The actual number of white blood cells that are neutrophils. The ANC is determined by multiplying the white blood cell count by the percent of neutrophils found in a differential white blood cell count.
Hair loss. Hair loss can be caused by some chemotherapy medications.
When the number of red blood cells in the body is lower than normal. Red blood cells are needed to carry oxygen to the body’s cells. Anemia results in a lack of oxygen throughout the body, causing symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and paleness of the skin.
A type of white blood cell that contains and releases histamine, a substance that plays a key role in allergic reactions, and serotonin, a chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells.
Biologic response modifier
Immunotherapy medications that are given to strengthen the body’s own immune system. Examples include Interferon, Interleukin, and Growth Factors.
A test to check the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a sample of blood. Also called complete blood count (CBC).
Spongy tissue inside the bones. Bone marrow makes 95% of the body’s blood cells, including white blood cells (which fight infections), red blood cells (which carry oxygen to the body’s cells), and platelets (which are essential for blood clotting).
Treatments of cancer, for example: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and hormonal therapy.
A soft, thin, flexible tube that is placed in a large vein in the body and remains there as long as it is needed. Medications can be given and blood samples can be drawn through this tube.
The unit from which the tissues of the body are formed. Different tissues contain different types of cells, such as muscle cells, blood cells and lung cells.
The process by which cells produce copies of themselves. Generally, the cell duplicates all its parts and then divides into two identical cells.
A medication therapy, or combination of therapies, used to treat cancer. Most chemotherapy is administered intravenously and in cycles: a treatment period is followed by a recovery period, then another treatment period begins. The side effects a patient experiences usually depend on the specific medications and the doses received. Chemotherapy-related side effects gradually diminish during the recovery period or after treatment stops.
A period of treatment with an anticancer medication or combination of medications that is often repeated.
The result of the treatment.
A study that compares the benefits and safety of different treatments in groups of patients.
Complete blood count (CBC)
A test that evaluates the different components of blood, including hemoglobin, platelets, and separate counts for red and white blood cells.
Coordination of benefits
When both you and your spouse are covered by private insurance, the payments for benefits will be coordinated such that the individual's plan covers them first, then the spousal plan coverage takes effect secondarily. Please check with your insurance company for details of your policy.
A treatment period which is followed by a recovery period, before another treatment period begins. Most chemotherapy is administered intravenously and in cycles.
Any therapy or process that kills cells. Chemotherapy and radiation (radiotherapy) are both forms of cytotoxic therapy.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation involves the intravenous administration of stem cells that have been collected from bone marrow or umbilical cord blood. This procedure is used to reestablish normal blood cell production in patients whose bone marrow or immune systems have been damaged by disease.
An iron-containing pigment found in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues throughout the body. Sometimes the abbreviation “Hb” or “Hgb” is used.
A substance produced by the body that has a specific (often stimulatory) effect on the activity of certain cells.
An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild to severe discomfort, either in a limited area or throughout the body. Nerve fibres carry sensory impulses from damaged tissue to the brain where these impulses are experienced as a dull, aching, burning or tingling sensation. Pain can have both physical and emotional components and can usually be well-controlled with medication.
Damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body. Symptoms will vary depending on which nerves are affected. In many people with cancer, the neuropathy affects the hands, feet and lower legs. Sensations may include weakness, pain, numbness, burning, “pins and needles” or a loss of coordination.
A type of blood cell that is necessary for blood clotting (i.e., to stop cuts from bleeding).
A small round plastic or metal disc placed under the skin. A catheter can be attached to a port to give medications or take blood samples.
A preventive measure such as a medication or treatment used in advance to prevent a disease from occurring.
A small, complex molecule that is found throughout the body. There are many different types of proteins; some are involved in chemical reactions, others are involved in physiological processes such as immune system responses and some provide structural support (such as hair and nails).
A chemotherapy recipe which specifies the medications, their dosages, their timing, their frequency and their total amounts. Also known as “regimen”.
The treatment of disease with high-energy rays that may be used to locally target cancer cells and stop them from growing. Radiation (also referred to as radiotherapy) can be delivered externally by machine or from a small implant placed directly in or near the tumour.
Red blood cell count
The number of red blood cells (RBCs) in a particular volume of blood. This may also be referred to as an “erythrocyte count”.
A chemotherapy recipe which specifies the medications, their dosages, their timing, their frequency and their total amounts. Also known as a “protocol”.
The process by which the government, other institutions, or insurance companies provide financial assistance to patients receiving medical treatments.
The period when the disease is lessened or is cured. For cancer, complete remission means the disappearance of all evidence of the cancer for at least four weeks.
When the disease or tumour is no longer affected by the treatment.
Ribonucleic acid. A nucleic acid molecule similar to DNA but containing ribose rather than deoxyribose. Different classes of RNA molecules play crucial roles in protein synthesis and other cell activities.
A condition characterized by an abnormally low platelet count. Because platelets are required for the blood to clot, low numbers may lead to easy bruising or a tendency to bleed. Thrombocytopenia is a potential side effect of chemotherapy.
Injecting blood or blood cells into a patient. The injected blood can be taken from a donor, or it can be the patient's own blood that was taken at an earlier time and reinjected.
The uncontrollable multiplication of the cancer cells that make up a tumour.
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