Medical terminology

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Abdomen
Part of the body that includes the stomach, intestines and other digestive organs.
Acupuncture
A complementary therapy where the use of fine needles is believed to control the body's energy flow.
Adjuvant chemotherapy
Chemotherapy treatment given after another treatment, usually surgery. 'Neo- adjuvant chemotheraphy is given before other treatment, usually surgery.
Alopecia
Hair loss.
Anti-emetic drugs
Drugs to stop you feeling sick and vomiting.
Aromatherapy
Gentle Massage using oils from flowers, roots and leaves.
Art therapy
A way of expressing feelings by drawing and painting.
Ascites
Fluid that builds up in the abdomen, usually caused by cancer but occasionally due to other diseases.
Benign tumours
Not cancerous; used to refer to tumours which grow slowly in one place and which, once removed by surgery, tend not to come back.
Biopsy
Removal of a small piece of tissue for examination in a laboratory.
Bone Marrow
The spongy inner part of large bones where blood cells are made.
Borderline ovarian cancer or low malignant potential (LMP) tumours
Borderline tumours are neither cancerous or benign. They are growths which have some abnormal and cancer- like characteristics, but are not usually invasive.
Cancer
Name given to a group of diseases that can occur in any organ or system in the body. They all involve abnormal cells that grow uncontrallably, and which may spread to other organs.
Carcinogen
A substance that can cause cancer.
Carcinoma
A cancer that arises from the lining of an organ or system.
Chemotherapy
Treating a disease with medication, such as cytotoxic drugs (drugs that kill cancer cells).
Counselling
Talking with a trained counsellor to make sense of feelings. This can offer new ideas for coping.
CT scan
A CT (computerised tomography) scan uses x- rays to produce multiple images of the body.
Cytology
Examining cells under a microscope.
Diagnosis
Finding the type of disease a person is suffering from.
Dietician
A health professional who specialises in nutrition and gives people advice on how to eat well and to help them recover from cancer.
DNA (DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID)
Genetic material in all human cells that is responsible for passing on important information on cell growth, division and function.
Grading
A measurement of how aggressive a tumour is. This is found by analysing the tumour under a microscope.
Gynaecological oncologist
Surgeon who specialises in gynaecological cancer surgery.
Hickman line
A special tube inserted (under anaesthetic) through the chest into a large vein, so that chemotherapy drugs can be fed direct into the bloodstream. It can stay in place for months, meaning needles do not have to be used during treatment. It needs to be flushed through regularly and cleaned to prevent bloackages and infections.
Histology
The study of the structure of tissues using a microscope and special dyes.
Hormones
Chemical substances produced by glands in the body which are carried in the blood and help contral how the body works.
Intravenous
Given into a vein by injection or infusion (given slowly through a small tube).
Immune system
The body's main defence system, which fights infections or foreign substances.
Inoperable
Refers to a cancer that cannot be removed by surgery because this might cause too much damage to normal tissue.
Intramuscular
Given by injection into a muscle.
Isotope scan
A scan which involves injecting a very weak radioactive substance, which collects in the organ being investigated so that it can be seen more easily with a special camera.
Laparoscopy
A minor operation under general anaesthetic which involves making a small cut in the abdomen so that a tiny telescope (laparoscope) can be inserted to examine the abdomen. Sometimes referred to as keyhole surgery.
Laparotomy
An oeration under general anaesthetic to open the abdomen. A staging laparotomy is an abdominal operation to see the extent of the cancer.
Lymph nodes or glands
These are small pearl-like glands thatare connected to the lymph system and act as filters to bacteria or cancer cells. They also produce lymphocytes which are one type of white blood cells. Bacteria or cancer cells may collect in the lymph nodes and can cause these nodes to get bigger.
Lymphoedema
Swelling in the arms or legs caused by blockage or damage to the lymphatic system. It may occur as a result of treating the cancer or by the cancer blocking the lymphatic system.
Lymphatic system
A network of vessels that carries lymph (a clear fluid that comes from the blood and coats the tissues). Lymph contains water, protien, minerals and white blood cells. The lymph passes through a series of filters, lymph nodes, before it rejoins the bloodstream.
Malignant Tumours
Malignant tumours are cancerous tumours able to spread to and invade surrounding tissues and other parts of the body.
