Appendix 4: Glossary of Terms
Adjuvant Treatment - Treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or radioactive iodine treatment that is given after a surgical procedure to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
Anaplastic Thyroid cancer - A rare form of thyroid cancer which grows quickly and often spreads to other parts of the body. It is classed as undifferentiated thyroid cancer.
BRAF - Specific genetic marker that when mutated allows tumour cells to be killed off with a specific class of anticancer drugs.
BRAF Testing - A test to establish whether there is a mutation present in the BRAF gene.
Cancer - The name given to a group of diseases that can occur in any organ of the body, and in blood, and which involve abnormal or uncontrolled growth of cells.
Co-morbidities - The presence of one or more additional disorders or diseases.
Completion Thyroidectomy - A procedure to remove remaining thyroid tissue after the initial operation, due to the outcome of pathological results or lymph node involvement.
Computed Tomography (CT) - An x-ray imaging technique, which allows detailed investigation of the internal organ of the body.
Definitive Treatment - Treatment designed to potentially cure cancer using one or a combination of interventions.
Diagnosis/Diagnosed - The process of identifying a disease, such as cancer, from its signs and symptoms.
Differentiated Thyroid Cancer - Cancer cells that have some features of normal thyroid gland cells divided into 2 groups - papillary and follicular thyroid cancer.
Dynamic Risk Stratification - A system that assesses the risk of recurrence based on the response to primary treatment.
First-line/Primary treatment - Initial treatment used to reduce or treat a cancer.
Histological/Histopathological/Histology - The study of the structure, composition and function of tissues under the microscope, and their abnormalities.
Hypocalcaemia - A medical condition which refers to low calcium levels in the blood serum. This can occur following thyroidectomy.
Image Guided Core Biopsy - Removal of a sample of tissue for diagnosis using an ultrasound scanner to accurately guide a needle to the appropriate site.
Lobectomy (thyroid) - A surgical procedure which removes half of the thyroid gland i.e. one of the two thyroid lobes (left or right) are removed, leaving the other intact.
Malignant - Cancerous. Malignant cells can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
Metastatic Disease - Spread of cancer away from the primary site to somewhere else via the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. Metastatic disease can be local (close to the area where the cancer is) or distant (in another area of the body).
Molecular Testing - A method of testing tumours for genetic characteristics and biomarkers. Based on this information, targeted therapies can then be recommended for treatment.
Morbidity - How much ill health a particular condition causes.
Mortality - Either (1) the condition of being subject to death; or (2) the death rate, which reflects the number of deaths per unit of population in and specific region, age group disease or other classification, usually expressed as deaths per 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000.
Multi-disciplinary team meeting (MDT) - A meeting which is held on a regular basis, which is made up of participants from various disciplines appropriate to the disease area, where diagnosis, management, and appropriate treatment of patients is discussed and decided.
Papillary Thyroid Cancer - A type of differentiated thyroid cancer. Papillary is the most common type of thyroid cancer.
Pathological - The study of disease processes with the aim of understanding their nature and causes. This is achieved by observing samples of fluid and tissues obtained from the living patient by various methods, or at post mortem.
Radical Treatment - Treatment that aims to get to completely get rid of a cancer.
Radioiodine Remnant Ablation (RRA) - Safe and effective treatment for destroying residual thyroid tissue using radioactive iodine.
Recurrence - When new cancer cells are detected at the site of the original tumour, following treatment.
Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve (RLN) Injury - A post-operative complication that can occur following thyroid surgery and may cause hoarseness or loss of voice.
Staging - Process of describing to what degree cancer has spread from its original site to another part of the body. Staging involves clinical, surgical and pathology assessments and can be described using the TNM system (Tumour, Node, Metastasis).
Survival - The percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are alive for a certain period of time after they were diagnosed with or treated for a disease, such as cancer.
Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) - Treatment of cancer using drugs which prevent the replication or growth of cancer cells. This encompasses biological therapies and cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Thyroglobulin - A protein that is produced and stored in the thyroid gland. Increased levels may indicate the presence of cancer.
Thyroid - A gland in the neck that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and the rate at which food is converted into energy.
Thyroid Cancer - A fairly rare cancer that is found in the thyroid gland (see Thyroid).
Thyroidectomy - Complete or partial removal of the thyroid gland to treat disorders like cancer, non-cancerous tumour or overactive gland.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) - TSH promotes the growth of the thyroid gland in the neck and stimulates it to produce more thyroid hormones.
Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors - A type of targeted therapy which blocks tyrosine kinase enzymes (proteins which speed up chemical reactions in the body) which in turn stops the cancer cells growing and dividing. Also known as TKI's.
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