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Oncological disease poses a great physical and mental burden on the patient. Nobody should have to deal with it alone. Quality communication with the physician and well-adjusted treatment, family support, important information about legal, financial or social help, contacts for patient groups and, if necessary, help of a psychologist or psychiatrist are very important for the patient in this period.

Social help and social counseling in cancer institutes

Legal assistance

Financial assistance


Psychological help


Transcript of recordings

Psychological care for cancer patients

National Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Clinical Psychology Office I.

National Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Clinical Psychology Office II.

St. Elizabeth Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Psychology Clinic

East Slovakia Oncology Institute, Košice, Clinical Psychology Clinic

University Hospital in Bratislava (Antolská), Clinical Psychology Department

Teaching Hospital in Nitra, Psychology Clinic, Mgr. Magdaléna Demešová

F. D. Roosevelt Teaching Hospital with Polyclinic in Banská Bystrica, Clinical Psychology Clinic

Hospital in Poprad a.s., Clinical Psychology Clinic

Teaching Hospital and Polyclinic Trenčín, Psychology Clinic, Phone No.: + 421 32 6566 338

Psychologist network – League Against Cancer

Private practice in Bratislava

Cancer patients and their families are eligible for psychological help and support also from psychologists in private practices in Slovakia.

List of patient organizations and clubs

Medical device dispensaries

Useful links


  • 5-Fluorouracil
    Medication used to treat symptoms of colon, breast, stomach and pancreatic cancer. As a cream, it is also used to treat some skin diseases. 5-Fluorouracil prevents cells from creating DNA and thus kills them. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. The names 5-FU and fluorouracil are also used.
  • Abdomen
    Part of the body between the chest and hips. Muscles in this area envelop the cavity containing stomach, bowels, liver, spleen and pancreas. It is also called belly.
  • Adjuvant therapy
    Supplementary, medication therapy following primary therapy.
  • All-trans retinoic acid (tretinoin)
    Nutrient necessary in small amounts for proper functioning of the body and staying healthy. Tretinoin is created from a vitamin in the body and helps cells grow and develop.
  • Minimal residual disease analysis
    Laboratory examination intended to detect small amounts of tumor cells left in the body during or after treatment when the rest of the parameters show remission (no signs nor symptoms of the disease).
  • Medical history
    Also called anamnesis, i.e. information about events prior to current disease (for example family history = diseases in the family, personal history = the patient’s previous or current diseases, allergy history = previous and current allergies, work history = jobs the patient had worked in before the onset of the disease, etc.).
  • Anemia
    Condition characterized by shortage of red blood cells or hemoglobin. Iron in the hemoglobin binds with oxygen in the lungs and carries it all over the body. This process is prevented during anemia.
  • Anesthesia
    Temporary induced loss of consciousness during which the patient does not feel pain, does not have normal reflexes and responds to stress more moderately. It is artificially induced by medications called anesthetics. Anesthesia can be general or local and allows the patient to undergo surgery.
  • Angina
    Intense chest pain. This condition arises when cardiac muscle is not oxygenated enough and the blood circulation is not sufficient.
  • Antiviral drug
    Substance which destroys viruses or limits their ability to proliferate.
  • Anthracycline
    Antibiotic drug used in chemotherapy for several types of cancer.
  • Arteries
    Blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to tissues and organs of the body.
  • Ascites
    Pathological fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity which can cause the belly to enlarge. In late stages of cancer, this fluid can contain tumor cells. Ascites also occurs in patients with liver disease.
  • Asymptomatic
    Lacking symptoms such as pain or subjective manifestations of a disease.
  • Axillary dissection
    Surgical intervention which removes lymph nodes from the armpit.
  • Bendamustine
    Substance used in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and slow-growing B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) which progresses 6 months after treatment. It is in trials for treatment of other types of tumors. Bendamustine damages the DNA of tumor cells and thus causes their death. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents and antimetabolites.
  • Benign tumor
    Tumor usually with sharp delineation which can grow to various sizes, but never grows into surrounding tissue. However, its growth can put pressure on the neighboring structures. It does not form secondary tumors – metastases. If its growth does not jeopardize the function of important organs (this is not always true – benign tumors can appear in vital organs such as the brain), it is usually not life-threatening. Small benign tumors are sometimes only monitored, bigger ones usually have to be removed surgically. Recurrence does not normally occur. These are most often myomas, adenomas, fibromas, papillomas and others.
  • Benzene
    Chemical substance widely used in chemical and tobacco industry, also present in emissions from vehicles and petrol fumes. Exposure to benzene can increase the risk of leukemia.
  • Bevacizumab
    Monoclonal antibody developed to detect and bind to specific structures (so-called antigens) which are found in some body cells or circulate in the organism. Bevacizumab was designed to bind to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) which is a protein circulating in the blood promoting vascular growth. By binding to VEGF, bevacizumab blocks its effects. This results in cancer cells not being able to create their own vascular supply, therefore they don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients and tumor growth is slowed down.
  • White blood cells
    Immune system cells which act in body’s defense against infections.
  • Biopsy
    Extraction of cells or tissues so they can be examined by a pathologist. The pathologist can examine cells under a microscope or perform other cell and tissue examinations. There are several types of biopsy procedures. The most common are: (1) incisional biopsy, in which only a tissue sample is extracted; (2) excisional biopsy, in which the whole tumor or suspected area is extracted; (3) needle biopsy, in which a tissue or liquid sample is extracted via needle. When a thick needle is used, the procedure is called core biopsy. When a thin needle is used, it is called fine needle aspiration biopsy.
