Abdominal CT scan: – A series of x-ray pictures taken of the abdomen by a machine that encircles the body like a giant tube. Computers are then used to generate cross-sectional images of the inside of the body.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding: – refers to vaginal bleeding at any time during the menstrual cycle other than normal menstruation Abscess: – A pus-filled cavity.
Acini: the terminal divisions of a gland that combine to form a lobule.
Adenocarcinomas: malignant tumours occurring in glandular tissue.
Adenoma: – A benign (non-cancerous) tumour made up of cells that form glands (collections of cells surrounding an empty space.) Adipose tissue: tissue consisting of fat cells.
Adjuvant chemotherapy: therapy that is given literally to ‘help’ another type of therapy. It usually refers to radio- or chemotherapy given after surgery. Adjuvant analgesics are also used in pain control.
Adnexa: – common name for tubes and ovaries.
Aetiology: the pathology behind the disease.
Alkylating agents: chemotherapeutic drugs that bind to DNA during cell division, killing the cell.
Alopecia: loss of hair.
Anaplasia: a change in cell character by loss of differentiation and reversion to a more primitive form.
Anaplastic cancer: – Cancer cells that divide rapidly and revert to an undifferentiated form with no orientation to one another
Anemia: – A condition characterized by a deficiency in red blood cells. This can lead to fatigue, among other symptoms.
Angiography: – A radiographic technique used to visualize blood vessels. A contrast medium (a dye) is usually injected into the vessels to make them appear white on the xrays.
Anorexia: -A condition marked by a diminished appetite and aversion to food. Often results in physical signs of wasting.
Antibody: – Any of a large number of proteins that are produced normally by specialized B cells after stimulation by an antigen and act specifically against the antigen in an immune response
Anticipatory vomiting: feeling nauseous and vomiting in anticipation of treatment. Antidepressants: drugs that alleviate the symptoms of depression; some antidepressants also have pain-relieving properties.
Antiemetic: a drug used to control nausea and vomiting (emesis is another term for vomiting).
Antigen: – Usually a protein or carbohydrate substance capable of stimulating an immune response
Aorta: – the largest blood vessel in the body that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It descends from the heart downwards.
Apoptosis: programmed cell death.
Areola: the pigmented area surrounding the nipple.
Ascites: – The collection of excess amounts of fluid in the abdominal cavity (belly). It often is a sign that the cancer has spread to either the liver or the portal vein that goes to the liver. If normal liver function is affected, a complex set of biochemical checks and balances is disrupted and abnormal amounts of fluid are retained.
Aspiration: the drawing of fluid or tissue by suction.
Assay: – Analysis to determine the presence, absence, or quantity of one or more components
Asymptomatic: displaying no symptoms.
Atypical hyperplasia: an uncharacteristic pattern of increased growth.
Autosomal dominant: describes a genetic condition in which the defective gene is dominant and is inherited by 50% of the offspring of either sex.
Axilla: the region between the arm and the thoracic wall.
Axillary dissection: removal of cancerous or potentially cancerous tissue, often lymph tissue, from the axilla.
Bacteria – Very small living organisms made of only one cell. Some cause disease and infection in humans, but others are very helpful to humans.
Benign tumour: – A tumour which is non-cancerous. These generally grow slowly and do not invade adjacent organs or spread (metastasize) beyond the ovaries.
Bilaterality: involving both sides; in this case, meaning both breasts. biopsies: removal of cells or tissues for histological examination. brachial plexus: a collection of nerves located in the neck and axilla.
Biliary tree: – Branched bile ducts much like a tree
Biomarker: – A distinctive usually biochemical indicator of a biological or geochemical process or event
Biopsy – A test in which a tiny sample of tissue is taken from the body to be tested at a laboratory.
Bladder Cancer: – Bladder cancer refers to any of several types of malignant growths of the urinary bladder. It is a disease in which abnormal cells multiply without control in the bladder.
Bladder symptoms: – Symptoms related to the bladder and urination.
