Treatment that removes or destroys the function of an organ or system. For example, high dose chemotherapy and radiation before a bone marrow transplant is considered ablative therapy because it wipes out your immune system.
absolute neutrophil count (ANC)
The percentage of polys and bands that are part of your total white blood count. The lower your ANC, the more prone you are to infection.
Treatment used in addition to your main treatment. Often refers to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy added after surgery to increase the chances of curing your disease or keeping it in check.
Hair loss. This often occurs as a result of chemotherapy or from radiation therapy to the head. In most cases, the hair grows back after treatment ends.
Non-conventional treatment that may not be medically proven. Some alternative therapies may have dangerous or even life-threatening side effects. With others, the main danger is that you may lose the opportunity to benefit from conventional therapy. It is recommended that you discuss the use of alternative therapies with your health care team. See also complementary therapy .
The surgical removal of a diseased limb or body part.
Low red blood cell count which can cause you to feel fatigued and have shortness of breath. Anemia can be caused by a variety of conditions and diseases.
Removing sensation by medication, either in a limited area of the body (local or regional) or generally.
A doctor who specializes in giving medicines or other agents that prevent or relieve pain, especially during surgery.
A medication used to kill or limit the growth of bacterial micro-organisms that cause infection .
Drug used to kill organisms that cause disease. Since some cancer treatments can reduce your body's ability to fight infection, antibiotics may be used to treat or prevent (prophylactic) these infections.
Prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.
A medicine that kills fungus, organisms that cause infections. Kids undergoing treatment for cancer are especially vulnerable to fungal infections.
A foreign substance that the body recognizes and reacts against through its immune system.
A medicine used to relieve the symptoms of allergies like hives, stuffy nose, etc.
Compounds that hold back chemical reactions with oxygen (oxidation) and are thought to reduce the risk of some cancers. Examples are vitamins C and E and beta-carotene.
Of oneself- an autologous bone marrow transplant uses your own bone marrow.
Not malignant or cancerous.
Small sample of body tissue.
A lab study to evaluate the amount of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
The infusion of red blood cells or platelets into your blood stream to replace blood loss, to support low blood counts due to chemotherapy or to correct anemia.
The spongy material in the centre of the large bones of the body which makes blood cells; the factory of the blood.
An imaging method that gives important information about the bones, including the location of cancer that may have spread to the bones. A low-dose radioactive substance is injected into a vein and pictures are taken to see where the radioactivity collects, pointing to an abnormality.
Develops when cells in your body begin to grow out of control. Normal cells grow, divide, and die naturally. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new abnormal cells. Cancer cells often travel to other body parts where they grow and replace normal tissue. This process is called metastasis. Cancer cells develop because of damage to DNA. DNA is in every cell and directs all its activities. When DNA becomes damaged, the body is usually able to repair it. In cancer cells, the damage is not repaired. People can inherit damaged DNA, which accounts for inherited cancers. Many times, DNA becomes damaged by exposure to something in the environment, like smoking. Many cancers have no known cause.
A cancer causing agent.
Cancer that arises from epithelial tissue (the lining of an internal organ or the skin).
The basic unit of which all living things are made. Cells replace themselves by splitting and forming new cells (mitosis). The processes that control the formation of new cells and the death of old cells are disrupted in cancer.
Human research studies that test new drugs or treatments and compare them to current, standard treatments. Before a new treatment is used on people, it is studied in the lab. If lab studies suggest the treatment works, it is tested with patients. These human studies are called clinical trials. Questions the researchers want to answer are: Does this treatment work? Does it work better than the one we use now? What side effects does it cause? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Your doctor may suggest a clinical trial. Participation is voluntary.
Long-standing or long-lasting.
Treatment using drugs.
Therapies used in addition to conventional therapy. Some complementary therapies may help relieve certain symptoms of cancer, relieve side effects of conventional cancer therapy, or improve a patient's sense of well-being.
Shows cross section views of various organs being studied as X-rays pass through the patient's body at many angles.
