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Aboriginal Liaison Officers provide support to patients and families of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background during hospital treatment.
Young people aged 15-25 years old
A specialist doctor with expertise in treating people with cancer in the 15 – 25 year age group.
Cancer that forms in the adrenal glands (two glands located above the kidneys). The adrenal glands make hormones that control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. Adrenal cancer that starts in the outside layer of the adrenal gland is called adrenocortical carcinoma. Adrenal cancer that starts in the centre of the adrenal gland is called pheochromocytoma.
A general term that covers most health professionals who are not doctors, nurses or dentists.
The removal of fluid or tissue through a needle.
A tumour that begins in the brain or spinal cord in small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes.
A test that involves drinking a thick white liquid called barium. After swallowing the barium a series of X-rays are taken to look for any problems with swallowing.
Cancer that begins in the lower part of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It is the most common form of skin cancer.
A benign tumour is not cancer. The cells in the benign tumour can divide and grow but they do not spread into surrounding tissues or other parts of the body.
Therapies that work alone or with a patient's immune system to kill cancer cells or stop them growing or dividing.
A procedure used to take a small piece of tissue from part of the body. This is sent to a pathologist who checks it under a microscope to look for cancer cells or other abnormalities.
A procedure where a small amount of blood is taken from a vein. The blood sample is sent to a pathologist who tests it for any abnormalities.
A procedure used to take a small sample of bone marrow under local anaesthetic. Doctors then check the sample under a microscope to look for cancer cells or other abnormalities.
Cancer of the large intestine (bowel), including the colon and rectum.
A type of radiotherapy where radioactive seeds are placed in or near tumours to kill or damage cancer cells and stop them growing.
The part of the brain connected to the spinal cord.
Cancer that forms in the breast tissue. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women.
A doctor with specialist training in the diagnosis and management of benign and malignant breast disease.
A surgeon skilled in operating on the breast. Breast surgeons can biopsy and remove cancer and lymph nodes. A breast surgeon may also do breast reconstructive surgery (oncoplastic surgery).
A test where the doctor uses a long flexible tube with a light and camera to look into the trachea (windpipe) and airways in the lungs. Bronchoscopy is a type of endoscopy.
A health professional with training in cancer care who facilitates patient-centred care and continuity of care throughout the patient's cancer journey.
A service to assist people who have a family history of cancer by providing information about a person’s risk of developing cancer. This includes estimating the likelihood that person may have a genetic mutation and completing genetic testing if appropriate. They are able to provide counselling, support and advice about strategies to reduce the risk of cancer and give information about early detection of cancer.
Cancer of unknown primary is when cancer cells are found in the body but the place where the cancer began is not known.
A slow-growing type of tumour usually found in the gastrointestinal system (most often in the small intestine and rectum), and sometimes in the lungs or other sites.
A surgeon with specialist training in surgical treatment of diseases affecting the organs inside the chest, like the heart and lungs.
The use of drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells
A type of cancer that forms in cartilage. This is the smooth tough covering on the ends of bones.
A type of chronic, progressive liver disease in which liver cells are replaced by scar tissue. Cirrhosis is a risk factor for liver cancer.
A fine tube with a light and camera on the end is passed through the rectum to look at the inner lining of the large intestine.
A surgeon with specialist training in the surgical management of diseases of the large intestine (bowel), colon, rectum and anus. A colorectal surgeon can diagnose and treat cancers of these organs.
A service that is available outside the cancer service but that can be called on to provide services for patients being treated in the cancer service.
An imaging procedure used to look at organs inside the body. A CT scan (also called computerised tomography or a CAT scan) is a series of x-rays taken by a specialised machine. The machine takes x-rays at many angles around the body. The x-rays are added together by a computer to give detailed pictures of the inside of the body.
A specialist doctor trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the skin. A dermatologist can diagnose and treat malignant and non-malignant skin conditions.
A health professional who specialises in nutrition and diet. A dietician assists people to make dietary choices to benefit their health, and to prevent and manage illness.
A physical examination in which a doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum (back passage) to feel for abnormalities in the rectum or prostate gland. The doctor will discuss this with you before examining you.
The length of time after treatment for a specific disease during which a patient survives with no sign of the disease. Disease-free survival may be used in a clinical study or trial to help measure how well a new treatment works.
A specialist surgeon trained in the surgical treatment of diseases of the ear, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck including the mouth, nasal sinuses, pharynx and larynx (voice box).
A test to look at the areas just outside of the airways in the lungs. A special bronchoscope with an ultrasound probe is used to do this. Doctors can also take biopsies of these areas using a needle at the end of the bronchoscope.
