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The global cancer burden & cancer prevention strategies

 

Glossary over The global cancer burden & cancer prevention strategies

Alcohol

The term alcohol refers to a family of chemicals that occur widely in nature and are mass-produced for use in antifreezes, fuels and some manufacturing processes.

Alcohol is commonly used to refer to alcohol-containing drinks such as wine, beer and spirits. In this case the alcohol, ethanol, has been produced by a process called fermentation. Consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to drunkenness and may be harmful to health. (Source: GreenFacts)

Antiviral

Antiviral drugs are used for treating viral infections. They do not kill the viruses but impede their development by suppressing their ability to multiply and reproduce. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Bacteria

Bacteria are a major group of micro-organisms that live in soil, water, plants, organic matter, or the bodies of animals or people. They are microscopic and mostly unicellular, with a relatively simple cell structure.

Some bacteria cause diseases such as tetanus, typhoid fever, pneumonia, syphilis, cholera, and tuberculosis.

Bacteria play a role in the decomposition of organic matter and other chemical processes. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Benzene

A volatile liquid solvent found in gasoline, with formula C6H6, that is used widely by the chemical industry. It is found in tobacco smoke, vehicle emissions and gasoline fumes.

Benzene exposure can cause cancer and other health complications. (Source: GreenFacts)

Cancer

Any one of a group of diseases that occur when cells in the body become abnormal and have the potential to spread and establish growth in nearby tissues and other parts of the body (malignancy). (Source: GreenFacts )

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Cancer risk

A theoretical risk for getting cancer if exposed to a substance every day for 70 years (a lifetime exposure). The true risk might be lower. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Carcinogen

A substance, factor or situation that causes or induces cancer. (Source: GreenFacts )

Carcinoma

A carcinoma is a cancerous tumour that starts in tissues covering or lining various organs of the body or in glands, such as skin, uterus, prostate, breast, or stomach. Carcinomas tend to infiltrate into nearby tissues. They may also spread to distant organs such as lung, bone, liver, or the brain. Carcinomas are the most common type of cancer. (Source: GreenFacts)

Cell

The basic subunit of any living organism; the simplest unit that can exist as an independent living system. There are many different types of cells in complex organisms such as humans, each with specific characteristics. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Cholesterol

A fat-like substance that is found in certain foods and is also produced in the body.

Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in different packages called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) deliver cholesterol to the body, while high-density lipoproteins (HDL or "good" cholesterol) take cholesterol out of the bloodstream. (Source: PBS Glossary of Medical Terms  )

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Circulatory system

The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood throughout the body. This system helps tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, and it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system. (Source: NCI Dictionary of cancer terms  )

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Colorectal

Relating to or affecting the colon and the rectum. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Developmental effects

Effects in the developing offspring due to exposure before conception (either parent), prenatally, or postnatally to the time of sexual maturation. Developmental effects may be expressed at any time in the life span of the organism. Developmental effects are a subset of reproductive effects. (Source: CSIRO CSIRO biological effects and safety of EMR Glossary  )

Dioxin(s)

"Dioxins" refers to a group of chlorinated organic chemicals with similar chemical structures.

In all GreenFacts publications the term "dioxins" is used to cover both polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-furans (PCDFs). Other sources may refer to these compounds as "dioxins and furans".

Some dioxins have harmful properties, depending on the number and position of chlorine atoms. One of the most toxic dioxin is known as TCDD (2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin). Some PCBs which have similar properties are considered "dioxin-like". (Source: GreenFacts)

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Elemental Arsenic

The element with the symbol "As" and the atomic number 33. Its molecular weight is 74.92160 g. It can be classified as semi metallic and its colour is observed to be metallic grey. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Epidemiological studies

Studies on human populations, which attempt to link human health effects (e.g. cancer) to a cause (e.g. exposure to a specific chemical). (Source: GreenFacts)

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Estrogen

Primary female sex hormone produced mainly by the ovaries. Estrogens are also produced in smaller amounts in the testes of men.

