Search Glossary:

A

Acute
Description of any intense sensation such as pain or the description of a disease with rapid onset, severe symptoms and short duration.
Acute Hospital
Provides surgery, investigations, operations, serious and other treatments in a hospital setting.
Adenocarcinoma
A malignant tumour of glandular tissue.
Adjuvant therapy
A treatment given in addition to the main treatment for example chemotherapy as well as surgery to prevent the cancer from coming back and to improve cure rates. Adjuvant radiotherapy aims to augment the effectiveness of the primary treatment.
AFP
Alpha-fetoprotein, a substance found in the bloodstream of some men with testicular cancer. A blood test is used to measure the progress of the disease.
AHP
Allied Health Professional. These include but are not limited to the following groups of healthcare workers: physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropodists/podiatrists, orthoptists, diagnostic radiographers, speech and language therapists.
AP
Action Plan
Apoptosis
Death of a cell.
ARSAC
Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee (license use of radioactive materials).
Ascites
Excess fluid in the abdomen.

B

BASO
British Association of Surgical Oncologists (includes breast surgeons).
BCS
Breast Conserving Surgery
Benign
Tumour that is not malignant or condition that does not produce harmful effects.
Biopsy
A piece of body tissue taken so that cells can be looked at under a microscope.
Blastoma
An aggressive tumour arising from embryonic tissue.
Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT)
Technique of using normal bone marrow cells to replace malignant or defective bone marrow in a patient.
Brachiotherapy
Treatment which involves placing a source of radiation directly within the tumour and employs radioactive plaques, needles, tubes, wires, or small "seeds" made of radionuclides. These radioactive materials are placed over the surface of the tumour or implanted within the tumour, or placed within a body cavity surrounded by the tumour.
Breast Cancer
Cancer of the breast tissue, the commonest malignant disease in women.
Bronchial cancer
Cancer of the lung. Cigarette smoking is responsible for most cases of bronchial carcinoma

C

Cancer
Abnormal and unregulated proliferation of cells (when the normal division of cells gets out of control) that result in invasion and destruction of surrounding healthy tissue. Cancer cells arise from normal cells whose nature has been permanently changed. Cancer cells are spread by blood and lymphatics to other parts of the body to form metastases.
Cancer Network
Cancer Networks were organisations originally created in response to the NHS Cancer Plan. They have a remit to drive change and improve cancer services for the population in specific areas.
Cancer Registries
Collections of cancer data, e.g. types of cancer, where they occur, how advanced they are. The availability of information varies as it relies on reporting of staging information by practices and clinicians.
Carcinoma
A cancer of the epithelial or skin tissue that covers all the organs and lines the body cavities. Most cancers are carcinomas.
Care Pathway
A description of the journey taken (or intended to be taken) through a clinical service
Care Quality Commission
National body authorised by parliament to regulate healthcare in both public and private sectors. The NHS Cancer Peer Review Programme works in partnership with the CQC.
CEO
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), also Chief Executive (CE).
Chemotherapy
Drug treatment usually with anticancer (cytotoxic) drugs. A course of treatment usually takes several months. They are usually given by IV infusion (slowly injected into a vein), but can be given orally (in pill form).
Chronic
Describes a disease of long duration, usually with slow progression
Clinical audit
The continuous evaluation and measurement by health professionals of the extent to which they are meeting standards that have been set for their service.
Clinical Governance
Process by which an organisation ensures its clinical care is of high quality and is both safe and effective
Clinical network
A group of services which work together across organisational boundaries to provide better patient care.
Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. They are the final step in a long process that begins with research in a lab. Most treatments we use today are the results of past clinical trials.
CNS
Clinical Nurse Specialist – a nurse with specialist training and experience in a particular area of cancer.
COG
Clinical Outcomes Group
Colorectal Cancer
Cancer of the colon and/or rectum. Now often called bowel cancer as cancers of the colon and rectum are grouped together because they both affect the bowel.
CPA
Clinical Pathology Accreditation run by Royal College of Pathologists
CPD
Continuing Professional Development
CPPIH
Commission for Public and Patient Involvement in Health
CPR
Cancer Partnership Groups
CSCIP
Cancer Services Collaborative Improvement Partnership
CT Scan (CAT Scan)
Computerised tomography scanner which uses x-rays to generate detailed cross sections of internal body structures.
Cytoscopy
A bladder investigation using endoscopy.
Cytotoxic
Drugs that destroy cells and are used to treat cancer. Also affect normal rapidly dividing cells such as hair follicles and lining of gut.

