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Glossary of Lymphoma Terms

Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC): The absolute number of white blood cells that are
neutrophils or bands in a sample of blood. More Information.
ABVD: a chemotherapy combination commonly used to treat Hodgkin's Disease. The
drugs used are Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, and Dacarbazine (DTIC).
Comprehensive Information.
Acute: sudden onset of disease or symptoms
Adjuvant Therapy: anticancer drugs or hormones given after surgery and/or radiation
to help prevent the cancer from coming back
Adriamycin: a chemotherapy drug (generic name doxorubicin) commonly used to treat
Hodgkin's disease and other forms of lymphoma. Comprehensive information.
Aggressive Lymphoma: the NCI designation for High Grade and some Intermediate
Grade lymphomas. Aggressive lymphomas grow quicker than indolent lymphomas but
respond well to chemotherapy. More on Aggressive Lymphoma. More information on
lymphoma types.
AIDS-related Lymphoma: certain types of lymphoma may develop in persons whose
immune system is weakened by acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) by the
HIV virus. More information can be found on the AIDS-related lymphoma information
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
Alopecia: loss of hair, be it on the head or all over the body. Alopecia can be caused by
certain chemotherapy drugs.
Alprazolam: A medication used to treat anxiety or insomnia - one trade name is xanax.
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 in US is Tylenol), and ibuprofen (most common brand in US is
Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL): a fairly new type of large cell NonHodgkin's lymphoma. Most cases are T-cell or cell type unknown (null). It can be
systemic in children or young adults or cutaneous (in/on the skin). Disease limited to the
skin is quite indolent and remains localized to the skin with many examples of
spontaneous remission. The systemic form can involve lymph nodes and extranodal
sites acting aggressively but responds to chemotherapy used to treat other large cell
lymphomas. Also see the Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma page. Previously called Ki-1
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. More Information on Blood Counts.
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 proteins 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.
Apoptosis: programmed cell death. If apoptosis is affected, then the cell will not die,
causing a malignant/cancerous condition.
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
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 cells.
B-cell Lymphomas: non-hodgkin's lymphomas that arise from cancers in the
development of B-cells. See the B-cell lymphoma page for more information.
Benign tumor: A noncancerous growth that does not spread to other parts of the body.
Bexxar: A radiolabled monoclonal antibody in clinical trials as a treatment for B-cell
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. More Information.
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.
Bleomycin: a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat Hodgkin's disease.
Comprehensive Information.
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?"). Also called
the complete blood count (CBC).
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. A pathologist will examine
the sample for normal and possibly abnormal cells.
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
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
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. More on the Small Non-Cleaved Cell Lymphoma page.
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 originate (start) in the lymph system. A malignant tumor.
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.
CBC: complete blood count - see Blood Count.
Cell: the basic building block of all living tissues.
Central Nervous System (CNS): the control center for the body - includes the brain
and spinal cord.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma: a type of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
which is located primarily in the central nervous system. For more information see the
CNS lymphoma page.
Central Venous Catheter: a special thin flexible tube placed in a large vein. It remains
there for as long as it is needed to deliver or withdraw fluids.
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 volunteer 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. Agents include granulocyte colony-stimulating
factor (G-CSF) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)
Combination Chemotherapy: the use of more than one drug to treat cancer. Some
combinations are ABVD (Hodgkin's) or CHOP (NHL).
Compazine (prochlorperazine): a medication used to treat nausea and vomiting.
Complementary Therapy: techniques or approaches often used in addition to standard
treatment. Examples are diet or meditation.
Complete Blood Count (CBC): see blood count.
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 (CTCL): 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 sample.
Cytology: the study of cells, their origin, structure, function, and pathology.
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
Dacarbazine: a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat Hodgkin's disease. Also
called DTIC. Comprehensive Information.
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.
Diuretics: drugs that help the body get rid of excess water and salt.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): the part of the cell that contains and controls all genetic
Doxorubicin: The generic name for Adriamycin, a chemotherapy drug commonly used
to treat Hodgkin's disease.
Drug Resistance: the failure of (cancer) cells to respond to drugs (chemotherapy).
DTIC: see Dacarbazine.