In women, estrogens are primarily involved with the development of female sexual characteristics and the maintenance of the reproductive system and menstrual cycle.

Estrogens are also thought to be important in the development of nerve cells and in the maintenance of a healthy heart.

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Genes

The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver caused by viruses (viral hepatitis) or by chronic exposure to medicines or toxins such as alcohol.

Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the skin caused by the buildup of bile pigments in the body), fever, appetite loss and gastrointestinal upset. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Hormone(s)

Chemical messengers that help our body do different tasks. Hormones are produced by the endocrine glands and then sent all over the body to stimulate certain activities. For example, insulin is a well-known hormone that helps our body digest food. Hormones regulate our growth, digestion, reproduction and sexual function. (Source: EMCOM Endocrine disruptors glossary  )

Incidence

The frequency of a disease may be measured in two (standard) ways:

- Incidence is the number of new cases detected in the population at risk for the disease during a specific period.

- Prevalence (Source: Health canada Diabetes in Canada  )

Infection

It is the growth of a parasite within the human body that causes illness. It can be a virus, a bacteria, a fungus or a protozoa. (Source: GreenFacts )

International Agency for Research on Cancer

"The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

IARC's mission is to coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and to develop scientific strategies for cancer control. The Agency is involved in both epidemiological and laboratory research and disseminates scientific information through publications, meetings, courses, and fellowships."

It has collaborated to and published many highly recognized scientific publications.

Most publications are availaible from the webpage IARC Monographs Programme on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to humans , "The IARC Monographs series publishes authoritative independent assessments by international experts of the carcinogenic risks posed to humans by a variety of agents, mixtures and exposures."

IARC distinguishes between four groups of compounds or physical factors based on the existing scientific evidence for carcinogenicity: Standard IARC classification (Source: IARC website  )

Lesion

An area of abnormal tissue. A lesion may be benign (non-cancercous) or malignant (cancerous). (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary  )

Leukaemia

Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, which makes blood cells (red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body, white blood cells that fight disease and infection, platelets that help to stop bleeding when it starts).

In people with leukaemia, the bone marrow produces large numbers of abnormal white blood cells and not enough normal red blood cells.

Leukaemia cases represent less than 4% of all cancer cases in adults but are the most common form of cancer in children.

There are different types of leukaemia (e.g. acute, chornic, myeloid and lymphoid leukaemia). (Source: GreenFacts )

Life expectancy

The number of years that a person could expect to live on average, based on the mortality rates of the population in a given year.

Life expectancy can change over the lifecycle. For example, at birth a person may be expected to live for 75 years, but if they survive to 75 they may be expected to live for another 10 years. (Source: New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development Population & Sustainable Development, Glossary  )

Liver

The liver is a big reddish-brow organ lying beneath the diaphragm on the right side. The liver is made up for a great part of liver cells which absorb nutrients and detoxify and remove harmful substances from the blood such as drugs and alcohol. The liver has many other vital functions and there is currently no way to compensate for the absence of liver.

Other liver functions include:

  • controlling levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood
  • fighting infections in the body, particularly infections arising in the bowel.
  • manufacturing bile, a kind of digestive juice which aids in the digestion of fats
  • storing iron, certain vitamins and other essential chemicals
  • breaking down food and turning it into energy
  • manufacturing, breaking down and regulating numerous hormones
  • making enzymes and proteins which are responsible for most chemical reactions in the body, for example those involved in blood clotting and repair of damaged tissues.
Lymphoma

Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system (the lymphatic system).

The most common type of lymphoma is called Hodgkin's lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease.

All other lymphomas are grouped together under the term non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. (Source: GreenFacts)

Metabolite

A substance that is the product of biological changes to a chemical. (Source: US EPA Glossary  )

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Molecule

A molecule is the smallest part of any chemical compound composed of two or more atoms and which has the qualities of that substance and can exist alone in a free state. As an example, a molecule of water (H2O) consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. (Source: GreenFacts, based on Helios Glossary   )

Mortality

Death. Usually the cause (a specific disease, a condition, or an injury) is stated. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms   )

Mortality rate

A measure of frequency of occurrence of death in a defined population during a specified interval of time. (Source: CDC Reproductive Health Glossary   )

Mutation

Any permanent change in the DNA of a cell.

Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment.

Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited.

Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary   )

Nervous system

The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities.

It is made up of:

  • the central nervous system, consisting of the brain and spinal cord, and
  • the peripheral nervous system which includes, the eyes, the ears, the sensory organs of taste and smell, as well as the sensory receptors located in the skin, joints, muscles, and other parts of the body.
Obesity

Obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30.0 or greater (Source: GreenFacts, based on WHO Obesity  )

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Pesticide

A toxic chemical product that kills harmful organisms (e.g., insecticides, fungicide, weedicides, rodenticides, acaricides). (Source: FAO Glossary of biotechnology & genetic engineering  )

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Physiology

Study of the biological, chemical and physical activities and processes that underlie the functioning of living organisms (cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems) and their parts. (Source: GreenFacts)

Population

A group or number of people living within a specified area or sharing similar characteristics (such as occupation or age). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Prevalence

The frequency of a disease may be measured in two (standard) ways:

  • Prevalence is the total number of persons known to have had the disease at any time during a specific period. It gives an idea of the importance/burden of disease at a given time, and it is widely used in public health monitoring and planning.
  • Incidence
Radiation

Energy moving in the form of particles or waves. Familiar radiations are heat, light, radio waves, and microwaves. Ionizing radiation is a very high-energy form of electromagnetic radiation. (Source: US Center for Disease Control and Prevention Glossary of Radiological Terms   )

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Scientific Consensus

The Scientific Consensus represents the position generally agreed upon at a given time by most scientists specialized in a given field. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Stakeholder

Individuals or groups that are affected by a decision and have an interest in its outcome. (Source: TDM Encyclopedia Glossary   )

Sustainability

A characteristic or state whereby the needs of the present and local population can be met without compromising the ability of future generations or populations in other locations to meet their needs.

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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) was established in 1993.

Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies.

The EMCDDA exists to provide the EU and its Member States with a factual overview of European drug problems and a solid evidence base to support the drugs debate.

Today it offers policymakers the data they need for drawing up informed drug laws and strategies. It also helps professionals and practitioners working in the field pinpoint best practice and new areas of research. (Source: www.emcdda.europa.eu   )

Therapy

Measures taken to treat a physical or mental disease.

First-line therapy is the first type of therapy given for a condition or disease.

Second-line therapy is the treatment that is given when initial treatment (first-line therapy) doesn't work, or stops working. (Source: based on St Jude Hospital Medical Terminology & Drug Database )

Toxic

Able to poison or harm an organism. Toxic substances can cause adverse health effects. (Source: GreenFacts)

Tumour

An abnormal mass of tissue resulting from uncontrolled and excessive cell division.

Tumours can be either benign (localised, without the invasion of other tissues) or malignant (showing progressive invasion of other tissues). (Source: GreenFacts)

Vaccination

Method to improve a person’s immunity to a particular infectious disease. It involves the administration (oral intake or injection) of a vaccine, which is a weakened, dead or inactivated form of the pathogen responsible for the infection. This stimulates the immune system which produces antibodies (Source: GreenFacts)

Virus

A virus is a small organism which can infect other biological organisms.

Viruses can only reproduce by invading and taking over cells as they lack the cellular machinery for self reproduction.

They cause diseases in human beings, animals, plants and bacteria.

Examples of human diseases caused by viruses include the common cold, influenza, small pox, AIDS, and cold sores. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Vitamins

Vitamins are a group of organic micronutrients that are required by the body for healthy growth, development and immune system functioning.

Certain vitamins are produced by the body but most vitamins are obtained from food or from manufactured dietary supplements. (Source: GreenFacts)

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