  • Bone marrow biopsy
    Procedure in which a small sample of bone with bone marrow is extracted, usually from the ilium. A small area of skin and bone surface is anesthetized. A thick needle is then inserted in the bone and bone sample with bone marrow is extracted by rotational movement. This intervention can be performed along with bone marrow aspiration. Extracted cells and tissues are examined by a pathologist. The pathologist can examine cells under a microscope or perform other cell and tissue examinations. They will determine whether the bone marrow is afflicted by leukemia or not.
  • Blast cell
    Leukemia cells are often called blast cells because they can be larger than normal white blood cells circulating in the blood. The appearance of blast cells can help the pathologist to determine which type of leukemia the patient has.
  • Bosutinib
    Medicament used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It is used for patients who cannot be treated by other medicaments or who have not achieved better results. It is in trials for treatment of other types of cancer as well. Bosutinib blocks the action of BCR-ABL and other proteins which help cancer cells grow and thus kills them. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
  • Diaphragm
    Thin muscle located underneath the lungs and heart separating chest and abdomen.
  • Cell proliferation
    Increase in the number of cells due to cellular growth and division.
  • Central nervous system (CNS)
    Part of the nervous system consisting of the brain and medulla oblongata.
  • Red blood cells
    The most numerous type of blood cells. They give blood its red color. Their main function is to carry oxygen.
  • Cetuximab
    Monoclonal antibody. Cetuximab was designed to bind to EGFR found on the surface of some tumor cells. As a result, tumor cells cannot receive signals necessary to grow and spread. 79 to 89% of colorectal cancers (large bowel and rectum tumors) and more than 90% of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas contain EGFR on their surface.
  • Chemoradiotherapy
    Therapy combining chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It is also called chemoradiation.
  • Chemotherapy
    Type of cancer therapy using medicaments killing cancer cells and/or restricting their growth. These medicaments are usually administered intravenously via slow drip but can be also administered orally, via direct infusion into a limb or into the liver, depending on the location of the tumor.
  • Chlorambucil
    Medicament used to treat several types of leukemia and lymphomas. It blocks cell proliferation by damaging cell DNA and can destroy tumor cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
  • Chromosome
    Organized structure which codes genes. Genes code human traits like hair color or sex. Human cells have 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 chromosomes altogether). Cancer or leukemic cells often have chromosome abnormalities which modify their chromosomes, such as chromosome duplication, i.e. an extra chromosome (47 chromosomes) or chromosome deletion, i.e. loss of chromosome (45 chromosomes). Chromosomal or genetic inversion does not mean loss of chromosome or extra chromosome, but a part of a chromosome is inversed.
  • Chronic
    Long-term. If used in a description of disease or condition, it means maintained or developed over a long period of time.
  • Targeted treatment
    Type of treatment using medicaments or other substances, such as monoclonal antibodies, to identify and attack specific cancer cells. Targeted therapy may have less side effects than other types of cancer treatment.
  • Cisplatin
    Medicament used to treat many types of cancer. Cisplatin contains platinum. It kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA and thus stopping their division. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
  • CT examination
    Type of X-ray imaging in which body organs are scanned with X-rays. The obtained images are combined in the computer which creates an image of specific body parts.
  • Cyclophosphamide
    Substance used to treat several types of cancer, in trials for other types. It is also used to treat kidney diseases in children. Cyclophosphamide binds to the DNA of tumor cells and destroys them. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
  • Cytogenetics
    Science studying genes and chromosomes. Studying changes in genes and chromosomes can determine whether a cell is normal or leukemic. Some types of leukemia have common cytogenetic abnormalities (modifications in genes or chromosomes) as unique as fingerprints which can help the pathologist find out which specific type of leukemia their patient has.
  • Cytotoxic
    Toxic to cells.
  • Dasatinib
    It belongs to the family of drugs called “protein kinase inhibitors”. This family of drugs blocks a type of enzymes known as protein kinases. Dasatinib acts mainly as BCR-ABL protein kinase blocker. This enzyme is produced by leukemic cells and causes their uncontrollable proliferation. By blocking BCR-ABL kinase as well as other kinases, dasatinib helps control leukemic cell division.
  • Diagnosis
    Determination of a disease.
  • Differentiation
    Biological process during which a less specialized cell becomes more specialized. Differentiation is a normal process and can change the shape, size, activity and potential of a cell. Differentiated tumor cells look like normal cells and usually grow slower than undifferentiated or little differentiated tumor cells which are very different from normal cells and grow quickly.
  • DNA
    Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA transfers genetic information.
  • Docetaxel
    Docetaxel belongs to the family of anti-cancer drugs called taxanes. Docetaxel prevents cells from destroying their internal skeleton, which would allow them to divide and proliferate. Cells with intact skeleton cannot divide and eventually die. Docetaxel also impacts non-cancer cells (such as blood cells), which can cause side effects.
  • Doxorubicin
    Substance used to treat many types of cancer, currently in trials for the treatment of other types of tumors. Doxorubicin is produced by a bacterium Streptomyces peucetius. It damages the DNA of tumor cells and causes their death. It belongs to the family of drugs called anthracycline anticancer antibiotics.
  • Effectiveness