Bleeding after sex: – Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse
Borderline tumour: – Borderline (low malignant potential (LMP)) tumours are a borderline form of cancer that may eventually spread and invade other tissues. This is a gray zone. A pathologist can distinguish those LMP tumours that are more likely to eventually spread and progress (and therefore require more aggressive treatment) from LMP tumours that do not tend to progress.
Brachytherapy: a technique of implanting sealed radioactive sources into or close by a tumour to localise the delivery of radiation.
BRCA1: a susceptibility gene for breast cancer.
BRCA2: a susceptibility gene for breast cancer.
Cachexia: – A dramatic weight loss and general wasting that occurs during chronic disease.
Calcification: the depositing of calcareous matter within tissues.
Cancer: disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably. May invade nearby tissues and spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body (metastasis).
Cancerogenesis: – a process of cancer formation. Can be simply explained as excessive and uncontrolled multiplication of cells.
Carboplatin: – Generic name for chemotherapy drug Paraplatin®
Carcinogen: – A cancer-causing agent.
Carcinogenesis: the evolution of an invasive cancer cell from a normal cell.
Carcinoma: – A malignant (cancerous) new growth. These tumours infiltrate into surrounding tissues and, if untreated, will spread to other organs, and may eventually lead to the patient’s death.
Catheter: – A small, flexible tube inserted into the body to inject or suck out fluids. Cellular differentiation: a description of how well or poorly organised cells are within a tissue.
Cervical Cancer – Occurs when the cells on the cervix undergo changes and develop into cancer.
Cervical Cancer Screening – Testing women who have no symptoms to check for and treat any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix so that cervical cancer doesn’t develop.
Cervix – The lower 5 centimetres or so of a woman’s uterus (or womb). The opening in the cervix allows a baby or blood from a menstrual period to pass from the uterus into the vagina.
Chemotherapy: the use of chemical agents to control disease.
Cirrhosis: – Disfiguration of normal liver structure by increase in fibrous tissue and the formation of small irregular masses that is caused by any of various chronic conditions affecting the liver (long term alcohol abuse or hepatitis)
Cisplatin: – Generic name for chemotherapy drug Platinol®
Cohort: – a group of individuals who share a common characteristic
Colonoscopy: – Visual examination of the inside of the colon (large intestine) by means of a colonoscope (elongated flexible fiberoptic endoscope).
Colposcope – A magnifying tool used to closely examine the cervix.
Colposcopist – A doctor who performs the colposcopy examination. In Alberta, colposcopy is only performed by doctors who specialize in women’s reproductive systems
Colposcopy – An exam in which the cervix is looked at with a magnifying tool called a colposcope.
Combination chemotherapy: the use of two or more chemotherapeutic agents together in treatment.
Comedo necrosis: where cancer cells invade the lumen of the lactiferous ducts, then die and necrose.
Comedo: where lactiferous ducts fill with cells that resemble sebaceous secretions and can be expressed by squeezing.
Complex carbohydrates: carbohydrate molecules made up of two (disaccharide) or more (polysaccharide) simple sugars linked together.
Computed tomography (CT) scan: – A series of x-ray pictures taken by a machine that encircles the body like a giant tube. Computers are then used to generate cross-sectional images of the inside of the body.
Connective tissue: tissue that supports the specialised elements of the parenchyma.
Contralateral: the opposite side; in this case, the opposing breast.
Contrast agent (or medium): – A dye, taken by mouth or injected, that is sometimes used during x-ray examinations to highlight areas that otherwise might not be seen.
Cooper’s ligaments: a group of arching fibres holding the breast to the chest.
Curettage: – a part of Dilation & Curetage (DC) means taking samples of the uterine lining with an instrument called curette. Samples are then examined under microscope.. Cyclophosphamide: – Generic name for chemotherapy drug Cytoxan®
Cyst: – A fluid filled sac. Some tumours of the biliary tree, including mucinous cystadenocarcinomas are cystic. These have a distinct appearance in CT scans. They are important to recognize because the treatment of cystic tumours can differ from that for solid tumours.
Cystadenoma: – A fluid-filled sac Cytotoxic: cell-killing.