Determining whether blood from the donor is compatible with that from the patient, in preparation for transfusion.
Identifying a disease by its signs or symptoms, and by using imaging procedures and laboratory findings.
Chemical substance carrying inherited information.
Excessive loss of fluids from your body.
A general term for the many minerals necessary to provide the proper environment for the cells of your body. Common electrolytes include calcium, sodium, potassium and chloride.
Surgery undertaken to investigate a situation that other, primarily external diagnostic tests have failed to clarify.
To do with hormones.
Having a temperature above normal.
A group of micro-organisms larger than either bacteria or viruses, which occasionally cause serious infection when your resistance is lowered.
A doctor who specializes in diseases of the digestive (gastrointestinal) tract.
A medication which puts you to sleep to prevent pain during an operation.
White blood cells that help to protect you against bacterial infection; also called "polys", "segs", or neutrophils.
A naturally occurring protein that causes cells to grow and divide. Too much growth factor production by some cancer cells helps them grow quickly. Other growth factors help normal cells recover from side effects of chemotherapy.
The removal of a donor's bone marrow prior to bone marrow transplant.
A doctor who specializes in diseases of the blood and blood-forming tissues.
The study of blood and blood forming organs.
The branch of medical science that treats disorders of the blood, blood forming tissues and tumor cells.
The substance in red cells which carries oxygen.
A general term for loss of blood brought about by injury to the blood vessels or by a deficiency of certain necessary blood elements such as platelets.
Itchy welts on the skin.
A type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system and arises in a lymph node. Named for the doctor who first identified it.
A special kind of care for people in the final phase of illness, their families and caregivers.
A substance made and secreted by a gland and carried in the bloodstream to parts of the body where it has a specific effect on the way the body works.
Considering the patient as a whole--mind, body, and spirit.
The top edge of your hip bone from which marrow is usually taken for diagnosis of blood cell diseases.
A reaction of normal tissues to substances recognized as "foreign" i.e. not self.
The state of your body's defenses against a particular infection or possibly against a certain cancer.
Lowering the body's ability to fight infection.
Treatments that promote or support your immune system's response to a disease such as cancer.
A device that implants a system for delivery of fluids, medicines, or blood directly into a vein. The entire device is surgically implanted under the skin and can be used for an extended period of time.
Invasion of the body by disease producing organisms.
A legal document that explains a course of treatment, the risks, benefits, and possible alternatives; the process by which patients agree to treatment. If you are under 18 years of age, your parents or legal guardian must also sign this form.
The introduction of a fluid into a vein.
Into a vein.
A change in body tissue; sometimes used as another word for tumor.
Decrease in the white blood cell count, often a side effect of chemotherapy.
Cancer of the blood or blood-forming organs. If you have leukemia, you may have a noticeable increase in white blood cells (leukocytes).
A medication given by injection into a part of your body to prevent pain in the area without putting you to sleep.
long term survivor
If you are 5 years from the last sign of disease and at least 2 years off therapy.
Clear fluid that flows through the lymphatic vessels and contains cells known as lymphocytes. These cells are important in fighting infections and may also have a role in fighting cancer.
A part of your body important in the defense again infections; commonly known as glands; in leukemia they enlarge when filled with lymphoblasts.
The tissues and organs (including lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, and bone marrow) that produce and store lymphocytes (cells that fight infection) and the channels that carry the lymph fluid. The entire lymphatic system is an important part of your body's immune system. Invasive cancers sometimes penetrate your lymphatic vessels (channels) and spread (metastasize) to your lymph nodes.
Cancer of the lymphatic system, a network of thin vessels and nodes throughout the body. Lymphoma involves a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The treatment methods for these two types of lymphomas are very different.
Cancerous. If a tumour is malignant it grows uncontrollably and can travel to other parts of the body.
When the meninges, the membranes which cover the brain and the spinal cord, become invaded by leukemic cells.