    In medicine, the ability to act with a desired favorable outcome, for example in case of medicaments or surgical procedures.
  • EKG
    Line graph representing changes in the heart’s electrical activity in time. It is created by a device called electrocardiograph. EKG can reflect abnormal conditions like clogged arteries, changes in electrolyte distribution (charged particles) or changes in the passage of electric current through the heart. It is also abbreviated as ECG, mainly in British English.
  • Eczema
    Reddening and thickening of the skin, often with itching and suppuration.
  • Endoscopy
    Medical examination in which a doctor inserts a tubular device into the body in order to image internal organs. Many types of endoscopy exist, each one designed to observe a specific part of the body.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
    Examination in which an endoscope is inserted into the body. Endoscope is a thin, tubular device with lighting and lens which enable imaging. A probe at the end of the endoscope is used to emit high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) and receive waves echoed from internal organs, which creates an image (a sonogram). It is also called endosonography or EUS.
  • Epirubicin
    Medicament used in combination with other medicaments to treat early stages of breast cancer spreading to lymph nodes. It is in trials for other types of cancer. Epirubicin is a type of anthracycline antibiotic. It’s also called epirubicin hydrochloride.
  • Epithelium
    Epithelium consists of cells which form the lining of hollow organs and glands and the surface of the body. Epithelium cells help protect and surround organs. The majority of them produce mucus or other secretions.
  • Expression
  • Extralymphatic
    Concerning organs or structures outside lymph nodes and lymphatic system.
  • Esophagram
    Series of X-ray images of the esophagus created after drinking liquid containing barium sulphate (formulation with barium, silver-white metallic element). Barium sulphate covers and enhances the internal surface of the esophageal wall which can thus be visible on X-ray images. It is also called esophageal contrast study or barium swallow.
  • Fanconi syndrome
    A disease of renal tubules of the kidney which causes various substances to get into the urine. This syndrome affects the primary part of the tubule. Various forms can cause different complications. For example, phosphorus can be released into the urine. This can cause bone diseases because phosphates are necessary for bone development.
  • FISH / Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization
    Technique used by pathologists to identify changes in genes and chromosomes. FISH makes it possible to detect unique gene and chromosome changes. This helps pathologists determine the type of cancer a patient has.
  • Fludarabine
    Active ingredient in a medicament used in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treatment in case treatment by other anti-cancer drugs was not effective or the cancer got worse. Fludarabine blocks the creation of cell DNA and kills tumor cells. belongs to the family of drugs called purine antagonists and ribonucleotide reductase inhibitors.
  • Follow-up
    Monitoring of patient's health condition for some time after treatment. It includes patients who have participated in a clinical trial or clinical research for some time during the study and after it has ended.
  • Gastroenterologist
    Physician specializing in diagnostics and treatment of digestive tract diseases.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
    Reverse flow of acid stomach contents into the esophagus (tube connecting the mouth to the stomach). It is also called acid reflux or GER.
  • Granulocyte
    A type of immune system cell containing granules (small particles) with enzymes which are released during infection, allergic reaction or asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils are all granulocytes. Granulocyte is a type of white blood cell. It is also called granular leukocyte, polymorphonuclear leukocyte or PMN.
  • Helicobacter pylori
    Type of bacterium causing inflammation and ulcers in the stomach and small bowel. People afflicted with Helicobacter pylori have a higher probability of developing stomach cancer including MALT (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue) lymphoma. It is also abbreviated as H. pylori.
  • Hematologic toxicity
    Rate of toxicity or danger to blood cells – red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
  • Hemoglobin
    Substance within red blood cells binding to oxygen in the lungs and carrying it to the tissues.
  • HER2
    Protein participating in the process of normal cell growth. It is also found in some types of tumor cells, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Cancer cells removed from the body can be examined in order to determine the presence of HER2/neu. This information can help choose the right treatment. HER2/neu is a type of receptor tyrosine kinase. It is also called c-erbB-2, human EGF receptor 2 or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.
  • Histocompatible antigens
    Proteins located on the surface of almost all cells in the body. They help our immune system distinguish our own cells from foreign substances. They are abundant on the surface of white blood cells. They are also called human leukocyte antigens (HLA).
  • Histological type
    Category in which a tumor is classified based on microscopic features of its cells or other structures.
  • Histopathologist
    Physician who interprets histopathological findings.
  • Histopathology
    Examination of pathologically changed cells and tissues via microscope. Tissue extracted from the body via biopsy or surgically is immersed in fixative solution and transported to a laboratory. There it is cut into thin layers, colored by various colorants and then examined under a microscope.
  • Hemoglobin level
    Quantitative level of protein called hemoglobin contained in red blood cells expressed in weight (grams) and blood volume (deciliters). Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout the body.
  • Deep vein thrombosis
    Formation of a clot in a deep vein of the lower limbs or pelvis. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, heat and reddening of the affected area. It is abbreviated as DVT.
  • Mucus
    Mucus is a slick substance produced by mucosae lining many internal surfaces of the body. It consists of proteins, antimicrobial enzymes, antibodies and salts. The function of mucus is to protect epithelium cells in respiratory, digestive, excretory, genital, visual and auditory systems.
