A

Abdomen (ab-DO-men): The front part of the body below the ribs that contains most of the digestive organs.

Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC): A measure of the infection fighting white blood cells. The neutrophils are the white blood cells responsible for fighting bacterial infections.

Acute (uh-CUTE): Occurring suddenly or over a short period of time.

Acute Lymphoblastic (lim-fo-BLAS-tic) Leukemia (ALL): A type of leukemia.

Acute Myeloid (MY-uh-loid) Leukemia (AML): A type of leukemia.

Afebrile (ay-FEE-bril): Without a fever. Normal body temperature is 98.6°F or 37°C.

Allergy (AL-ur-jee): An extreme sensitivity to a substance. Allergic symptoms may include sneezing, itchy eyes, runny or congested nose, skin reactions like a rash or hives, and difficulty breathing.

Allogenic (al-oh-JEN-ik): A type of bone marrow transplant where cells from another person are given to the ill child.

Alopecia (al-oh-PEE-shuh): Loss of hair.

Ambulatory (AM-byoo-luh-tory): The ability to walk; not confined to bed.

Amputation (am-pyoo-TA-shun): Removal of a body part, usually a limb.

Analgesic (an-ul-JEE-zick): A drug used for lessening pain.

Anaphylaxis (an-uh-fi-LAK-sis): A severe allergic reaction that may cause breathing problems.

ANC: Absolute Neutrophil Count. A measure of the infection fighting white blood cells. The neutrophils are the white blood cells responsible for fighting bacterial infections.

Anemia (uh-NEE-me-uh): A blood condition in which the number of red blood cells is less than normal.

Anesthesia (an-uh-STHEE-zjuh) or Anesthestics (an-us-THEH-ticks): Medicines that keep a person from feeling pain or other sensations. Local anesthesia makes a specific part of the body numb. General anesthesia puts the whole body to sleep and is given during surgery.

Anorexia (an-oh-REK-see-uh): Severe loss of appetite or aversion to eating.

Antibiotic (AN-tee-by-oh-tik): A medicine that destroys bacteria. Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria.

Antibody (AN-tee-boh-dee): A substance made by the immune system in response to a foreign substance in the body.

Antiemetic (an-tie-uh-MET-ick): A medicine that prevents or controls vomiting and upset stomach.

Antifungal (an-tie-FUN-gul): A medicine that is used to treat infection caused by a fungus.

Antigen (AN-tuh-jen): A substance that the body recognizes as foreign.

Antineoplastic (an-tie-nee-oh-PLAS-tik): A drug that blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Ataxia (ay-TAK-see-uh): Loss of coordination of muscles during movement, resulting in a tendency to stagger.

Audiogram (AW-dee-oh-gram): A test that shows a picture of a person’s ability to hear.

Autologous (aw-TALL-uh-gus): A type of bone marrow transplant where a person’s own cells are given back after high doses of chemotherapy.

Axillary (AK-sill-airy): Under the arm. This is a way to measure someone’s temperature.

B

Bacteria (bak-TIER-ee-uh): Organisms that grow in body tissues and cause infection. Serious bacterial infections may happen in children with cancer. These infections need to be treated with antibiotics.

Bands: A type of neutrophil, a type of white blood cell.

Benign (bee-NINE) tumor: An abnormal growth or lump of tissue that does not spread from one body part to another and is not cancerous.

Biopsy (BY-op-see): The removal of a tiny piece of tissue to examine under the microscope.

Blast: A young or immature blood cell.

Blood and marrow transplant: A procedure in which a patient’s bone marrow is replaced with new bone marrow from a matched donor. Also called a bone marrow transplant.

Blood count: A measurement of the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in a cubic milliliter of blood. Also called CBC.

Blood draw: The act of taking a sample of blood—this is done through a needle or a catheter.

Blood culture: A laboratory test done on a blood sample, usually done to find infection

Blood transfusion: Blood or blood products that are given to a patient through an IV or central venous catheter.

Blood type and cross match: A test to find out what type of blood someone has (A, B, AB, or O). A cross match is a mixing of two types of blood (from a donor and a recipient) to make sure they are compatible.

BMT: Blood and marrow transplant: A procedure in which a patient’s bone marrow is replaced with new bone marrow from a matched donor. Also called a bone marrow transplant.

