Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC): The absolute number of white blood cells that are neutrophils or bands in a sample of blood.
Acute: sudden onset of disease or symptoms
Adriamycin: a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat Hodgkin's disease.
Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant (Allo BMT): Bone marrow is taken from another person with a compatible HLA and given to a recipient. Also see Bone Marrow Transplantation.
Alopecia: loss of hair, be it on the head or all over the body. Alopecia can be caused by certain chemotherapy drugs.
Alprozalam: A medication used to treat anxiety.
Amgen: A pharmaceutical company making drugs for the treatment of ailments caused by cancer treatment. Neupogen® (G-CSF) which stimulates the production of white blood cells is manufactured by Amgen.
Analgesic: A pain relieving drug. Common types are aspirin, acetaminophen (most common brand Tylenol®), and ibuprofen (most common brand Motrin®).
Anemia: a condition caused by a reduction in the amount of red blood cells produced by the bone marrow. It causes weakness and lack of energy, dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, and irritability.
Antibiotic: a drug that kills or reduces the growth of bacterial infection.
Antibody: a protein (immunoglobulin) formed by the body to fight infections. Antibodies are produced by plasma cells (mature B cells) in response to antigens. Antibodies are released by the plasma cells into the circulatory system as exact mirror images of a specific antigen.
Antiemetic: a drug that reduces or prevents nausea or vomiting. Two
relatively new antiemetic drugs for chemotherapy induced nausea are Zofran and Kytril.
Antigen: substances capable of stimulating an immune response. The response may be to foreign chemical substances or protiens on the surface of infectious agents, tumor cells, or foreign tissue cells.
Apheresis: Collection of peripheral blood stem cells by a device similar to a dialysis machine. The blood may be taken from a Hickman or other type of catheter or, if the patients veins are good, from the arms. Gathering enough cells for an autologous stem cell transplant may take from one to five days, depending on the amount of stem cells the patient has in their blood. Also see the Stem Cell Collection Page.
Aplastic Anemia (AA): A deficiency of certain types of blood cells caused by poor bone marrow function.
Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant (Auto BMT): Bone Marrow is taken from the patient's own body prior to high dose chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. After treatment, the marrow, which may or may not have been treated with chemotherapy, is reinfused into the patient to restore the immune system. Also see Bone Marrow Transplantation.
Autologous Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant (Auto PBSCT): Stem Cells are taken from the patient's own body prior to treatment. After treatment, the stem cells are reinfused into the patient to restore the immune system. Also see Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant.
Axillary Lymph Node: a lymph node found in the armpit (axilla).
B cell: a type of lymphocyte (a specific type of white blood cell). B cells
respond to the presence of antigens by dividing and maturing into plasma
Benign tumor: A noncancerous growth that does not spread to other parts of the body.
Biological therapy: Treatment with substances that can stimulate the body's immune system to fight disease more effectively. Also called immunotherapy.
Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue followed by microscopic
examination by a pathologist to see whether cancer cells are present.
Blood Cell: a general term describing the three cellular components of blood (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets), all which are made in the bone marrow.
Blood Count: a routine test to determine the amount of white blood cells,
red blood cells, and platelets in a sample of blood. Often used to determine if the body can withstand another round of chemotherapy ("Are my counts high enough?").
Bone Marrow: The soft, spongy tissue in the center of large bones that
produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: the removal and analysis of a sample of bone marrow, usually through a needle inserted into the hip bone.
Bone Marrow Harvest: the removal and collection of bone marrow, usually done prior to a bone marrow transplant but sometimes done as a preventative measure in case of relapse.
Bone Marrow Suppression: a decrease in the number of blood cells produced; it may be a result of cancer treatment or tumor invasion of bone marrow.
Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT): Treatment in which healthy bone marrow replaces bone marrow that has been affected by a disease or by treatment for a disease. Usually the patient receives high dose chemotherapy and possibly radiation to kill cancer. In the process the patient's ability to fight infection is also damaged. The donated bone marrow is infused into the patient to restore the immune system. The marrow may come from the patient prior to the procedure (autologous BMT) or from a suitable donor (allogeneic BMT). See also the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Information Page.
Bone Scan: a procedure where an image of the bones is produced by injection of a radioisotope and subsequent scan for the isotope absorbed by the bones. It is usually used to determine if cancer has spread to the bones.
