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ESMO Patient Guides COVID19 1000x250


The destruction of tissue. Ablation can be performed by radiofrequency, microwaves, liquid nitrogen, heat, surgery, hormones, drugs or other methods

Adrenal glands

Glands in the body that produce hormones, such as adrenaline and steroids. They are located above the kidneys


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


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

Cytoreductive (treatment)

A treatment that aims to reduce the number of tumour cells to shrink the tumour


Inflammation in the brain

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


An organ that makes one or more substances, such as hormones, digestive juices, sweat, tears, saliva or milk


Blood in the urine


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


The fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system; it contains infection-fighting white blood cells

Lymph nodes

Small structures throughout the lymphatic system that work as filters for harmful substances, such as cancer cells or bacteria

Lymphatic system

A network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body


Cancerous tumours that have originated from a primary tumour/growth in another part of the body


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


A surgical procedure to remove part or all of a kidney


A disease that is prevalent around the world

Partial nephrectomy

A surgical procedure to remove the part of a kidney that contains cancer. This allows some kidney function to be preserved


Inflammation of the lungs

Radical nephrectomy

Surgical procedure to remove an entire kidney, as well as the nearby adrenal glands, lymph nodes and other surrounding tissue

Radiofrequency ablation

A type of treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperatures via radio waves to damage and kill cancer cells


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

Refractory (disease)

A disease that does not respond to treatment


Treatment plan


Return of a cancer or deterioration in a person’s state of health

Second-line (treatment)

The second treatment given to a patient once the initial (first-line) therapy has not worked or has been stopped because of the occurrence of side effects or other concerns

Stage or staging (of cancer)

The process of determining the extent to which a cancer has grown and spread

Stereotactic radiotherapy

A type of external radiotherapy that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver radiation to a tumour

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

Third-line (treatment)

The third treatment given to a patient when the second-line therapy has not worked or has been stopped because of the occurrence of side effects or other concerns


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

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor

A type of targeted therapy that blocks an enzyme needed to form blood vessels

White blood cell

A type of blood cell that is part of the body’s immune system. White blood cells help the body fight infections

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