Cytoxan®: – Trade / brand name for chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide
Debulking procedures: the surgical removal of as much tumour tissue as possible in order to improve symptoms and increase the effectiveness of further therapy.
Diaphragm: – A dome shaped muscle that separates the lungs and heart from the abdomen. This muscle assists in breathing.
Diethylstilbesterol — Teratogenic Agent: – There is strong evidence to indicate that the use of Diethylstilbesterol during pregnancy may cause a teratogenic effect on the foetus. A teratogen is a substance that can cause birth defects. The likelihood and severity of defects may be affected by the level of exposure and the stage of pregnancy that the exposure occurred at.
Diethylstilbestrol: – A synthetic non-steroidal oestrogen
Differentiate: – To develop specialized form, character, or function differing from that of surrounding cytoplasm, cells, or tissue from the original type
Differentiation: a well-differentiated cell is highly specialised, structurally highly organised and clearly recognisable. A poorly differentiated cell is structurally poorly organised and difficult to recognise. Malignant cells are poorly differentiated because they have lost the control mechanisms that maintain cellular integrity.
Dilation and Curettage: – this procedure is obligatory whenever extra menstrual or abnormal uterine bleeding occurs. First, cervical canal is widened, and then samples of cervical lining are taken. Then curettage is done. Procedure is done under anaesthesia. Disease-free interval: the period between successful disease treatment in the first instance and recurrence of the disease.
Disseminated: – Widely dispersed in a tissue, organ, or the entire body
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): – The part of every cell that carries all genetic information. Douching – The internal cleansing of the vagina with a solution. Unless a healthcare provider prescribes this, it’s not necessary and can actually cause other problems. Drill biopsy: a procedure in which a hollow drill is used to sample a core of tissue for analysis.
Ductal carcinomas: cancers in the ductal tissue of the breast.
Dysplasia: – A precancerous condition in which cells which are very similar to cancer cells grow in an organ but have not yet acquired the ability to invade into tissue or metastasize (spread to areas distant from where they started). This is a stage which can be cured.
–ectomy: – Surgical removal of a structure or part of a structure. For example, ovariectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries
Eczematoid: – resembling an inflammation of the skin, normally demonstrating a combination of vesicular, papular and exudative lesions.
Endometriosis: – The presence and growth of functioning endometrial tissue in places other than the uterus that often results in severe pain and infertility Endometrium: – uterine lining.
Endoscopy: – A procedure whereby a flexible fiber-optic tube is inserted into the oesophagus, stomach or small intestine through the mouth (upper endoscopy) or into the large intestine through the anus (lower endoscopy) to look for abnormalities.
Epidermal growth factor: a growth factor that is important in the development of the foetus and in wound repair in adults.
Epithelial ovarian cancer: – Epithelial ovarian cancer is derived from the cells on the surface of the ovary. This is the most common form of ovarian cancer and occurs primarily in adults.
Epithelium: the external skin of an organ or body.
Erythema: a redness of the skin.
Excision biopsy: the cutting away of a tissue sample for later analysis. Excrescence: – A projection or outgrowth especially when abnormal
Exercise: – The use of the human muscles to improve one’s health
Exophytic: – growing outward; spreading externally or on the surface epithelium of where the growth originated
Extreme drug resistance (EDR) assay: – The EDR assay is an in vitro chemoresistance assay performed on tumour samples grown in culture. The assay is claimed to predict drugs unlikely to produce response during chemotherapy.
Fallopian tubes: – or uterine tubes. They connect uterus with ovaries. After ovulation egg travels through the tubes to the uterus.
Fascia: the fibrous tissue between structures in the body, such as muscles.
Female genital organ tumours: – Tumours affecting the female genital organs, whether cancerous or benign.
Fibroadenomas: benign tumours containing both fibrous and glandular elements.
Fibroadenosis: the condition patients suffer from when they have a fibroadenoma.
Fibrocystic disease: cystic disease of the breast in which women develop cysts in their breast tissue that tend to be a focus for inflammation and infection.
Fibrosis: thickening and scarring of connective tissue.
Fine needle aspiration: collection of a fluid or tissue sample by insertion of a fine-gauge needle into the tissue and applying suction.
