MY GLOSSARY

  • ADVANCED BREAST CANCER

    Refers to stage III breast cancer, where the cancer can only be found in the same breast as the primary tumour and has not spread to other organs (see page 73), Different Healthcare professionals may use the term in different ways some use it to talk about metastatic breast cancer, but this is when the cancer has spread outside of the breast to other parts of the body

  • ANTI-HORMONAL THERAPY

    A treatment to stop or slow the growth of hormonesensitive tumours. Antihormonal therapy works by blocking the body’s ability to produce hormones or interfering with hormone action.

  • ANAEMIA

    A low number of red blood cells. May lead to feelings of tiredness, weakness or breathlessness.

  • BIOPSY

    Removal of tissue to see if it contains cancer cells. See page 79 for more information.

  • ANTI-EMETIC DRUGS

    Medicines to reduce or prevent nausea.

  • BISPHOSPHONATES

    Also known as bone hardening or bone strengthening treatment. These are drugs to slow or prevent bone damage. They also lower calcium levels.

  • BLOOD COUNT

    A blood test to show the quantities of each type of blood cell within a sample of blood. Also known as a blood cell count.

  • CONSENT

    Agreeing to something, or giving permission for something to be done.

  • CELLS

    Tiny structures that make up all living organisms and the tissues of the body. Cells replace themselves by splitting and forming new cells

  • CT SCAN

    Short for ‘computed tomography scan’. Uses a series of x-rays to create a detailed picture of areas inside the body. You may be given a dye (either to swallow or as an injection) to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly.

  • CHEMOTHERAPY

    A treatment that aims to destroy cancer cells using cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs.

  • EARLY BREAST CANCER

    Breast cancer that has not spread further than the breast or the axillary lymph nodes.

  • CLINICAL TRIAL

    Also called a clinical study. A research study testing how well new medical treatments or approaches work on patients

  • HER2

    Short for human epidermal growth factor 2. A protein involved in normal cell growth. Some breast cancer cells contain many more HER2 receptors than others. This is called being HER2 positive (HER2+).

  • LAB TESTS

    In cancer, these tests look for signs of cancer and its progression. Examples include tumour marker tests and blood counts.

  • HORMONE RECEPTORS (HR)

    A cell protein that binds to a particular hormone. Once the hormone has bound to its receptor, various changes take place in the cell.

  • LYMPH NODES

    Small organs in your body which can indicate cancer spread by becoming inflamed or enlarged. They can be an important tool for assessing the stage of your cancer.

  • IMAGING PROCEDURES

    Also known as imaging tests. These involve making detailed pictures of areas within the body. Examples include CT scans and MRI scans. See page 76 for more information.

  • METASTASES

    Tumours that occur when the cancer spreads beyond where it started in the body. For example, when breast cancer spreads from the breast to the bone.

  • METASTATIC BREAST CANCER (MBC)

    This is cancer that has spread beyond the breast to another part of the body. It may also be referred to as secondary breast cancer.

  • PET SCAN

    Short for ‘positron emission tomography’ scan. A small amount of radioactive liquid is injected into a vein and a scanner then takes a detailed picture that can be used when looking for abnormalities in the body.

  • MRI SCAN

    Short for ‘magnetic resonance imaging’ scan. Uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to create detailed pictures of organs inside the body

  • PROGESTERONE

    One of the two female sex hormones along with oestrogen. Progesterone is released by the ovaries during every menstrual cycle to prepare the breasts for milk production and the womb for pregnancy.

  • OESTROGEN

    One of the two female sex hormones along with progesterone. In women, oestrogen levels change over the course of each menstrual cycle.

  • PROGRESSION

    When tumours get bigger and/or the cancer spreads within the body.

  • PROTOCOL

    In medical terminology this means a plan, such as an agreed process to be followed after someone is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. A protocol may include a treatment plan and cover the practicalities of treatment.

  • RADIOTHERAPY

    The use of high-energy radio waves to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours.

  • RELAPSE

    When cancer returns after a period of improvement.

  • REMISSION

    When tumours shrink (partial remission), in some cases to the extent that they can no longer be detected by tests and scans (complete remission).

  • RANDOMISED TRIAL

    A trial involving at least two different groups of participants. The groups are allocated dierent treatments (which group receives which of the possible treatments is chosen at random).

  • RECURRENCE

    When cancer returns after a period of time during which no cancer could be detected. If this happens, it may occur months or years after the initial treatment. Cancer may recur where it fi rst appeared or elsewhere in the body.

  • SECONDARY BREAST CANCER

    Another name for metastatic breast cancer.

  • STAGES

    The stages of cancer (I-IV or 1-4) are used to explain how far the cancer has spread in your body. See page 73 for further information.

  • STAGE III

    Cancer that has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes immediately around it, but has not reached distant organs. Can also be called locally advanced breast cancer.

  • STAGE IV

    The most advanced stage of breast cancer – when it has become metastatic. See page 73 for more information.

  • TARGETED THERAPY

    A treatment targeting specifi c characteristics of cancer cells to prevent them from growing and dividing.

  • TNM CLASSIFICATION

    Another classifi cation system used by doctors to explain how far the cancer has spread in your body in order to determine your overall stage. – T stages (tumour) – the size of the tumour in the breast. – N stages (nodes) – the extent to which the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes near the breast. – M stages (metastases) – the extent to which the cancer has spread outside of the breast to other parts of the body such as the bone, liver, and lungs. Your doctor puts the TNM results together to give you your overall stage. This is usually what the doctor writes on your test forms.

  • ULTRASOUND

    A scan which uses high frequency sound waves to build up a picture of the inside of the body.

  • X-RAY

    Radiation used for taking pictures or radiotherapy.