The glossary contains a searchable database of terms that you may find useful while looking through the pages of this site. Type a word in the search box, or browse them alphabetically below.


Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia (AML) The commonest form of acute leukaemia in adults that usually requires chemotherapy.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) The commonest form of acute leukaemia in children that sometimes also occurs in adults and also requires treatment with chemotherapy.
Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant Also called an allograft. A transplant using stem cells collected from a 'matched' healthy donor, usually a brother or sister. Patients who require an allogeneic bone marrow transplant will be referred to Manchester Royal Infirmary for this to be performed.
Anaemia Deficiency in the oxygen-carrying pigment haemoglobin in the blood.
Apheresis The process of collected peripheral blood stem cells following Mobilisation, also referred to as Harvesting. These are collected by from a vein in the patient's arm which removes blood and feed it into the apheresis machine which separates the stem cells, plasma and red blood cells........
Autologous Stem Cell Transplant A blood stem cell transplant using the patient's own marrow or peripheral blood stem cells which have been collected and stored at an early-stage of the disease (also called autograft).
Biopsy A small sample of fresh tissue, for example lymph node or bone marrow, removed for laboratory analysis to establish or confirm an exact diagnosis of tissue.
Blood cells There are three main types of cells in the blood stream: the red cell, which carries oxygen; the white cell, which fights infections; and the platelets, which help prevent bleeding. The correct balance between each cell type must be maintained. Production of blood cells is controlled by natural chemicals called growth factors, which may be used in treatment.
Blood count A routine test requiring a small blood sample to estimate the number and types of cells circulating in the blood.
Bone Marrow The tissue which produces the blood cells. It is found within the hollow cavities of many of the bones of the body. Bone marrow contains the stem cells from which all blood cells are derived. Examination of the bone marrow is an important part of the diagnosis of haematological conditions and the monitoring of treatment.
Bone Marrow Aspirate/Trephine Biopsy A small volume of liquid bone marrow removed under local anaesthetic from either the hip or the breastbone. The cells in the sample can then be examined under the microscope to identify any abnormality in the developing blood cells. A trephine biopsy, where a small 'core' of bone marrow is removed under local anaesthetic, may be taken at the same time.
Bone Marrow Transplant A procedure used in the treatment of a variety of blood disorders including leukaemia, lymphoma and sometimes myeloma. The patient receives very high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to treat the disease and produce immune suppression. This damages the bone marrow and makes the blood count fall. Replacement marrow is taken from a matched donor (Allogeneic), or from the patient themselves (Autologous) under anaesthetic and returned to the patient through a vein (or central venous line) in a similar way to a blood transfusion. Peripheral blood stem cells may be used instead, especially for autografts.
Blood Transfusion The receiving of blood into the patient's vein from a healthy donor.
Cannula A tube for insertion into the body, usually into a vein, via a sharp needle-type fitting which is then withdrawn from the cannula to allow fluids to pass through the tube.
Catheter A hollow tube inserted into organs of the body for admitting or removing gases or liquids.
Cells The individuals units from which tissues of the body are formed.
Central Venous Line/Catheter A line passed through a blood vessel into a large central vein, used for patients undergoing intensive therapy and to provide a route for taking blood samples and administering drugs without repeated needle puncture of a vein. See Hickman line.
Cerebrospinal Fluid This fluid surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. Samples can be obtained by Lumbar Puncture.
Chemotherapy/Cytotoxic Drugs Treatment using anti-cancer drugs. These may be used singly or in combination to kill or prevent the growth and division of cells. Although aimed at the cancer cells, chemotherapy will also unavoidably affect rapidly dividing normal cells such as in the hair and gut causing hair loss and nausea, which are usually temporary and reversible. There are many different types of chemotherapy, your doctor or nurse will give you information specific to the particular type you may receive.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia (CML) Is a cancer that causes the body to make too many white blood cells.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) Is the most common type of leukaemia. CLL causes the body to make too many white blood cells called Lymphocytes, but these lymphocytes are immature and do not work properly. Over time these abnormal lymphocytes build up in the lymphatic system and cause large swollen lymph nodes.
Clinical Trials There are several types of trials. Clinical trials sometimes test new treatments, for example chemotherapy, but more frequently explore new combinations of existing treatments or changes in the way they are given. This is either to make them more effective or to reduce side effects. Trials are the only reliable way to find out if a different type of chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant is better than that already available or has been used before.
Coagulation Clotting of the blood. A complex reaction depending on a series of biochemical components (clotting factors) and platelets in the blood.
Consolidation treatment A course of treatment with anti-cancer drugs, given to the patient, whilst in remission with the aim of killing any remaining cancerous cells.
Corticosteroids A group of synthetic hormones used in the treatment of some conditions.
CT (CAT) scan A sophisticated x-ray technique used to produce detailed internal images of the body, particularly the chest and abdomen. The patient lies on a couch, which gradually moves through the x-ray machine and the image is built up by a computer as a cross-section through the body.
