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This page explains what is meant by some of the words commonly used across our website and by healthcare professionals in relation to lymphoma.

We list terms in alphabetical order and you can find your way through the list using the alphabet links at the top of the page. We also give the pronunciation of some words in brackets.

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Abdomen The middle part of the front of your body, between your chest and pelvis (the bones around your hip area), often called the tummy

Acute Describes an illness or symptom that develops and progresses quickly but goes away quickly

Adjuvant therapy An additional treatment given to boost the effectiveness of the main therapy

Advanced stage Widespread lymphoma – stage 3 (lymphoma on both sides of your diaphragm) or stage 4 (lymphoma that has spread to body organs outside your lymphatic system). The lymphatic system is all over the body, so it isn’t unusual to find that lymphoma is advanced when it is diagnosed 

Aggressive used to describe a lymphoma that grows quickly; also called ‘high-grade’ or ‘fast-growing’

AIDS Short for ‘acquired immune deficiency syndrome’, an advanced stage of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

AIDS-defining cancer If you have HIV and develop certain cancers, you are also diagnosed with AIDS

Alert card A card with important information on for anyone treating you in an emergency. If you have an alert card for any reason, you should always carry it with you

Allogeneic ("ALLO-jen-AY-ik") Describes tissue or cells that come from a different person. Often used to describe a stem cell transplant that uses cells from another person 

Anaemia Shortage of haemoglobin (or red blood cells) in your blood stream

Anaesthetic A drug given to make a part of your body numb (local anaesthetic) or to put your whole body into a sleep-like state (general anaesthetic)

Analgesic Something (such as a drug) that takes away or reduces pain

Anthracyclines A type of chemotherapy drug that affects how well your heart pumps blood around the body 

Antibody A specialised protein made by white blood cells that helps to fight infections by sticking to proteins on the surface of cells that don’t belong in your body, such as viruses, bacteria or some cancer cells

Antibody–drug conjugate A treatment using a monoclonal antibody joined to a chemotherapy drug that can deliver the chemotherapy directly to the target lymphoma cell

Antiemetic ("AN-tee-em-ET-ik") Anti-sickness medicine that can help to reduce nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick)

Antigen The part on the surface of a substance that doesn’t belong in your body that antibodies stick to 

Apheresis A process where something is separated out, usually out of the blood; a special piece of equipment separates out one particular part of the blood (for example plasma, the liquid part of the blood, or cells such as stem cells) and returns the rest of the blood to the body

Apoptosis Process of cell death or ‘programmed cell death’, which is a normal body process to make way for new cells; it can also be triggered by chemotherapy drugs and irradiation

Aspirate Sample of cells taken by suction using a needle

Autologous ("aw-TAW-luh-GUS") Describes tissue or cells that come from the person themselves. Often used to describe a stem cell transplant that uses a person’s own stem cells 

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B cells / B lymphocytes A type of white blood cell (an immune cell) that fights infection by producing antibodies

B symptoms Three significant symptoms of lymphoma – fevers, night sweats and unexplained weight loss – that can occur in people with lymphoma. If you have B symptoms, doctors will take account of that when planning your treatment

Benign Not cancerous (although benign lumps or conditions can still cause problems because of their size or position)

Biological therapies Anti-cancer treatments that are based on substances that the body makes naturally and affect how the cancer cell works; examples are interferon and monoclonal antibodies

Biopsy A procedure that takes a sample of tissue cells for examination in a laboratory. It is usually used to confirm a lymphoma diagnosis

Biosimilar A medicine developed as a copy of an existing drug 

Blind or blinding Describes a trial when the person taking part doesn’t know what treatment they are having. If the doctor doesn’t know either, the trial is called ‘double-blind’

Blood–brain barrier A layer of cells and blood vessels that protects the brain and spinal cord from harmful chemicals and infections

Blood cells The three main types of cells or cell fragments present in the blood are red cells, white cells and platelets

