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ESMO Patient Guides COVID19 1000x250

Adjuvant (treatment)

Additional treatment given after the primary treatment to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back; usually refers to radiotherapy and/or systemic therapy after surgery

Anastomotic leak

A leak of contents from a surgical join, following a procedure to connect healthy sections of tubular structures in the body after the diseased portion has been surgically removed


A type of targeted therapy used to treat some cancers. It is a monoclonal antibody that targets vascular endothelial growth factor and prevents the cancer cells from developing their own blood supply, thus helping to slow down tumour growth

Bowel perforation

A hole in the wall of part of the gastrointestinal tract


Genes which, when mutated (not functioning properly), is associated with a very high risk of breast and ovarian cancer


A type of chemotherapy that is administered through a drip into a vein in your arm or chest


Relating to the circulatory system. Includes the heart and blood vessels


A type of cancer treatment using medicine that kills the cancer cells by damaging them, so that they cannot reproduce and spread


A subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer

Clinical trial

A study that compares the effects of one treatment with another


A group of viruses that cause disease in mammals and birds but may also affect humans


A disease caused by a type of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2

Diverting colostomy

A surgical procedure that brings one end of the large intestine out through the abdominal wall to create a stoma, an opening in the skin where a pouch for collecting faeces is attached

Endocrine therapy

A type of anticancer therapy that reduces the supply of hormones to hormone receptor-dependent cancers


A subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer


Capable of expanding

First-line (treatment)

The initial treatment given to a patient

Gastrointestinal system

The system of organs responsible for getting food into and out of the body and for making use of food to keep the body healthy – includes the oesophagus, stomach and intestines


Genes are pieces of DNA responsible for making substances that your body needs to function

Growth factor

A type of drug used to increase the production of white blood cells in order to reduce the risk of infection

Immunosuppressive drugs

Types of drugs that suppress or reduce the strength of the body's immune system


A type of cancer treatment that stimulates the body’s immune system to fight the cancer

Infiltrative (cancer)

A cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues

Intestinal obstruction

A partial or complete block of the small or large intestine that keeps food, liquid, gas and stool from moving through the intestines in a normal way

Invasive (cancer)

A cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues

Immune system

The organs and processes of the body that help to prevent and fight off infections

Maintenance (treatment)

Treatment given after the initial cycles of chemotherapy with the aim of keeping the cancer under control


A cancer that has spread from its site of origin to different parts of the body


A subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer

Multidisciplinary team

A group of healthcare workers who are members of different disciplines (e.g. oncologist, nurse specialist, physiotherapist, radiologist) and provide specific services to the patient. The activities of the team are brought together using a care plan


A permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene, such that the sequence differs from what is found in most people and alters the function of the related protein

Neoadjuvant (therapy)

Treatment given as a first step to shrink a tumour before the main treatment, which is usually surgery


A type of chemotherapy that is administered through a drip into a vein in your arm or chest


Inflammation of the peritoneum, the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen


A hole

Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP)

An enzyme involved in repairing DNA


A drug that is given to prevent disease


Treatment involving the use of high-energy radiation, which is commonly used to treat cancer


Relating to the organs responsible for taking in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the body. Includes the lungs and trachea


The most common subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer

Systemic (therapy)

Drugs that spread throughout the body to treat cancer cells wherever they may be. They include chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy

Targeted therapy

A type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to precisely identify and attack cancer cells, usually while doing little damage to normal cells


A lump or growth of abnormal cells. Tumours may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). In this guide, the term ‘tumour’ refers to a cancerous growth, unless otherwise stated

Venting percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy [PEG] tube

A tube that is passed into a patient's stomach through the abdominal wall in cases of a bowel obstruction to prevent and manage nausea and vomiting

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