Return to work after cancer - glossary

Adjuvant therapy
Treatment given after surgery to remove a cancer, with the aim of reducing the risk of the cancer returning

Advanced cancer
A general term describing stages of cancer in which the disease has spread from where it started (the primary site) to other parts of the body

A transient state of arousal, typically with clear onset and offset patterns

Assistive devices
Any device that helps someone do something that they might not otherwise be able to do well or at all. Generally the term is used for devices that help people overcome a disability such as mobility, vision, mental, dexterity or hearing loss

Biological therapy
Treatments that act on processes in cells which may stop cancer cells growing or seek out cancer cells and kill them or encourage the immune system to attack cancer cells

When abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way

A carcinogen is a substance or agent that can cause cancer or increases the risk of developing cancer

Use of drugs to treat cance

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health

The opportunity to talk things over with a trained counsellor

The ability to perform a difficult action quickly and skilfully with the hands

DSE assessment
Required assessment for users of display screen equipment from the Display Screen Equipment Regulations (2002)

The scientific study of people at work. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture and repeated tasks. This is accomplished by designing tasks, workspaces, controls, displays, tools, lighting and equipment to fit the employee's physical and mental capabilities

A subjective feeling of tiredness which can be alleviated by periods of rest

Human resources

Lung capacity
The total volume of air associated with the breathing cycle. Total lung capacity is dependent on sex, age and aerobic fitness levels

A build-up of lymph fluid that causes swelling in an area of the body

Structures and processes involved in the storage and subsequent retrieval of information and knowledge

When a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to conceive. It is associated with a number of hormone changes

Occupational cancer
A cancer that is caused wholly or partly by exposure to a carcinogen at work

Occupational health
Aims to ensure the health and wellbeing of the working population by preventing work-related ill health and providing specialist rehabilitation advice. Occupational health services provide independent, impartial advice to employers and employees on the effects of work on health and the effects of health on work

Occupational medicine
The branch of clinical medicine active in the field of occupational health. It is concerned with keeping people well at work - physically and mentally

This term is often used in a clinical context to describe the process whereby an individual uses the services of various professionals (eg doctors, nurses, physiotherapists) to restore any functionality they’ve lost due to illness or injury

The content for this toolkit was produced as part of the IOSH-funded research undertaken by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Loughborough University and Affinity Health at work.