Follicle stimulating hormone: a gonadotrophic hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates ripening of eggs in the ovary.
Frequent urination: – Urinating more often than normal
Genital system cancer: – A malignancy that affects the genital system
Germ cell ovarian cancer: – Germ cell ovarian cancer is derived from the egg producing cells within the body of the ovary. This occurs primarily in children and teens and is rare by comparison to epithelial ovarian cancers.
Germ line mutations: mutations in the inherited genetic code in the cells of the body.
Gestagens: – hormones that “secure” pregnancy. Their level is high during pregnancy and they add to relaxing (act against contracting) of the uterus and thus prevent premature contractions.
Granulomatous inflammation: – A mass or nodule of chronically inflammed tissue with granulation that is usually associated with an infective process
Gynaecologist – A doctor who specializes in issues associated with women’s reproductive systems.
Haematogenous spread: the spread of disease by blood-borne metastases.
Healthcare Provider – A person who works to promote health and identify, prevent, and/or treat illness or disability. This may include a physician/doctor, nurse, or nurse practitioner.
Hemorrhagic: – A copious discharge of blood from the blood vessels HER-2: human epidermal growth factor receptor gene.
Heterogeneous: being composed of a mixture of different things.
Histological grade: (of a tumour) a description of how differentiated a tumour cell is.
Histological grading: applying a grade to tumour cells.
Hormonal therapy: anti-cancer therapy that interferes with the influence of sex hormones on tumour cells.
Hormone replacement therapy: the use of female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) for the relief of symptoms resulting from ovarian function.
Hormones – Chemicals produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – A common virus of which some types can cause abnormal cell changes on the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer if left untreated.
Human epidermal growth factor receptor: a membrane receptor for the human epidermal growth factor.
Hyperplasia: increased growth.
Hysterectomy – An operation to remove the uterus (womb). Sometimes the cervix is also removed.
Immunogenic: – Relating to or producing an immune response
In situ: – A term used to indicate that cancerous cells are present in the lining of an organ but have not spread to the “meat” of the tissue.
Infraclavicular nodes: lymph nodes just below the level of the clavicle.
Infra-mammary crease: the crease in the skin below the breast where it meets the chest.
Inguinal lymph nodes: – Lymph nodes located of, relating to, or situated in the region of the groin or of the lowest lateral regions of the abdomen
Invasive cancer: a cancer that has broken through a basement membrane and is invading surrounding tissue.
Jaundice: – Yellowish color in the skin, tissues, and body fluids caused by the deposition of bile pigments
Lactation: the formation or secretion of milk.
Lactiferous ducts: mammary ductules that connect to the nipple.
Laparoscopy: – A technique that surgeons can use to visualize and even biopsy (take tissue samples of) organs inside of the abdomen without making large incisions. Very small incisions are made in the belly and small tubes (called trocars) are then inserted. Gas is pumped in through one of the tubes to create enough space to work in. The surgeon inserts a small camera through one of the tubes and examines the lining and contents of the abdominal cavity by looking at the projected image on the television screen. With specially designed laparascopic instruments, biopsies and fluid samples can be taken for examination. Some surgeons feel that this technique can help “stage” a patient less invasively than with open surgery.
Lesions: areas of tissue with impaired function as a result of disease or injury.
Lining: – thin layer of cells that covers the void of the uterus. Under the influence of hormone called oestrogen these cells multiply, and under the influence of hormone called progesterone (that belongs to gestagens) they secrete liquid that provides food for the egg.
Liver: – The largest organ in the body, located in the right upper part of the abdomen. It performs many life-maintaining functions including the production of bile. It detoxifies the blood of drugs, alcohol and other harmful chemical. It processes nutrients absorbed by the intestine and stores essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Bilirubin is a chemical produced when old or damaged blood cells breakdown. The liver chemically process the bilirubin so that it can dissolve in water and be excreted through the bile. When this process is disrupted, jaundice can develop.
Loco-regional cancer: – A primary cancer that has spread to regional lymph nodes and/or resectable (removable) tissues. Removable tissues include some lymph nodes that are routinely removed in some surgical treatments for cancer.