Bone marrow (MARE-oh): Spongy tissue filling the center of the large bones. Blood cells are made in the bone marrow.

Bone marrow aspiration (as-puh-RAE-shun): A procedure for withdrawing a small amount of marrow from the center of the bone.

Bone marrow suppression (suh-PRES-shun): A lowered production of normal blood cells. This happens because of chemotherapy, radiation, or cancer.

Bone marrow transplant (BMT): A procedure in which a patient’s bone marrow is replaced with new bone marrow from a matched donor. Also called a bone marrow transplant.

Bowel movement: Act of removing solid waste from the body, also called a stool.

Bronchoscopy (bron-KAW-scup-ee): An examination of the lungs with a flexible tube that is a scope.

Bronchioles (BRON-key-oles): Smaller airways in the lungs.

Bronchus (BRON-kuss): Tube leading from the windpipe to the lungs.

Broviac (BRO-vee-ack): A type of tunneled central catheter.

Let's Talk About Central Line Care Tunnelled

C

Calorie (Kal-oh-ree): A measurement of the energy the body gets from food. Calories provide “fuel” for body functions such as breathing and physical activity.

Cancer (KAN-ser): A group of diseases in which abnormal or malignant cells grow out of control and are capable of spreading into other body parts.

Carcinogen (kar-SIN-oh-jen): A substance that is known to cause cancer.

Carcinoma (kar-sin-OH-muh): A kind of cancer that starts in the skin or membranes lining the interior of hollow organs such as the lungs, intestines, etc.

Cardiomyopathy (kard-ee-oh-my-OP-uh-thee): A disease of the heart muscle.

CAT scan: Computerized tomography scan (CT or CAT scan): A painless procedure that uses X-rays, a special scanner, and a computer to make detailed images of a specific area of the body.

Catheter (KATH-uh-ter): A thin, flexible tube that is inserted in a person’s body to take samples of fluid or give medicines.

CBC:  Complete Blood Count or CBC. A measurement of the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in a cubic milliliter of blood. 

Cellulitis (sell-you-LITE-us): Inflammation of the skin and its underlying tissue.

Central nervous system (CNS): The brain and the spinal cord.

Central venous catheter: A small, hollow, flexible tube (catheter) that is inserted into a large vein. It is used to take blood samples or give fluids, blood products, medicine, or nutrition.

Central line: Another term for central venous catheter.

Cerebrospinal (suh-REE-bro-SPINE-ul) fluid (CSF): The fluid around the brain and spinal cord. A lumbar puncture takes a sample of this fluid.

Cervical (SER-vuh-kul) nodes: Lymph nodes in the neck.

Chemotherapy (KEE-moh-ther-uh-pee): Medicine used to treat cancer. Also called chemo.

Chronic (KRAH-nik): Happening over a prolonged period of time.

Clinic (KLIN-ik): Place where treatments are given to outpatients. Similar to a doctor’s office.

Clinical trial: A protocol for treatments that is newly formulated from successful research, national standards, and the expertise of medical experts.

CNS: Central nervous system.The brain and the spinal cord.

Complete blood count (CBC): A measurement of the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in a cubic milliliter of blood. 

Computerized tomography scan (CT or CAT scan): A painless procedure that uses X-rays, a special scanner, and a computer to make detailed images of a specific area of the body.

Consent form: A written description of treatments and medicines that the parents/guardians sign only if they feel they have received enough information.

Co-payment: A standard amount a patient pays for each medical visit.

Co-insurance: An arrangement in which the patient and the payer share costs of medical treatment.

Contagious (kon-TAE-jus): Able to be passed from one person to another. A contagious disease can be “caught” from someone who has it.

CT scan: A painless procedure that uses X-rays, a special scanner, and a computer to make detailed images of a specific area of the body.

Culture (KUHL-chur): A laboratory procedure in which samples of blood, secretions, or other body excretions are studied to see if there are any germs present.

Cytology (sie-TALL-uh-jee): The study of cells under the microscope.

D

Dehydration (dee-hie-DRAE-shun): Losing too much water and natural salts from the body.

Diagnosis (die-ag-NOH-sis): A description of a disease or illness that is identified after a medical evaluation.

DNA: Building block of genes and chromosomes in each cell.

Dysphagia (dis-FAH-zjuh): A medical condition in which someone has difficulty and/or pain when swallowing.