Multidisciplinary team (MDT)
Several members of different hospital departments who meet to discuss the treatment plan for individual patients.
Metastasis
Cancer that has spread from one part of the body to another. This usually happens through the lymphatic system or bloodstream. (Also called secondaries.)
MRI scan
A MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner uses a magnetic field and radio waves to build up detailed pictures of various parts of the body, from signals that are sent out from the water molecules in the body. Computer systems help, but no x-rays are used.
Nadir point
Means low point in reference to white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Usually occurs about 10 days after treatment, depending on the drugs given
Nausea
Feeling sick.
Omenectomy
Surgical removal of the omentum
Omentum
A sheet of fat that lies over the intestines inside the abdomen.
Oncologist
A doctor who specialises in treating cancer. A clinical oncologist or radiotherapist specialises in treating cancer with radiation and medical oncologist pecialises in treating cancer with medicine.
Oncology
The study of cancer.
Palliative care
Care that treats the symptoms of the disease but is not aimed at curing the disease. Palliative care can help to treat symptoms even during curative treatment.
Pathology
The branch of medicine that deals with examing parts of the body affected by disease.
PET scan
Positron Emission Tomography scans use an injection of a very small amount of radioactive tracer, usually glucose, to show th eextent of th ecancer, the effectiveness of treatment and distinguish between cancer and scar tissue.
PleurX® drain/Rocket drain
A soft tube inserted in the pleural cavity (the space between the pleural membranes which cover the lungs) to drain a build up of fluid, somethimes called a pleural effusion. These drains are also used to drain ascities, the build up of fluid in the abdomen.
PleurX® catheter system (PICC)
Peripherally inserted central catheter - a long, thin, flexible tube which is inserted into one of the large veins of the arm until the tip sits just above the heart.
Prophylactic
Treatment given to prevent an illness or stop an illness or stop it from coming back.
Porto-cath
Sometimes called an implantable or subcutaneous port. A soft plastic tube is put into a vein in a patient's chest or arm and has an opening just under the skin. It makes it possible for medicines to be given into the vein. Blood samples may be taken via this port.
Primary cancer
The first cancerous tumour to develop in a particular part of the body.
Prognosis
How the disease is expected to progress and what the outcome is likely to be.
Progressive disease
Disease that has spread.
Radiographer
A member of the health-care team who takes and analyses x-rays and scans.
Radiologist
A specialist doctor who uses x-rays, scans and other images to treat disease.
Radiotherapist
The member of the health-care team who gives patients radiotherapy.
Reflexology
A complementary therapy where the therapist applies gentle pressure to specific acupressure points on the feet or hands in order to link with the organs and systems in the body.
Remission
When cancer treatment has been successful and there is no trace of cancer apparent.
Refractory disease
Cancer that has not responded to treatment.
Resistant disease
Cancer which at first seems to respond to treatment, but quickly returns and is thought not to have been fully corrected by the treatment.
SIGN
The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network develops clinical practice guidelines for the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland.
Staging
The proess of deciding how far the cancer has spread, by using internationally recognised and agreed standards. This can be done using x-rays, scans, blood tests or surgery.
Secondaries
When a tumour has spread from its place of origin. (This is also called metastasis.)
Subcutaneous injection
An injection given just under the skin, and not into the muscle.
Syringe driver or pump
A way of giving medication under the skin slowly and continuously without having to give several injections.
Trans vaginal ultrasound scan
Using sound waves to build up a picture of organs inside the body, through a probe placed in the vagina.
TAHBSO
Total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. This is an operation when the uterus, including the cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries, is removed.
Terminal care
Caring for a person who is dying, to make sure they are as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
Therapy
Another word for treatment.
Thoracic
Referring to the chest area.
Tumour
A lump or group of cells which may or may not be cancer. Also known as neoplasm.
Tumour markers
Substances produced by some cancers that can be found in the blood. These can be used to find a cancer (screening), to see if the treatment is being successful, or to see if a disease comes back (monitoring). The marker for ovarian cancer is CA125.
Ultrasound scan
Using sound waves to build a picture of organs inside the body, through a probe place on the abdomen.
Venflon
A tiny plastic tube which is placed in a vein so that drugs and fluids can go direct into the bloodstream.
Yoga
A combination of breathing techniques and exercise which helps relaxation and stress relief, while increasing blood circulation and mobility.
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