The glossary explains some of the words used across this website and covers some key cancer and research terms, which primarily focus on lung cancer.

Cancer detection rate

A measure of how many participants who underwent screening are confirmed to have cancer. This is calculated by dividing the number of confirmed cases by the total number of participants who underwent screening and is expressed as a percentage.1

Cancer registry

A population-based information system for collecting and storing data on the burden of cancer in a population. Registries record data such as incidence, mortality, proportion of people diagnosed at each stage of the disease and type of treatment they recieved.2


The ability of a system to deliver effective and timely healthcare to those who need it. This can be broken down further into: workforce capacity (the number of trained healthcare staff available to provide services), infrastructure capacity (having the facilities to treat patients) and resource capacity (having the correct amount of medical equipment and supplies for services).3


Substances which can lead to an increased risk of cancer by inducing genetic changes to exposed cells, altering how they grow and behave.4 Carcinogens can be naturally occurring (e.g. radon) or produced by different industries (e.g. asbestos, tobacco). See also ‘Asbestos’

Cardiothoracic Surgery

The surgical treatment of diseases affecting the heart, lung and oesophagus.5

Care pathway

A systematic process of best practice for healthcare professionals to follow when providing care to a person with lung cancer. Care pathways also map out the ‘path’ an individual can expect to follow through a healthcare system, including screening, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.6

Chest X-ray

A chest X-ray uses a very small dose of ionising radiation to produce medical images of inside the chest. Scans can be used to evaluate the lungs, heart and chest wall. They can also be used to help diagnose and monitor treatment for a variety of lung conditions, including lung cancer.7

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

A group of chronic conditions that cause breathing difficulties due to inflammation or scar tissue in the lungs, for example, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.8

Clinical nurse specialist

A nurse who has an expert knowledge base, clinical competencies and complex decision-making skills in a particular speciality. They are able to diagnose, treat, refer, admit and medicate patients.9


Involving stakeholders in the process of programme design. This can ensure the project meets stakeholder needs and is usable. Also known as participatory design.10 See also ‘stakeholders’ and ‘programme design

Cohort study

A study where participants are recruited and observed based on shared common characteristics (e.g. occupation, age) to understand potential changes in disease burden or the outcome of an intervention (e.g. lung cancer screening) over a long period of time.11 See also ‘Prospective study’ and ‘Retrospective study’

Computed tomography (CT)

Computed tomography (CT) is a non-invasive medical imaging technique that uses a computer and an X-ray to create detailed images (slices) of the inside of the body. These images can be used to diagnose diseases, guide further tests or treatments, and monitor conditions over time.12 See also ‘Low-dose computed tomography’


  1. Lehman CD, Arao RF, Sprague BL, et al. 2017. National performance benchmarks for modern screening digital mammography: Update from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Radiology 283(1): 49-58

  2. Global Lung Cancer Coalition. 2022. Glossary. Available from: [Accessed 04/03/22]

  3. NHS England and NHS Improvement. 2022. Demand and capacity – a comprehensive guide. London, England: NHS

  4. National Human Genome Research Institute. Carcinogen. Available from: [Accessed 08/04/22]

  5. Royal College of Surgeons of England. 2023. Cardiothoracic Surgery.  Available from: [Accessed 04/08/2023]

  6. Centre for Policy on Ageing. The effectiveness of care pathways in health and social care. [Updated 01/05/14]. Available from: [Accessed 27/04/22]

  7. Chest X-ray (Radiography) [Updated 15/06/2020]. Available from: [Accessed 04/03/22]

  8. Center for Disease Control. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). [Updated 22/02/2021]. Available from: [Accessed 04/03/2022]

  9. International Advanced Practice Nursing. 2023. What is an Advanced Practice Nurse? Available from: [Accessed 10/08/2023]

  10. Slattery P, Saeri AK, Bragge P. 2020. Research co-design in health: a rapid overview of reviews. Health Research Policy and Systems 18(1): 17

  11. Barrett D, Noble H. 2019. What are cohort studies? Evidence Based Nursing 22(4): 95

  12. NHS. CT scan. [Updated 18/08/21]. Available from: [Accessed 30/03/22]

  13. Choi HK, Wang X, Mazzone PJ. 2020. Artificial intelligence as a diagnostic tool for lung nodule evaluation. Journal of Medical Artificial Intelligence 3: 16

  14. Oudkerk M, Liu S, Heuvelmans M, et al. 2020. Lung cancer LDCT screening and mortality reduction — evidence, pitfalls and future perspectives. Nature Reviews: Clinical Oncology: 10.1038/s41571-020-00432-6:

  15. Firmino M, Angelo G, Morais H, et al. 2016. Computer-aided detection (CADe) and diagnosis (CADx) system for lung cancer with likelihood of malignancy. BioMedical Engineering OnLine 15(1): 2

  16. Social Care Institute for Excellence. 2023. Integrated care research and practice.  Available from: [Accessed 04/07/2023]

  17. Merriam-Webster. 2020. Co-payment.  Available from: [Accessed 10/08/2023]

  18. Sanders GD, Maciejewski ML, Basu A. 2019. Overview of cost-effectiveness analysis. Jama Guide to Statistics and Methods 321(14): 1400-01

  19. National Institute on Aging. What are clinical trials and studies? [Updated 09/04/20]. Available from: [Accessed 30/03/22]