infection

Lymphoedema

Swelling of the arm or breast that can sometimes develop after treatment for cancer

Lymphoma

Cancer that arises from white blood cells. Includes Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Mastectomy

Removal of the whole breast

Menopausal symptoms

Symptoms of menopause - may include hot flushes

Menopause

The final menstrual period

Multidisciplinary care

A team approach to cancer treatment and planning

Neoadjuvant

administration of therapy before the main treatment (e.g. prior to surgery)

Osteopenia

lower bone mineral density than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Osteopenia may be a precursor to osteoporosis. Defined in trials as bone mineral density T score greater than -2.5 and less than -1.0

Osteoporosis

Thinning of the bones; can increase the risk of fracture

Ovarian cancer

Cancer that affects the ovaries

Ovaries

Small organs which lie next to the uterus (womb) and produce hormones and eggs

PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)

A scheme managed by the Australian Government that provides medicines at a subsidised price to Australian residents who hold a current Medicare card and to overseas visitors from countries with which Australia has a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement

PET (positron emission tomography)

A scan that uses a radioactive tracer to detect cellular changes in the body

Paclitaxel

A type of chemotherapy drug

Partial mastectomy

See 'Breast conserving surgery'

Quality of life

An individual's overall appraisal of their situation and subjective sense of wellbeing. Quality of life encompasses symptoms of disease and side effects of treatment, functional capacity, social interactions and relationships, and occupational functioning.

RCT (Randomised Controlled Trial)

Research in which participants are allocated randomly to receive either an experimental treatment or therapy or standard care (the control).

Radiologist

A health professional who examines mammograms

Radiotherapy

Treatment for cancer in a particular area of the body using X-rays

Recurrence

Cancer that has come back after treatment

Risk factors

Things that increase your chance of developing cancer

Sentinel node biopsy

Removal of the first lymph node(s) in the armpit to which cancer cells are likely to spread from the breast

Spirituality

Having to do with deep

Stage

The extent of a cancer and whether the disease has spread from an original site to other parts of the body.

Tamoxifen

A drug used to treat certain types of breast cancer. It is a type of antioestrogen that blocks the oestrogen receptor in breast tissue. It is also used to prevent breast cancer in women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer. Tamoxifen is a type of SERM.

Taxane

A type of chemotherapy drug

Thrush

An infection caused by yeast that appears as white patches on the tongue or mouth

X-ray

A way of taking a picture of the body using electromagnetic radiation

adjuvant chemotherapy

Treatment given in addition to primary (initial) treatment. For breast cancer

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