View glossary terms beginning with ...
List of terms beginning with Ca
A tumour marker (chemical) produced by many ovarian cancers. Can be used to monitor the success of treatment. CA125 is not produced in all ovarian cancers. It is also produced in some other conditions that are not cancers (for example, endometriosis and fibroids).
A chemical marker produced by some types of cancer, which can be found in the blood. It is sometimes found in people who have suspected pancreatic cancer, but is not specific enough to use as a screening test.
- Caesium (caesium 137, caesium wires)
A radioactive metal used to treat cancers of the cervix, uterus and vagina. Also used in the form of thin wires to treat other types of cancer.
Calcification means calcium collecting in the body tissues. In breast tissue, areas of calcium can be picked up on mammograms. Calcification itself is harmless in the breast, but particular patterns of calcification may be a sign of breast cancer.
A substance which is essential to life. Calcium salts are needed for healthy bones and teeth. A small amount of calcium is found in the blood. If this level is too high (hypercalcaemia) or too low (hypocalcaemia) this can be dangerous. Levels of calcium can be measured with a blood test.
A measurement of energy. One calorie is the energy needed to heat one gram of water by one degree centigrade. The amount of energy in food is measured in calories. There are 1000 calories in a kilocalorie.
Cancer is a disease where a population of cells in the body grow and divide without responding to the normal processes that limit their growth. They spread into and destroy nearby tissues, and may spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Cancerous tumours are called malignant.
- Cancer centre
Hospitals where specialist teams treat a large number of people with cancer, particularly people with less common types of cancer or who need complex cancer tests or treatments.
- Cancer networks
There are many cancer networks in the UK. Each covers an area of the UK and is a collection of organisations that work together to plan and provide services for people with cancer. A network can include hospitals, health centres, hospices and social care providers. They usually cover a population of 1 to 2 million people.
- Cancer registries
Each region of the UK has a cancer registry. They collect and analyse statistics about how many people get each type of cancer in their area. They also collect and analyse statistics about cancer treatments and survival rates.
- Cancer type
A term used to refer to the part of the body in which the cancer started. For example, breast cancer. This term may also be used to describe the type of cell a cancer is made of, such as adenocarcinoma (glandular cells) or gliobastoma (glial cells).
- Cancer unit
A unit in a local hospital where the staff have expertise in diagnosing and treating common types of cancer. The unit is overseen by cancer consultants.
- Cancer vaccines
A type of experimental treatment currently being researched. It may be able to limit cancer growth or eventually, stop people getting cancers. Research for this type of treatment is at a very early stage.
A tube put into the body for giving, or draining off, fluid. It usually means a fine tube that goes into a vein.
- Capillary network
System of the smallest blood vessels found throughout the body. The capillaries connect the bigger blood vessels, such as arteries and veins, and take oxygen and nutrients directly to the body cells.
- Capsular contracture
A complication of breast reconstruction surgery using an implant. After the operation, a fibrous covering (capsule) naturally forms around the implant. In some women the capsule can shrink and become tight, making the implant change shape.
One of the three major food groups, the others are protein and fats. Carbohydrates are made up of simple sugars linked together. They are a source of energy for the body and are involved in many important chemical processes in the body. There are many different kinds of carbohydrates.
- Carbon dioxide
A waste gas from the body tissues. The carbon dioxide is absorbed into the blood, then filters back into the alveoli (air sacs in the lungs) and is breathed out.
A chemotherapy drug.
- Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
A marker (chemical) used to help diagnose some types of cancer, such as bowel cancer. It can also be used to check whether the cancer may have come back (recurred). CEA is not always a reliable test for cancer. The level can go up due to other illnesses and it does not always go up in everyone with bowel cancer.
Something that causes cancer.
- Carcinoid tumour
Carcinoid tumours are rare tumours that start in the neuroendocrine system, which is made up of nerve and gland cells that make hormones. Carcinoid tumours most often start in the small bowel or appendix but can occur in other parts of the body. They are usually slow growing.
A cancer of the epithelial tissue that covers all the body organs and lines all the body cavities (for example, skin). Most cancers are carcinomas.
- Carcinoma in situ
An early cancer that has not broken through the basement membrane of the tissue it is growing in. So it cannot spread anywhere else in the body and can usually be cured by removing it surgically.
Means that a cancer has spread to many different areas of the body. Or sometimes, cancer is affecting a large area of the body. It may also be called carcinosis.
- Cardiac sphincter
The valve between the bottom of the food pipe and the top of the stomach. The valve opens to allow food to pass into the stomach but stops the stomach contents moving back up into the food pipe (oesophagus).
- Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is a group of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels. It includes hardening of the arteries, angina, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
An informal carer helps or supports someone who is ill, frail or disabled and is not paid for the care they give. The person they look after may be a family member, a friend, a spouse or partner who could not manage without their help. This is different to care workers, or care assistants, who are paid for looking after people.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on a nerve that passes through the wrist into the hand. It causes pain, a weaker grip, and numbness and tingling in one or both hands, particularly in the fingers and thumb. The name comes from the passageway the nerve passes through – the carpal tunnel.
Dense, tough tissue that lines the joints. A cancer of cartilage is called a chondrosarcoma.
A cataract is a clouding of part of the eye called the lens. Your vision becomes blurred because the cataract is like a frosted glass and interferes with your eyesight.
A tube passed into the body to drain away fluid. For example, a urinary catheter which drains urine from the bladder.
Controlling bleeding or destroying an area of body tissue, using either a needle heated by an electric current, or a chemical substance.