Blood count The number of each type of blood cell in your blood

Bone marrow The spongy tissue in the middle of some of the bigger bones in your body where blood cells are made

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Cancer cells Cells that divide in an abnormal way or do not die when they should

Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) A scheme run by NHS England to fund some drugs that might not otherwise be available as a matter of routine practice on the NHS 

Cannula ("CAN-ewe-lah") A thin, plastic tube that is inserted into the body, usually into a vein, and through which fluids and medicines can be passed into the body without the need for repeated injections

CAR T-cell therapy Treatment that uses your own immune system to recognise and kill lymphoma cells. Your own T cells are collected and genetically modified so they recognise and stick to a particular protein on the surface of your lymphoma cells

Carcinogenic ("CAR-si-nuh-jen-ik") Something that can make cells become cancerous

Cardiovascular To do with the heart and blood vessels

Catheter A soft tube that can be put into an organ so that fluids or gases can be removed from, or given into, the body

CD20 A protein ‘marker’ found on the surface of mature B cells and on the surface of certain lymphoma cells, which is why it is targeted by specialised anti-lymphoma treatments called monoclonal antibodies

Cell ("sell")The microscopic building block of the body; all our organs are made up of cells and although they have the same basic structure, they are specially adapted to form each part of the body

Cell signal blockers Cells receive signals that keep them alive and make them divide. These signals are sent along one or more pathways. Cell signal blockers are newer drugs that block either the signal or a key part of the pathway. This can make cells die or stop them from growing

Central line A thin flexible tube, which is inserted into a large vein near your heart; some types can be left in place for some months, which allows all treatments to be given and all blood tests to be taken through the one line

Central nervous system (CNS) The brain and spinal cord

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) The fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord

Chemotherapy ("KEE-moh-ther-uh-pee") A type of treatment for lymphoma that uses drugs to damage and kill rapidly dividing cells at various stages of their cycle of development

Chemo-immunotherapy Chemotherapy (for example, CHOP) with immunotherapy (for example, rituximab). The initial of the immunotherapy drug is usually added to the abbreviation for the chemotherapy regimen, such as R-CHOP

Chromosome A small ‘package’ found in the centre (nucleus) of every cell in the body that contains a set of genes (DNA codes); they occur in pairs, one from the mother and one from the father, and human beings normally possess 46 chromosomes, arranged in 23 pairs

Chronic A long-term condition

Classification The grouping of similar types of cancer together according to how they look under the microscope and after doing specialised tests

Clinical nurse specialist (CNS) A nurse who specialises in looking after people with lymphoma. They are usually your key worker

Clinical trial A medical research study that aims to find better ways to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases. Not all research studies involve treatment; some might focus on improving tests or quality of life after treatment

CNS prophylaxis Treatment that aims to stop lymphoma spreading to your brain, spinal cord or eyes (your central nervous system, or CNS)

Combination chemotherapy or chemotherapy regimen Treatment with more than one type of chemotherapy drug

Complete remission There is no evidence of lymphoma using current tests

CT scan Short for ‘computed tomography’, a scan using X-rays to take pictures through your body 

Cure Treating a disease or condition to the point where it has gone and will not come back in the future

Cutaneous ("queue-TAY-nee-us") To do with the skin

Cycle A block of chemotherapy that is followed by a rest period to allow the healthy normal cells to recover

Cyto To do with cells

Cytokine release syndrome An immune reaction to some types of immunotherapy (for example, CAR T-cell therapy) that causes a rapid release of chemicals called cytokines which overwhelms your body

Cytotoxic drugs ("sigh-toe-TOX-ik") Drugs that are toxic (poisonous) to cells, so are given to destroy or control cancer cells

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Day-care unit A part of the hospital for people who need a specialist procedure but who do not need to stay in hospital overnight

Day patient or outpatient A patient who attends hospital (for example, for treatment) but doesn’t stay overnight

Diagnosis Finding out what condition you have

Diaphragm ("DYE-a-fram") The sheet of muscle separating your chest from your tummy