D

DCC
Direct Clinical Care programme (consultants job plan)
Digital Mammography
Digital Mammography is the digital capture of mammographic images, providing greater resolution and clarity than conventional mammography
DoH
Department of Health
Dyskarkosis
Abnormal cells which if left untreated could develop into cancer.

E

EBRT
External Beam Radiation Therapy
Endoscopy
Investigation of various body cavities by optical instrument.
Epithelial tissue
The skin tissue that covers the outside and inside of the body. It covers all the body organs and lines all the tubes and cavities. Cancers of epithelial tissue are called carcinomas.
EPS
Electronic Prescribing System
EQA
External Quality Assurance (EQA) scheme to promote high quality histological reporting.
ERP
Enhanced Recovery Programme; a programme of pre- and post- operative care designed to improve patient outcomes and speed up a patient's recovery after surgery
EV
External Verification is a check of selected internally validated self assessments led by the zonal cancer peer review coordinating teams, in order to confirm that the Internal Validation (IV) was performed effectively. This check takes the form of a desktop exercise

F

Fibroma
Benign tumour. Treatment not required unless it is causing problems
FNA
Fine Needle Aspiration
Fraction
One session which is part of a course of radiotherapy.

G

Gynaecological Cancer
Cancer relating to the ovaries, cervix, vulva, endometrium and associated structures.
Gynaecologist
Specialist in diseases of female sex organs; ovaries, fallopian tubes, womb and vulva.

H

HA/StHA
Health Authority/Strategic Health Authority
HC
Healthcare Commission formerly known as CHAI
HDU
High Dependency Unit, usually for very sick patients. It forms an intermediate stage between an intensive care unit and a ward.
HNA
Holistic Needs Assessment
Hormone therapy
Diverse group of drugs, which are beneficial in cancer therapy by blocking the substance, which stimulates cancer cells, e.g. tamoxifen.

I

ICAS
Independent Conciliation and Advocacy Service
ICRU
International Commission on Radiological Units
Immediate Risk
An Immediate Risk is an issue that is likely to result in harm to the patient or staff or have a direct impact on patient outcome and requires immediate action.
Immunocompromised
Condition where the immune system is inhibited, either due to disease or the administration of immuno-suppressive drugs. Some drugs, e.g. most chemotherapeutic agents, have immuno-suppression as a side effect.
Immunotherapy
Treatment that stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer interferon and interleukin 2 are immunotherapies
IMRT
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
Internal Validation
Internal Validation (IV) is the process by which the Trust or Network uses its own governance processes to assure the accuracy of its self-assessment of compliance against the National Cancer Peer Review measures
Intrathecal Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy administered via spinal injection. Subject to enhanced clinical governance arrangements due to historical problems
Invasion
In oncology, the destruction of healthy tissue by a malignant tumour
IOG
Improving Outcome Guidance – guidance drawn from an evidence base to indicate how services should be organised to improve clinical outcomes.
IP
Information Prescription
IPEM
Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
Ipsilateral
One side of the body
ITC
Intrathecal Chemotherapy
ITCU
Intensive Care Unit
ITU
Intensive Therapy Unit

J

JCCO
Joint Committee for Clinical Oncology

L

Laparoscopy
Procedure using a flexible tube of optic fibres to look inside the body and collect tissue samples
Leucopoenia
Reduction in the white cells often caused by Cytotoxic drugs
Linac
Colloquial name for a Linear accelerator - major capital equipment used to generate radiation used in external beam radiotherapy
LINk
Local Involvement Network replaced Public and Patient Involvement forums
LIT
Local Implementation Team
Localised Cancer
A cancer that involves only the tissue where it started and the tissue next to it. A localised bone cancer would only be found in the bone where it started and possible in the tendon and muscle next to it.
Locality
Sub unit of organisation of a cancer network. Usually consists of an NHS (Hospital) Trust and the Primary Care Trusts within that trusts patient catchment area, although other arrangements are possible.
LST
Local Support Team
LUCADA
National Lung Cancer Data Audit Project.
Lumpectomy
Removal of a malignant lump conserving as much of the surrounding tissue as possible
Lymph glands (Lymph nodes)
Glands, which fight infection and filter body fluid found particularly in the armpits, neck and groins.
Lymphatic system
Made up of lymph glands, lymphatic vessels and the spleen
Lymphocytopenia
Decrease of the number of lymphocytes in the blood.
Lymphoedema
Swelling due to abnormal accumulation of lymph where lymph vessels are blocked, damaged or removed.