Low malignant potential (LMP) tumour: – Low malignant potential (LMP) tumours are a borderline form of cancer that may eventually spread and invade other tissues. This is a gray zone. A pathologist can distinguish those LMP tumours that are more likely to eventually spread and progress (and therefore require more aggressive treatment) from LMP tumours that do not tend to progress.
Luteinising hormone: a gonadotrophin made by the pituitary gland that stimulates the release of oestrogen from the ovaries, causing ovulation and corpus luteum formation.
Luteinising hormone-releasing hormone: a hormone secreted by the hypothalamus that acts on the pituitary to produce LH. Also known as gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH).
Lymph nodes: – Normal, round, raisin to grape-sized collections of lymphocytes (white blood cells) found throughout the body. Lymph nodes are connected to each other by lymphatic vessels. They normally help fight infection, but also are one of the first sites to which cancers spread. In general, the spread of cancer to lymph nodes portends a worse prognosis for the patient. There are exceptions to this.
Lymphadenopathy: lymph node enlargement in response to disease.
Lymphatic nodes/vessels: – lymph is see-through liquid that runs through tiny canals called lymphatic vessels. Lymphatic vessels connect lymphatic nodes where immune cells remove infectious and other harmful agents. Tumour cells may travel through lymphatic vessels and end up in lymphatic nodes where they multiply. Such group of tumor cells is called lymphatic node metastasis. Lymphatic nodes with tumour cells are called positive lymphatic nodes.
Lymphatics: a system of tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infection and other diseases. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus and lymph nodes and a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells. These tubes branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.
Lymphoedema: oedema due to obstruction of the lymph.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): – A painless method for taking pictures of internal organs. A tube-like machine with a powerful magnet generates images of the inside of the body.
Malignant tumour: – A cancer that has the potential of invading nearby tissues, spreading to other organs (metastasizing) and possibly leading to the patient’s death. Malignant: the term that describes a tumour that invades and destroys the tissue in which it originates and which is capable of spreading locally or metastasising.
Mammary gland: a gland that secretes milk.
Mammary lobules: lobular structures of the mammary gland.
Mammogram: – A radiogragh of the breast. During the procedure the patient’s breasts are placed alternately on a metal plate, and radiographs are taken from the side and above.
Mastectomy: amputation of the breast.
Maturation: – could be taken as a synonym for differentiation.
Menarche: the time at which menstruation first begins.
Menopause: the cessation of production of an egg every 4 weeks by the ovaries. The menopause happens naturally in women aged 45–55 years and can be induced prematurely by surgical removal of the ovaries.
Menstrual cycle: the periodic, 4-weekly sequence of events in sexually mature women which prepares the body for reproduction by producing an egg and growing the endometrial lining of the uterus for implantation. In the absence of fertilisation, the lining and unfertilised egg are shed and the next cycle begins.
Mesentery: – Any of several folds of the peritoneum that connect the intestines to the dorsal abdominal wall.
Mesothelioma: – A tumour derived from the cells lining the abdominal cavity (peritoneum).
Metaplasia: – The replacement of the lining of an organ with the type of lining normally found in another site. For example, in lung bronchi, the normal cell type found is “ciliated columnar epithelium”. In smokers, this lining is replaced by a cell type normally found in the mouth (squamous epithelium), and is called “squamous metaplasia”. In the oesophagus, the normal lining is squamous epithelium, but in patients with reflux (regurgitation of stomach contents into the oesophagus), the oesophagus lining may be replaced with a cell type normally found in the intestines (intestinal metaplasia).
Metastases: – cells that get detached from the main tumor may be taken to other parts of the body by lymphatic vessels or blood vessels (veins). Also, they can be scattered around the peritoneal cavity and form so called peritoneal metastases.
Metastasis: spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. Cells in the metastatic (secondary) tumour are the same type as those in the original (primary) tumour. Tumours formed in this way are called metastases.
Metastatic cancer: – A cancer that has spread from one organ to another. In general, cancers that have metastasized are generally not treated surgically, but instead are treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Metastatic spread: the spread of cancer cells from one part of the body to another causing secondary tumours.