Cancer that occurs in endocrine tissues, which are found in the organs of the body that secrete hormones. These include the thyroid, pituitary, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands and pancreas.
A specialist surgeon who has had further training in surgery of some endocrine organs, including the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands and the pancreas. Some organs can be operated on by other surgeons, such as the pituitary gland operated on by neurosurgeons.
A specialist doctor trained in the diagnosis and management of diseases related to the glands, the tissues in the body that secrete hormones. This includes the thyroid, pituitary, parathyroid glands, adrenal gland and pancreas.
A test where a small tube is passed into your mouth and throat to look at the oesophagus with an ultrasound.
A health professional trained in the use of an endoscope. This is a long flexible instrument, with a light and camera on the end, which is used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity in the body.
A test that uses a fine tube with a light and camera on the end to perform an internal examination.
A type of bone cancer that usually affects children or young people.
A health professional who specialises in exercise for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries.
A test that checks faeces (bowel motion, poo) for small amounts of blood, but not cancer itself. It is the test used in the National Bowel Screening Program as blood in faeces can be an early sign of bowel cancer.
A specialist doctor trained in the diagnosis and management of diseases of organs of the gastrointestinal tract. These organs include the oesophagus, stomach, liver, bile ducts, pancreas, small intestine, colon, rectum and anus.
A surgeon who specialises in surgery on the gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach, liver, pancreas, oesophagus and intestines.
A medical specialist trained in the treatment of injury, deformity, and disease using surgery. General surgeons often undertake gastrointestinal and breast surgery.
A health professional who provides advice and counselling for people with a family history of cancer.
A specialist doctor trained in medical oncology and cancer genetics.
A specialist doctor trained in genetics who can evaluate, diagnose, and manage patients with hereditary conditions.
A fast-growing type of central nervous system tumour that forms in the glial (supportive) tissue of the brain and spinal cord and has cells that look very different from normal cells.
Cancer of the female reproductive tract, including the cervix, endometrium, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, vulvar and vagina.
A specialist doctor trained in the diagnosis and management of cancers of the female reproductive system, including ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, and vulvar cancer.
A specialist in women’s reproductive health.
Cancer of the blood cells or bone marrow, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndrome or multiple myeloma.
A specialist doctor trained in diseases of the blood.
Cancer that arises in the head or neck area. This can include cancer of the mouth, tongue, gums, tonsils, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses and salivary glands.
Disease of the liver causing inflammation. Symptoms include an enlarged liver, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and dark urine. There are many different types of hepatitis. The most common ones are hepatitis A, B and C. Hepatitis B and C are risk factors for cancer.
A specialist surgeon trained in surgery of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts.
A specialist physician trained in the management of diseases of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas.
Drugs that stop or slow the growth of cancer cells by affecting the production or activity of hormones in the body. Most commonly used in the treatment of breast and prostate cancer.
A term that describes tests which produce images or pictures of the inside of the body. These include x-rays, scans and ultrasound examinations.
A specialist physician trained in immunology (the study of the body’s defence mechanisms) and allergy.
Medical care that takes place with at least one overnight admission to hospital.
The provision of seamless, effective and efficient care that reflects the whole of a person’s health needs.
A physical examination of the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. The doctor uses one or two gloved fingers inside the vagina and the other hand on the lower abdomen to feel these organs. The doctor may also use an instrument called a speculum to look inside the vagina. The doctor will discuss this with you before examining you.
A trained professional who helps patients and their families communicate with doctors and others in their own language.
A specialist radiologist trained in the use of minimally invasive, image guided procedures to diagnose and treat disease.
Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) is a NSW Government initiative designed to financially assist people, particularly in isolated or rural areas, who have to travel significant distances to access specialist medical treatment which is not available locally.
A type of surgery also known as key hole surgery. A surgeon uses small instruments and a camera to look inside the body.
A cancer of the blood. It begins when white blood cells become abnormal and grow out of control. These abnormal white cells are immature and abnormal, and they don't carry out their infection fighting function.
There are several different types of leukaemia. They are Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL), Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia (APML) and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
A part of the health system that operates public hospitals and institutions in a particular area. NSW is divided into 15 Local Health Districts (LHDs) and four Specialty Networks. LHDs provide health services to communities within geographical areas. Specialty Networks provide health services to particular groups of patients, e.g. children.
A test used to look at the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain (cerebrospinal fluid or CSF). A needle is inserted into the spine in the lower back to collect a small sample of CSF. The sample is checked for cancer cells or abnormal substances, such as blood or proteins.
