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Glossary of Terms

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B cells

(B-lymphocytes) Cells that help to protect the body mainly against bacteria.


(B cells) Cells that help to protect the body mainly against bacteria.

Barium enema

The use of a milky solution (barium sulphate) given by an enema via the back passage to allow x-ray examination of the lower intestinal tract.

Basal cell carcinoma

The most common type of skin cancer.


A tumour that is not cancerous.

Biological therapy

A type of cancer treatment that works with the body's immune system. It can help fight cancer or help control side effects from other cancer treatments like chemotherapy.


A blood or tissue test which gives information about the function of a part of the body or tumour.


A small sample of cells taken surgically under local or general anaesthetic from a tumour to be examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells.


The organ in the body that collects and empties urine.

Blood cells

Minute structures produced in the bone marrow; they consist of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Blood count

The number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a sample of blood.

Bone marrow

The spongy material found inside the bones. Most blood cells are made in the bone marrow.

Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration

A procedure where a needle is inserted into a bone to withdraw a sample of bone marrow.

Bone marrow suppression

A decrease in the production of bone marrow.

Bone marrow transplant

(also called bone marrow reinfusion or auto-transplant) The infusion of bone marrow in to a patient who has been treated with high dose chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Patients can use their own marrow, which has sometimes been frozen or marrow from a... more