Our glossary explains some of the medical and legal terms used in palliative care. Glossary words are underlined in the Topics and Asked and Answered sections, with definitions appearing when you hover on a word.


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Radiation therapy

A treatment that uses high-energy rays to damage cancer cells, to stop them from growing and dividing. Can also be used to treat symptoms resulting from cancer. This may include radiation to the bone to alleviate pain or to prevent the bone from breaking.


Temporary care given by healthcare providers to allow family caregivers time to rest.

Rigor mortis

Muscle stiffening that develops hours after death.