Microscope – A tool used to magnify objects too small to be seen by the naked eye.
Miscarriage: – Loss of foetus without human interference
Mixed mullerian tumour: – Mixed mullerian suggests the presence of multiple different histologies/morphologies (e.g. serous and endometriod or mucinous). These are all types of epithelial tumours.
Mucosa: – same as lining.
Mutation: – An alteration in the DNA of a cell.
Myelosuppression: inhibition of the process of production of blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow.
Necrosis: – Usually localized death of living tissue
Neoadjuvant chemo and radiation therapy: – Chemotherapy and radiation therapy given to patients before surgery. Some centers feel that the use of neoadjuvant therapy improves local and regional control of disease and that it may make more patients surgical candidates.
Neoadjuvant therapy: therapy (chemo- or radiotherapy) that is given to a tumour before surgery. Its purpose is to reduce tumour size to aid the surgical procedure and also to kill any cancer cells that might be shed during the operation.
Neoplasm: – An abnormal new growth of tissue that grows more rapidly than normal cells and will continue to grow if not treated. These growths will compete with normal cells for nutrients. This is a general term that can refer to benign or malignant growths. It is almost a synonym for the word tumour, which means a mass or growth.
Nipple inversion: where the nipple is inverted and points into rather than away from the breast.
Non-comedo: ductal carcinoma where cells do not fill the lumen and cannot be expressed by squeezing.
Oedema: a swelling of soft tissue as a result of excess fluid accumulation.
Oestrogen: one of the female steroid hormones secreted by the ovaries and in small amounts by the placenta and adrenal glands. Oestrogen controls female sexual development, promoting the growth and function of the female reproductive organs. Omentum: – A fold of peritoneum extending from the stomach to adjacent abdominal organs
Oncogenes: genes that cause unregulated cell growth and proliferation. Oncogenes are present in viruses and in mammalian cells they are produced by a mutation. Before mutation they are called proto-oncogenes. These are constituents of the normal cell that code for growth factors.
Oncologist: – A medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of tumours.
Oophorectomy: – surgical removal of the ovaries if they are affected with cancer, or to stop the production of oestrogen that can promote the multiplication of normal uterine lining cells as well as cells of the cancer.
–ostomy: – A surgically created opening in an organ that can also be referred to as an anastomosis.
Ovarian cancer Stage I: – Growth of tumour limited to the ovaries
Ovarian cancer Stage II: – Growth of tumour in one or both ovaries
Ovarian cancer Stage III: – Tumour involving one or both ovaries with implants outside the pelvis and/or positive retroperitoneal or inguinal lymph nodes. Superficial liver metastasis equals stage III.
Ovarian cancer Stage IV: – Growth involving one or both ovaries with distant metastases. If pleural effusion is present there must be positive cytology to allot a case to stage IV. Tumour spread inside the liver, equals stage IV.
p53: an important tumour suppressor gene that prevents replication of damaged DNA by normal cells and promotes their apoptosis.
Paclitaxel: – Generic name for chemotherapy drug Taxol®
Paget’s disease: a rare form of breast cancer characterised by eczematoid changes to the nipple.
Painful sexual intercourse: – The experience of pain whilst having sexual intercourse Palliative: (treatment) aimed at the relief of pain and symptoms of disease but not intended to cure the disease.
Pap Test – A Pap test checks for changes in the cells of the cervix.
Papanicolaou test (smear): – Also called a Pap smear — a procedure used commonly to detect cancer of the uterus and cervix
Papillary: – Branch-like arrangement of the tumour cells. The more complex and irregular the branching pattern, the more dangerous the tumour.
Paraaortal: – close to aorta. Some nodes are located just alongside the aorta. Lymph runs from those nodes to the heart via lymphatic duct and then from the heart to entire body. That is how tumor can spread.
Paraplatin®: – Trade / brand name for chemotherapy drug carboplatin
Parity: the number of times a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a live infant.
Pathologist: – A medical doctor specially trained to study disease processes.
Peau d’orange: a term that describes pathological changes to the skin in certain breast cancers that give it a texture and look of orange peel.