Dyspnea (DISP-nee-uh): Difficulty and/or pain in breathing (shortness of breath).

E

Echocardiogram (ek-oh-CAR-dee-oh-gram): A painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to get a picture of the heart. Often simply called an echo.

Edema (eh-DEE-muh): Swelling because of too much fluid in any part of the body.

Electrocardiogram (ee-lek-troh-CAR-dee-oh-gram): A test that measures the electric current in the heart. Also called an ECG or EKG.

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Electroencephalogram (ee-lek-troh-en-sef-LO-gram): A test that measures the electrical activity in the brain. Also called an EEG.

Electrolyte (ee-LEK-troh-lite): A term for the minerals and salts needed to give the body the proper balance of fluids in cells and tissues.

Emesis (EM-uh-sis): Vomit or throw up.

Erythema (er-ih-THEE-muh): Redness of the skin.

Esophagitis (eh-sof-uh-JIE-tus): The breakdown of the lining in the esophagus (eh-sof-uh-gus). The esophagus is the tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach, used when food is swallowed.

F

 Febrile (FEE-brul): Fever—body temperature greater than 101° F by mouth or 100° F under the arm.

Fungus (FUN-gis): A type of organism that can cause serious infection in people with cancer.

G

Gamma globulin (GAM-uh GLOB-yu-lin): A component of blood containing antibodies that defend the body from certain germs.

Gastrostomy (ga-STROS-toh-mee) tube: A tube surgically placed into the stomach. It is used to give high-calorie formulas to people in need of nutrition.

Gene (Jeen): The functional unit of heredity made up of DNA. Genes are in specific places on each chromosome and code for a substance that is made or used in the body.

Glucose (GLOO-kos): A simple sugar found in blood. It also occurs in some fruits and honey.

Granulocyte (gran-you-low-site): A type of white blood cell that helps protect against bacterial infection; also known as polys, polymorphonuclear (PMN), segs, segmented neutrophils, or neutrophils.

Guaiac (gw-EYE-ack) test: A chemical test to find blood in bowel movements.

H

Hematocrit (he-MAT-oh-crit): The percentage of blood volume made up of red blood cells.

Hematologist (hee-muh-TALL-oh-jist): A doctor who is a specialist in the study of blood and blood diseases.

Hematology (hee-muh-TALL-oh-jee): The study of the blood and blood-forming tissues.

Hematuria (hee-muh-TOO-ree-uh): Blood in the urine.

Hemoglobin (hee-muh-GLOH-bin): An iron protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues.

Hemorrhage (HEM-uh-rij): A general term for blood loss, often a large amount, caused by an injury to blood vessels or a lack of certain blood components such as platelets.

Hodgkin’s disease: A type of lymphoma form of cancer affecting the lymphatic system.

Hyperalimentation (hie-per-al-oh-men-TA-shun): Also known as total parenteral nutrition (TPN): A solution containing vitamins, minerals, sugar, electrolytes, lipids, and proteins to support a patient’s nutritional needs. Solutions are given through an IV or central venous catheter.

I

Immunosuppression (IM-you-noh-suh-PRES-shun): A condition in which the body’s defense against disease is weakened. This is a common result of chemotherapy.

Immune (imyoon) system: A complicated network of cells and organs that defends the body against attacks from invaders such as bacteria and viruses.

Implantable port: A type of central venous catheter device that is placed beneath the skin and is used to deliver medicine into the bloodstream.

Incision (in-SIH-shun): Surgical cutting into the body.

Infection (in-FEK-shun): A condition in which an organism invades and multiplies in the body. Infections can happen in any part of the body. They may cause fever and other problems depending on the site of the infection.

Inflammation (in-flah-MAE-shun): Tissue swelling.

Inpatient (in-PAE-shent): When someone stays overnight as a patient in the hospital.

Intramuscular (in-trah-MUS-koo-lar): The injection of a drug into muscle tissue.

Intravenous (in-trah-VEE-nus): Going directly into the vein (blood vessel). Also called IV.

Intravenous pyelogram (PIE-loh-gram): A test where a dye is injected into the body and then x-rays are taken of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.

Isolation (EYE-soh-lae-shun): A way of keeping a contagious person from infecting others. Isolation in the hospital means that a patient has her own room and must follow strict precautions before coming into contact with others.

J

Jaundice (JAWN-dis): A yellowish color of the skin and white portion of the eyes. Jaundice is usually associated with liver problems.

