Glossary of Terms

Abscess

A localized collection of pus caused by suppuration buried in tissues, organs or confined spaces. Usually due to an infective process.

Return to Top | Close Window

Achalasia

Constriction of the lower portion of the food pipe (oesophagus) due to inability of the sphincter muscles to relax. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, chest pain, vomiting and heartburn.

Return to Top | Close Window

Achlorhydria

The absence of hydrochloric acid from the gastric juice.

Return to Top | Close Window

Adenocarcinoma

One of the most common primary lung carcinomas, which appears to be increasing in incidence, and now may be more common than squamous cell carcinoma. This tumor is usually peripheral in location and often is associated with scarring, leading to pleural puckering. This neoplasm may vary in histologic appearance with some tumors having well-formed glands, others having a papillary architecture, and yet others being less differentiated and having a solid appearance.

Return to Top | Close Window

Adventitia

The outermost connective tissue covering of any organ, vessel, or other structure not covered by a serosa; instead, the covering is properly derived from without (i.e., from the surrounding connective tissue) and does not form an integral part of such organ or structure.

Return to Top | Close Window

Aflatoxins

A harmful substance made by certain types of mold (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) that is often found on poorly stored grains and nuts. Consumption of foods contaminated with aflatoxin is a risk factor for primary liver cancer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Agnogenic

Synonym: idiopathic—refers to a disease or condition of unknown cause or origin.

Return to Top | Close Window

Algorithm

The term algorithm (pronounced AL-go-rith-um) is a procedure or formula for solving a problem.

Return to Top | Close Window

Amitotic

Relating to or marked by amitosis -- an unusual form of nuclear division, in which the nucleus simply constricts, rather like a cell without chromosome condensation or spindle formation. Partitioning of daughter chromosomes is haphazard.

Return to Top | Close Window

Amoeboid

Resembling an amoeba specifically in moving or changing in shape by means of protoplasmic flow.

Return to Top | Close Window

Ampulla

A saccular anatomic swelling or pouch.

Return to Top | Close Window

Amylase

Enzyme, also called diastase. It is found in both plants and animals.

Return to Top | Close Window

Anal Verge

The external or distal boundary of the anal canal.

Return to Top | Close Window

Anaplasia

Lack of differentiated features in a cancer cell, characterized by cellular pleomorphism (variation in size and shape of cells and their nuclei), enlarged and hyperchromatic nuclei, prominant nucleoli, atypical mitoses, and bizarre cells, including giant cells.

Return to Top | Close Window

Anastomosis

An opening created by surgical, traumatic or pathological means between two normally separate spaces or organs.

Return to Top | Close Window

Anemia

Reduction in total circulating red blood cell mass, diagnosed by a decrease in hemoglobin concentration. Anemic patients have low oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, with resultant tissue hypoxia. The clinical symptoms are related to the severity of the anemia, and may include pallor, tachycardia, angina, light-headedness and fatigue. Anemia may be due to increased blood loss, decreased red blood cell production, or increased red blood cell destruction.

Return to Top | Close Window

Aneuploid

Having a chromosome number that is not an exact multiple of the haploid number.

Return to Top | Close Window

Angiosarcoma

Angiosarcomas are uncommon malignant neoplasms characterized by rapidly proliferating, extensively infiltrating anaplastic cells derived from blood vessels and lining irregular blood-filled spaces. Specialists apply the term angiosarcoma to a wide range of malignant endothelial vascular neoplasms that affect a variety of sites. Angiosarcomas are aggressive and tend to recur locally, spread widely, and have a high rate of lymph node and systemic metastases.

Return to Top | Close Window

Anomaly

A marked deviation from the normal standard, especially as a result of congenital defects.

Return to Top | Close Window

Anorexia

The uncontrolled lack or loss of the appetite for food.

Return to Top | Close Window

Antibodies

Antibodies are special proteins that are part of the body's immune system. White blood cells make antibodies to neutralize harmful germs, or other foreign substances, called antigens. Antibodies are "good guys" that fight inside your body, protecting you from "bad guys" like bacteria and viruses.

