Glossary | Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter
Skip navigation


View glossary terms beginning with ...

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. [0-9]
  1. Aa
  2. Ab
  3. Ac
  4. Ad
  5. Ae
  6. Af
  7. Ag
  8. Ah
  9. Ai
  10. Aj
  11. Ak
  12. Al
  13. Am
  14. An
  15. Ao
  16. Ap
  17. Aq
  18. Ar
  19. As
  20. At
  21. Au
  22. Av
  23. Aw
  24. Ax
  25. Ay
  26. Az
  27. A0-9

List of terms beginning with Ab


The abdomen is the area of the body below the ribs and lungs and above the hip bones. It contains many of the body's organs, such as the stomach, small and large bowel, pancreas, liver, spleen, and kidneys.

Abdominal paracentesis

Abdominal paracentesis is a medical procedure to remove a build up of fluid from the abdomen. A doctor or nurse puts a needle into the abdomen. The needle is attached to a tube and a collecting bag. Fluid from the abdomen (ascites) can then drain away into the bag.

Abdominal radiotherapy

Abdominal radiotherapy is radiotherapy given to any part of the abdomen. The abdomen is the area below the ribs and above the hip bones.

Abdominal side effects

Abdominal side effects are unwanted effects on the abdomen caused by cancer treatments. They may include diarrhoea, wind, bleeding, abdominal cramps or pain. They can be caused by abdominal radiotherapy or cancer medicines.

Abdominal ultrasound

An abdominal ultrasound is a body scan of the abdomen. Sound waves make up a picture of the organs inside the abdomen.

Abdominoperineal resection

Abdominoperineal resection is an operation to remove anal cancer. The surgeon removes the anus, your rectum (back passage) and part of your lower bowel (the colon). They may also remove some lymph nodes. The surgeon brings the end of the bowel out on to the abdominal (tummy) wall during the operation to form a colostomy (stoma).


Abortion is the medical name for the early end of a pregnancy that is either natural (a miscarriage) or carried out for medical reasons. The word is most commonly used to mean the deliberate ending of a pregnancy.


An abscess is a collection of pus.

Updated: 29 June 2016