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Glossary
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What is cancer? There are lots of medical words used in this website and it is not always easy to understand what medical jargon means. We have listed explanations for some of the words used in this website below. If you would like an explanation of any other words included in this website please email us.

A
Advanced breast cancer
When cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones or the lungs.

B
Benign
Not malignant, not cancer. A benign tumour is not capable of spreading.

C
Cancer
Cancer is the name given to a disease in the cells within your body.
Cells
Tiny masses that make up tissue. Cells are the fundamental, structural, and functional units of living things.
Chemotherapy
The use of medications (drugs) that are toxic to cancer cells. These drugs kills the cells, or prevent or slow their growth.
Contagious
An infectious condition which may be transmitted from person to person.

D
Depression
A pervasive and sustained lowering of mood. Other features include tearfulness, guilt, irritability, loss of interest in life, loss of energy, poor concentration, poor sleep and loss of appetite.

E
Early breast cancer
When cancerous cells are only located in the breast and the armpit area.

F

G
Gland
An organ or tissue which discharges and/or eliminates substances from the body.

H
Hormone receptors
Proteins in a cell which bind to specific hormones. This binding stimulates the cell to act in a certain way. These receptors are present in about 50% of all women with breast cancer. Women with plenty of hormone receptors are likely to respond to hormone treatments, and are more likely to do well than women without hormone receptors.
Hormone therapy
The use of drugs or hormones which specifically inhibit the growth of hormone responsive cancer cells.

I

J

K

L
Lumpectomy
Surgical removal of a lump from the breast.
Lymph node
A small collection of tissue along the lymphatic system which acts as a filter. White cells and cancer cells, in particular, collect in lymph nodes. They are found in the neck, the armpit, the groin and many other places. Lymph nodes are also known as glands.

M
Mastectomy
Surgical removal of the breast. May be total (all of the breast) or partial.
Metastatic cancer
Cancer which has spread to a site distant from the original site.

N

O
Outpatients
People who receive care at a hospital or medical facility without room and board being provided.

P

Q

R
Radiotherapy
The use of radiation, usually x-rays or gamma rays, to kill tumour cells.
Remission
A reduction or disappearance of the symptoms of cancer.

S
Support group
A group of people you can turn to for emotional support. The group may also provide practical help, information, guidance and feedback about your stressful experiences and ways of coping.
Surgeon
A medically qualified doctor who specialises in the removal of organs, masses, tumours, the repair of ruptures, the diversion of channels etc using the knife.

T
Tumour
An abnormal growth of tissue. It may be localised (benign) or invade nearby tissues (malignant) or distant tissues (metastatic).

U

V

W

X
X-ray
A picture of the inside of a person's body.

Y

Z