DNA Stands for ‘deoxyribonucleic acid’, a complex molecule that holds genetic information as a chemical code and which forms part of the chromosome in the nucleus of all the cells of the body

Double-hit lymphoma A type of high-grade B-cell lymphoma that has changes (mutations) in two of the genes

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Early stage Lymphoma that is localised to one area or a few areas that are close together, usually stage 1 or 2 localised lymphoma –stage 1 (lymphoma in one group of lymph nodes) or stage 2 (lymphoma in two or more groups of lymph nodes, all on the same side of the diaphragm)

Efficacy A drug's ability to produce a beneficial effect

Electrocardiography (ECG) A method of recording the electrical activity of the heart muscle

Eligibility criteria Strict set of characteristics that outline who can and cannot enter a clinical trial. Inclusion criteria set out who can join the trial; exclusion criteria set out who can’t join the trial

Endoscopy A procedure where a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera is used to look inside your body to assist in diagnosis and treatment (for example, in gastroscopy an endoscope is passed through the mouth into the stomach)

Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) A very common virus that can cause glandular fever; has been discovered to be associated with some lymphomas, particularly Burkitt lymphoma

Erythrocytes Red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body

Erythropoietin A hormone (chemical messenger) made by the kidneys that tells your bone marrow to make more stem cells; can be manufactured (as EPO) and is given to some people as a treatment for anaemia, especially if they have kidney failure

Excision biopsy ("ex-SIH-zhun") A minor operation that removes a whole lymph node. It is used to diagnose lymphoma

Extranodal disease Lymphoma that started in a body organ that is not part of the lymphatic system

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False negative A negative result in a test when that person does in fact have the condition

False positive A positive result in a test when that person does not have the condition

Fast-growing used to describe a lymphoma that grows quickly; also called ‘high-grade’ or ‘aggressive’

Fatigue Exhaustion that can be physical, emotional or mental. It is a common side effect of cancer treatment and can also be a symptom of lymphoma 

Fertility The ability to have children

Fibrosis ("fye-BROH-sis") Scarring of tissues (such as lymph nodes, the lungs); can happen after an infection, surgery or radiotherapy

Fine-needle aspiration cytology Sometimes shortened to ‘FNA’ or ‘FNAC’, a procedure where your surgeon or pathologist collects a small amount of tissue from a lymph node using a very thin needle. The sample is sent to a laboratory for examination

First-line treatment The first choice of therapy selected to treat an illness when it first appears or if it comes back

Flow cytometry A test to find out what proteins your white blood cells are making, which helps your medical team diagnose your type of lymphoma; also known as immunophenotyping

Follicle A very small sac or gland; in follicular lymphoma the term relates to the appearance of groups of lymphoma cells seen under the microscope when a biopsy sample is examined

Fungus A type of organism (something that is living) that can cause disease

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G-CSF Stands for ‘granulocyte colony-stimulating factor’, a growth factor that stimulates the bone marrow to make more white blood cells

Gene A stretch of DNA with enough genetic information in it to form a protein

Genetic Caused by the genes

Grade A way of describing how fast a lymphoma is growing: low-grade lymphomas are slower growing; high-grade lymphomas are faster growing

Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) A common complication that can happen after an allogeneic stem cell or bone marrow transplant. It happens when the new immune system that grows from the donor cells recognises the other cells in your body as foreign, and attacks them 

Graft-versus-lymphoma effect A beneficial effect after an allogeneic stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant where the donor cells recognise the lymphoma cells as foreign and help to get rid of them. They can also help to prevent lymphoma relapsing. Sometimes called ‘graft-versus-tumour effect’

Gray A measure of how much radiation is being absorbed by the body; radiotherapy is ‘prescribed’ in numbers of Gray (shortened to ‘Gy’)

Groshong® line ("GROW-shong") A type of central line (thin flexible tube)

