[Skip to content]

Donate online now!
You are here:   Home  »  Information and Support  »  Glossary
.

Glossary

Anaemia - Too few red blood cells in the bloodstream, resulting in insufficient oxygen to tissues and organs
Ascites - An accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity
Aspiration - Withdrawal of fluid or discharge from a wound or cavity using a needle and syringe or drainage device
Benign – A tumour that is not cancerous and will not spread through the body
Biopsy - A biopsy refers to a procedure that involves obtaining a tissue specimen for microscopic analysis to establish a precise diagnosis
COPD - A progressive disease process that most commonly results from smoking. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing and chronic cough
Cordotomy - Operation on the spinal cord
Cytology - The study of cells
Cytoreductive - Therapy with the intention of reducing the number of cells in a malignancy
Diaphragm - The thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen
Epidural - Situation within the spinal canal, on or outside the tough membrane surrounding the spinal cord
Infusion - The introduction of a fluid into a vein
Ingestion – taking something into the body through the mouth
Mediastinum - The space in the thoracic cavity behind the sternum and in between the two pleural sacs (containing the lungs)
Membrane - A thin layer of tissue which covers a surface, lines a cavity or divides a space or organ
Mesothelioma – pronounced “mee-so-thee-lee-oma” – a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium
Mesothelium – A thin membrane that lines the chest and abdomen
Metastasis – the spreading of a cancerous tumour to another part of the body through lymph, blood, or across a cavity
Nerve Block - Interruption of the conduction of impulses in nerves on the surface of the body or nerve trunks by the injection of a local anaesthetic solution
Oral - By mouth
Paracentesis - Surgical puncture of the abdominal cavity to release peritoneal fluid (more than one is paracenteses)
Percutaneous - Performed through the skin
Pericardium - A double membranous sac which envelops and protects the heart
Peritoneal – Relating to the peritoneum
Peritoneum – the membrane which lines the cavity of the abdomen
Pericardial Effusion - A collection of fluid or blood in the pericardial space (inside the pericardial sac) around the heart
Pleura – two fibrous sheets of tissue that cover the lungs and help to protect them
Pleural - of the pleura (see above)
Pleural Tap - Removal of small amount of fluid for examination purposes from the pleural space
Pleurodesis - This procedure is used in the treatment of malignant pleural effusions and often involves instillation of chemicals or other agents (such as talc in the case of talc pleurodesis) into the pleural space
Pleural Effusion - A collection of fluid (or blood) in the pleural space (in one side of the chest cavity around the lung)
Pneumonectomy - An operation to remove a lung
Pleurectomy - Excision of the pleura
Resection - To remove part or all of an organ or tissue
Sternum - The breastbone
Thoracocentesis - A medical procedure that involves the removal of fluid from the chest cavity using a hollow bore needle. Thoracentesis is performed for therapeutic reasons when drawing off large volumes of fluid and for diagnostic reasons (to analyse the fluid)
Thoracoscopy - The use of a fibreoptic scope through a small incision in the chest wall for the purpose of directly observing the organs of the chest
Thoracotomy - A surgical procedure where an incision is made opening the chest cavity