Glossary

Adenoma A tumour that is not cancer. It starts in gland-like cells of the epithelial tissue (thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands, and other structures within the body).

Adjuvant therapy – Chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy used to kill remaining cancer cells left behind after surgery.

BenignA non-cancerous tumour. These tumours do not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body. Benign tumours usually can be removed and are seldom a threat to life.

BiopsyA surgical procedure in which a piece of tissues removed by a needle or an incision and sent to pathology to determine if it is benign or malignant (see malignant).

Cancer –  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.

Candidiasis – A condition in which Candida albicans, a type of yeast, grows out of control in moist skin areas of the body. It is usually a result of a weakened immune system, but can be a side effect of chemotherapy or treatment with antibiotics. Candidiasis usually affects the mouth (oral candidiasis); however, rarely, it spreads throughout the entire body.

ChemotherapyDrugs that fight cancer; treatment of illness by chemical means.

Chemotherapy nurseA nurse trained to administer chemotherapy.

ChondrosarcomaA cancer composed of cells derived from transformed cells that produce cartilage.

Costello syndrome – A rare, genetic disorder marked by developmental problems, being shorter than normal, mental retardation, heart problems, unusual facial features, and extra folds of skin around the neck, hands, and feet. People with Costello syndrome have an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as rhabdomyosarcoma (a soft tissue tumour) and neuroblastoma (cancer of immature nerve cells).

Cystosarcoma phyllodes  – A type of tumour found in breast or prostate tissue. It is often large and bulky and grows quickly. It may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) and may spread to other parts of the body. Also called CSP and phyllodes tumour.

Diamond Black fan Anaemia (DBA) – A very rare disorder in which the bone marrow doesn’t make enough red blood cells. It is usually seen in the first year of life. Patients may have deformed thumbs and other physical problems. They also have an increased risk of leukaemia and sarcoma, especially osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

Distant cancer – Refers to cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumour to distant organs or distant lymph nodes. Also known as distant metastasis. It refers to cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumour to distant organs or distant lymph nodes.

EchondromaA benign bone tumour of cartilage inside the bone.

Ewing sarcoma  – A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumour and pPNET.

Ewing sarcoma family of tumours – A group of cancers that includes Ewing tumour of bone (ETB or Ewing sarcoma of bone), extraosseous Ewing (EOE) tumours, primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNET or peripheral neuroepithelioma), and Askin tumours (PNET of the chest wall). These tumours all come from the same type of stem cell.

Extraosseous Ewings Sarcoma – A rare type of Ewing sarcoma that forms in soft tissue instead of bone. It usually occurs in the chest, pelvis, thigh, foot, or spine. Extraosseous Ewing tumours usually occur in children and young adults. They belong to a group of cancers called Ewing sarcoma family of tumours. Also called extraskeletal Ewing sarcoma and extraskeletal Ewing tumour

Extraosseos Osteosarcoma  A rare, fast-growing type of cancer that is made up of bone and cartilage cells, and forms in soft tissue near bones. It usually occurs in the thigh, buttock, shoulder, or trunk (chest and abdomen). It often recurs (comes back) after treatment and spreads to other parts of the body, including the lungs. Extraosseous osteosarcoma usually occurs in middle-aged or older adults, and is rare in children and adolescents. It is a type of soft tissue sarcoma. Also called extraskeletal osteosarcoma.

Fibrosarcoma – A type of soft tissue sarcoma that begins in fibrous tissue, which holds bones, muscles, and other organs, that occurs mainly in middle-aged and elderly people.

Giant cell fibroblastoma – A rare type of soft tissue tumour marked by painless nodules in the dermis (the inner layer of the two main layers of tissue that make up the skin) and subcutaneous (beneath the skin) tissue. These tumours may come back after surgery, but they do not spread to other parts of the body. They occur mostly in boys and are related to dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (a rare type of soft tissue sarcoma that develops in the deep layers of the skin).

Gliosarcoma – A type of glioma cancer of the brain that comes from glial, or supportive cells.

Kaposi sarcoma – A type of cancer in which lesions (abnormal areas) grow in the skin, lymph nodes, lining of the mouth, nose, and throat, and other tissues of the body. The lesions are usually purple and are made of cancer cells, new blood vessels, and blood cells. They may begin in more than one place in the body at the same time.

Leiomyosarcoma – A malignant tumour of smooth muscle cells that can arise almost anywhere in the body, but is most common in the uterus, abdomen, or pelvis.

Limb salvage surgery (LSS)Surgery done to remove a tumour while saving the extremity, thus avoiding an amputation.