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
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.
Fatigue: a lack of energy, general tiredness.
Fertility: The ability to have children. Several treatments for lymphoma affect fertility.
Follicle: a cluster of cells
Gallium Scan - the patient is injected with radioactive gallium and scanned with a
detection machine 2-5 days later. The gallium moves towards sources of
inflammation/infection. Detailed information.
Gastrointestinal: having to do with the digestive tract, which includes the mouth,
esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
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. The terms aggressive and indolent are now
more commonly used, especially by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI).
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. (A
granulocyte is 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

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. More Information.
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-Sternberg cells. For more
information see the Hodgkin's Disease Page.
Hospice: a program designed for caring for terminally ill patients and their families.
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. Comprehensive Information.
Indolent: Slow growing. Indolent lymphomas are a class of low grade lymphomas which
are separate from rapidly progressive forms of NHL. Treatment of indolent lymphomas
are dependent on the specific type and stage although watch and wait is not uncommon
when the disease is not problematic. More information on indolent lymphoma. More
information on lymphoma types.

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.
Inguinal: the pubic/groin region
Injection: use of a syringe and needle to deliver medications to the body (also called a
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. NCI is now classifying lymphomas as Indolent or
Intra-arterial (IA): Into an artery.
Intralesional (IL): into the cancerous area in the skin.
Intramuscular (IM): Into the muscle.
Intrathecal (IT): Into the spinal fluid.
Intravenous (IV): within, or administered into, a vein.
Jaundice: A yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Most likely cause is something
wrong with the liver or gall bladder.
Kiel Classification: a classification system introduced in 1974 for differentiating types
of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Popular in Europe. Newer classifications such as the
REAL system are more commonly used today.
Ki-1 Lymphoma: see Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL).
Kytril: (generic drug name Granisetron) - an antiemetic (nausea suppression) drug
commonly prescribed for chemotherapy induced nausea. More Information.
Lethal Midline Granuloma: see nasal T-cell lymphoma
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.
Lymphoblastic Lymphoma: a very aggressive non-hodgkin's lymphoma often
occurring in younger patients. Intensive combination chemotherapy is standard
treatment. See the lymphoblasic lymphoma information page for more information.
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. The word for lymphoma is some common languages: Lymphom (German),
lymphom (Danish), linfoma (Spanish, Portuguese and Italian), lymphome (French),
lymfoom (Dutch).
Lymphomatoid Granulomatosis: a B-cell lymphoma that is now called pulmonary
angiocentric B-cell lymphoma.
Lymphomatoid Papulosis (LyP): a non-cancerous skin disorder that can progress into
Hodgkin's Disease or forms of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Skin lesions come and go.
The drug methotrexate is sometimes prescribed to speed the healing process and
prevent new lesions. The prevalence rate is estimated at 1.2 to 1.9 cases per million
population. It does not appear to be familial. More Information.
Lymphoplasmacytoid Lymphoma: an indolent non-hodgkin's lymphoma. See the
Lymphoplasmacytoid lymphoma page for more information.
MabThera: UK trade name for rituxan.
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).
MALT / MALToma (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue): a low grade B-Cell nonhodgkin's lymphoma arising most commonly in the stomach, salivary gland, lung, or
thyroid tissue. The gastrointestinal tract, particularly the stomach, is the most frequently
involved site. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori is found in up to 92% of patients with
gastric MALT lymphoma. See the new page on Marginal Zone Lymphomas for more
Mantle Cell Lymphoma: an aggressive form of non-hodgkin's lymphoma. More on the
Mantle Cell page.
Marginal Zone Lymphoma: a term used to encompass indolent B-Cell lymphomas that
are either MALT or monocytoid B-Cell lymphoma. See the page on Marginal Zone
Lymphomas for more information.
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 the body.