Growth factors Naturally occurring chemical messengers (hormones) that encourage blood cells to divide and develop. There are different growth factors to encourage different types of blood cell to develop (for example, GCS-F, EPO, TPO)

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Haematologist ("hee-mah-TOH-lo-jist") A doctor specialising in diseases of the blood, including lymphomas

Haemoglobin A protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body

Helicobacter pylori A common bacterial infection that can cause stomach ulcers and indigestion, which is associated with MALT lymphoma

Helper T cells T cells that tell B cells to make more antibodies and switch on other immune cells

Hickman® line A type of central line (thin flexible tube)

High-dose therapy A treatment regimen in which large doses of anti-cancer treatments are given with the aim of eradicating all the tumour cells; because this will also damage the normal blood-producing cells in the bone marrow it has to be followed by a transplant of either stem cells (a peripheral blood stem cell transplant, PBSCT) or bone marrow cells (a bone marrow transplant, BMT)

High-grade a type of lymphoma that can progress quickly; also called ‘fast-growing’ or ‘aggressive’

Histo To do with tissue or cells

Histology The study of the microscopic appearance and structure of tissues and cells

Histopathologist A doctor who specialises in changes in tissue appearance caused by diseases

Histopathology The study of the microscopic appearances of diseased tissues

HIV Short for ‘human immunodeficiency virus’, which is a virus that weakens the immune system by destroying a type of immune cell

Hormone A chemical messenger produced by a gland and carried by the bloodstream to another part of the body to affect how that part works

Hyperviscosity When blood is thicker than usual, often due to high levels of abnormal antibodies in the blood; common in people who have Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia

Hypothyroidism Also known as an 'underactive thyroid', the condition caused by a lack of thyroid hormone (thyroxine). It can occur as a late side effect of radiotherapy to the neck

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Immune system A system in the body that protects your body against infections and disease

Immunisation The process of making someone immune to something or building up their immune response to it so that they can resist the infection in the future; one way of immunising a person is to introduce an antigen (such as a germ) into the body, which is what happens in vaccination

Immunocompromised/immunosuppressed A condition of reduced ability to resist infection or combat foreign material gaining access to the body; can be caused by a disease or by a treatment

Immunoglobulins Another name for antibodies

Immunophenotyping A test to find out what proteins your white blood cells are making, which helps your medical team diagnose your type of lymphoma; also known as flow cytometry

Immunosuppression A condition of reduced immunity caused by a treatment. It can allow infections to occur

Immunosuppressive A drug that lowers the body’s ability to fight infection

Immunotherapy ("i-myoon-oh-ther-uh-pee") Antibody therapy that activates the immune system to destroy lymphoma cells

Indolent used to describe a lymphoma that grows slowly; also called ‘low-grade’ or ‘slow-growing’

Infection Harmful bugs or germs (microbes such as bacteria, fungi or viruses) cause an infection by getting into your body when they shouldn’t 

Infusion Having a fluid (other than blood) given into a vein

Inpatient A patient who stays in hospital overnight

Intramuscular Into muscle

Intrathecal Into the fluid around the spinal cord

Intravenous Into a vein

Irradiated blood Blood products (for example platelets) from a donor that have been treated with X-rays before transfusion to destroy any white cells that might be left after the blood has been filtered; done to prevent transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease

Irradiation A type of high energy X-ray radiotherapy

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Kinase A protein that adds a chemical called phosphate to other molecules. Kinases help control important cellular functions, such as cell division, growth and survival

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Laparascope A very small camera at the end of a long, thin, flexible tube that can be entered into the body

Late effects Health problems that develop months or years after treatment has ended

Live vaccine A vaccine that contains a live, weakened version of the microbe (germ) that causes an infection

Low-grade a type of lymphoma that progresses slowly; also called ‘slow-growing’ or ‘indolent’

Lumbar puncture A procedure that involves having a thin needle put into your lower back to take a sample of the fluid around your spinal cord