  • Hematocrit level
    Part of the blood which consists of red blood cells. It is expressed as a percentage.
  • Hydroxyurea
    Anti-cancer drug which belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.
  • Imatinib
    Imatinib is a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor. It means that it blocks some specific enzymes called tyrosine kinases. These enzymes can be found in some receptors on the surface of cancer cells, including receptors involved in the stimulation of uncontrollable cell division. By blocking these receptors, imatinib helps keep cell division in check.
  • Immune system
    Biological system of structures and processes protecting the body from diseases by detecting and destroying tumor cells and foreign bodies such as viruses and bacteria.
  • Immunohistochemistry
    Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a process of antigen detection (e.g. proteins) based on the principle of a specific bond of antibodies to antigens in tissues. These antigens are imaged by labeling (fluorescent colorant, enzyme, colloidal gold). Immunohistochemical coloring has a broad use in diagnostics of abnormal cells such as cancer cells.
  • Donor lymphocyte infusion
    A type of treatment in which lymphocytes from a donor’s blood are administered to a patient who has received stem cells from the same donor. The donor's lymphocytes can kill the remaining cancer cells. Donor lymphocyte infusion is used to treat recurrent chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and myeloma. It is in trials for other types of cancer.
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitor
    Medicament interfering in cell communication and growth which can prevent a tumor from growing. Some tyrosine kinase inhibitors are used in cancer treatment.
  • Interferon
    Protein produced by lymphocytes involved in communication among immune cells. Biological response modifier (substance which can improve body's natural response to infections and tumor cells). There are several types of interferons, including interferon alpha, beta and gamma. The body produces these substances naturally. They can also be prepared in a laboratory to treat cancer and other diseases.
  • Intravenous
    Going inside a vein. This term usually denotes a manner of administration of a medicament or other substance into a vein via needle or tube. It is also abbreviated as IV.
  • Irinotecan
    Active agent in a medicament used individually or in combination with other medicaments to treat colorectal cancer spreading to other parts of the body or recurrence of this type of cancer after treatment by fluorouracil. It is also used to treat other types of cancer. Irinotecan blocks some enzymes necessary for cell division and DNA repair, which kills cancer cells. Irinotecan is a type of topoisomerase inhibitor and camptothecin analogue.
  • Capecitabine
    Cytotoxic drug of antimetabolite family. Capecitabine is an active substance precursor which transforms to 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) in the body. This transformation takes place at a higher rate in tumor cells. It is administered in tablets, while 5-FU as a pyrimidine analogue has to be administered by injection. Pyrimidine is included in cell genetic material (DNA and RNA). 5-FU replaces pyrimidine in the organism and interferes in the function of enzymes involved in the formation of new DNA, which inhibits tumor cell growth and kills the cells.
  • Carcinogens
    Chemical substances or mixture of chemical substances as well as a series of factors causing cancer or increasing its occurrence. It is a very numerous group which attacks genetic material. It includes for example ionizing radiation, UV radiation, asbestos, benzene, mineral oils, coal tar, soot.
  • Clinical trial
    A type of research studying the effect of new treatment methods on people. These trials examine new methods of testing, prevention, diagnostics or treatment of a disease.
  • Clinical examination
    Body examination with the goal to find signs of disease.
  • Colorectal cancer
    Colorectal cancer encompasses large bowel cancer (colon cancer) and rectal cancer, i.e. it can be located in any part of the large bowel including rectum. It often develops from benign tumors – adenomas or adenomatous polyps. Their cells sometimes change their structure, shape and function and the process results in colon cancer, rectal cancer or colorectal cancer. Tumor cells can be released from the tumor and get into blood or lymphatic circulation. The tumor thus spreads to distant parts of the body and creates secondary tumor niduses – metastases. Colorectal cancer usually metastasizes to the lungs, liver, brain, kidneys and bladder.
  • Coronary artery disease
    Disease which causes blockage or stricture of blood vessels carrying blood and oxygen into the heart. Coronary artery disease is usually caused by fat deposits inside coronary arteries. The disease can cause chest pain, shortness of breath during exercising and heart attacks. The risk of developing coronary artery disease is higher in men and if coronary artery disease under 50 years of age is present in family history, in older people, smokers, people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, not enough movement and obesity.
  • Platelets – thrombocytes
    Small blood cells which play a crucial role in blood clot formation. Patients with low platelet count are at risk of severe bleeding. Patient with high platelet count are at risk of thrombosis, i.e. formation of blood clots which can congest blood vessels, cause heart attacks or other severe conditions and also at a higher risk of bleeding since their platelets are dysfunctional.
  • Hemopoietic (stem) cells
    Hemopoietic cells have a considerable potential to develop into many different types of body cells in early stages of their growth. Furthermore, they act as a type of internal repair system in many tissues, they divide virtually without any restriction in order to replenish other cells as long as the human or animal lives. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has a potential to either stay a stem cell or become a cell with a more specialized function, for example a muscle cell, red blood cell or brain cell. Stem cells differ from other cells in two traits. The first one is that they are unspecialized cells capable of self-renewal via cell division, sometimes even after a long period of inactivity. Their second specific trait is that under certain physiological or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with specific functions. Stem cells regularly divide in some organs, such as the bowel and bone marrow, in order to repair and replace damaged or destroyed tissues.