Burkitt's lymphoma: A type of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that most often occurs in young people between the ages of 12 and 30. The disease usually causes a rapidly growing tumor in the abdomen.
Cancer: A general term for more than 100 diseases that are characterized by uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells. Cancer cells can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. Lymphoma is a subset of cancers that are particular to the lymph system.
Carcinogen: a substance that causes cancer.
CAT Scan: see Computerized Tomography
Catheter: a flexible tube inserted into the body to transport fluids into or
out of the body.
Cell: the basic building block of all living tissues.
Central Nervous System: the control center for the body - includes the brain and spinal cord.
Central Nervous System Lymphoma: a type of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma which is located primarily in the central nervous system. For more information see the Cancernet information sheet for Physicians.
Chemotherapy: Treatment with anticancer drugs. The type of drugs used are determined by the type of cancer and the treatment determined by the doctor.
Chromosome: a strand of DNA and related proteins that carries the genes and transmits hereditary information.
Chronic: lasting for a long period of time or marked by frequent recurrence.
Clinical trial: Research conducted with patients, usually to evaluate a new treatment, under strictly controlled conditions. Each trial is designed to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to treat individuals
with a specific disease.
CNS Lymphoma: see Central Nervous System Lymphoma
Colony-Stimulating Factor (CSF): a treatment agent used to stimulate the production of certain blood cells in the bone marrow. Common types include G-CSF and GM-CSF.
Complementary Therapy: techniques or approaches often used in addition to standard treatment. Examples are diet or meditation.
Computed Tomography: An X-ray procedure that uses a computer to produce detailed 3-dimensional or cross sectional pictures of the body. Also called CAT or CT scan. Depending on the part of the body scanned, this may involve drinking a substance to outline the digestive system (contrast), having contrast injected into the rectum, and/or an iodine contrast intravenously prior or during the scan.
CT Scan: see Computerized Tomography
Cure: in the case of lymphoma, the term used when there is no sign of
disease present in the body and adequate time has passed so that the chances of recurrence are small. (Ed: the amount of time is debatable - some say 5 years, others more than 7).
Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma: A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that first appears on the skin. Also called mycosis fungoides.
Cytogenetics: identification of abnormal chromosomes in a cellular tissue
Cytology: the study of cells, their origin, structure, function, and
Cytomegalovirus (CMV): A type of virus which can cause inapparant infections in healthy individuals but is dangerous to immunosuppressed patients. CMV is a member of the herpes family of viruses. The virus may manifest itself as pneumonia, colitis, or hepatitis.
Debulking: reducing the size of a tumor often through surgery but possibly through radiation therapy.
Denial: a process of automatically blocking awareness of painful realities,
thoughts, or feelings in order to protect oneself from emotional distress.
Diaphragm: The thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the
chest from the abdomen.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): the part of the cell that contains and controls all genetic information.
Drug Resistance: the failure of (cancer) cells to respond to drugs
Durable Power of Attorney: the legal designation of a person responsible for managing another person's affairs if he/she becomes unable to do so. It can be for all decisions or only for health care decisions (health care proxy).
Dysphagia: difficulty in swallowing.
Edema: swelling of a body part caused by an abnormal buildup of fluids.
Empathy: understanding another person's feelings by remembering or imagining being in a similar situation.
Empowerment: having the right to make one's own choices and of having the ability to act on them.
Epidemiology: the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations.
Epstein-Barr Virus: a retrovirus that has been associated with the
development of Burkitt's Lymphoma and is present in about 50% of the time in Hodgkin's Disease patients. The link between the virus and cancer is still unknown.
Erythema: redness of the skin.
Erythrocyte: the red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells and carries carbon dioxide away from them.
Excision: removal by surgery.
Fertility: The ability to have children. Several treatments for lymphoma
Gene: the part of DNA that is responsible for determining a person's
characteristics and that carries information from old cells to new cells.
Gene Therapy: the use of genes to treat cancer and other diseases.
Genome: the complete genetic information of a species.
Grade: The speed at which a type of Non-Hodgkin's develops. There are three - low grade, intermediate grade, and high grade.
Graft-Verses-Host (GVH) Disease: a complication that may develop after a bone marrow transplant in which the lymphocytes from the donated bone marrow react against the host's cells.
