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Jargon buster

A comprehensive list of the terms and words you will come across in relation to brain tumours.



A complementary medicine that treats illnesses by inserting fine needles into the skin at particular points of the body. It is thought to help with the management of various symptoms, such as stress and pain.


Anti-Epileptic Drug. A drug that can help to control epileptic seizures. There are many different AEDs, but only some are suitable for brain tumour-related epilepsy.


Being unable to recognise objects, people, words and sounds.

Alternative therapy

Any therapy that is: - not part of conventional treatment - not approved by a public health body - and not offered by your medical team. They are different from Complementary therapies.


Memory loss. Anterograde amnesia: Being unable to form new memories after an event that caused damage to the brain (such as a tumour pressing on the brain). However, the person is able to recall everything that has happened before that event. Retrograde amnesia: Loss of memory for events, or information learned, before an event that caused damage to the brain (such as a tumour pressing on the brain).


A condition of an abnormally low number of red blood cells in the blood. It causes pale skin, shortness of breath and lack of energy.


A medication that causes the loss of sensation by blocking the nerves to the brain. General anaesthetic: A type of medication that is used to send you to sleep during surgery. This means you are unaware of the surgery, and you don't move or feel pain. Local anaesthetic: A type of medication used to numb areas of the body, without making you lose consciousness (without sending you to sleep). You may be able to feel some pressure and movement, but not pain.


A characteristic of high grade ('malignant') tumours, where their cells' structure or arrangement is abnormal.


The process of developing new blood vessels. Angiogenesis inhibitor: A drug that interferes with the development of new blood vessels.


Something which can help to prevent or control seizures, such as anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).


Something which can help to prevent or control seizures, such as anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).


Medicine used to prevent or treat infectious diseases caused by bacteria. They do not have an effect on infections caused by a virus.


A substance produced by the immune system of your body. It is released into the blood to identify and destroy potentially harmful substances, such as bacteria and viruses.


A feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, about an anticipated 'danger'. It can be mild or severe. Signs include muscle tension, restlessness, rapid breathing, diarrhoea, confusion, problems concentrating. Feelings of anxiety at certain times are completely normal, but if it is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, see your GP.


Difficulty with using language correctly. It can affect understanding language, speaking or both. The person may use the wrong word or jumble their sentences. It can also affect reading and writing. Global aphasia: A condition where the person has difficulty speaking and understanding words. The person is also not able to read or write.


Having difficulty, or being unable, to control or co-ordinate movements, even thought your muscles are normal. Milder forms of apraxia are known as dyspraxia. It can cause problems with balance, kicking or throwing a ball, and 'fine motor skills', such as writing or doing up buttons.


A type of brain cell involved in delivering nutrients to the brain's nerve cells ('neurons'). An astrocyte is a type of 'glial cell'.


Loss of control of muscle functions, which may cause unsteady walking or difficulties with movement or speech.


The trade name of bevacizumab - a type of chemotherapy drug most commonly used to treat other cancers. There has been some interest in whether it is effective in brain tumours.