  • Curative treatment
    Treatment administered to a patient in order to suppress or cure a disease or injury, unlike palliative treatment, whose goal is to alleviate disease symptoms.
  • Quadrantectomy
    Removal of a part of breast.
  • Lactate dehydrogenase
    One of enzyme groups found in the blood and other body tissues necessary to produce energy in cells. Elevated blood levels of lactate dehydrogenase can point to tissue damage due to cancer and other diseases. It is also called lactic acid dehydrogenase or LDH.
  • Lamina propria
    Lamina propria is a thin layer of free connective tissue located under the epithelium. These two layers together form the mucosa. The term mucosa (or mucous membrane) always denotes a combination of epithelium and lamina propria.
  • Laparoscopy
    Surgical procedure in which surgical instruments and a camera are inserted into the abdomen or pelvis through small openings.
  • Leukocyte
    Another name for white blood cell. White blood cells participate in body's defense against infections.
  • Leucovorin
    Active substance in medicaments used to alleviate toxic effects of antifolates, particularly the anti-cancer drug methotrexate. Leucovorin is used to treat some types of anemia and in combination with fluorouracil also to treat colorectal cancer. It is in trials for other types of cancer or other diseases. Leucovorin is a form of folic acid. It is also called folinic acid. It is a type of chemoprotective and chemosensitizing formulation.
  • Li Fraumeni syndrome
    Rare hereditary predisposition to multiple tumors caused by a modification of tumor suppressor gene p53.
  • Drug metabolism
    Process during which a drug is broken down by body enzymes so it can be used by the body and then excreted.
  • X-rays
    Type of radiation used to take pictures from the inside of objects. In medicine, X-rays are commonly used to image internal parts of the body.
  • Lumpectomy
    Removal of individual tumor.
  • Lymph node
    Round structure consisting of lymphatic tissue surrounded by connective tissue. Lymph nodes filter lymph fluid and act as a reservoir of lymphocytes. They are located along lymph vessels. They are also called lymph glands.
  • Lymphocytes
    Type of white blood cells important for the functioning of the immune system. Three main types of lymphocytes are T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes and natural killer cells (NK). They have specific roles in the immune system.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    Imaging technique used in medicine. It is sometimes necessary to administer contrast liquid into a vein to enhance contrast between different tissues and make structures more visible.
  • Malignant tumor
    Malignant tumor consists of impaired cells which proliferate uncontrollably, are able to grow into surrounding tissues, spread through blood or lymphatic circulation and thus get to different parts of the body, where they can settle and form secondary tumors – metastases – via proliferation.
  • Mammography
    X-ray examination of the breasts, imaging structures of the breast.
  • Median
    Value separating higher and lower half of data which can be considered as the “middle” value. For example, if we have a set of values (1, 3, 3, 6, 7, 8, 100), the median is 6, i.e. the fourth highest and fourth lowest value in the set. The advantage of median is that, unlike average, it is not influenced by very high and very low values, thus giving a better idea of a “typical” value in the set.
  • Membrane
    In biology, membrane is a (1) layer surrounding various structures within the cell, (2) layer surrounding the cell and separating it from its outside environment, (3) layer of cells separating different tissues (for example basement membrane and mucosa).
  • Ménétrier’s disease
    Stomach condition characterized by formation of massive tissue folds in the stomach lining. This tissue can be inflamed and can contain ulcers. The disease can also cause loss of fluids containing proteins and related stomach pain, vomiting and swelling all over the body. Ménétrier's disease is a rare disease which most often affects adults over 50.
  • Metaphase
    Cell division phase during which duplicated chromosomes align along the nucleus. The cell then divides into two cells with the same number of chromosomes.
  • Metamyelocyte
    Type of immature white blood cell developed from a myeloblast, further developing to become a white blood cell.
  • Metastases
    Cancer spreading from one site in the body to another. Tumor consisting of cells which have spread is called a metastatic tumor or metastasis. Metastatic tumor contains the same cells as the original tumor.
  • Mitoxantrone
    Medicament used to treat advanced prostate carcinoma which does not respond to hormone therapy, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia in adults and multiple sclerosis. It is also used to treat other tumors. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticancer antibiotics.
  • Monoclonal antibodies
    Monoclonal antibodies are produced by a clone of one cell, which is why they are all completely identical.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
    Fluid surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. Its main function is to protect the brain and spinal cord.
  • Mucosa
    Moist internal lining of some organs and body cavities. Glands in the mucosa produce mucus. It is also called mucous membrane.
  • Multidisciplinary
    Covering several fields of practice and expertise. In medicine, it is defined as a combination of knowledge and expertise of different medical and non-medical healthcare professionals from various specialties.
  • Multidisciplinary consultation
    Type of treatment planning where several physicians, specialists in various fields of medicine (specialties) discuss the patient's health condition and treatment possibilities. Multidisciplinary consultation regarding cancer treatment usually includes clinical oncologist (physician who prescribes medicament therapy), oncosurgeon (physician who prescribes surgical therapy) and radiation oncologist (physician who prescribes radiation therapy). It is also called cancer committee.
  • Muscularis mucosae
    Thin deep layer of smooth muscle fibers found in the mucosa of some organs. Muscularis mucosae separates the mucosa from a deeper layer called submucosa.
  • Mutation
    Change of order in base pairs in the DNA which form a gene. Gene mutations do not necessarily have to modify the gene permanently.
  • Myeloblast
    Type of immature cell developing in bone marrow which will later become a specialized white blood cell.