M

Malignant
Tumour that is invasive and destroys the tissue in which it originates. A tumour, which will metastasise. In more general terms tending to cause death, disposed to do harm.
Mammogram/Mammography
X-ray examination of the breast to look for early signs of cancer
Marker
Chemical substance produced by a cancer and used to monitor the progress of the disease. This is usually measured by a blood test.
MDTM
Multi-disciplinary Team meeting
Metastases, “Mets”
Areas of cancer spread as in ‘metastastic breast cancer’. Breast cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body such as the bones.
Minimum Data Set
A standard set of data items, concepts and definitions to enable the production of national and nationally comparable information. These data items will meet the needs of clinical audit, assist in the generation of National Performance Indicators and will allow outcome assessment.
Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery is microscopically controlled surgery used to treat common types of skin cancer. It is a precise surgical technique that is used to remove all parts of cancerous skin tumours, while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.
Monitor
Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts
Morbidity rates
Information relating to disease, expressed as a rate (for example number of cases per 1M population).
Mortality rates
The number of deaths in a given period and for a given size of population.
MRI
Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Scan using magnetism to build up a picture of the organs inside the body.
MRI Scanner
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner – also known as MR scanner. An imaging technique with particular value in certain clinical presentations
Mutation
A change in a gene. If a gene is mutated, the protein it makes will be abnormal. It can also alter how a gene works
Myelosuppression
Reduction in blood cell production by the bone marrow, which can occur after chemotherapy.

N

NCAG
National Chemotherapy Advisory Group.
NCEPOD
National Confidential Enquiry into Peri Operative Death – A long running national audit of surgical practice and organisation designed to reduce preventable mortality.
NCG
Network Radiotherapy Group
NCGSC
National Cancer Guidance Steering Groups
NCIN
National Cancer Intelligence Network
NCRI
National Cancer Research Institute
NCRN
National Cancer Research Network
Neutropenia
Decrease in the number of white cells (neutrophils), which occurs after chemotherapy.
NHSBSP
National Health Breast Screening Programme
NICE
National Institute for Clinical Excellence
NIII
National Institute for Innovation and Improvement
NMC
Nursing and Midwifery Council (Regulatory body for registered nurses and midwives).
NMR
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
Non small cell lung cancer
Squamous cell, Adenocarcinoma and large cell lung cancers. These are grouped together as they behave in similar ways and respond roughly to the same type of treatment.
NOPG
Network Oncology Pharmacy Group
NPG
National Priorities Guidance
NRAG
National Radiotherapy Advisory Group.
NRG
Network Radiotherapy Group
NSSG
Network Site Specific Group. A sub group of a cancer network which co-ordinates the care delivered across the network for a given tumour site (e.g. breast).

O

OG
Oesophago-gastric
Oncologist
Specialist doctor treating cancer. A consultant clinical oncologist usually treats patients with radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. A consultant medical oncologist normally specialises in chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
Oncology
Study and practice of treating tumours. Can be divided into medical, surgical and radiation oncology.
OSC
Overview And Security Committee