Granulocyte: a type of white blood cell that fights bacterial infection or
foreign substances. They congregate around, engulf, and destroy the
offending object in a process called phagocytosis. Granulocytes then die
and are ingested by monocytes. (also called a neutrophil).
Granulocyte-Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF): a treatment agent used to stimulate the production of granulocytes in the bone marrow. Manufactured by Amgen under the name Neupogen®, it is often given during or after chemotherapy to boost the immune system.
Granulocyte/Macrophage-Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF): a treatment agent used to stimulate the production of macrophages, granulocytes, and eosinophils in the bone marrow. It is sometimes given to boost the immune system.
Groin: The area where the thigh meets the hip.
Harvesting: removing tissue or cells from a donor and preserving them for transplantation. See also apheresis and bone marrow harvest.
Hematocrit: the number of red blood cells within a sample of blood.
Hematologist: A doctor who specializes in the treatment of blood diseases.
Hematology: the study of blood, blood-producing organs, and blood disorders.
Hickman Catheter: catheter that is inserted into a large vein near the
heart - used for delivery of medications and transfusions.
High Grade: A grade of Non-Hodgkin's denoting fast growth. NHL types that are high grade are Burkitt's Lymphoma, non-Burkitt's, diffuse,
leukemia/lymphoma, lymphoblastic and T-cell
Histiocytic lymphoma: the old Rappaport classification for the form of
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma now known as large cell lymphoma.
Hodgkin's Disease (HD): A malignant disorder of lymph tissue (lymphoma) that occurs mostly in individuals between the ages of 15 and 35. If detected early, it has a high remission rate. It is characterized by the presence of Reed-Stenberg cells. For more information see the Hodgkin's Disease Page.
Hospice: a program designed for caring for terminally ill patients and their
HLA: see Human Leukocyte Antigen
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA): a set of 6 antigens used to match a blood or bone marrow donor to a recipient. These antigens appear on white blood cells as well as cells of almost all other tissues and are analogous to red blood cell antigens (type A, B, O, etc.) By typing for HLA antigens, donors and recipients of white blood cells, platelets, and organs can be matched to ensure good performance and survival of transfused and transplanted cells.
Hyperalimentation: nutritional support given through a vein.
Immune System: the system within the body that recognizes and fights foreign cells and disease.
Immunophenotyping: determining what kind of surface molecules are present on cells. Used by pathologists to determine the exact type of lymphoma from a tissue sample.
Immunosuppressant: a drug (such as chemotherapy) or other factor that prevents the immune system from reacting to foreign substances and fighting disease.
Immunosuppression: suppression of the immune response as a result of drugs (chemotherapy) or radiation.
Immunotherapy: treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response.
Informed Consent: legally required procedure to ensure that a patient knows about the potential risks and benefits of a treatment before it is started.
Infusion: administration of fluids or medications into the blood through the veins.
Injection: use of a syringe and needle to deliver medications to the body
(also called a "shot").
Interferon: a natural substance produced by the body in response to a virus. Interferons can stimulate the immune system to fight the growth of cancer.
Interleukin: a natural hormone-like substance produced by the body that activates the growth of certain types of lymphocytes.
Intermediate Grade: A grade of Non-Hodgkin's denoting usually moderate growth. NHL types that are intermediate grade are large cell follicular, mixed cell diffuse, large cell diffuse and immunoblastic diffuse.
Intravenous: within, or administered into, a vein
Kiel Classification: a classification system introduced in 1974 for
differentiating types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Popular in Europe.
Leukocyte: a white blood cell (wbc). There are 3 main types of leukocytes: monocytes, granulocytes, and lymphocytes.
Leukopenia: a low number of leukocytes or wbc's. Leukopenia decreases the bodies ability to fight disease and infections.
Low Grade: A grade of Non-Hodgkin's denoting usually low growth. NHL types that are low grade (indolent) are small lymphocytic, small cleaved cell follicular, mixed follicular, small cleaved cell diffuse, intermediately differentiated diffuse and cutaneous T-cell (mycosis fungoides).
Lumbar Puncture: also called a spinal tap - involves the removal of the
fluid in the spine for examination.
Lymph: The almost colorless fluid that bathes body tissues and carries cells that help fight infection.
Lymph nodes: Small, bean-shaped organs located along the lymphatic system. Nodes filter out bacteria or cancer cells that may travel through the lymphatic system. Also called lymph glands.
