Better Cancer Care, An Action Plan

Better Cancer Care, An Action Plan outlines the way forward for cancer services, which are required to support all those in Scotland who find themselves living with and beyond cancer.


Acute Services/Acute care

For a disease or illness with rapid onset, severe symptoms and brief duration

barium enema

Enema in which a contrast medium (usually barium sulphate) is injected into the rectum and X-rays are taken to search for abnormalities


Not malignant and unable to spread in distant way beyond main tumour


A specific physical trait used to measure or indicate the effects or progress of a disease or condition

Bowel cancer

Colorectal cancer


Radiotherapy delivered using an internal radiation source close to the surface of the tumour. Used most commonly for gynaecological tumours


The British Standards Institution


Abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and in some cases, metastasise. Cancer is not a single disease but a group of more than 100 different and distinctive diseases. Cancer can occur in any tissue of the body and has many different forms. Most cancers are named after the type of cell or organ in which they originated


The use of drugs which interfere with the process of cell division to destroy malignant cells


Clinical Nurse Specialist


An endoscopic (fibreoptic) examination of the colon

( CHCPS - CHPs/ CHCPs) Community Health Partnerships/ Community Health Care Partnerships

CHPs have been established by NHS Boards as key building blocks in the modernisation of the NHS and joint services, with a vital role in partnership, integration and service redesign. They provide a focus for the integration between primary care, specialist services and social care and ensure that local population health improvement is at the heart of service planning and delivery


Convention of Scottish Local Authorities

CT (Computed Tomography)

An x-ray technique using a scanner which takes a series of images across the body which can be viewed in 2D (dimensional) or 3D form


The study of chromosomes and cell division


The study of cells

Cytology Screener

A person who assesses the sample slides in the cervical screening programme


Chemicals that are directly toxic to cells, preventing their reproduction or growth


Deoxyribonucleic Acid. The main repository of genetic information in all cells


The use of electronic communication and information technology in the healthcare sector


Visual inspection of a body cavity using an endoscope, which is a flexible viewing instrument


The injection of liquid into the rectum through the anus for cleansing, for stimulating evacuation of the bowels, or for other therapeutic or diagnostic purposes


The branch of medicine that deals with the study of the causes, distribution, and control of health-related problems or disease in populations

Fields of View

The area that is visible (as through an optical instrument)

flexible sigmoidoscopy

Inspection of the rectum and lower colon using a thin lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope

Health Technology Assessments

The HTA programme, part of the National Institute for Health Research, works to provide all those who make decisions in the NHS with high-quality information on the costs, effectiveness and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests

Horizon Scan

The systematic examination of potential threats, opportunities and likely future developments, strengths and weaknesses to planning

HPV (Human papilloma virus)

The HPV is a risk factor for cervical cancer, transmitted through intimate contact, including sexual intercourse. Vaccines are now available to prevent infection to help prevent this type of cancer


Health and Safety Executive


The number of new cases/episodes in a defined population within a given time period


Cancer that can/has spread from its histological original site

ISD (Information & Statistics Division)

Scotland's national organisation for health information, statistics and IT services


International Organisation for Standardisation


Radioactive material

laparoscopic surgery

Minimally invasive surgery in which a camera and surgical instruments are inserted through a small incision


The abnormal growth and development of the white blood cells

Life Circumstances

Determining or modifying factor(s) that affect a person's life

linear accelerator

A treatment machine generating very high energy x-rays or electrons. Also called a LINAC


Lung cancer audit data analysis


Cancer of the lymphatic system/lymph nodes


Cancerous. Malignant tumours can invade and destroy surrounding tissue and have the capacity to spread


A diagnostic image of the breast

MCN (Managed Clinical Network)

The term Managed Clinical Network is used to refer to a way of working which relies on clinicians being part of a 'virtual' organisation and which actively involves patients in service design and focus


A tumour arising from the melanocytic system of the skin and other organs


Spread throughout the body

molecular pathology

An emerging discipline within pathology which is focused on the use of nucleic acid-based techniques


The number of people who have died from cancer and is usually expressed as the number of deaths each year in a specified area

mortality rates

The number of people who die from cancer per 100,000 population

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

An imaging technique based on magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. It provides superior soft tissue definition of many tumours compared with CT


The Scottish National Advisory Group on Breast and Cervical screening

National Services Division

Part of National Services Scotland, which plans and funds services on a national basis


Abnormal new growth or proliferation of cells/tissue that shows a lack of cellular organisation and function. May be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant


National Health Service


The branch of medicine that deals with cancer

palliative care

Providing relief and support, but not cure


A doctor who specialises in identifying diseases by microscopically studying cells and tissues

Patient Pathway

The route that a patient will take from first noticing symptoms and contact with an NHS member of staff (usually their GP), through referral, to the completion of their treatment


Private Finance Initiative

Positron Emission Tomography ( PET)

PET is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging technique that combines computed tomography and small amounts of a radioactive substance. It provides functional information about the tumour and its site and size


To make more likely or render susceptible

Primary care

Health care provided by a medical professional (as a general practitioner, paediatrician, or nurse) with whom a patient has initial contact and by whom the patient may be referred to a specialist

QIS (Quality Improvement Scotland)

NHS Quality Improvement Scotland is a Special Health Board, acting as the lead organisation in improving the quality of healthcare delivered by NHSScotland


The use of radiation to destroy malignant tumours while minimising the damage to normal tissue


A treatment plan that specifies dosage, schedule, duration of treatment


Ribonucleic acid. The nucleic acid that is used in key metabolic processes for all steps of protein synthesis in all living cells

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network ( SIGN)

Improving the quality of care for patients in Scotland by reducing variation and outcome through the development of national guidelines containing recommendations for effective practice, based on current evidence


Examination of people with no symptoms to detect unsuspected disease

Secondary care

Medical care provided by a specialist or facility upon referral by a primary care physician

second-line chemotherapy

Chemotherapy given for a tumour which has already failed to respond to a first chemotherapy regimen

Shared care

The establishment of partnerships between professionals and patients where they share a common goal

stereotacticintracranial radiotherapy

Where radiotherapy is directed at brain tumours based on 3-dimensional imaging

survival rate

The percentage of people still alive 1, 3, 5 and 10 years after they have been diagnosed with cancer. The 5-year survival rate is often quoted

tertiary care

Highly specialised medical care usually over an extended period of time that involves advanced and complex procedures and treatments performed by medical specialists in state-of-the-art facilities


The process of sorting people based on their need for immediate medical treatment


An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division that is uncontrolled and progressive, also called a neoplasm. Tumours can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant

Two views

In two view mammography two x-rays are taken to examine each of the human breasts


UK National Screening Committee


An imaging technique using high-frequency sound waves. Useful in the diagnosis of tumours

WHO (World Health Organization)

WHO is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends


A type of radiation used for imaging purposes, which uses energy beams of short wavelengths at high energy used for treatment that can penetrate most substances except heavy metals

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