L

Large cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma: A type of lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting the lymphatic system.

Lesion (LEE-shun): A wound; a change in tissue due to injury or disease.

Lethargy (LETH-ar-jee): A feeling of having very little energy.

Leukemia (loo-KEE-mee-ah): Cancer of the bone marrow, characterized by abnormal white blood cells.

Lumbar puncture (LP): Also known as a spinal tap: A procedure that removes a small amount of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord for tests; also called a lumbar puncture (LP).

Lymphatic system: A network of vessels, much like the network of blood vessels throughout your body. The lymphatic system carries fluid, fats, proteins, and infection fighting cells. Some cancers spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system.

Lymph (limf) node: Part of the lymphatic system found throughout the body that acts as a filter, collecting bacteria or cancer cells. An enlargement of lymph nodes can indicate the presence of an infection.

Lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A type of lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting the lymphatic system.

Lymphocyte (LIM-foh-site): White blood cells that produce antibodies. Lymphocytes play an important role in fighting viral infections.

Lymphoma: A general term for a tumor of the lymphatic system.

M

Macrophage (MAK-roh-faej): A type of white blood cell that encases and destroys foreign substances that get in the body.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A painless procedure used to get a picture of the body without surgery or radiation. It uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to make detailed images of soft tissues, muscles, nerves, and bones.

Metastasis (meh-TAS-tah-sis): The spread of cancer from its original site to other parts of the body.

Medicaid: A joint federal-state program that provides some health care services to people whose income is below a certain level.

Medicare: A federal program in which some health care services are provided to people over 65 years of age and to people who have been disabled more than 24 months, including children with cancer.

Micro-metastasis (MIE-kro meh-TAS-tah-sis): The spread of cancer from its original site to other parts of the body in such small amounts it cannot be detected.

MRI: A painless procedure used to get a picture of the body without surgery or radiation. It uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to make detailed images of soft tissues, muscles, nerves, and bones.

Mucositis (myou-koh-SIE-tus): Inflamed skin lining the mouth that may include areas of redness or painful sores.

Mucous (MYOU-kus) membranes: Skin lining the mouth, stomach, and rectum.

Mutation (myou-TAE-shun): A random change in DNA of a cell.

N

Nadir (NAE-deer): The time after chemotherapy is given when a patient’s blood counts are low.

Nasogastric (nae-zoh-GAS-trik) tube (NG): A thin tube placed through the nose and leading into the stomach. It is used to give feedings to a patient who cannot eat on his or her own.

Nausea (NAH-zee-uh): Feeling sick to your stomach without throwing up.

Neuroblastoma (nur-oh-blas-TOH-muh): Cancer that comes from nerve tissue.

Neutropenia (new-troh-PEE-nee-ah): A low number of neutrophils (segs and bands) in the white blood cell count.

Neutrophil (NEW-troh-fil): A type of white blood cell, also called segs, bands, and polys, that helps fight bacterial and fungal infections.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A cancer of the lymphatic system.

N.P.O.: An abbreviation meaning that the patient must have nothing by mouth, or nothing to eat or drink. A patient needs to be NPO before receiving sedation or anesthesia medicine.

Nuclear medicine scan: A procedure that uses ingested radioactive material to get information about and pictures of a person’s body.

O

Oncologist (ohn-KOL-uh-jist): A doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer.

Oncology (ohn-KOL-un-jee): The study and treatment of cancer.

Outpatient (owt-PAE-shent): When someone comes to the hospital as a patient for an exam or procedure but does not stay overnight.

P

Persistent (pur-SIS-tent): A symptom of an illness that continues despite treatment.

PET Scan: A test that can be done to see how actively a tumor is growing. Also called a Positron Emission Tomography.

Petechia (peh-TEE-kee-uh): Tiny reddish spots on skin; caused by a low number of platelets in the blood.

Pathologist (pah-THOL-oh-jist): A doctor who specializes in examining tissue and blood under the microscope.

Phlebotomist (fleh-BOT-oh-mist): A technician who draws blood for tests.

Plasma (PLAZ-muh): The liquid portion of the blood. The cells and other parts of the blood move through the plasma.

Platelet (PLAET-lit): Blood cells that help in the process of clotting.

Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (new-moe-SIS-tis kah-RIE-nee): A dangerous form of pneumonia that attacks people with a depressed immune system. Also called PCP.

P.O.: An abbreviation meaning that food or medicine should be given by mouth.

Poly (PAH-lee): A type of  white blood cell called a neutrophil.

Potassium (poe-TA-see-um): A mineral the body needs for fluid balance and other essential functions.

Procedure (proe-SEE-jur): A test, exam, or medical treatment done by a health care provider.

Prognosis (prog-NOE-sis): A forecast of the course and probable outcome of a disease, including the chance of recovery.

Protocol (PROE-toh-col): An established guideline that describes treatment of a specific illness.

R

Radiation (RAE-dee-ae-shun) therapy: The use of high-powered x-rays on certain parts of the body in order to kill or injure the cancer cells. Often radiation is used along with chemotherapy to treat cancer.

Red blood cells (RBC): Cells in the blood that carry oxygen to all the organs and tissues of the body.

Relapse (REE-laps): Return of cancer after there has been no evidence of its presence in the body or blood.

Remission (ree-MIS-shun): Complete or partial disappearance of the signs and symptoms of a disease; the period of time during which a disease is under control.

Resectable (ree-SEK-tuh-bul): A tumor that can be surgically removed.

Resection (ree-SEK-shun): A surgery where a tumor is taken out of the body.

Rhabdomyosarcoma (rab-doe-my-oh-sar-KO-muh): A cancer of muscle tissue.

Road map: A one-page summary of a treatment plan or protocol for a specific cancer.

S

Sarcoma (sar-KOH-muh): A cancer of the connective tissue such as bone, cartilage, fat, or muscle.

Sedation (she-DAE-shun): Medicine that is given to help a patient sleep or relax during a procedure.

Seg: A type of neutropil that is a white blood cell.

Sibling (sih-bling): Brother or sister.

Sodium (SOE-dee-um): An electrolyte or mineral salt that is needed by the body to keep fluid balanced.

Solid tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. A tumor can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Spinal (SPIE-nul) tap: A procedure that removes a small amount of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord for tests; also called a lumbar puncture (LP).

Spleen: The body organ to the left of the stomach that filters blood.

Staging (STAE-jing): The phases or extent of an illness or disease. All cancers are staged but there is a different criteria for each cancer.

Stool: Act of removing solid waste from the body

Subcutaneous (sub-cue-TAE-nee-us): Under the skin, but not into the muscle.

Symptom (SIMP-tum): A noticeable change in the body or its functions. Symptoms indicate the presence of an illness.

T

Therapy (THAR-uh-pee): Treatment of a disease.

Thrombocytopenia (throm-boh-sie-toh-PEE-nee-uh): Abnormally low number of platelets in the blood. This condition may result in bleeding.

Total parenteral nutrition (TPN): A solution containing vitamins, minerals, sugar, electrolytes, lipids, and proteins to support a patient’s nutritional needs. Solutions are given through an IV or central venous catheter.

Toxicity (tok-SIS-ih-tee): Undesirable side effects caused by medicines.

TPN: Total parenteral nutrition. A solution containing vitamins, minerals, sugar, electrolytes, lipids, and proteins to support a patient’s nutritional needs. Solutions are given through an IV or central venous catheter. 

Transfusion (trans-FYOO-shun): Blood or blood products that are given to a patient through an IV or central venous catheter.

Transplant (tranz-plant): A treatment where a diseased organ is removed from a patient and another organ from a donor is put in place.

Treatment plan: A detailed plan of treatments a patient will receive for an illness.

Tumor (TOO-mur): An abnormal mass of tissue. A tumor can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

U

Ultrasound (UHL-trah-sownd): A painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves (higher than humans can hear) to make images of soft tissues and motion within the body. Ultrasound uses no X-rays.

Urine (YOOR-in): Waste fluid from the body.

V

Virus (VIE-rus): A very small organism that may cause infections. Colds, chicken pox, and measles are examples of illnesses caused by viruses.

Vitamins (VIE-tah-mins): Nutrients that the body needs to grow and stay strong.

Vomiting (VOM-ih-ting): Stomach contents are thrown-up.

W

White blood cells (WBC): Also called leukocytes. White blood cells are important in fighting infection.

Wilms tumor: A cancer of the kidney.

X

X-ray: High-energy radiation used to diagnose and treat disease.

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