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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

Anthracycline

A class of chemotherapy that includes epirubicin and doxorubicin

Biopsy

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

Clinical trial

A study that compares the effects of one treatment with another

Chemotherapy

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

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

Cytoreductive (treatment)

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

Dexamethasone

A synthetic steroid used in the treatment of some types of cancer. It is administered orally

Doxorubicin

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

Echocardiogram

A scan used to look at the heart and nearby blood vessels

Epirubicin

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

Ewing sarcoma

A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue

First-line (treatment)

The initial treatment given to a patient

Gastrointestinal stromal tumour

A type of tumour that usually begins in cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal system

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

Grade

Cancer grade is based on how different tumour cells look from normal cells under a microscope, and on how quickly they grow. The grade will be a value between one and three and reflects the aggressiveness of tumour cells; the higher the grade, the more aggressive the tumour

Haematoma

A pool of clotted or partially clotted blood in an organ, tissue or body space, usually caused by a broken blood vessel

Hypo-fractionated (radiotherapy)

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

Imatinib

A type of targeted therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which works by blocking signals within cancer cells, causing them to die. It is administered as a daily tablet

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

Maintenance therapy

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

Mesenchymal

Relating to cells that develop into connective tissue, blood vessels and lymphatic tissue

Metastasis/metastases

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

Metastatic

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

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

Myelosuppressive (treatment)

Treatment that stops or slows the growth of blood-forming cells in the bone marrow

Neoadjuvant therapy

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

Neutropenia

An abnormally low level of neutrophils in the blood, which increases risk of infection

Neutrophils

A type of white blood cell that play an important role in fighting off infection

Nodule

A growth or lump that may be malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer)

Osteosarcoma

A cancer of the bone that usually affects the large bones of the arm or leg

Palliative

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

Pandemic

A disease that is prevalent around the world

Pazopanib

A type of targeted therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which works by blocking signals within cancer cells, causing them to die. It is administered as a once-daily tablet

Prophylactic growth factors

Growth factors can reduce complications of chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression. They can prevent neutropenia and improve quality of life

Radiotherapy

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

Recurrence

Return of a cancer

Regimen

Treatment plan

Regorafenib

A type of targeted therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which works by blocking signals within cancer cells, causing them to die. It is administered as a once-daily tablet

Relapse

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

Resection

Surgery to remove tissue

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Cancer that forms in the soft tissues of striated muscle

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

Steroid

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

Submucosal

Relating to the layer of tissue under the inner lining of some organs and body cavities that makes mucus

Sunitinib

A type of targeted therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which works by blocking signals within cancer cells, causing them to die. It is administered as a once-daily tablet

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

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

Tyrosine kinase inhibitor

A type of targeted therapy that inhibits tyrosine kinases, which are substances that send growth signals to cells

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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