Book Resources

Books on talking to children about cancer:
(For children up to 5 years of age):
Mom has Cancer (Let’s Talk About It) (2008) by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

For children 5-10 years of age:
When Someone You Love Has Cancer (2005) by Alaric Lewis

General Books:
100 Questions & Answers About Ovarian Cancer — 2nd edition (2006) by
Dr Don Dizon and Dr Nadeem Abu-Rustum 2006
Jones & Bartlett Learning

Maureen Gaffney 2013
Penguin Ireland

It’s Always Something
Gilda Radner 1989

It’s Not About The Bike – My Journey Back to Life
Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins 2002
Allen & Unwin

Ovarian Cancer: Your Guide to Taking Control (Patient-Centred Guides)
Kristine Conner and Lauren Langford 2003
O’Reilly & Associates

Gill McEvoy
Cinnamon Press

Singing the Life: The Story of a Family Living in the Shadow of Cancer
Elizabeth M. Bryan 2007

The Gynaecological Cancer Guide: Sex, Sanity and Survival
Margaret Heffernan and Prof. Michael Quinn 2004
Michelle Anderson Publishing

The Ultimate Guide to Ovarian Cancer
Benedict B. Benigno, M.D. 2013
Sherryben Publishing House

What I wish I knew about cancer
Mary Wilson and Gary Bertwistle 2011
Big Sky Publishing


(this content is taken from the Ovarian Cancer Information website)

View glossary terms beginning with ….

Abdominal CT Scan
A series of x-ray pictures taken of the abdomen by a machine that encircles the body like a giant tube. Computers are then used to generate cross-sectional images of the inside of the body.

Adjuvant  Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy treatment given after another treatment, usually surgery.

Hair loss

Antiemetic Drugs
Can prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting, which can be side effects of some chemotherapy drugs.

The abdominal aorta is the largest artery in the abdomen. An artery is a blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart.

Fluid that builds up in the abdomen, most commonly as a result of cancer but occasionally caused by other diseases.

Removal of appendix

Benign Tumours
Benign tumours are not cancer. Benign tumours are only very rarely life-threatening. They do not spread and invade other tissues. Benign tumours can usually be removed and only infrequently grow back.

Bilateral Salpingo-Oopherectomy
Removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes.

The management and analysis of biological information using computers techniques to accelerate and enhance biological research.

A molecular indicator of a specific biological property; a biochemical feature or facet that can be used to measure the progress of disease or the effects of treatment.

The removal of a sample of tissue so that it can be examined in the laboratory.

Borderline or low malignant potential (LMP) tumours
Tumours that are closely associated with ovarian cancer although they are not strictly classified as ovarian cancer. Commonly referred to as ‘low malignant potential’ or LMP tumours, they are not considered to be malignant and have a very good prognosis. This is a grey zone. Most of these tumours are benign but a few spread and progress. There are certain features that allow the pathologist to predict with some degree of confidence how one of these tumours will behave.

CA125 blood test
CA125 is a protein released by ovarian cancer tissue which is often found to be at high levels in the bloodstream in women with ovarian cancer. It is used to diagnose and follow up ovarian tumours before and after treatment. However, to date, it has not shown to be effective at picking up early stage ovarian cancer, and levels of CA125 can be raised by many normal tissues or other conditions, such as endometriosis. Also some tumours do not produce CA125. Currently it is not yet specific or accurate enough to be used as a widespread screening tool.

Cancer or carcinoma
The name given to a group of diseases that can occur anywhere in the body. They all involve abnormal cells that grow uncontrollably and which may spread to other organs.

A substance that can cause cancer.

The treatment of disease with chemicals that are cytotoxic (kill cancer cells).

CT scan – computerised tomography
A series of X-rays of the body which are combined together to produce multiple images.

Examining cells under a microscope.

Cytoreduction (debulking)
Removal of as much of the tumour as possible. This is believed to improve a woman’s chance of survival.

Surgical opening on the abdomen to allow for elimination of bowel waste into a bag.

Identification of the type of disease that a person is suffering from.

Presence and growth of endometrial tissue (the lining of the womb) in places other than the uterus (womb), that often results in severe pain and infertility.

Exenteration is a radical surgical treatment that removes the organs from the pelvic cavity.

Functional Genomics
The use of genetic technology to determine the function of newly discovered genes by determining their role in one or more model organisms.

The basic biological unit of heredity. It consists of a sequence of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) needed to contribute to a specific functional product. Genes act as a master blue print for all the cells in your body. Your genes determine such things as what colour hair and eyes you have and how tall you are. If you inherit specific faulty genes, it may mean you have an increased risk of certain types of cancer.

Gene expression
The process by which a gene’s coded information is converted into the structures present and operating in the cell. Expressed genes include those that are transcribed into mRNA and then translated into protein and those that are transcribed into RNA but not translated into protein (e.g., transfer and ribosomal RNAs).

All of the genetic information or hereditary material of a particular individual.

The study of the structure and function of genomes, which consist of all the genetic information or hereditary material of a particular individual.

The grading of ovarian cancer gives doctors important information about the disease and which kind of treatment would be best. It describes how similar or dissimilar the tumour is to normal tissue.

Grade of tumour
A measurement of how aggressive the tumour is which is determined by analysing the tumour in the laboratory under a microscope.


Hickman Line
A tube which is inserted under anaesthetic through the chest into a large vein so that chemotherapy drugs can be fed direct into the blood stream.  It can stay in place for months, meaning that needles do not have to be used during treatment.  It needs to be flushed through regularly and cleaned to prevent blockages and infections.

