The application of pressure or localised massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.
The technique of inserting thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine
Cancer that begins in cells that line certain internal organs and that have gland-like (secretory) properties.
Cancer that has spread to other places in the body and usually cannot be cured or controlled with treatment.
The anaplastic lymphoma kinases (ALK) gene is found on some tumours with a unique mutation in which a specific protein is fused to ALK, also known as an ALK translocation.
Anti-angiogenesis agent / Anti-angiogenesis inhibitor
A substance that may prevent the formation of blood vessels. In anticancer therapy, an angiogenesis inhibitor may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumours need to grow.
A substance that is made from a living organism or its products and is used in the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of cancer and other diseases. Biologic agents include antibodies, interleukins, and vaccines. Also called biological agent and biological drug.
A biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Also called molecular marker and signature molecule.
The removal of cells or tissues for examination by a pathologist. The pathologist may study the tissue under a microscope or perform other tests on the cells or tissue.
The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs.
A procedure that uses a bronchoscope to examine the inside of the trachea, bronchi (air passages that lead to the lungs), and lungs. A bronchoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. The bronchoscope is inserted through the nose or mouth. Bronchoscopy may be used to detect cancer or to perform some treatment procedures.
A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems
The treatment of cancer using specific chemical agents or drugs that are destructive to malignant cells and tissues; some chemotherapy may also be destructive to healthy cells.
A disease or condition that persists or progresses over a long period of time.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
A type of lung disease marked by permanent damage to tissues in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, in which the bronchi (large air passages) are inflamed and scarred, and emphysema, in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are damaged.
A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. Also called clinical study.
Therapy that combines more than one method of treatment. Also called multimodality therapy and multimodality treatment.
The condition of having two or more diseases at the same time.
Practices often used to enhance or complement standard treatments. They generally are not recognised by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches. Complementary medicine may include dietary supplements, mega-dose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.
In medicine, describes the delivery of health care over a period of time. In patients with a disease, this covers all phases of illness from diagnosis to the end of life.
A dye or other substance that helps show abnormal areas inside the body. It is given by injection into a vein, by enema, or by mouth. Contrast material may be used with x-rays, CT scans, MRI, or other imaging tests.
A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called CAT scan, computed tomography scan, computerized axial tomography scan, and computerized tomography.
Capable of being cured.
Cycles (as in chemotherapy regimens)
Chemotherapy is typically given in cycles, with rest periods between the cycles. A cycle can last 1 or more days and is typically given every 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks. A typical course of chemotherapy may consist of multiple cycles.
Decompensation (as in cardiac decompensation)
Failure of the heart to maintain adequate blood circulation, marked by laboured breathing, engorged blood vessels, and edema (swelling from fluid accumulation in body tissues).
Identifying a disease by its signs or symptoms, and by using imaging tests and lab findings. For most types of cancer, the earlier a diagnosis of cancer is made, the better the chance for long-term survival.
The molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next. Also called deoxyribonucleic acid.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)
The protein found on the surface of some cells and to which epidermal growth factor binds, causing the cells to divide. It is found at abnormally high levels on the surface of many types of cancer cells, so these cells may divide excessively in the presence of epidermal growth factor. Also called EGFR, ErbB1, and HER1.
End-of-life decision making
The process of deciding the type of care a patient is to receive towards the end of their life. This may include practical, psychosocial, spiritual, legal, existential, or medical considerations.
Initial treatment used to reduce cancer. First-line therapy is followed by other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy to get rid of cancer that remains. Also called induction therapy, primary therapy, and primary treatment.
General practitioner (GP)
General practitioners are doctors who work from a local surgery or health centre providing medical advice and treatment to patients on a variety of medical problems in patients of all ages, often including referral to appropriate specialists.
A change in the DNA of a cell.
The study of tissues and cells under a microscope.
Therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person instead of treating the illness alone. Holistic medicine looks at an individual's overall physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing before recommending treatment.