Lymph A liquid that flows through your lymphatic system

Lymphadenopathy (“lim-fa-den-OH-pa-thee”) Swelling (enlargement) of lymph nodes

Lymphatic system A network of tubes, tissues and organs that runs throughout your body; it is part of the immune system

Lymph nodes Small, bean-shaped structures, up to 2cm in length, grouped together in certain areas of the body – for example, the neck, armpits or groin

Lymph vessels Tubes that carry lymph fluid and connect with the lymph nodes

Lymphocytes ("LIM-foh-sites") A type of cell that grows out of control if you have lymphoma. There are three main types of lymphocyte – B cells, T cells and natural killer cells

Lymphoid tissue ("LIM-FOYD") A collection of lymphocytes 

Lymphoma ("lim-FOH-ma") A cancer of the blood that develops when lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) grow out of control.

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Macrophage A type of white blood cell involved in the immune system that break down germs or damaged cells into smaller pieces, then activate the T cells in the immune system

Maintenance therapy A long treatment to keep lymphoma in remission after successful treatment  

Malignant Cancerous, something that grows uncontrollably and can travel to other parts of the body

MALT Stands for ‘mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue’ where ‘mucosa’ is the soft, protective layer of cells and ‘lymphoid tissue’ is a collection of lymphocytes. MALT refers to collections of lymphocytes in your mucosa

Metabolism How quickly your body uses energy

Metastasis The spreading of cancer cells from the site where they developed to other areas of the body

Minimal residual disease (MRD) Tiny amounts of lymphoma remaining after treatment. If you are MRD positive, the remaining disease can grow and cause a relapse (return of cancer). If you are MRD negative, you have a higher chance of a long-lasting remission

Monoclonal antibody Antibodies that are exactly the same, meaning they stick to the same protein

MRI Short for ‘magnetic resonance imaging’, a method of body scanning using a strong magnet and radio waves to make detailed cross-sectional images of the inside of your body

Mucosa ("myoo-KOH-sah") The soft, moist, protective later of cells that lines many parts of your body, such as your mouth, gut, airways and some internal organs

Mucositis ("myoo-koh-SITE-is") Inflammation and damage of the inside (lining) of the mouth

Multidisciplinary team Group of health professionals who meet to plan and manage your care and treatment according to your individual needs and preferences

Myelodysplastic syndromes ("MY-loh-dis-PLAS-tik") Sometimes called ‘myelodysplasia’, a group of diseases in which the normal function of the bone marrow is disrupted and the bone marrow makes blood cells that don't work as they should, instead of healthy blood cells

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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) An independent body that carries out health technology assessments in England and gives guidance to the NHS and recommends whether treatments should be funded

Needle aspiration biopsy Also sometimes known as ‘fine-needle aspiration biopsy’ or FNAB, a technique in which a thin needle is inserted into a lump in the body (such as in the neck) to remove some cells to be examined under a microscope

Neuro To do with nerves or the nervous system

Neuropathy Any disease that affects the nerves (neurones)

Neutropenia ("nyoo-troh-PEE-nee-ya") Low levels of neutrophils (a kind of white blood cell) in the blood; can result in the body allowing infections to develop

Neutropenic sepsis A whole-body reaction to an infection in people with neutropenia

Neutrophils ("nyoo-tro-FILS") A type of white blood cell that help fight off infection

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Oncologist ("on-COL-oh-jist") A doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of people who have cancer with treatments that don’t involve surgery; may be either a medical oncologist who gives drug treatments for cancer or a clinical oncologist (also known as a radiotherapist) who mainly gives radiotherapy

Oral By mouth, for example, treatment taken as a tablet or capsule

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Paediatric ("peed-ee-AH-tric") To do with children

Palliative Care that aims to improve the quality of your life by addressing needs that are physical, practical and emotional

Paraprotein An abnormal protein

Partial response There are fewer lymphoma cells in your body; lymphoma is affecting fewer parts of your body than it was before