The examination of the structure of tissues using a microscope and special dyes.

Image-guided Biopsy
A small biopsy taken for diagnostic purposes performed under local anaesthetic using a CT scan or ultrasound scan

Immune System
The body’s main defence system which fights infections or foreign substances.

Isotope Scan
A scan that involves injecting a very weak radioactive, which collects in the organ being investigated so that it can be seen more easily with a special camera.

Interval Debulking
The term used for surgery which takes place after an initial course of chemotherapy.

Given by injection into the muscle.

Given into the vein by injection or infusion (given slowly through a small tube).

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A minor operation under general anaesthetic which involves making a small cut in the abdomen so that a tiny telescope (laparoscope) can be inserted to examine the abdomen.  Sometimes referred to as keyhole surgery.

An operation under general anaesthetic to open the abdomen.  A staging laparotomy is an abdominal operation to see the extent of the cancer.

A decrease in the number of white blood cells which can lead to infection.

Removal of one or more lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes
Small bean shaped, pea sized glands clustered in the neck, armpits, abdomen and groin. They have a defensive role and serve as a barrier to the spread of infection.

Lymphatic system
A network of vessels that transports lymph – a clear fluid that comes from the blood and coats the tissues. It contains water, protein and minerals and white blood cells. The lymph passes through a series of filters, the lymph nodes, before rejoining the bloodstream.

Swelling in the arms or legs which is caused by blockage or damage to the drainage of the lymphatic system. It may occur as a result of treating cancer or by cancer blocking the lymphatic system.

Malignant Tumours
Malignant tumours are cancer. Malignant cancer will spread beyond the ovary, invading and damaging other organs of the body. The spread of cancer beyond its tissue of origin is called metastasis.

Multidisciplinary Team – several members of different hospital departments who meet to discuss the treatment plan for individual patients.

The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another by the lymphatic system or by the blood stream.

MRI scan – magnetic resonance imaging
A scan that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to build up detailed pictures of the body from signals sent out from water molecules in the body.

A tool used to sift through and analyse the information contained within a genome. A microarray consists of different nucleic acid probes that are chemically attached to a substrate, which can be a microchip, a glass slide or a microsphere-sized bead.

Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy
Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy is given before other treatments, usually surgery.

A nephrostomy is a tube that’s used to drain urine from the kidney into a bag outside the body.

A shortage of white blood cells meaning that it is sometimes difficult to fight off infections.

Removal of the fatty tissue that covers the abdominal organs.

A layer of protective fatty tissue covering the abdominal organs like an apron.

The study of cancer.

A doctor specialising in the treatment of cancer. A radiation oncologist deals with treatment with radiation and a medical oncologist specialises in treating patients with drugs such as chemotherapy.

Removal of one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) ovaries.

A female reproductive organ in which ova or eggs are produced, present in humans and other vertebrates as a pair.

Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to specialised medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal of such therapy is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family

A process by which fluid build up in the abdomen, which can occur with ovarian cancer, is removed by inserting a needle into the affected area, and drained off.

Lining of the abdominal cavity.

PICC line
Peripherally inserted central catheter; a long, thin flexible tube which is inserted into one of the large veins of the arm until the tip is just above the heart.

How the disease is expected to progress and what the outcome is likely to be.

Treatment given to prevent an illness or stop it from coming back.

Large molecules composed of amino acids whose specific order is determined by the DNA sequence in the gene that encodes it. Proteins each have unique functions to perform a wide variety of activities and, as such, they are essential to the life of the cell.

Proteins expressed by a cell or organ at a given time and under specific conditions.

The study of the structure and function of all of the proteins encoded by a genome.

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A member of the healthcare team who takes and analyses X-rays and scans.

A specialist doctor who uses X-rays, scans and other images to diagnose and treat disease.

The member of the healthcare team who gives patients radiotherapy.

A tumour which returns after the completion of treatment.

No evidence of disease after treatment has been completed.

Space in the abdominal cavity behind the peritoneum.

Removal of one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) fallopian tubes.

When a tumour has spread from its place of origin. This is also called metastasis.

The staging of ovarian cancer gives doctors important information about the disease and which kind of treatment would be best. It describes how far the cancer has spread. The FIGO staging system is used which goes from 1 to 4 (1 is the earliest stage).

A surgical opening on the outside of the abdomen to allow for elimination of bowel or bladder waste.

Given by injection under the skin.

Total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy. This is an operation to remove the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

A process in which fluid build up, as a result of ovarian cancer is drained from the chest cavity by inserting a needle.

Decreased number of platelets that can lead to bleeding.

Transvaginal ultrasound scan
An ultrasound examination where a small instrument is inserted into the vagina to give a clear picture of the inside of the uterus and the ovaries.

Tumour markers, e.g. CA125
Substances produced by some cancers that can be found in the blood.  These can be used to screen for a cancer, to see if treatment is successful or to see if the disease comes back.  The marker for ovarian cancer is CA125.

Tumour suppressor gene
A gene encoding a protein that normally limits cell growth and can suppress or block the development of cancer. Loss of function of these genes is believed to be a necessary prerequisite for tumour development. BRCA1 and p53 are well-known tumour suppressor genes.

Ultrasound scan
Using sound waves to build a picture of the internal organs through a probe placed on the abdomen.

Ureteric stent
A ureteric stent is a thin tube inserted into the ureter to prevent or treat obstruction of the urine flow from the kidney.

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