A programme that provides special care for people who are near the end of life and for their families, either at home, in freestanding facilities, or within hospitals.
The process of combining with water. In medicine, the process of giving fluids needed by the body.
The number of times an event or disease occurs in the population over a given time. For example, a particular cancer may occur in one person in every 100,000 people each year.
The medical or social reasons why a person may or may not qualify for participation in a clinical trial.
A type of medical care that combines conventional (standard) medical treatment with complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies that have been shown to be safe and to work. CAM therapies treat the mind, body, and spirit.
A medical procedure that invades (enters) the body, usually by cutting or puncturing the skin or by inserting instruments into the body.
Into or within a vein. IV usually refers to a way of giving a drug or other substance through a needle or tube inserted into a vein. Also called intravenous.
Surgery to remove a lobe of an organ, usually the lung.
Locally advanced cancer
Cancer that has spread from where it started to nearby tissue or lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes (glands)
Small bean-shaped collections of immune tissue, such as lymphocytes (white blood cells), found along lymphatic vessels. They remove germs, cell waste and other harmful substances from lymph. Groups of lymph nodes are found at various sites in the body, including the groin, armpit, neck and behind the ear.
Treatment that is given to help keep cancer from coming back after it has disappeared following the initial therapy. It may include treatment with drugs, vaccines, or antibodies that kill cancer cells, and it may be given for a long time.
The term used to describe tumours that have the ability to invade and destroy surrounding tissues and the capacity to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
A procedure in which a mediastinoscope is used to examine the organs in the area between the lungs and nearby lymph nodes. A mediastinoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. The mediastinoscope is inserted into the chest through an incision above the breastbone. This procedure is usually done to get a tissue sample from the lymph nodes on the right side of the chest.
The area between the lungs. The organs in this area include the heart and its large blood vessels, the trachea, the esophagus, the thymus, and lymph nodes but not the lungs.
To engage in contemplation or reflection.
The process by which tumour cells detach from the primary tumour, enter the blood, lymphatic system or body cavity and travel to a distant body site where they form metastases – also called secondary tumours.
Having to do with a molecule which is the smallest particle of a substance that has all of the physical and chemical properties of that substance.
Molecular Tumour Testing
Medical testing or methods used to identify changes in a tumour, such as changes in the tumour cell’s DNA make-up or changes in levels of specific proteins present in the tumour. Doctors use the results of molecular tumour testing to develop specific treatment recommendations for cancer patients. These tests may also be referred to as biomarker testing or mutation testing.
A type of cell found in the gut, lungs and pancreas which make different hormones depending on where they are in the body. These hormones are then released into the bloodstream.
In medicine, it describes a procedure that does not require inserting an instrument through the skin or into a body opening.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
One of the two main types of lung cancer, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC refers to the way the cells look under a microscope and groups together all the lung cancers that are not small cell type.
A doctor who specialises in treating cancer. Some oncologists specialise in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specialises in treating cancer with radiation.
A medicine that is given by mouth, as in a pill or tablet.
Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.
Patient advocacy organisation
An organisation that generally provides disease and treatment information and emotional support to patients, family members and caregivers, and helps a patient work with others who have an effect on the patient's health, including doctors, insurance companies, employers, case managers, and lawyers. A patient advocacy organisation may help resolve issues about health care, medical bills, and job discrimination related to a patient's medical condition. Cancer advocacy groups also try to raise public awareness about important cancer issues, such as the need for cancer support services, education, and research. Such groups work to bring about change that will help cancer patients and their families.
A measure of how well a patient is able to perform ordinary tasks and carry out daily activities.
A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerised pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called positron emission tomography scan.
An inactive substance or treatment that looks the same as, and is given the same way as, an active drug or treatment being tested. The effects of the active drug or treatment are compared to the effects of the placebo.
Placebo controlled trial
Refers to a clinical study in which the control patients receive a placebo.
A thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity. It protects and cushions the lungs. This tissue secretes a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly in the chest cavity while breathing.
A predictive biomarker gives information about the potential effect of particular drug.
How widely spread or how many people are affected by a disease in the community at any one time. The prevalence is affected by the incidence of the disease and how long people live once diagnosed.
A prognostic biomarker provides information about the patients overall cancer outcome, regardless of therapy.
In medicine, the course of a disease, such as cancer, as it becomes worse or spreads in the body.
A non-therapeutic intervention that provides support and coping techniques for everyday living.
A doctor who specialises in treating diseases of the lungs. Also called pulmonary specialist.
Radiotherapist / Radiologist
A doctor who specialises in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are produced with x-rays, sound waves, or other types of energy.
The treatment of disease (usually cancer) with penetrating radiation, such as X-rays, beta rays or gamma rays.
A radioactive gas that is released by uranium, a substance found in soil and rock. Breathing in too much radon can damage lung cells and may lead to lung cancer.
Relapse / Recurrence
The term used when a disease returns after an absence or flares up.
A term used to describe a disease being significantly reduced (partial remission) or eliminated completely (complete remission).
Surgery to remove tissue or part or all of an organ.
The percentage of patients whose cancer shrinks (termed a partial response) or disappears after treatment (termed a complete response).
Treatment that is given when initial treatment (first-line therapy) does not work, or stops working.
A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some common side effects of cancer treatment are fatigue, pain, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss, and mouth sores.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
An aggressive (fast-growing) cancer that forms in tissues of the lung and can spread to other parts of the body. The cancer cells look small and oval-shaped when looked at under a microscope.
A health professional that helps people find community resources and provides counselling and guidance to help with issues like insurance coverage and nursing home placement.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts.
Classification system for tumours. For solid tumours, it is a consideration of its size and the presence or absence of metastases. For haematological cancers, it involves looking at the number of sites involved and their location.
A doctor who removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on the patient.
A procedure to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out whether disease is present.
In cancer, survivorship covers the physical, psychosocial, and economic issues of cancer, from diagnosis until the end of life. It focuses on the health and life of a person with cancer beyond the diagnosis and treatment phases. Survivorship includes issues related to the ability to get health care and follow-up treatment, late effects of treatment, second cancers, and quality of life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also part of the survivorship experience.
An indication that a person has a condition or disease. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and pain.
Treatment with anticancer drugs that travel through the blood to cells all over the body.
Therapies that have been designed to act on a particular aspect of cellular functioning that is responsible for making that cell malignant.
Treatment that is given when both initial treatment (first-line therapy) and subsequent treatment (second-line therapy) do not work, or stop working.
A surgeon who specialises in operating on organs inside the chest, including the heart and lungs.
The part of the human body between the neck and the diaphragm, partially encased by the ribs and containing the heart and lungs. Often referred to as the chest.
An enzyme that adds a phosphate residue to a tyrosine, which results in a change in function of the tyrosine protein. Tyrosine kinases play a major role in the cell division process, signalling the section of the cell cycle known as mitosis to begin.
TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor)
A drug that interferes with cell communication and growth and may prevent tumour growth. Some tyrosine kinase inhibitors are used to treat cancer.
A system to describe the amount and spread of cancer in a patient’s body, using TNM. T describes the size of the tumour and any spread of cancer into nearby tissue; N describes spread of cancer to nearby lymph nodes; and M describes metastasis (spread of cancer to other parts of the body). This system was created and is updated by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and the International Union Against Cancer (UICC). The TNM staging system is used to describe most types of cancer. Also called AJCC staging system.
Ability to put up with the effects of a drug due to its continued administration.
The extent to which something is poisonous or harmful.
An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumours may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called neoplasm.
A type of radiation used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases. In low doses, x-rays are used to diagnose diseases by making pictures of the inside of the body. In high doses, x-rays are used to treat cancer.