Pelvic conditions: – Any medical condition affecting the pelvic region.
Pelvis: – the lowest part of the abdomen containing the uterus, ovaries, urinary bladder and bowels as well as pelvic lymphatic nodes.
Peritoneum: – The serous membrane lining the walls of the abdominal and pelvic cavities and contained organs
Phyto-oestrogens: chemicals with oestrogenic activity produced in the gastrointestinal tract by the metabolism of complex polysaccharides.
Platinol®: – Trade / brand name for chemotherapy drug cisplatin
Pleomorphic: – Able to assume different forms
Primary cancer: – A cancer found in the organ it started in. A primary cancer of the oesophagus is one that started in the oesophagus as opposed to a cancer that started somewhere else and only later spread to the oesophagus.
Progesterone: one of the steroid hormones secreted by the corpus luteum, placenta and in small amounts by the adrenal glands. It is responsible for preparing the endometrium for pregnancy.
Progestins: synthetic or naturally occurring compounds with progesterone-like activity. See Gestagens
Prognosis: – A forecast for the probable outcome of a disease based on the experience of large numbers of other patients with similar stage disease. Importantly, making a prognosis is not an exact science. Some patients with poor prognosis beat the odds and live longer than anyone would have predicted. Steve Dunn’s Cancer Guide has an excellent article on statistics and prognoses and stories of other cancer patients.
Proliferation: rapid and increased production of new cells.
Prophylactic surgery: – preventative surgical removal of one or both ovaries, fallopian tubes, and/or uterus to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer Prophylactic: preventive.
Protein kinases: enzymes that catalyse the transfer of a phosphate group or high-energy molecular group to an acceptor molecule.
Quadrantectomy: a partial mastectomy in which a tumour is excised in one quadrant of the breast.
Radiation therapy: – The use of high-energy waves similar to x-rays to treat a cancer. Radiation therapy is usually used to treat a local area of disease and often is given in combination with chemotherapy.
Receptors: – substances inside cells that bind hormones. Such hormone-receptor complex then activates certain processes in cells (division etc.). If there are no receptors, hormones cannot act.
Rectal cancer: – A growth or excessive proliferation of cells in the rectum which is the final portion of the digestive system before the anus. The growth may be benign or malignant.
Rectovaginal pelvic exam: – A procedure that allows the physician to assess the size of the ovaries, contour and mobility of the uterus, and feel for masses and growths Recurrent/Refractory: Recurrence means that the tumour has returned after initial therapy. Refractory means that the tumour fails to respond to initial treatment.
Reproductive System – A system within the female body that includes the external genitals and internal organs such as the uterus (womb), cervix (opening to the uterus), vagina, and ovaries.
Resection: the surgical removal of any part of the body. Retroareola: area behind the areola.
Risk Factor – Factors that increase a person’s chance of developing cancer or another specific disease.
Salpingectomy: – Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes; bilateral salpingectomy and oophorectomy = removal of both fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Salpingo-oophorectomy: – salpinx (salpingo-) is Latin for uterine tube. Oophoron is Greek for ovary. This term means removal of both tubes and ovaries, usually if they are affected with cancer.
Sarcoma botryoides: – An aggressive form of cancer that arises from embryonic muscle cells. The tumour resembles a bunch of grapes and tends to occur in the genitourinary tract. Common locations are the cervix, vagina and bladder and very rare cases can occur in the bile duct or the soft tissues of the head and neck. It occurs most often in female infants and young children. Symptoms will vary depending on the exact location of the tumour.
Sarcoma: – A malignant tumour that mimics connective tissues (bone, cartilage, muscle) under the microscope.
Sebaceous glands: normal glands in the skin that empty oily secretions onto the skin surface.
Sepsis: – An infection of the blood.
Serosa: – see picture 2. It is a thin layer of cells that covers the uterus.
Sexual Conditions: – Any condition that affects sexual function
Sexually Active – Any intimate skin-to-skin contact in the genital area. This includes touching, oral sex or intercourse with a partner of either gender.