LiposarcomaA fatty, soft tissue sarcoma.

Localised cancerCancer affecting only the cells of a certain area.

Locally advanced cancer  – Cancer that has spread from where it started to nearby tissue or lymph nodes.

Locally recurrent cancer  – Cancer that has recurred at or near the same place as the original (primary) tumour, usually after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected.

Low grade –  A term used to describe cells and tissue that look almost normal under a microscope. Low-grade cancer cells look more like normal cells and tend to grow and spread more slowly than high-grade cancer cells. Cancer grade may be used to help plan treatment and determine prognosis. Low grade cancers usually have a better prognosis than high-grade cancers and may not need treatment right away.

Lymphangiosarcoma  – A type of cancer that begins in the cells that line the lymph vessels.

Lymphosarcoma – An obsolete term for a malignant tumour of lymphatic tissue.

Malignancy – A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Malignant cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. There are several main types of malignancy. Carcinoma is a malignancy that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. Sarcoma is a malignancy that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. Leukemia is a malignancy that starts in blood-forming tissue, such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood. Lymphoma and multiple myeloma are malignancies that begin in the cells of the immune system. Central nervous system cancers are malignancies that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

Malignant fibrous cytoma – A soft tissue sarcoma that usually occurs in the limbs, most commonly the legs, and may also occur in the abdomen. Also called malignant fibrous histiocytoma.

Malignant fibrous histiocytoma  – A soft tissue sarcoma that usually occurs in the limbs, most commonly the legs, and may also occur in the abdomen. Also called malignant fibrous cytoma.

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour  – A type of soft tissue sarcoma that develops in cells that form a protective sheath (covering) around peripheral nerves, which are nerves that are outside of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Also called MPNST.

Malignant transformationThe rare occasion when a benign tumour changes into its malignant counterpart, for example a lipoma into a liposarcoma.

Mass – A lump in the body. It may be caused by the abnormal growth of cells, a cyst, hormonal changes, or an immune reaction. A mass may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

Margins –  The periphery or edges of the surgical resection around the tumour. Clear margins imply the tumour has been completely removed.

MalignantIndicates that cancer cells are present.

Measurable disease – A tumour that can be accurately measured in size. This information can be used to judge response to treatment.

Medical oncologistA physician who specialises in chemotherapy for cancer.

Metabolic bone disease Not a neoplasm but a bone disease that weakens the skeleton. Examples are: osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, rickets, renal osteodystrophy, osteogenesis imperfecta, and osteomalacia.

Metastasis – The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumour formed by cells that have spread is called a “metastatic tumour” or a “metastasis.” The metastatic tumour contains cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumour.

The plural form of metastasis is metastases

Micrometastasis – Small numbers of cancer cells that have spread from the primary tumour to other parts of the body and are too few to be picked up in a screening or diagnostic test.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)Is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets. When you lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field temporarily realigns hydrogen atoms in your body.

Neo-adjuvant therapyChemotherapy given before surgery or radiotherapy.

Non metastatic cancer  – Is cancer that has not spread from the primary site (place where it started) to other places in the body.

OncologistA physician who specialises in cancer.

Osteogenic sarcoma – A cancer of the bone that usually affects the large bones of the arm or leg. It occurs most commonly in young people and affects more males than females. Also called osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma  – A cancer of the bone that usually affects the large bones of the arm or leg. It occurs most commonly in young people and affects more males than females. Also called osteogenic sarcoma.

Pathologic fracture A break in a bone caused by growth of a benign or malignant tumour. The tumour growth weakens the bone sufficiently for it to break.

PathologistA doctor who identifies diseases(such as cancer) by studying cells under a microscope.

PET Scan – Positron emission tomography scan uses a special dye that has radioactive tracers. These tracers are injected into a vein in your arm. Your organs and tissues then absorb the tracer. When highlighted under a PET scanner, the tracers help your doctor to see how well your organs and tissues are working. The PET scan can measure blood flow, oxygen use, glucose metabolism (how your body uses sugar), and much more.

Phyllodes tumour – A type of tumour found in breast or prostate tissue. It is often large and bulky and grows quickly. It may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) and may spread to other parts of the body. Also called CSP and cystosarcoma phyllodes.

Primary bone cancer –  Is cancer that forms in cells of the bone. Some types of primary bone cancer are osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, and chondrosarcoma.

Primary cancer – A term used to describe the original, or first, tumour in the body. Cancer cells from a primary cancer may spread to other parts of the body and form new, or secondary, tumours. This is called metastasis. These secondary tumours are the same type of cancer as the primary cancer.