P

PACS
Picture Archiving and Communications System – Computer system used to store and share digital radiographic images across a local or wide area network.
Palliative
Medication, treatment or care that gives temporary relief of symptoms but does not cure disease.
Palliative Treatment
Medication, treatment or care that gives temporary relief of symptoms such as pain and sickness but does not cure the disease
PALS
Patient Advice and Liaison Service
PAM’s
Professions Allied to medicine, e.g. physiotherapists
PCT
A Primary Care Trust (PCT) is a local organisation that commissions services from Hospital Trusts, local authorities and other agencies that provide health and social care locally in order to meet the health needs of the local community.
PET
Scanner Positron Emission Tomography – a relatively new scanning technique that is particularly useful in certain clinical presentations.
PET scan
Positron Emission Tomography. A scanner, which uses a radioactive drug (tracer) which shows how the body tissues are working as well as what they look like
PFI
Private Finance Initiative – a method for procuring new services, building or equipment that involves the private sector providing the required capital and the leasing the facility back to the NHS over a substantial period e.g. 25 years.
POSCU
Paediatric Oncology Shared Unit
PPI
Patient and Public Involvement
Primary Cancer (Primary Tumour)
Site where the cancer started. The type of cell that has become cancerous will be the primary cancer. If a biopsy from a liver or lung contains cancerous breast cells, then the primary cancer is breast cancer.
Prognosis
The likely outlook for someone with a disease. Whether it is likely to be cured or controlled by the disease.
PSA test
Prostate specific antigen test. A blood test used to help diagnose prostate cancer
PTC
Primary Treatment Centre
PTV
Planned Target Volume (radiography planning)

Q

QUART
Quality Assurance in Radiotherapy

R

Radiographer
Person qualified to operate radiotherapy machines and take x-rays. Radiographers can specialise in either diagnostic or therapeutic functions.
Radiologist
A doctor who specialises in reading X-rays and scans and carries out scans and other X-ray techniques.
Radiotherapy
Cancer treatment using high-energy rays. It can take the form of ‘external beam radiation’, which is aimed to destroy the tumour and surrounding tissue or ‘conformal’ radiotherapy, which is a more targeted approach to minimise radiation to the surrounding area or ‘intraluminal radiation’ which places a radioactive source close to the cancer. ‘Rad’ stands for radiation absorbed dose. Gy (Gray) is a measurement unit of absorbed radiation
RAG
A rating system that uses the colours of traffic lights; Red, Amber, Green.
RCR
Royal College of Radiologists
Remission
If a cancer is in remission, there is no sign of it on any scan or on examination.
Resection
the surgical removal of part of an organ, bone, or other body part
RPLND
Retro-peritoneal lymph node dissection.

S

SALT
Speech and Language Therapist
Sarcoma
Cancer that has developed from cells of the body’s connective tissue, such as muscle, bone, nerves blood vessels and fat.
Secondary Cancer ‘Secondaries’
Cancer spread. Cells have broken away from the primary cancer and spread to another part of the body, where they have started to grow. They are treated according to their type. For example breast cancer cells in the lung respond to the treatment for breast cancer not lung cancer.
Serious Concern
A Serious Concern is an issue that, whilst not presenting an immediate risk to patient or staff safety, could seriously compromise the quality or outcome of patient care and requires urgent action to resolve.
SHA
Strategic Health Authority
SHO
Senior House Officer
SIF
Service Improvement Facilitator
SIL
Service Improvement Lead, core member of a cancer network
SLA
Service Level Agreement
SMDT
Specialist Multi-Disciplinary Team.
SNB/SLNB
Sentinel Node Biopsy/Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy.
Spinal Cord Compression
A condition, which needs prompt treatment as the damage done to the spinal cord by a primary tumour or metastastic disease, can cause paralysis.
SpR
Specialist Registrar
Squamous
Consisting of a single layer of plate like cells. A covering resembling scales
SSG T/N/CSSG
Site Specific Group, Tumour/Network/Cancer/Site Specific group
Staging
Most cancers have four stages. Each stage represents the size of the tumour and how far it is spread.
Supranetwork
Specialised services for rarer cancers provided by a group of networks from whom the multi-disciplinary expertise is drawn.
Systematic treatment
Treatment covering the whole body used in cases where the cancer has spread.

T

TRUS
Trans Rectal Ultrasound – an imaging technique of value in urology.
Tumour
A growth or enlargement that causes a swelling. It is also called a neoplasm. A tumour can be localised or spreading, harmless or cancerous. It is named after its location, or its cellular make up or for the person who identified it.
TWG
Tumour Working Group
TYA
Teenagers and Young Adults

U

UAT
Upper Aero- digestive Tract
Ultrasound
Scan using sound waves to build up a picture of the inside of the body.
Upper GI
Upper Gastro-Intestinal

W

WTE
Whole Time Equivalent

Acknowledgements

My Cancer Treatment would like to acknowledge and thank NHS Choices, Department of Health, National Cancer Intelligence Network and Macmillan as information sources, referenced to support the information provided in My Cancer Treatment.