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Absolute risk

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


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


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.


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


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


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


A platinum-based chemotherapy drug


Treatment for cancer using drugs


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


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.


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


An operation to remove the uterus (womb)


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


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


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


Removal of the whole breast

Menopausal symptoms

Symptoms of menopause - may include hot flushes


The final menstrual period

Multidisciplinary care

A team approach to cancer treatment and planning


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


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


Thinning of the bones; can increase the risk of fracture

Ovarian cancer

Cancer that affects the 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


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).


A health professional who examines mammograms


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


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


Having to do with deep


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


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.


A type of chemotherapy drug


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


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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