Jargon buster

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



High Dependency Unit. An area of a hospital that is usually located close to the Intensive Care Unit, where patients can be cared for more intensively than on a normal ward, but not to the extent of intensive care.


Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body


Tumours often show heterogeneity. This means that different cells in the tumour have different characteristics, which means that they will respond to treatments differently. As a result, a particular treatment may kill some of the tumour cells, but not others, which will continue to grow.

HickmanĀ® line

"A tube that is passed through a vein, often in the arm or chest, to end up in a large vein near the heart. The other end is left outside the body and is used to deliver chemotherapy drugs straight into the blood. It can also be used to take blood samples.

It is a type of central line, can be left in place for some time, and is commonly used in children."


A structure in the brain involved in forming, storing and processing memory. It is located in the lateral ventricle (one of the spaces in the brain).


A natural chemical that is produced by the body and released into the blood stream. Hormones have various functions, including controlling metabolism (the breakdown of substances within the cell to release energy), growth and development, sleep, and mood.

Human Tissue Act 2004

The law that regulates the removal, storage, use and disposal of human tissue e.g. samples of brain tumours. It requires the consent of the person from whom the tissue came (medical diagnosis and treatment excluded), and an HTA licence if the sample is to be stored for research. The Act covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is a separate act that covers Scotland - the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006.


A build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain. It often causes increased pressure on the brain, leading to symptoms, such as headache, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision and (in infants) an increase in head size.


High blood pressure


Located at the base of the brain just above the brain stem, it works with the pituitary gland to control the body's hormones and, therefore, helps with functions, such as body temperature, growth, salt and water balance, sleep, weight and appetite.

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