  • Tumor
    Body tissues consist of cells of various shapes, sizes and functional properties. Complicated regulatory mechanisms control cell growth and division, functional properties and, last but not least, their death. When this regulatory system in the cell is impaired, e.g. due to the effect of a carcinogen, the cell starts dividing uncontrollably. Two daughter cells are formed from one cell and both possess the properties of the impaired mother cell. They keep on dividing until a mass of several millions of cells is created and forms a pathological tumor – a pathological neoplasm (from Latin swelling).
  • Pseudotumor
    A usually harmless and treatable mass, so-called pseudotumor, can appear in the body, for example a hematoma – accumulation of coagulated blood after an injury, edema (swelling) – accumulated liquid between cells caused by accumulation of extracellular fluid after an injury or inflammation, abscess – cavity in the tissue filled with pus as a result of local inflammation due to bacterial infection; if located under the skin, it looks like a reddened lump.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
    Medicaments which reduce temperature, swelling, pain and reddening. They are also called NSAIDs.
  • Benign tumor
    Tumor usually with sharp delineation which can grow to various sizes, but never grows into surrounding tissue. However, its growth can put pressure on neighboring structures. It does not create secondary tumors – metastases. If its growth does not jeopardize the function of important organs (this is not always true – benign tumors can appear in vital organs such as the brain), it is usually not life-threatening. Small benign tumors are sometimes only monitored, bigger ones usually have to be removed surgically. Recurrence does not normally occur. These are most often myomas, adenomas, fibromas, papillomas and others.
  • Nilotinib
    It belongs to the family of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. This family of drugs blocks a type of enzymes known as protein kinases. Nilotinib acts as a blocker of a protein kinase called “Bcr-Abl” kinase. This enzyme is produced by leukemic cells and causes their uncontrollable proliferation. By blocking Bcr-Abl kinase as well as other kinases, Nilotinib helps keep leukemic cell multiplication in check.
  • Nitrates
    Nitrates are found in soil, water and food. These are nitrogen compounds; nitrogen can exist in the atmosphere or as a gas soluble in water which can have harmful effects on people and animals. After nitrates enter the body, they transform into nitrites.
  • Nitrites
    Nitrites are produced mainly as food preservatives and, along with nitrates, are very often used to improve the color of meat and extend the shelf-life of meat products.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
    A big group of lymphocyte (white blood cell) tumors. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age. First signs of the disease usually include enlarged lymph nodes, fever and weight loss. There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We can divide them into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing), composed of B- or T-lymphocytes. B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include Burkitt lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of immunoblastic type, precursor B-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma. T-cell lymphomas include mycosis fungoides, anaplastic large-cell lymphoma and precursor T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. Lymphomas which usually occur after bone marrow or stem cell transplant are usually B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. The prognosis and treatment depends on the stage and type of the disease.
  • Dietitian
    Healthcare professional providing counseling about the effect of diet and nutrition on health. Some people think the job of a dietitian and nutritional advisor are the same thing. However, significant differences exist in different countries regarding the educational requirements for a dietitian and a nutritional advisor. In some countries, even autodidacts without relevant specialized education can become nutritional advisors.
  • Omacetaxine
    Anti-cancer trial drug inhibiting the production of proteins, which means it can slow down or stop cell growth.
  • Oxaliplatin
    Medicament used in combination with other medicaments to treat advanced or recurrent colorectal cancer. It is also used to treat of other types of cancer. Oxaliplatin binds to cell DNA and can kill cancer cells. It is a platinum compound.
  • Palpation
    Examination using one’s hands.
  • Panitumumab
    Panitumumab is a monoclonal antibody. It was developed to bind to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) found on the surface of some cells including certain tumor cells. When it binds to tumor cells, they cannot receive EGFR-mediated signals necessary for their further growth and spreading. It seems panitumumab does not affect tumor cells containing a mutated form of KRAS protein. The growth of these cells is not controlled by EGFR-mediated signals and it continues even after EGFR is blocked.
  • Paraneoplastic syndrome
    Other name for systemic manifestations as a result of a malignant neoplastic disease. For example, fever caused by the malignant neoplastic disease is often called paraneoplastic fever.
  • Pathologist
    Physician specializing in the field of histopathology who examines pathological changes in cells and tissues with a microscope.
  • PCR/polymerase chain reaction
    A technique to determine the code sequence in a gene. Pathologists use PCR to determine unique mutations (code sequence changes) which are a kind of a footprint of certain types of leukemia.
  • Pericardium
    Two-layer sac surrounding the heart and large vessel trunks. It has several functions. It separates the heart from other organs in the thoracic cavity and prevents excessive enlargement of the heart in case of larger blood volume. Pericardial cavity is located inside the pericardium. It is filled with pericardial fluid which reduces the friction of pericardial membranes.
  • Diagnostic peritoneal lavage
    Procedure consisting of saline solution being administered into the abdominal cavity during surgery and then suctioned away. The resulting liquid is then examined in a laboratory to detect cancer cells.
  • Pesticide
    Substance used to kill insects and other pests.
  • FDG-PET scan