PrognosisThe expected outcome of a disease and chances for recovery.

ProsthesisAn artificial replacement for a body part.

ResectionSurgical removal of all or part of an organ, tissue, or structure.

Radiation oncologistA physician who specialises in radiation treatments for cancer.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)Therapy that uses high energy rays or radioactive materials to damage cancer cells, making it more difficult for them to grow in number. Side effects are “sunburned” skin, stiffness and swelling.

Reoccurance – The development of cancerous cells in the same area or another area of the body after cancer treatment.

RhabdomyosarcomaThe most common soft tissue sarcoma of children, occurring in the muscle.

Recurrence – Cancer that has recurred (come back), usually after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected. The cancer may come back to the same place as the original (primary) tumour or to another place in the body. Also called recurrent cancer.

Remission – A decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.

Rhabdoid tumour  – A malignant tumour of either the central nervous system (CNS) or the kidney. Malignant rhabdoid tumours of the CNS often have an abnormality of chromosome 22. These tumours usually occur in children younger than two years.

Rhabdomyosarcoma – Cancer that forms in the soft tissues in a type of muscle called striated muscle. Rhabdomyosarcoma can occur anywhere in the body.

Rothmond-Thomson Syndrome (RTS) – A rare inherited disorder that affects the skin and many other parts of the body, including the bones, eyes, nose, hair, nails, teeth, testes, and ovaries. People with RTS have an increased risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

Sarcoma – A type of cancer that begins in bone or in the soft tissues of the body, including cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, fibrous tissue, or other connective or supportive tissue. Different types of sarcoma are based on where the cancer forms. For example, osteosarcoma forms in bone, liposarcoma forms in fat, and rhabdomyosarcoma forms in muscle. Treatment and prognosis depend on the type and grade of the cancer (how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread).

Sarcomatoid carcinoma – A type of cancer that looks like a mixture of carcinoma (cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs in the body) and sarcoma (cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue). The sarcoma-like cells are often spindle cells. Under a microscope, spindle cells look long and slender.

Second primary cancer  – Refers to a new primary cancer in a person with a history of cancer.

Secondary cancer – A term that is used to describe cancer that has spread to another part of the body from the place in which it started. Secondary cancers are the same type of cancer as the original (primary) cancer. Also called secondary tumour.

Skeletal sarcomaA cancer originating in bone.

Soft tissue sarcoma  – A cancer that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body.

Solid tumour – An abnormal mass of tissue that usually does not contain cysts or liquid areas. Solid tumours may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Different types of solid tumours are named for the type of cells that form them. Examples of solid tumours are sarcomas, carcinomas, and lymphomas. Leukemias (cancers of the blood) generally do not form solid tumours.

Spindle cell sarcoma  – A type of sarcoma that contains spindle cells. Under a microscope, spindle cells look long and slender. Sarcomas are cancers that begin in muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, or other connective or supportive tissue in the body. Spindle cell sarcomas usually occur in adults.

Stable disease – Cancer that is neither decreasing nor increasing in extent or severity.

Stages of cancerThe progression of cancer from mild to severe. Usually indicates if it has spread to deeper tissues or other parts of the body. One method used by doctors to stage different types of cancer is the Tumour, Lymph Nodes, Metastasis (TNM) classification system. In this system, doctors determine the presence and size of the tumour, how many(if any) lymph nodes are involved, and whether or not the cancer has metastasised.  A number (usually 0-4) is assigned to each of the three categories to indicate its severity.

Stage  – The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumour, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

StagingThe process of learning about the extent of the tumour and whether the disease has spread from its original site to other parts of the body.

Steomyelitis – A bone infection.

Synovial sarcoma – A malignant tumour that develops in the synovial membrane of the joints.

Thrush – A condition in which Candida Albicans, a type of yeast, grows out of control in moist skin areas of the body. It is usually a result of a weakened immune system, but can be a side effect of chemotherapy or treatment with antibiotics. Thrush usually affects the mouth (oral thrush); however, rarely, it spreads throughout the entire body. Also called candidiasis and candidosis.

Tumour burden – Refers to the number of cancer cells, the size of a tumour, or the amount of cancer in the body. Also called tumour load.

Uterine sarcoma – A rare type of uterine cancer that forms in muscle or other tissues of the uterus (the small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman’s pelvis in which a fetus develops). It usually occurs after menopause. The two main types are leiomyosarcoma (cancer that begins in smooth muscle cells) and endometrial stromal sarcoma (cancer that begins in connective tissue cells).

Xray High-energy radiation. Used in low doses to diagnose diseases and in high doses to treat cancer.

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