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. More Information.
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.
Nasal T-cell Lymphoma: a subset of angiocentric lymphomas, it is treated with
doxorubicin (adriamycin) based combination chemotherapy and is managed like diffuse
large cell lymphoma.
Nausea: feeling sick or wanting to vomit, possibly with dizziness or symptoms. Some
chemotherapy combinations can cause nausea for up to several days - this can be
lessened by taking antiemetic drugs.
Needle Biopsy: A sample of tissue is taken with a needle and looked at under a
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); may increase
the risk of infection depending how low the wbc count is and for how long it has been
Neutrophil: a type of white blood cell that fights bacterial infection (also called a
Night Sweats: profuse sweating of the body during the night (characterizes "B"
symptom Hodgkin's Disease or possibly Non-Hodgkin's 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. More Info
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.
Oral: by mouth.
Palliative: treatment designed to reduce the symptoms of a disease rather than to cure
Pathologist: A doctor who specializes in identifying diseases by studying cells and
tissues under a microscope.
Pediatric: relating to children, childhood
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 reestablish (rescue) the patients immune system.
Peripheral Neuropathy: numbness, tingling, burning, and/or weakness 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
varying degrees of peripheral neuropathy. More on the Peripheral Neuropathy page.
Plasma: the liquid part of the blood, lymph, and intracellular fluid in which cells are
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
PO - Per Os: by mouth, orally
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.
Port: a small plastic or metal container surgically placed under the skin and attached to
a central venous catheter inside the body. Blood and fluids can enter or leave the body
through the port using a special needle.
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 Disease).
Pulminary Angiocentric B-Cell Lymphoma: formerly called lymphomatoid
granulomatosis, it is a condition that when malignant is treated with doxorubicin
(Adriamycin) based combination chemotherapy and is treated like diffuse large cell
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
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
Reed-Sternberg Cell: A type of cell that appears in patients with Hodgkin's disease.
Refractory: Not yielding (at least not yielding readily) to treatment.
Regimen: a combination of drugs and how they are administered.
Regression: reduction in symptoms or disease process.
Relapse: The return of symptoms and signs of a disease after a period of improvement.
Remission: the complete disappearance of cancer cells and symptoms. It does not
always mean the individual has been cured.

Rituxan (Generic name Rituximab, British name MabThera): the new monoclonal
antibody drug that has received US FDA approval for low grade Non-Hodgkin's
lymphoma. More on the Rituxan page.
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
Splenectomy: surgical removal of the spleen. This is sometimes done during staging of
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.
Subcutaneous (SQ or SC): Under the skin.
Support Group: group of individuals who meet on a regular basis to exchange mutual
support, often focusing on a shared area of difficulty. Many groups are organized at
hospitals or treatment centers and people meet others live with a trained leader.
Recently support groups can also meet on the Internet and chats are hosted by a
Survivorship: living with a history of cancer, from the time of diagnosis on, regardless
of the treatment outcome.
Symptoms: physical signs of a disease.
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).
T-cell Lymphoma / Leukemia: a condition caused by infection with the retro-virus
human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I. Classified as an aggressive non-hodgkin's
lymphoma. More on T-Cell Lymphomas

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
Tissue: a group of similar cells that work together to perform a specific function.
Topical: applied directly to the skin.
Total Body Irradiation (TBI): Radiation aimed at the entire body to destroy 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
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.
Ultrasound / 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.
Vinblastine: a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat Hodgkin's disease. Common
brand names are velban, velsar, velbe. Originally derived from the common periwinkle
Catharantus roseus. Can cause peripheral neuropathy in some patients.
Comprehensive Information.
Vincristine: a chemotherapy drug sometimes used to treat Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Originally derived from the common periwinkle Catharantus roseus. Can cause
peripheral neuropathy in some patients. Comprehensive Information.
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 / Indolent Non-Hodgkin's
lymphoma. More on the Watch and Wait page.
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. Blood Count Information.
X-ray: high energy electromagnetic radiation that is used to diagnose and treat cancer.
Zofran: (generic drug name Ondansetron Hcl) - an antiemetic (nausea suppression)
drug commonly prescribed for chemotherapy induced nausea. More Information.

Other Glossaries
There are many glossaries on the internet. If you cannot find a term please check the
European Glossary in Nine Languages from the EU
The US National Cancer Institute Dictionary
Glossary from the Lymphoma Research Foundation of America
A Lymphoma Glossary from the Leukemia Society of America
AIDS Glossary - Lymphoma from CNN
Bone Marrow Transplant Glossary from the BMT Newsletter's
Bone Marrow Transplants - A Book of Basics for Patients
BMT Glossary/Acronyms from UMN
Mount Sinai Medical Center has a good glossary as does Medicine Online and
Harvard has a good radiology glossary.

The On-line Medical Dictionary, sponsored by CancerWEB, is highly recommended.
MedicineNet has a general medical dictionary
Talaria (Cancer Pain) has an index and glossary which are very good.