Pathologist A doctor who looks at samples of your biopsy under a microscope and tests them

Performance status A score between 0 and 4 that assesses your general health. A score of 0 means you are fully active, and a score of 4 means you can’t look after yourself at all

Peripheral blood stem cell transplant Another name for a stem cell transplant, which replaces damaged stem cells with healthy stem cells

Peripheral neuropathy ("per-ih-fural nyoor-O-pah-thee", O as in "on") A temporary or permanent damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system, usually starting with numbness or a burning sensation, often in the hands or feet; can be a side effect of treatment

PET Short for ‘positron-emission tomography’, a scan that uses a harmless radioactive form of sugar to look at how active cells are in your body; for some types of lymphoma, the cells are very active so show up clearly on a PET scan

PET/CT scan When you have a PET and CT scan in the same appointment; can give a clearer picture of which areas of your body are affected by lymphoma

PICC line Short for ‘peripherally inserted central catheter’, a central line (thin flexible tube) that is put in a vein in your arm, above the bend of your elbow

Placebo A dummy treatment that doesn’t have any active medication in it. It is used in clinical trials to make sure the results aren’t affected by whether or not participants know they are having active treatment 

Plasma The liquid part of the blood that holds the blood cells; contains proteins, salts and blood-clotting compounds

Plasma cell A cell that is formed from a B lymphocyte that produces antibodies

Plasmapheresis ("plas-MAH-fur-ee-sis") Sometimes called ‘plasma exchange’, a procedure where the blood is slowly removed from one arm and passed through a machine that separates the plasma from the blood cells. The blood cells are then combined with a plasma substitute and put back into the other arm

Platelets ("PLATE-lets") A type of blood cell that helps your blood to clot

Portacath A type of central line with a thin, soft tube that goes underneath the skin and into a main vein just above the heart. There is a port at the end that sits just underneath the skin

Principal treatment centre (PTC) Hospital with specialist facilities for diagnosing and treating children and young people with lymphoma

Prognosis The likely course of an illness for an individual patient, taking many factors into account such as the type of tumour and the individual's age and general health

Prophylaxis Treatment designed to prevent something

Protein Found in all living things, proteins have many roles, including helping to control how our cells work and fighting infections

Protocol The plan for a research trial that includes information on the research question being asked by the trial, the eligibility criteria, investigations required and follow-up requirements

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Radiation The movement of energy; radiation is used in scans such as X-rays and as a form of treatment (radiotherapy)

Radiographer A person who carries out X-ray, MRI and CT scans; can also give radiotherapy

Radioimmunotherapy A treatment using a monoclonal antibody joined to a radioactive particle that sticks to a protein on lymphoma cells, which delivers a dose of radiotherapy directly to the lymphoma cells

Radiologist A doctor who specialises in looking at scans, including X-rays, to work out what they mean; can also take biopsy samples to diagnose lymphoma

Radiotherapist A doctor who specialises in treating people using radiotherapy, also known as a ‘clinical oncologist’

Radiotherapy ("ray-dee-oh-ther-ap-ee") A treatment that uses radiation to destroy cancer cells

Randomisation A method used in clinical trials to ensure that the results of the treatment occur because of the treatment, and not any other factors 

Red blood cells Cells in your bloodstream that carry oxygen around the body; also called ‘erythrocytes’

Reed–Sternberg cell A large, abnormal cell, characteristic of Hodgkin lymphoma

Refractory Lymphoma that does not respond well to the first choice of treatment

Regimen A treatment plan that usually involves more than one drug

Relapse ("ree-LAPSE") lymphoma that comes back after successful treatment and a period of remission

Remission ("ree-MI-shon") A period when there is no evidence of lymphoma in your body from tests and scans after treatment and have don’t have any symptoms (complete remission); a partial remission is either when there are fewer lymphoma cells in your body or the lymphoma is affecting fewer parts of your body than it was before 

Respiratory Relating to breathing or to the organs of breathing (the lungs and air passages)