Lymphangiogram: An X-ray of the lymphatic system. A contrast agent (dye) is injected (usually between the toes) to outline the lymphatic vessels and organs. Often not performed in favor of a CT Scan
Lymphatic system: The tissues and organs (including the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes) that produce and store cells that fight infection and the network of vessels that carry lymph.
Lymphedema: the swelling of the arms and or legs which may result from the blockage or removal of lymph nodes. Not indicative of lymphoma.
Lymphocytes: A type of white blood cell that fights infection and disease
and are found in the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, and lymphoid organs. The two main types of lymphocytes - B cells (bone marrow derived lymphocytes) and T cells (thymus derived lymphocytes or thymocytes) combine forces to regulate the immune response.
Lymphoma: a subset of cancers that begin in the lymph system. Lymphomas are broken down into two categories - Hodgkin's Disease and the Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas.
Macrophage: a type of white blood cell that fights inflammation.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): a test that uses a magnetic field sensor and computers to create 3-dimensional images of the body. It is similar to computerized tomography (CT scan) but uses magnets instead of x-rays.
Malignant: Cancerous (see Cancer).
Medicare: a US federal medical insurance program for senior citizens and the disabled.
Metastasis: spread of cancer cells from the original site to other parts of
Monoclonal Antibody: an artificially made antibody used against a specific antigen. Use of monoclonal antibodies is being researched to target chemotherapy or radioactive substances directly to cancer cells.
Monocytes: A type of leukocyte (white blood cell) that defends the body against bacterial infections. They also ingest aging and degenerating blood cells.
MRI: see Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Mucositis: inflammation of the mucus membranes (like the mouth) that causes pain, soreness, and/or excessive mucus production.
Mycosis Fungoides: A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that first appears on the skin. Also called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Neoplasm: malignant (cancerous) growth
Neupogen: see Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor (G-CSF)
Neurologic(al): involving the nerves or nervous system
Neutropenia: a low number of neutrophils or white blood cells (wbc's); ma increase the risk of infection depending how low the wbc count is and for how long it has been low.
Neutrophil: a type of white blood cell that fights bacterial infection (also
called a granulocyte).
Night Sweats: profuse sweating of the body during the night (characterizes "B" system Hodgkin's Disease although night sweats can be caused by other things).
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas (NHL): A group of lymphomas characterized by cancerous growth of different types of lymphatic cells, excluding those characterized by Hodgkin's Disease. The lymphomas are broken down into three grades depending on how fast the particular lymphoma develops: low grade, intermediate grade, and high grade.
Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in the study, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with cancer.
Oncology: study of the development, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer.
Palliative: treatment designed to reduce the symptoms of a disease rather than to cure it.
Pathologist: A doctor who specializes in identifying diseases by studying
cells and tissues under a microscope.
Peer Support: structured relationship in which people meet in order to
provide or exchange emotional support with others facing similar challenges.
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant (PBSCT): Similar to a bone marrow transplant (BMT), young blood stem cells are collected from the patient (autologous) or another matched donor (allogeneic) usually by a process called apheresis. High dose chemotherapy and/or radiation is given, and the stem cells reinfused to the patient to re-establish (rescue) the patients immune system.
Peripheral Neuropathy: numbness or tingling in the extremities (usually
hands and/or feet). The chemotherapy drugs vinblastine (Hodgkin's) and
vincristine (used for some NHLs) and both vinca alkaloid drugs which can
cause varing degrees of peripheral neuropathy.
Plasma: the liquid part of the blood, lymph, and intracellular fluid in
which cells are suspended.
Plasma Cell: an antibody producing, mature B cell found in lymphoid tissue.
Platelet: a blood cell that helps to control bleeding by inducing clotting.
Also called a thrombocyte.
Poorly-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma: the old Rappaport classification for the form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma now known as follicular center cell lymphoma with a large component of small-cleaved cells.
Primary Tumor: tumor at the original cancer site.
Prognosis: The probable outcome of a disease; the prospect of recovery.
Protocol: medical treatment plan
Pruritus: itching (sometimes an unofficial "B" symptom of Hodgkin's
Purging: in cancer treatment purging refers to the removal of cancer or T
cells in bone marrow or stem cells prior to BMT or PBSCT.
Radiation Therapy: Treatment with high-energy radiation from X-rays or other sources of radiation (like radioisotopes).
