Oops, you're using an old version of your browser so some of the features on this page may not be displaying properly.

MINIMAL Requirements: Google Chrome 24+Mozilla Firefox 20+Internet Explorer 11Opera 15–18Apple Safari 7SeaMonkey 2.15-2.23

ESMO Patient Guides COVID19 1000x250

ACCELERATED RADIOTHERAPY 

A type of radiotherapy treatment in which the total dose of is given over a shorter period of time compared with standard radiotherapy 

ANAEMIA 

A condition in which there is a shortage of haemoglobin  

ANTIBIOTIC 

A type of drug used to treat and prevent bacterial infections 

ANTIBODY 

A protein produced by white blood cells in response to the presence of a specific antigen 

ANTIGEN 

A foreign substance (e.g. viruses, bacteria, chemicals, pollen) that triggers the body’s immune system to produce antibodies in order to fight it off 

ANTIVIRAL 

A type of drug used to treat viral infections 

BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT 

A medical procedure to replace stem cells that have been destroyed by some types of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Healthy stem cells are taken from the bone marrow of a donor or the patient prior to starting chemotherapy or radiotherapy 

BLOOD TRANSFUSION 

A procedure in which whole blood or parts of blood are put into a patient’s bloodstream through a vein 

CHEMOTHERAPY 

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

CHRONIC LEUKAEMIA 

A slowly progressing cancer that starts in blood-forming tissues such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of white blood cells to be produced and enter the blood stream 

CLINICAL TRIAL 

A study that compares the effects of one treatment with another 

COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY  

A scan using x-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of your body 

CONTAGIOUS 

Spread from one person to another 

CORONAVIRUS 

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

COVID-19 

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

COUNSELLOR 

A person trained to give guidance on personal or psychological problems 

CURATIVE (TREATMENT) 

A treatment that is intended to cure the cancer 

DIABETES 

A condition in which the kidneys make a large amount of urine. Usually refers to diabetes mellitus in which there is a high level of sugar in the blood 

DIETICIAN 

A qualified healthcare professional who is an expert on diet and nutrition 

ENDOCRINE THERAPY 

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

ERYTHROPOIETIN-STIMULATING AGENT 

Medications which stimulate the bone marrow to make red blood cells 

FATIGUE 

Overwhelming tiredness 

FEBRILE NEUTROPENIA 

A condition in which there is fever and an abnormally low level of white blood cells which increases the risk of infection and may require intensive treatment and a hospital stay 

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 

GROWTH FACTOR 

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

HAEMOGLOBIN 

A protein in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen  

HIV 

Human immunodeficiency virus, a virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition that leads to progressive failure of the immune system, allowing life-threatening infections and cancers to thrive 

HYPO-FRACTIONATED (RADIOTHERAPY) 

A type of radiotherapy treatment in which the radiotherapy is delivered in fewer, larger doses 

IMMUNE-RELATED SIDE EFFECTS 

Side effects of immunotherapy caused by the increased activity of the immune system 

IMMUNE SYSTEM 

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

IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE DRUGS 

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

IMMUNOTHERAPY 

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

INTENSIVE CARE 

A unit of a hospital that provides continuous monitoring and treatment of seriously ill patients 

INTRAVENOUS 

Administered into a vein 

LYMPH  

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

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 

LYMPHOCYTE 

A type of white blood cell that forms part of our immune system 

LYMPHOMA 

A type of blood cancer that develops in a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes 

MAINTENANCE THERAPY 

Treatment that is given to help keep cancer from coming back after it has disappeared following the initial therapy 

MALARIA 

A mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Symptoms typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting and headaches 

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 

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS 

A chronic illness where the immune system attacks the protective layer around nerve fibres, causing inflammation and scarring, making it difficult for the brain to send signals to the rest of the body. Main symptoms of multiple sclerosis are fatigue and difficulty walking 

MYELOMA 

A type of blood cancer that develops in a type of white blood cells called plasma cells 

NEOADJUVANT THERAPY 

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

PALLIATIVE 

Treatment given to relieve symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer 

PANDEMIC 

A disease that is prevalent around the world 

PARACETAMOL 

A type of drug used to relieve and reduce fever, usually taken in tablet form 

PLASMA CELL 

A type of white blood cell that secretes large amounts of antibodies in response to being presented with a specific antigen 

PNEUMONIA 

An inflammation of the lungs caused by an infection. Symptoms of pneumonia include a cough, difficulty breathing, a high temperature and chest pain 

PNEUMONITIS

An inflammation of the lung tissues without the presence of an infection 

PROPHYLACTIC 

A drug that is given to prevent disease 

PSYCHOTHERAPIST 

A healthcare professional that is trained to treat people for emotional problems 

RADIOTHERAPY 

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

RECURRENCE 

Return of a cancer  

REMISSION 

A disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer 

SELF-ISOLATION 

Staying at home with no contact with anybody outside of your household 

SOCIAL DISTANCING 

Minimising your contact with anybody outside of your household 

SOCIAL WORKER 

A person who is trained to provide advice, support and resources to people in order to help them solve their problems 

STAGE OR STAGING (OF CANCER) 

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

STEM CELLS 

Cells that can develop into many different cell types 

STEM CELL TRANSPLANT 

A medical procedure to replace stem cells that have been destroyed by some types of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Healthy stem cells are taken from the bloodstream of a donor or the patient prior to starting chemotherapy or radiotherapy 

SWAB 

An absorbent pad or piece of material used for taking specimens 

TUMOUR 

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 

VACCINE 

A substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against diseases 

WHITE BLOOD CELLS 

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

X-RAY 

An imaging test, using a type of radiation that can pass through the body, which allows your doctor to see images of inside your body 

This site uses cookies. Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us improve your experience by providing insights into how the site is being used.

For more detailed information on the cookies we use, please check our Privacy Policy.

Customise settings