Return to Top | Close Window

Antigen

An antigen is a substance that can trigger an immune response, resulting in production of an antibody as part of the body's defense against infection and disease. Many antigens are foreign proteins (those not found naturally in the body). An allergen is a special type of antigen which causes an IgE antibody response.

Return to Top | Close Window

Antrectomy

Removal of the walls of an antrum.

Return to Top | Close Window

Antrum

A general term for cavity or chamber which may have specific meaning in reference certain organs or sites in the body. The antrum of the stomach (gastric antrum) is a portion before the outlet which is lined by mucosa which does not produce acid. The paranasal sinuses can be referred to as the frontal antrum, ethmoid antrum, and maxillary antrum.

Return to Top | Close Window

Aorta

The largest artery in the body which has its origin at the heart. It gives off branches to the extremities, neck and major organs for the purpose of supplying oxygenated blood.

Return to Top | Close Window

Aplastic

Lacking in cell production, as in aplastic anaemia.

Return to Top | Close Window

Ascites

Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Ascites can occur as a result of severe liver disease.

Return to Top | Close Window

Atelectasis

Absence of air in the alveolar spaces resulting in incomplete expansion of the lungs at birth or collapse of the lungs of an adult.

Return to Top | Close Window

Atrophy

A wasting away, a diminution in the size of a cell, tissue, organ or part.

Return to Top | Close Window

Atypia

State of being not typical.

Return to Top | Close Window

Axon

A usually long and single nerve-cell process that usually conducts impulses away from the cell body.

Return to Top | Close Window

Bacteria

Bacteria are single-celled life forms visible only through a microscope. Bacteria live all around us and within us. Our lives are closely intertwined with theirs, and the health of our planet depends very much on their activities.

Return to Top | Close Window

Barium enema

A radiographic diagnostic procedure that involves the introduction of a barium containing contrast material into the lower gastrointestinal tract via the anus. X-rays taken after instillation of the barium will outline the course and anatomy of the lower GI tract.

Return to Top | Close Window

Barrett esophagus

A change in the cells of the tissue that lines the bottom of the esophagus. The esophagus may become irritated when the contents of the stomach back up (reflux). Reflux that happens often over a period of time can lead to Barrett's esophagus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Basal & Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Most cancer registries in North America do not register cases of basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Most often, basal and squamous cell carcinomas pose little harm to the individuals if they are detected early and treated properly. Mortality from basal and squamous cell carcinoma is low. Therefore, with our limited public health dollars, and because there are so many diagnoses of basal and squamous cell carcinoma which rarely are serious enough to cause mortality, most registries elect to not register these skin tumors.

Return to Top | Close Window

Basement membrane

Basement membrane is a structure that supports an overlying epithelium or endothelium. Keratinocytes, glandular cells, and endothelial cells reside on basement membranes. Basement membrane consists of an electron dense membrane called basal lamina, about 300-700 angstrom in thickness, and an underlying network of reticular collagen fibrils which average 300 angstrom in diameter. This network is 0.1-2 micron in thickness.

Return to Top | Close Window

Basophil

Basophils make up less than 1% of your white blood cells. They are active in inflammation. Basophils contain histamine and heparin.

Return to Top | Close Window

Benzene

A colorless and flammable toxic liquid used in organic synthesis, as a solvent, and as a motor fuel. Exposure to benzene can increase the risk of cancer and lead to anemia and a decrease in blood platelets.

Return to Top | Close Window

B-cells

B-cells play an important role in humoral immunity because they synthesize and secrete antibodies which protect us from infection, viruses, etc.

Return to Top | Close Window

Biopsy

A procedure used to remove cells or tissues in order to look at them under a microscope to check for signs of disease.

Return to Top | Close Window

Billroth operation I (Billroth I anastomosis)

Excision of the pylorus with end-to-end anastomosis of stomach and duodenum.

Return to Top | Close Window

Billroth operation II (Billroth II anastomosis)

Resection of the pylorus with the greater part of the lesser curvature of the stomach, closure of the cut ends of the duodenum and stomach, followed by a gastrojejunostomy.

