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Children's Palliative Care Foundation
Children's Palliative Care Foundation

About Childhood Cancer

About Childhood Cancer

Diagnosis & Treatment Glossary

Here are some of the common terms used in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer.


Please select an alphabet to view a list of terms starting with that letter:


A drug that induces stupor and insensibility and relieves pain.

Nephroblastoma (Wilms’ tumour)

A malignant tumour of the kidney found in children.


Any of the nerve cells of the embryo that give rise to functional nerve cells (neurones).


A malignant tumour composed of embryonic nerve cells.  It may originate in any part of the sympathetic nervous system, most commonly in the medulla of adrenal gland, and secondary growths are often widespread in other organs and in bones.

Neurofibroma (Neurilemmoma, neurinoma, neuroma, Schwannoma)

A benign tumour growing from the fibrous coverings of a peripheral nerve: it is usually symptomless.  When it develops from the sheath of a nerve root, it causes pain and may compress the spinal cord.


A congenital disease that is typified by numerous benign tumours growing from the fibrous coverings of nerves.


See glia -

The special connective tissue of the central nervous system, composed of different cells, including the oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, ependymal cells, and microglia, with various supportive and nutritive functions.  Glial cells outnumber the neurons by between five and ten to one, and make up some 40% of the total volume of the brain and spinal cord.

Neurone (Nerve cell)

One of the basic functional units of the nervous system: a cell specialised to transmit electrical nerve impulses and so carry information from one part of the body to another. 

Neutrophil (Polymorph)

A variety of granulocyte (a type of white blood cell) distinguished by a lobed nucleus and the presence in its cytoplasm of fine granules that stain purple with Romanowsky stains.  It is capable of ingesting and killing bacteria and provides an important defence against infection.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID)

Any one of a large group of drugs used for pain relief, particularly in rheumatic disease.


Oxford Concise English-Chinese Medical Dictionary (Second Edition 2000), Oxford University Press
Churchill’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary (Fourth Edition 2004), Longman
Online Merriam Webster dictionary at www.merriam-webster.com



Special thanks should be given to Mrs. Rosita Lie, Dr. Alan K.S. Chiang, Dr. Ha Shau-yin, Dr. Vincent Lee, Dr. Li Chi-keung, Dr. Li Chi-kong, Dr. Rever Li Chak-ho and Dr. Yuen Hui-leung for editorial review.