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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.


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