    Procedure consisting of small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) being administered into a vein. A scanner then images areas with higher glucose consumption which are processed in the computer as detailed images. Due to usually higher glucose consumption by tumor cells, this examination is used to search for cancer cells in the body. It is also called positron emission tomography.
  • Petechiae
    Small red or purple dots on the skin or mucosa caused by impaired capillaries.
  • Philadelphia chromosome
    Abnormality of chromosome 22 when a part of chromosome 9 is translocated over it. Bone marrow cells containing Philadelphia chromosome are often found in chronic myeloid leukemia.
  • Pleura
    Thin layer of tissue covering the lungs and lining the internal thoracic cavity wall. It protects the lungs and reduces impacts. This tissue excretes a small amount of liquid acting as a lubricant. It enables free movement of the lungs in the thoracic cavity during breathing.
  • Supportive care
    Care administered in order to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from serious life-threatening diseases. The goal of supportive care is to prevent or cure disease symptoms, side effects caused by the treatment and psychological, social and mental issues related to the disease and its treatment as soon as possible.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
    Fatty acids are the main component of fats which are used to produce energy and build tissues in the body. They are also called “good” fatty acids as a counterpart of saturated fatty acids.
  • Ponatinib
    Medicament used to treat patients with CML and Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Some types of CML, those with a T315I mutation, are resistant to treatment by other tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as imatinib. Ponatinib is used to treat CML with this specific mutation.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
    Procedure consisting of small amount of radionuclide-labeled glucose being administered into a vein. A scanner then creates detailed computer images of the areas inside the body where glucose is being used. Due to the fact that glucose consumption is usually higher in tumor cells than in normal cells, this imaging technique is used to search for cancer cells in the body.
  • Prednisone
    Substance which reduces inflammation and moderates immune system response. It is used in combination with other substances to treat leukemias, lymphomas and other types of cancer. Prednisone is used to treat various diseases such as arthritis, certain skin conditions, allergies, underproduction of some adrenal hormones, loss of appetite and anemia. It belongs to the family of drugs called therapeutic glucocorticoids.
  • Mean (Average)
    In a set of data, it is calculated as a sum of all values divided by the number of values. For example, if we have values (1, 3, 3, 6, 7, 8, 100) in a set, the arithmetic mean is (1+3+3+6+7+8+100)/7 = 18
  • Prognosis
    Probable course or outcome of a disease, probability of recovery or recurrence.
  • Proteins
    Basic nutrients composed of amino acids. They are essential for the function of many organisms including the human body. They are responsible for communication and transport between cells, chemical processes and maintenance of cellular structure.
  • Radiation
    It can be defined as energy passing through a certain space. Examples include UV rays and X-rays which are commonly used in medicine.
  • Radioimmunotherapy
    A type of radiation therapy consisting of radioactive substance binding to monoclonal antibody which is then administered into the body. The monoclonal antibody binds to certain tumor cell structures and the radioactive substance emits radiation which helps kill these cells. Radioimmunotherapy is used to treat certain types of tumors, for example lymphomas.
  • Radiologist
    Physician specializing in disease and injury diagnostics via imaging techniques such as X-ray, CT and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
  • Radiotherapy
    Method of cancer treatment using radiation targeted precisely to the tumor site. It uses high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and reduce tumors. This radiation can be emitted from a device outside the body (external radiotherapy) or from a radioactive material located inside the body close to tumor cells (internal radiotherapy). Systemic radiotherapy uses a radioactive substance such as radiolabeled monoclonal antibody carried by the blood to body tissues. Radiotherapy is also called radiation or radiation therapy.
  • Refractory
    In medicine, describes a disease or condition which does not respond to treatment.
  • Recurrence – return of a disease
    Cancer or other disease (usually autoimmune) which returns, usually after some time has passed when the disease was not present or it was not possible to detect it. Recurrence can occur at the same site as the original tumor or at another. It is also called recurrent disease or recurrent cancer.
  • Relapse
    Return of disease symptoms after a temporary improvement. In case of cancer, return of cancer after remission.
  • Remission
    Reduction or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In case of partial remission, some but not all signs and symptoms of cancer disappear or decrease. In case of complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer disappear even if cancer can still be present in the body.
  • Rituximab
    Substance used to treat some types of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. It is used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis in a combination with other substances. It is in trials for other types of tumors and pathological conditions. Rituximab binds to protein CD20 found in B-cells and kills tumor cells. It is a type of monoclonal antibody.
  • Risk factor
    Something which increases the chance of disease development. Some examples of risk factors of cancer are age, family history of some types of cancer, use of tobacco products, exposure to radiation or certain chemicals, infection by certain viruses or bacteria and some genetic changes.
  • X-ray radiation
    Type of radiation used to image the inside of objects. In medicine, X-ray radiation is used to image internal structures of the body.
  • Secretion
    Discharge of liquid.
  • Serosa
    Serous membrane (or serosa) is a smooth membrane composed of a thin layer of cells which secrete serous fluid. Serous membranes line and surround the heart, lungs and organs in the abdominal cavity and secrete lubricating fluid in order to reduce friction caused by the movement of muscles.
  • Solid tumors
    All tumors consisting of solid mass. In general, all tumors except leukemias are called solid tumors. Leukemia is called “liquid tumor”.
  • Graft
