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Glossary

Here you will find definitions and meanings of some of the most frequently used terms on the site.

 

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The use of x-rays and other forms of radiation in treatment. Radiation therapy may be useful in the treatment of some localized blood cancers. Radiation therapy can be an important adjunct to therapy when there are particularly large masses in a localized area or when local large lymph nodes are compressing or invading normal organs or structures and chemotherapy cannot control the problem.


The return of a disease after it has been in remission following treatment.


Blood cells (erythrocytes) that carry haemoglobin, which binds oxygen and carries it to the tissues of the body. The red cells make up about 40 to 45 per cent of the volume of the blood in healthy individuals.


(sometimes called a mini-transplant also called a non-myeloablative transplant) is a type of allogeneic transplant. In a reduced-intensity transplant, patients receive lower doses of chemotherapy drugs and/or radiation in preparation for the transplant.
Immunosuppressive drugs are used to prevent rejection of the graft (donor tissue), and the engraftment of donor immune cells may allow these cells to attack the disease (graft-versus-leukaemia effect). More study is needed to determine the effectiveness of this treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients. Studies to determine the usefulness of reduced-intensity stem cell transplantation in older patients are also under way.


This is disease that does not go into remission or improve substantially after treatment with standard therapy for the disease. Newly diagnosed patients or relapsed patients may have refractory disease. See Resistance to Treatment.


Disease that initially responded to therapy but has begun to progress.


The disappearance of evidence of a disease, usually as a result of treatment is called remission. The terms “complete” and “partial” are sometimes used to modify the term a “remission.” Complete remission means that all evidence of the disease is gone. Partial remission means that the disease is markedly improved by treatment, but residual evidence of the disease is present. Long-term benefit usually requires a complete remission, especially in acute leukaemia or progressive lymphomas.


The ability of cells to live and divide despite their exposure to a chemical that ordinarily kills cells or inhibits their growth. Refractory leukaemia is the condition in which a proportion of malignant cells resists the damaging effects of a drug or drugs. Cells have several ways to develop drug resistance. See Multidrug Resistance.


A factor that is scientifically established to increase a person’s chance of getting a disease is referred to as a risk factor. Risk factors can be classified as either genetic (inherited), lifestyle related, or environmental. The presence of one or more risk factors does not mean that a person will necessarily develop the disease. In the case of environmental exposure, the extent of exposure and its duration are important considerations in determining if risk is increased.


The abbreviation for ribonucleic acid, a molecule in cells that carries out DNA’s instructions for making proteins.


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