Cancer that forms in the tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining the air passages.
A network of tissues and organs found throughout the body. They produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases. It includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels.
A swelling of a part of the body caused by the lymphatic vessels or nodes being damaged or not forming correctly. Some people can get lymphoedema after surgery or radiotherapy for certain cancers.
A trained health professional who manages the effects of lymphoedema and teaches self management techniques to people affected by lymphoedema.
Cancer of the lymphatic system. There are two types of lymphoma: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and Hodgkin Lymphoma.
A cancerous tumour that can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
An x-ray of the breast that can be used to check for cancer.
A multidisciplinary cancer care team is a group of health professionals that meet to oversee the diagnosis, stage and treatment of people with cancer.
A test that uses a fine tube, with a light and camera at the end, to examine organs in the area between the lungs and nearby lymph nodes. It may also have a tool to take a sample of tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.
A doctor who specialises in treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and biological therapy.
A form of cancer that begins in cells called melanocytes. Melanoma may begin in a mole on the skin, but can begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines.
A type of cancer that starts from the mesothelial cells. These cells line the outer surface of most of the body's internal organs.
A cancer that starts to grow in a distant part of the body from cells that have broken away from the original (primary) cancer. It can also be called a metastatic cancer or secondary cancer. The plural form of metastasis is metastases.
An imaging procedure used to look at organs inside the body. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue.
An integrated approach to health care where medical, nursing and allied health professionals consider all relevant treatment options and collaboratively develop an individual treatment plan for a patient.
A group of cancers in which the bone marrow produces abnormal, immature blood cells. These cells fail to mature properly and are unable to work properly.
A type of cancer that develops from plasma cells in the bone marrow. As bone marrow is found in multiple areas of the body (e.g. the spine, skull, shoulders, ribs and pelvis) the disease is often called multiple myeloma.
The growth of abnormal cells in the nervous system, such as the brain or spinal cord.
A medical specialty which uses radioactive material to diagnose and treat disease.
A health professional who specialises in analysing and assessing meaningful activities that people undertake in their daily lives, and assisting patients to develop skills to minimise limitations caused by illness.
A medical and dental specialist trained in treating the entire facial area including the mouth, jaws, neck and face, as well as associated structures.
A specialist orthopaedic surgeon who manages bone and soft tissue tumours whether benign or malignant, as well as tumour-like conditions of the bone.
A cancer of the bone that usually affects the large bones of the arm or leg. It occurs more commonly in young people and affects more males than females.
Medical care that takes place as a day only attendance at a hospital.
The provision of cancer care by specialists from large cancer services to smaller regional or outer suburban locations, in person or via telemedicine.
A doctor who specialises in treating cancers in children, adolescents and young adults.
A specialist surgeon trained in the surgical management of disease in infants, children, adolescents and young adults.
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-limiting illness, through the early identification, assessment and treatment of physical symptoms as well as helping with emotional, spiritual and social needs.
A tumour that forms in the islet cells (hormone making cells) of the pancreas. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
A simple procedure used to take a sample of cells from a woman’s cervix during a visit to a doctor, health centre or Family Planning Clinic. It is named after the test’s inventor, Dr George Papanicolaou. Women between 18 and 69 years old should have a Pap smear every two years to check for cervical cancer.
A rare cancer that forms in one or more of the parathyroid glands. These are four pea-sized glands in the neck that make parathyroid hormone, which helps the body store and use calcium.
Someone who provides personal guidance to patients as they move through the health system.
The thin layer of tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.
An imaging procedure used to look at organs inside the body. During Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan), a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. Then a PET scanner makes detailed, computerised pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. It is often combined with a CT scan and this test is called a PET/CT.
When a doctor examines the whole body or parts of the body. This includes looking at the appearance of the body and feeling different areas. The doctor may also listen to the chest or abdomen with a stethoscope, and tap some areas to listen for different sounds.
A health professional who assesses, diagnoses and treats patients, and works to prevent disability and disease through physical means. Physiotherapists are specialists in movement and function.
A tumour that forms in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a pea-sized organ at the base of the brain. It makes hormones that affect other glands, and many of the body's functions, including growth.
A specialist surgeon trained in surgery to correct the appearance or function of parts of the body affected by injuries, congenital abnormalities or disease, including cancer. This can include cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
A thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity.
Implementing interventions to improve a patient’s health prior to starting treatment. Prehabilitation can reduce the current and future impact of cancer and its treatment.
A term used to describe the original, or first, tumour in the body. Cancer cells from a primary cancer may spread to other parts of the body and form new, or secondary, tumours.
Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are independent organisations funded by the Australian Government. They work collaboratively to improve patient care and to increase its efficiency and effectiveness. PHNs have replaced Medicare locals.
A health professional who specialises in providing emotional support and managing emotional difficulties such as anxiety, distress and depression.
A health professional who specialises in providing support on the psychological, social and lifestyle impacts of cancer.
A doctor who specialises in treating cancer using radiotherapy.
A procedure that combines radiotherapy with embolisation, which means blocking the blood supply to the tumour. Radioactive pellets are put inside the blood vessels that lead to the tumour. This blocks the blood supply to the tumour and makes sure the radiation dose is delivered directly to the tumour.
A procedure which uses radio waves to heat and destroy cancer cells.
An imaging procedure used to show the function of organs inside the body. A radioisotope scan (or radionuclide scan) uses small amounts of radioactive material, which are injected into a vein, breathed in or swallowed, and a machine called a gamma camera to produce images.
A treatment that uses radioactive materials (radioisotopes) to treat diseases including cancer.
A doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating diseases using medical imaging techniques such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), ultrasound and nuclear medicine.
The use of radiation to kill or damage cancer cells and stop them from growing and multiplying.
Working with people who have a physical disability, or are frail, chronically ill or recovering from a traumatic injury or illness, to help them to regain and/or maintain optimal function. Rehabilitation allows people to maximise their independence and return to, or remain in, their usual place of residence.
A specialist physician trained in the diagnosis and treatment of lung conditions and diseases.
Cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels or other connective or supportive tissue.
A small service providing cancer treatment and support, generally in a regional area, which is linked to a larger cancer service.
An examination of the lower part of the colon using a sigmoidoscope. This is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light on one end and a lens for viewing on the other. The sigmoidoscope is inserted into the colon through the anus (back passage).
Cancer that forms in the tissues of the skin.
A health professional who specialises in providing emotional support, counselling and advice about practical and financial matters.
A health professional trained in the diagnosis, management and treatment of individuals who are unable to communicate effectively or who have difficulty with eating and swallowing.
A column of nerve tissue that runs from the base of the skull down the centre of the back inside the spine. It connects the brain to all the nerves in the body.
Cancer that begins in the squamous cells. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts.
Finding out how far a cancer has spread in the body when it is first diagnosed. It involves having scans and other tests.
A nurse who is responsible for the care and education of people who have had surgery that results in the creation of a stoma. A stoma is an artificial opening created by surgery, acting as an opening into the body for the exit of body wastes, such as urine or faeces. A stoma may be permanent or temporary.
A medical specialist qualified to treat those diseases that require surgery.
A type of treatment that involves operations, for example to remove a tumour from the body.
A specialist surgeon trained in the surgical management of benign and malignant tumours.
Targeted therapies are drugs that target particular cells in some cancers. There are several different types of targeted therapies, including immunotherapy.
Cancer that forms in the thyroid gland. This is an organ in the front of the neck that makes hormones which help to control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. There are four main types of thyroid cancer based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope. These are papillary, follicilar, medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Relating to the surface of the body. It is often used to describe medicines or creams that are applied to a particular area of the skin.
A procedure that combines chemotherapy with embolisation, which means blocking the artery to the tumour. Anticancer drugs are given into blood vessels near the tumour, and then the blood supply to the tumour is blocked. This allows a higher amount of drug to reach the tumour for a longer period of time. Sometimes, the anticancer drugs are attached to small beads that are injected into an artery that feeds the tumour. The beads block the blood flow to the tumour as they release the drug.
A new or abnormal growth of tissue on or in the body. A tumour may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
An imaging procedure used to look at organs inside the body. A diagnostic ultrasound uses high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) which are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echo patterns are shown on the screen of an ultrasound machine, forming a picture of body tissues. It is also called ultrasonography and sometimes shortened to US.
Cancer of the stomach, oesophagus, pancreas, small intestine, liver, gall bladder and spleen.
A specialist surgeon trained in surgery of the upper parts of the gastrointestinal tract. These include the oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver and gallbladder. Also called an Upper GI Surgeon.
A test in which a urine sample is checked for blood, proteins, bacteria, cancer cells or other abnormalities.
Cancer of the urinary tract in both men and women, and the male genitalia. Urogenital cancer includes cancer of the prostate, bladder, kidney, testes and penis.
A specialist doctor trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the urinary tract in both men and women, and the male genitalia.
A specialist surgeon trained in the surgical treatment of diseases of the blood vessels (arteries and veins).
An imaging procedure which uses radiation (x-rays) to take pictures of parts of the body, for example the bones and the lungs.