Cytogenetics The study of the structure of chromosomes. Cytogenetic tests are carried out on samples of blood and marrow taken from patients to detect any chromosomal abnormalities associated with the disease. These help in the diagnosis and selection of optimal treatment.
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) Provides the essential building blocks for storing genetic material. There are four different chemical components of DNA (bases) arranged in a coded sequence as genes, which determine an individual's inherited characteristics.
Follicular Lymphoma Is a common type of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It is a slow growing Lymphoma that arises from a type of white blood cell.
Growth factors A complex family of proteins produced by the body to control growth, division and maturation of blood cells by the bone marrow. Some are available as products of genetic engineering, and are used clinically to stimulate normal white cell production following chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation, i.e. GCSF.
Haemochromatosis Is a condition where the body contains too much iron. This is usually because of an inherited faulty gene which causes you to absorb too much iron from food.
Haemoglobin The iron containing pigment in red blood cells which carries oxygen around the body. Lack of haemoglobin is called anaemia.
Haemophilia Is a genetic condition that affects the blood's ability to clot.
Harvesting See Apheresis.
Hickman line A narrow plastic tube or catheter, which is inserted, into a major blood vessel in the chest under anaesthetic. It is used for patients undergoing intensive therapy and provides a route for taking blood samples and administering drugs without repeated needle puncture of the vein.
Hodgkin's Lymphoma Is a cancer of the lymphatic system. Expand.
Intrathecal chemotherapy Injection of chemotherapy into the spinal fluid to prevent or treat certain types of leukaemia or lymphoma.
Jaundice Is a term used to describe the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, it is caused by a build up of a substance called bilirubin in the blood and tissues of the body.
Lumbar puncture A procedure for removing spinal fluid from around the spinal cord using a fine needle in the lower part of the back. Samples are analysed for evidence of disease.
Lymph nodes or glands Small structures found throughout the body, e.g. neck, groin, armpits, abdomen, which contain both mature and immature lymphocytes.
Lymphatic system This consists of the spleen, lymph nodes and areas of lymphoid tissue such as the tonsils. It plays a major part of the body's immune response.
Lymphocytes Are a type of white blood cell, which are an important part of the immune system.
Mobilisation A term used when a particular type of chemotherapy is used to mobilise the stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood. See Apheresis.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) A body scanning technique which uses an intense magnetic field to generate images of the internal organs. Properties of normal and cancerous tissue differ, allowing malignant tumours to be visualised by computer processing of the signals detected.
Mucositis Inflammation of the mouth and throat which may be caused by chemotherapy.
Myeloid Collective term for the non-lymphocyte groups of white blood cells. It includes cells from the granulocyte, monocyte, red cell and platelet lineages.
Myeloproliferative disorders A group of slow growing blood cancers, including chronic myelogenous leukaemia, in which large numbers of abnormal red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets grow and spread in the bone marrow and the peripheral blood.
Neutropenia A condition in which the neutrophil count is reduced. It may be caused by high-dose chemotherapy and carries an increased risk of infection.
Neutropenic Sepsis When the neutrophils are less than 1.0 and cause you to develop an infection. The signs and symptoms to look out for are raised temperature (above 38°c), feeling shivery or generally unwell. If untreated this condition can be life-threatening, please see our Patient Information Leaflet link and our DVD link.
Neutrophils Are a type of white blood cell.
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Is a cancer of the lymphatic system. Expand
Multiple Myeloma A malignant disease of the bone marrow.
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant See Autologous Stem Cell Transplant
Phlebotomist/Venepuncturist An individual trained to draw blood samples.
Polycythaemia A myeloproliferative disorder where there are too many red blood cells in the blood.
Radiotherapy The use of x-rays and other forms of radiation in treatment. Radiotherapy kills cancer cells in the area of the body being treated and is therefore an effective treatment for localised disease, particularly in lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Side effects vary according to the type of treatment and will be discussed with the patient by the hospital staff. Patients who require radiotherapy will be referred to the Royal Preston Hospital as this is where the radiotherapy machines are situated.
Relapse The recurrence of disease.
Remission Restoration of the blood, bone marrow and general health of the patient to normal, induced by chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
Septicaemia This is a general term to describe serious bacterial infection of the blood stream often associated with high fever.
Sickle Cell Disease A hereditary blood disease characterised by the production of an abnormal type of haemoglobin which precipitates in the red cells when the blood is deprived of oxygen, forming crystals that distort cells into the characteristic sickle shape. Sickle cells are rapidly removed from the circulation, leading to anaemia and jaundice.
Tertiary Means third in order. As a Tertiary Centre this means that we are third in order of referral. For example, your GP is your first point of call, who then refers you to the Haematologist at your local hospital who then refers you if appropriate to Lancashire Haematology Centre as the specialist unit in the region.
Thrombocytopenia Shortage of platelets, leading to problems with bleeding.
Venesection The drawing of blood from a vein, for example, for blood donation or therapeutic venesection which is used to haemochromatosis or polycythaemia.
Von Willebrand's disease An inherited disorder of the blood that is characterised by episodes of spontaneous bleeding.