Tumours that have come from a first (primary) tumour in another part of the body; also know as secondary tumours.
A reduction in platelets, red cells and white cells, as a result of decreased bone marrow activity. Platelets are the blood cells that prevent or stop bleeding. White blood cells help prevent infections.
Magnetic resonance imaging; a form of radiologic examination.
Lining of hollow organs (e.g., mouth, stomach, bladder, etc).
The state of being diseased; ill effects.
A drug that relieves pain and makes you sleepy.
The feeling that you may vomit.
An abnormal growth (tumor) that starts from a single altered cell; a neoplasm may be benign or malignant. Cancer is a malignant neoplasm.
To do with the nerves or nervous system.
Less than the normal number of neutrophils (leukocytes) or "polys" in the circulating blood.
White blood cells that fight bacterial infection.
Cancer of the lymphatic system. What distinguishes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma from Hodgkin's lymphoma is the absence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. This cell is present only in Hodgkin's lymphoma. The treatment methods for Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are very different.
nuclear medicine scan
A method for localizing diseases of internal organs such as the brain, liver, or bone by injecting small amounts of a radioactive substance (isotope) into the bloodstream. The isotope collects in certain organs and a special camera is used to produce an image of the organ and detect areas of disease.
A doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. A pediatric oncologist is a doctor who specializes in children's cancers.
The study of and treatment of cancer.
The study of the eyes.
To do with the bones.
Bone marrow filled with tumor cells or blasts.
Treatment that relieves symptoms, such as pain, but is not expected to cure the disease. The main purpose is to improve your quality of life.
The decrease of all blood cells (red, white, and platelets).
The branch of medicine involved in making diagnoses from the examination of tissues.
To do with children.
Pin-point purple spots caused by bleeding into the skin.
Blood cell which helps to prevent bleeding.
The group of white cells that is important to your ability to resist bacterial infection. A "poly" count of less than 1,000 indicates less than normal protection and considerable risk of infection.
Before surgery/ after surgery.
The expected outcome of a disease and its treatment.
An artificial replacement of, for example, a bone.
A formal outline or plan, such as a description of what treatments you will receive and exactly when each should be given.
The use of x-rays to destroy cancer cells.
A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.
red blood cells
Blood cells that carry oxygen to the cells throughout your body.
Reappearance of cancer after a disease-free period.
Disappearance (not a cure) of detectable disease.
Pertaining to your kidneys.
A tumour of tissue which connects or supports body organs.
A study using either x-rays or radioactive isotopes to produce images of internal body organs.
A drug given to make you drowsy or sleepy.
Finding the true extent of disease. This is done in many ways, including surgery and radiology.
Primitive (premature) cells in the bone marrow that are important in making red cells, white cells, and platelets.
Mouth sores; can be a side effect of some kinds of chemotherapy.
A medicine prepared for insertion into the anus or vagina, where it is generally absorbed into the bloodstream.
Under the skin.
A decrease in the number of platelets in your blood; can be a side effect of chemotherapy.
A collection of cells similar in structure and function.
Poisonous; for example, cytotoxic drugs poison cells.
An abnormal lump of tissue formed by a collection of cells. It may be benign or malignant.
An allergic response to blood products. You may experience hives, chills or headaches.
An imaging method in which high-frequency sound waves are used to outline a part of your body. The procedure can be done to any part of the body - the presence, progression or regression of a tumor or infection can be monitored this way.
The process by which your urine is examined for various factors.
A blood vessel carrying blood which is relatively lacking in oxygen from the tissues towards your heart and lungs. Veins are used to draw blood samples and administer IV fluids because blood in veins is not under pressure.
Dizziness, especially the feeling that your surroundings are swirling.
To eject the contents of your stomach through your mouth.
white blood cells
Cells in your blood that are most important in fighting infection. Examples: neutrophils or "polys", and lymphocytes ("lymphs").
One form of radiation that can be used at low levels to produce an image of the body on film or at high levels to destroy cancer cells.