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Jargon buster

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



The surgical removal of part of a tumour, that cannot be fully removed. This makes it easier to treat the rest of the tumour that is left. It is sometimes called partial resection.

Dendritic cells

Dendritic cells are a type of immune cell that function to help the body's immune system recognise and attack tumour cells.


A psychological/ emotional condition that involves the body, mood, thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps for more than a few weeks. It is characterised by feelings of sadness, loneliness, despair, low self-esteem, withdrawal from social contact, loss of appetite and insomnia. Bipolar depression: Experiencing mood swings alternating between elation (mania) and depression. The mood swings can last for weeks at a time and cause significant work and relationship problems.


A professional who specialises in diet and nutrition. A dietitian can help tumour patients manage side-effects caused by the tumour or by treatment. They can also help them maintain a healthy weight by helping them to eat healthily. There may be a dietitian as part of your health team. If not, ask to be referred to a dietitian within the NHS, or consult a registered dietitian.


A tumour which does not have clear edges. Diffuse tumours spread into healthy tissue making it difficult to determine precisely where the tumour ends and where the healthy tissue starts


Short for intravenous (IV) drip, it is a device for giving fluid drop-by-drop into a vein. This could be medication, such as chemotherapy; fluid replacement to correct dehydration; or a solution with minerals etc. for nourishment.


Slurred or slow speech caused by poor control of the muscles in the face/tongue. A person with dysarthria may also have problems controlling the pitch, loudness, rhythm, and voice qualities of their speech.


Difficulty swallowing due to problems with nerve or muscle control. If severe, it can make eating difficult and prevent the person from taking in enough calories.


Dysphasia is a condition caused by damage to the parts of the brain that are responsible for understanding and producing language. It also affects speaking and writing in the same way. This means you may have difficulty understanding words you hear or read, as well as in producing words (spoken or written).

It is important to note that dysphasia does not affect intellect although, unfortunately, this is a common misperception.


Difficulty organising and co-ordinating movement due to messages from the brain not being transmitted properly. The person may bump into things, have trouble tying shoelaces or with writing/typing, or have speech difficulties. It is also associated with problems of perception, language and thought.