    Healthy skin, bone or other tissue extracted from one part of the body and used to replace diseased or damaged tissue extracted from another part of the body.
  • Submucosa
    In the gastrointestinal tract, submucosa is a layer of thick or thin connective tissue which forms the base of mucosa and connects it to many deeper smooth muscle cells (circular muscle fibers surrounded by a layer of longitudinal muscle fibers).
  • Subserosa
    Tissue layer between muscle layer and serosa. The term is used in histopathology and is partially connected to the description of oncological disease scale (by staging, for example stomach cancer staging).
  • Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)
    Condition which can occur after treatment of fast-growing tumor, particularly certain leukemias and lymphomas. Dying tumor cells separate from one another and release their contents into the blood. This causes some substances in the blood to accumulate which in turn can cause damage to organs such as the kidneys, heart and liver.
  • Plummer-Vinson syndrome
    Disorder characterized by iron-deficiency anemia and formation of webs in the throat which impede swallowing. A patient suffering from this syndrome is at higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. It is also called Paterson-Kelly syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.
  • Systemic treatment
    Treatment using substances which are carried all around the body by blood circulation and affect body cells. An example of systemic treatment is chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
  • Systemic symptoms
    Total body symptoms during a disease (for example fever, weight loss, loss of appetite), unlike local symptoms in a specific area of the body (for example swallowing impairment when a tumor is located in the oral cavity or coughing blood when a tumor is located in the lungs). Oncological disease symptoms are not specific only to oncological diseases. They can occur also in case of other, benign diseases.
  • T-lymphocytes
    A type of white blood cells which determine whether something belongs to the body or not. They destroy infected cells. They play an important role in the immune system.
  • T-cell
    A type of white blood cell (lymphocyte) able to determine whether something is part of the body or not. It kills infected cells. These cells play an important role in the immune system.
  • Tissue
    A layer of cells cooperating to perform a specific function.
  • Thoracic
    Related to thorax (chest).
  • Bone marrow transplant
    Procedure to replace bone marrow which has been destroyed by high doses of anti-cancer treatment or radiation. Transplant can be autologous (patient’s own marrow extracted before the treatment), allogeneic (marrow donated by another person) or syngeneic (marrow donated by an identical twin).
  • Trastuzumab
    Monoclonal antibody designed to bind to HER2. By binding to HER2, trastuzumab activates immune system cells which subsequently kill tumor cells. It also blocks HER2 signals which cause the tumor to grow. About a quarter of breast cancer cases and a fifth of stomach cancer cases overexpresses HER2.
  • Thrombocytopenia
    Abnormally low platelet count in the blood.
  • Tumor
    Pathological neoplasm (mass). Body tissues consist of cells of various shapes, sizes and functional properties. Complicated regulatory mechanisms control cell growth and division, functional properties and, last but not least, their death. When this regulatory system in the cell is impaired, e.g. due to the effect of a carcinogen, the cell starts dividing uncontrollably. Two daughter cells are formed from one cell and both possess the properties of the impaired mother cell. They keep on dividing until a mass of several millions cells is created and forms a tumor.
  • Tylosis
    Hereditary disorder characterized by hyperkeratosis (thickened skin) on palms and feet and abnormal white tissue patches in the mouth called leukoplakia.
  • Ultrasonography
    Examination method using the echo of ultrasound waves.
  • Ultrasound
    Examination during which high-frequency sound waves reflect from internal tissues and organs and produce echo. This creates a pattern on the ultrasound device screen and forms an image of tissues called a sonogram. Ultrasound is also called ultrasonography.
  • Vincristine
    Active substance in a medicament used to treat acute leukemia. It is also used in combination with other substances to treat Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma and Wilms tumor. Vincristine is in trials for treatment of other types of tumors. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division. It belongs to vinca alkaloids and mitotic poisons.
  • Epstein-Barr virus
    Epstein-Barr virus, often abbreviated as EBV, is a member of herpes virus family. The majority of people gets infected by EBV in their lifetime, many of them already in the childhood. These infections usually don’t cause any symptoms and are indistinguishable from other short-term light childhood illnesses. EBV also causes lifelong latent (hidden) infection of some immune system cells, which can increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.
  • Ulcers
    A defect of skin, organ lining or tissue surface. An ulcer forms if superficial cells are inflamed, mortify or peel off. Ulcers can be related to cancer or other diseases.
  • Ytrium 90-ibritumomab tiuxetan
    Substance used in combination with rituximab to treat certain types of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is in trial for the treatment of other types of B-cell tumors. Ytrium 90-ibritumomab tiuxetan contains a monoclonal antibody which binds to CD20 protein found in B-cells. It also contains a radioactive substance Ytrium Y 90 which helps kill tumor cells. Ytrium 90-ibritumomab tiuxetan belongs to the family of drugs called radioimmunoconjugates.
  • Malignant tumor
    Malignant tumor (cancer) consists of impaired cells which proliferate uncontrollably, are able to grow into surrounding tissues, spread through blood or lymphatic circulation and thus get to different parts of the body, where they can settle and form secondary tumors – metastases – via proliferation.
  • Imaging examination
    Type of examination which creates detailed images of areas inside the body. Imaging examinations use various forms of energy such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves), radio waves and radioactive substances. They help determine a diagnosis, plan a treatment or verify the effectiveness of a treatment. Examples of imaging examinations include computer tomography (CT), ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine methods.