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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

Biopsy

A medical procedure in which a small sample of cells or tissue is taken for examination under a microscope

Chemotherapy

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

Clinical trial

A study that compares the effects of one treatment with 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

Curative (treatment)

A treatment that is intended to cure the cancer

Dysplastic naevi syndrome

A condition in which an individual has a specific type of mole that looks different from a common mole. Dysplastic naevi are usually flat and larger than common moles and have irregular borders. A dysplastic naevus may develop into melanoma, and the more dysplastic naevi a person has, the higher the risk of melanoma

Invasive (cancer)

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

Immunotherapy

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

Immunosuppressive drugs

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

Ipilimumab

A type of immunotherapy that blocks a protein called CTLA 4 on the surface of certain immune cells called T cells; this activates the T cells to find and kill cancer cells. It is administered through a drip into a vein in your arm or chest

Lymph

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

Metastases

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

Neoadjuvant therapy

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

Nivolumab

A type of immunotherapy that blocks a protein called PD 1 on the surface of certain immune cells called T cells; this activates the T cells to find and kill cancer cells. It is administered through a drip into a vein in your arm or chest

Pandemic

A disease that is prevalent around the world

Pembrolizumab

A type of immunotherapy that blocks a protein called PD 1 on the surface of certain immune cells called T cells; this activates the T cells to find and kill cancer cells. It is administered through a drip into a vein in your arm or chest

Pneumonitis

Inflammation of the lungs

Radical lymphadenectomy

Surgery to remove most or all of the lymph nodes that drain lymph from the area around a tumour

Radiotherapy

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

Regimen

Treatment plan

Resection

Surgery to remove tissue

Sentinel lymph node biopsy

Removal and examination of the sentinel node(s) – the first lymph node(s) to which cancer cells are likely to spread from a primary tumour

Stereotactic radiotherapy

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

Steroid

A type of drug used to relieve swelling and inflammation. Some steroid drugs also have antitumour effects

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

T cell

A type of white blood cell

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

Ulcerated (melanoma)

A breakdown of the skin on top of a melanoma. Ulcerated melanomas are more serious than non-ulcerated ones because they have a greater risk of spreading

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

Wide excision

A procedure in which an area of healthy skin and tissue from around the melanoma is removed. This helps to reduce the risk of the melanoma coming back

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