Cancer: Disease of the body’s cells that starts in the genes. Damaged genes cause cells to behave abnormally and they may grow into a lump called a tumour.
Cancer-related fatigue: Feeling of debilitating tiredness or total lack of energy that can last for days, weeks or months.
Cannula: Plastic tube inserted into a narrow opening so that fluids can be introduced or removed.
Catheter: Flexible tube inserted into a narrow opening so that fluids can be introduced or removed.
Cells: Building block of the body. A human is made of million of cells, which are adapted for different functions.
Chemotherapy: Use of drugs, which kills or slow cell growth.
Clinical trial: A research study that tests new and better ways of improving health in people.
Complementary therapies: Supportive treatments that are used in conjunction with conventional treatment. They improve general health, well-being, quality of life and help people cope with side effects of cancer. Complementary therapies may include meditation, counselling, hypnotherapy, massage, acupuncture and yoga. Not all therapies have been scientifically validated, but there is growing evidence in favour of them.
Computerised Axial Tomography (CT/CAT): Uses x-rays to see the body in a three-dimensional way. CT scanning is used to diagnose end stage cancer. Sometimes it is necessary to use a contrast medium for the images to show up on the computer.
Counsellors: Mental health workers who can help you with relationship or family issues, show you ways of dealing with anxiety and depression and provide grief counselling to your family and caregivers.
Constipation: Difficulty passing stools, incomplete or infrequent passing of hard stools.
Dehydration: Excessive loss of body water.
Diagnosis: The identification and naming of a person’s disease.
Dietician: Health professional who specialises in human nutrition.
Distraction: Learning to direct pain at something other than pain.
Diuretic: Any drug that increases the excretion of water from the body and consequently elevates the rate of urination.
Dose: Amount of medication to be taken.
Dose titration: Adjustment of medication dose either up or down.
Double blind: Trial in which neither the patient nor their doctor knows what treatment the patient is receiving, to reduce bias.
Dyspnea: Difficult or laboured breathing.
Ethics committee: Hospital committee that reviews the plan for a clinical trial to ensure it is safe and ethical.
Grade: Score that describes how quickly the tumour is likely to grow.
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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.
Last updated 30 August 2015