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


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An increase above the upper limit of normal in the concentration of blood leukocytes (white cells).

A decrease below normal in the concentration of blood leukocytes (white cells).

A procedure to remove spinal fluid from the space surrounding the spinal cord or to administer anticancer drugs to prevent or treat leukaemia or lymphoma of the coverings of the central nervous system (CNS). The doctor first injects a local anaesthetic, then inserts a needle between two vertebrae in the lower part of the back. Fluid samples are collected in sterile tubes and examined for evidence of leukaemia or lymphoma. A lumbar puncture is not often used to test forAML, but may be used if the patient is having symptoms that could be caused by the spread of leukaemia cells into the CNS. Another term for lumbar puncture is “spinal tap.”

Small structures (the size of beans) that contain large numbers of lymphocytes and are connected with each other by small system of channels called the lymphatic system. These nodes are distributed throughout the body. Enlarged lymph nodes can be seen, felt or measured by computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) depending on their location and the degree of enlargement.

A type of white cell that is the essential cell type in the body’s immune system. There are three major types of lymphocytes: B lymphocytes, which produce antibodies to help combat infectious agents like bacteria, viruses and fungi; T lymphocytes, which have several functions, including assisting B lymphocytes to make antibodies; and natural killer (NK) cells, which can attack virus-infected cells or tumour cells.


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