Small intestine: – A long (6m) tube that stretches from the stomach to the large intestine. It helps absorb nutrients from food as the food is transported to the large intestine. There are three sections: the duodenum, the jejunum and the ileum. Due to its proximity to the pancreas, the duodenum is the section most often affected by pancreatic and distal common bile duct cancers.
Solid lesions: dense areas of tissue with impaired function due to disease. Spectrometry: – an instrument used for measuring wavelengths of light
Speculum – A tool used to hold open the vagina in a Pap test or a Colposcopy.
Spleen: – A maroon, rounded organ in the upper left part of the abdomen, near the tail of the pancreas. This organ is part of your immune system and filters the lymph and blood in your body.
Squamous cell: – A flat, scale-like cell.
Stage: extent of cancer within the body, including whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.
Staging: – A classification system used to describe the extent of disease. For ovarian cancer:
Staging: defining the stage which a tumour is at, to determine the extent of the cancer and to help decisions as to the most appropriate treatment.
Stent: – A slender hollow tube inserted into the body to relieve a blockage. For example, bile duct cancers often narrow the bile duct. This can block the flow of bile and cause the patient to become jaundiced. In these cases the flow of bile can be re-established by placing a stent into the bile duct, through the area of blockage.
STI (Sexually transmitted infection) – A variety of infections that are transmitted through sexual contact. HPV, Herpes, Chlamydia, and gonorrhoea are the most common STIs. STI can be either bacterial, viral or a parasite (e.g. pubic lice).
Supraclavicular nodes: lymph nodes located just above the clavicle.
Susceptibility genes: genes that encode for an inherited condition or acquired disposition that are expressed on exposure of the right environmental trigger.
Systemic: (therapy/treatment) that enters the bloodstream, reaching and affecting cells all over the body.
Taxol®: – Trade / brand name for chemotherapy drug paclitaxel
Thrombophlebitis: – An inflammation of the veins accompanied by thrombus formation. It is sometimes referred to as Trousseau’s sign.
Thrombus: – A clot within the cardiovascular system. It may occlude (block) the vessel or may be attached to the wall of the vessel without blocking the blood flow.
Transvaginal ultrasound (TVS): – Sonogram — a painless procedure in which high frequency sound waves are used to generate pictures of the inside of the body — performed through the vagina. A lubricated probe is placed inside the vagina to visualize the pelvic organs and structures.
Tubes: – see Fallopian tubes.
Tumour suppressor gene: a gene that normally codes for agents that suppress cell growth. Loss of tumour suppressor genes can cause cancer.
Tumour, Node, Metastases: the system for classifying the stage of a tumour. Tumour: – This term simply refers to a mass or neoplasm. For example, a collection of pus is a tumour. This is a general term that can refer to benign or malignant growths. Tumourigenesis: the process of initiating and promoting the development of a tumour. Tumours: abnormal masses of tissue resulting from excessive cell division. Tumours may be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Ultrasound: – A painless procedure in which high frequency sound waves are used to generate pictures of the inside of the body.
Unresectable: – Unable to be surgically removed.
Uro-genital tumours: – Any tumour of the urinary or genital organs, whether cancerous or benign.
Uterus – Part of the female reproductive system where the baby grows when a woman is pregnant. Also called the womb.
Vaccine therapy: – This is a new type of treatment, largely still experimental. It is a medication made of killed or weakened cells, organisms or manufactured materials, which is used to boost the body’s immune system. Ideally, this will allow the body to fight and kill the cancer cells more effectively. Vaccines include whole killed cancer cells or specific proteins from the cancer.
Vagina conditions: – Any condition that affects the female vagina
Vagina: – Canal shaped organ that connects the uterus to the surface of the body. At the time of delivery it gets wider and is called a part of birth canal (along with cervix and lower part of the uterus).
Vaginal bleeding: – Bleeding in or from the vagina.
Vaginal discharge: – Discharge from the vagina as a symptom
Virus – A tiny organism smaller than bacteria that can enter cells and change their function. Viruses can cause infections and disease in humans.
X-ray: high-energy radiation used in low doses to diagnose diseases and in high doses to treat cancer.