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Scan A test that looks at the inside of the body, but is taken from outside of the body, such as a CT scan or ultrasound scan

Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) The body that gives guidance to the NHS in Scotland on whether treatments should be funded

Sedation Where a relaxing drug is given through a vein to enable a procedure to be done more easily and comfortably

Sedative A drug to relax you; usually used to allow a procedure to be done more easily

Sepsis When an infection gets into your bloodstream and can lead to tissue damage and organ failure

Side effect An unwanted effect of a medical treatment; might occur when a treatment damages healthy cells as well as unhealthy cells

Slow-growing used to describe a lymphoma that grows slowly; also called ‘low-grade’ or ‘indolent’

Specialist nurse Nurse who specialises in looking after people with lymphoma. They are usually your key worker

Spleen Part of the lymphatic system and helps to protect your body against infection; the spleen is positioned behind your ribcage on the left side of your body

Splenectomy Removing the spleen by surgery

Splenomegaly ("slen-oh-meg-alee") Swelling (enlargement) of the spleen

Stable disease Lymphoma that has stayed the same (neither gone away nor progressed)

Stage A guide to how many and which areas of your body are affected by lymphoma. There are four stages used to describe most types of lymphoma, which are usually written with Roman numerals as stage I to stage IV

Staging The process of working out which parts of your body are affected by lymphoma; done using tests and scans

Stem cell harvest Also called stem cell collection, the process of collecting stem cells from the blood (for use in a stem cell transplant)

Stem cell transplant A procedure that replaces damaged or destroyed stem cells in your bone marrow with health stem cells

Stem cells Undeveloped cells that can divide and mature into all the different types of blood cell

Steroids Chemical messengers (hormones) that are made naturally in your body

Subcutaneous ("sub-queue-TAY-nee-us") Under the skin

Surgery Treatment that involves cutting into the body to change or remove something

Symptom Any change in the body or in how it functions that is felt by a person; helps doctors to diagnose diseases

Systemic Affecting the whole body (not just local or localised parts of the body)

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T cells / T lymphocytes Immune cells made in the bone marrow and develop in your thymus; help to protect us from viruses and cancers by attacking them directly; they develop in the thymus gland

Thrombocytopenia ("throm-boh-SITE-oh-pee-nyah") A shortage of platelets in the blood; increases the likelihood of bruising and/or bleeding

Thymus A small butterfly-shaped gland in your chest; the organ where T cells develop into active immune cells

Topical Putting a treatment directly onto the surface of the skin

Total body irradiation A high energy X-ray radiotherapy given to the whole body

Transformation When a slow-growing lymphoma changes into a faster-growing lymphoma

Transfusion Having blood or blood products given to you through a drip into one of your veins

Transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease (TA-GvHD) A rare but serious complication of blood or platelet transfusion where white cells in the donor blood attack the cells of the person receiving the blood; can be prevented by irradiation of blood and platelets

Tumour A swelling or lump of tissue formed from a collection of cells; can be benign (not harmful) or malignant (progressing and harmful)

Tumour lysis syndrome A rare but serious illness where there is a rapid breakdown of tumour cells that releases chemicals that can damage your kidneys and heart

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Vaccination Increasing the body’s ability to resist an infection by giving (inoculating) a small dose of the germ or organism that causes that infection (the organism is usually first killed or modified to make it safe); some vaccinations (like live vaccines) are not safe for people with lymphoma

Vinca alkaloid Chemotherapy drugs originally derived from a member of the periwinkle (Vinca) plant family; examples are vincristine and vinblastine

Virus A tiny organism that causes disease. Unlike bacteria, viruses are not made up of cells

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White blood cell A cell found in the blood and in many other tissues that helps our bodies to fight infections. There are several different types, including lymphocytes and neutrophils. 


X-ray A form of radiation that is used to take pictures of the inside of the body and for radiotherapy; also used to mean the picture that is taken (the radiograph)

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