Recurrence: the return of cancer after a period of being diagnosed cancer free (in remission).
Red Blood Cell (RBC): blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells of the
body and removes carbon dioxide.
Red Blood Cell Count: measurement of the number of red blood cells in a sample of blood.
Reed-Sternberg Cell: A type of cell that appears in patients with Hodgkin's disease.
Regression: reduction in symptoms or disease process.
Relapse: The return of symptoms and signs of a disease after a period of
Remission: the complete disappearance of cancer cells and symptoms. It does not always mean the individual has been cured.
Secondary Malignancy: cancer that develops after treatment for a first
cancer but is not related to the first cancer. Some lymphoma treatments have been linked to a small likelihood of secondary malignancies including solid tumors and leukemia.
Side Effect: secondary effect caused by cancer treatment.
Sperm Banking: Freezing sperm for future use. This procedure can allow men to father children after loss of fertility.
Spleen: An organ that produces lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys those that are aging. It is located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach.
Splenectomy: surgical removal of the spleen. This is sometimes done during staging of lymphoma.
Splenomegaly: enlargement of the spleen.
Stage: The extent to which lymphoma has spread from its original site to
other parts of the body. Usually denoted by a number from Stage 1 (least
severe) to Stage 4 (more advanced). Different lymphoma types have different criteria for staging.
Staging: Determining the stage of the lymphoma. Staging may be done by physical examination, medical testing, or surgery.
Standard Treatment: treatment that has been proven effective and is commonly used.
Stem Cell Collection: See Apheresis.
Stem Cell Transplant: see Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant.
Stem Cells: Primitive cells found mostly in the bone marrow but also in the blood stream. Stem cells are capable of becoming several types of mature blood cells making them effective at rejuvenating the circulatory and immune systems in case of damage.
Sterility: inability to conceive or produce a child.
Stomatitus: inflammation of the mouth.
Support Group: group of individuals who meet on a regular basis to exchange mutual support, often focusing on a shared area of difficulty.
Survivorship: living with a history of cancer, from the time of diagnosis
on, regardless of the treatment outcome.
Syngeneic Bone Marrow Transplant: a bone marrow transplant where the donor is an identical twin to the patient.
Systemic: affects the whole body rather than one part or organ.
T Cell: a type of lymphocyte that attacks any foreign substance in the body. Also called a thymocyte (thymus derived lymphocyte).
Taste Alteration: temporary change in taste that may be a side effect of
chemotherapy, cancer, or radiation.
Terminal: describes an advanced disease with limited life expectancy.
Thrombocyte: a blood cell that helps to control bleeding by inducing
clotting. Also called a platelet.
Thromboctyopenia: a low number of platelets/thrombocytes in the blood. This can happen during a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant. It can cause spontaneous bleeding of gums or nose and bleeding of other tissues. Unexplained bruising of the skin is also characteristic.
Thymus: An organ in which lymphocytes mature and multiply. It lies behind the breastbone.
Tissue: a group of similar cells that work together to perform a specific
Total Body Irradiation (TBI): Radiation aimed at the entire body to destro cancer cells. Often used in Bone Marrow transplants possibly with
chemotherapy to destroy cancer (which also destroys the immune system's ability to make blood cells hence the transplant of cells back into the patient).
Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
Tumor Board: a group of specialists who meet regularly to discuss management of individuals who have cancer.
Tumor Burden: the amount of cancer cells that are present in the body.
Tumor Marker: proteins and other substances found in the blood that signify the presence of cancer somewhere in the body.
Ultrasonography: A technique in which high-frequency sound waves bounce off internal organs and their echoes are changed into pictures of organs inside the body.
Undifferentiated: cells that lack a specialized structure and function.
Vein: a blood vessel that carries blood to the heart.
Venipuncture: the process in which the vein is punctured to draw a blood sample, to give medication, or to start an intravenous drip.
Watch and Wait: a period of using no treatment or little treatment and
seeing how the lymphoma progresses. Typically a strategy used for low grade Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma: the old Rappaport classification for the form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma now known as small lymphocytic lymphoma.
White Blood Cell (WBC): a variety of cells that fight infection in the body and are part of the immune system.
White Blood Cell Count: measurement of the total number of white blood cells in a sample of blood.
X-ray: high energy electromagnetic radiation that is used to diagnose and