Return to Top | Close Window

Bloom Syndrome

Congenital telangiectatic erythema, primarily in butterfly distribution, of the face and occasionally of the hands and forearms, with sensitivity of skin lesions and dwarfism with normal body proportions except for a narrow face and dolichocephalic skull; chromosomes are excessively fragile; autosomal recessive inheritance.

Return to Top | Close Window

BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)

A benign condition in which an overgrowth of prostate tissue pushes against the urethra (which passes through the prostate) and the bladder, blocking the release of urine.

Return to Top | Close Window

BRCA1

BRCA1 or "Breast Cancer 1," is a genetic mutation that is present in about two-thirds of heritable breast cancers and a smaller number of heritable ovarian cancers. Only about 5% of the female breast cancer in the world is attributable to having the BRCA1 mutation.

Return to Top | Close Window

BRCA2

BRCA2 or "Breast Cancer 2," is a genetic mutation that is present in both male and female heritable breast cancer, heritable ovarian cancer, and heritable prostate cancer. Less than 5% of cancers of the male and female breast, ovary, and prostate are attributable to the BRCA2 mutation.

Return to Top | Close Window

Brenner tumor

Brenner tumors are comprised of solid to partly cystic epithelial nests surrounded by stroma composed of bundles of tightly packed spindle-shaped cells. The epithelial cells are polygonal and of squamoid type, with pale, eosinophilic cytoplasm and oval nuclei with distinct nucleoli and longitudinal grooving, which is commonly described as "coffee-bean" in appearance.

Return to Top | Close Window

Burkitt's Lymphoma

Burkitt's lymphoma is a solid tumor of B lymphocytes, the lymphocytes that the immune system uses to make antibodies. Burkitt's lymphoma is a form of cancer that primarily affects children living in certain areas of Africa. Burkitt's lymphoma is also found in North America, but it is rare.

Return to Top | Close Window

By-pass

Surgical formation of a passage (anastomosis) between two normally distinct spaces or organs. For example, a shunt to divert blood from one part of the body to the other is a by-pass. A colostomy to short circuit the GI tract, when there is an obstruction of the colon, is a by-pass.

Return to Top | Close Window

CA 125 (Cancer Antigen 125)

CA 125 is a protein made by certain cells in the body which include those of the uterus, uterine tubes, cervix, abdomen, and chest ( pleura and lungs ). Elevated CA 125 can be caused by many conditions such as peritonitis, pleuritis, menstruation, pregnancy, endometriosis, liver disease, benign ovarian growths, and by cancers of the uterine tubes, endometrium, lung, breast, and gastrointestinal tract.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cachexia

A profound and marked state of constitutional disorder, general ill health and malnutrition.

Return to Top | Close Window

Calcium

A silver-white bivalent metallic element of the alkaline-earth group occurring only in combination.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cancer

Cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases. Benign tumours are not cancer; malignant tumours are cancer. Most cancers are named for the type of cell or the organ in which they begin. When cancer spreads (metastasizes), the new tumour has the same name as the original (primary) tumour

Return to Top | Close Window

Cancer Control

Cancer Control is the conduct of research and the translation of knowledge from research into strategies and actions to prevent cancer and to increase survival and quality of life for those touched by cancer. A simplified definition of "cancer control" is: Any activity that reduces the morbidity (sickness, disease) or mortality (death) from cancer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cancer Prevention

Cancer prevention research involves the development and evaluation of strategies for reducing cancer incidence. Such strategies could be aimed at preventing the initiation of the neoplastic process or at avoiding the progression to malignancy of already initiated cells. These efforts, which may be multidisciplinary and multifactorial, can involve a broad range of studies at the molecular, cellular, organismal and population levels.

Return to Top | Close Window

Carbohydrate

Any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (as sugars, starches, and celluloses) most of which are formed by green plants and which constitute a major class of animal foods.

Return to Top | Close Window

Carcinoid tumor

A small tumor (benign or malignant) arising from the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract; usually associated with excessive secretion of serotonin.

Return to Top | Close Window

Carcinogenesis

Process that leads to formation of cancer from normal cells or tissues.

Return to Top | Close Window

Carcinogens

Carcinogens are agents that can cause cancer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Carcinoma

Carcinoma is a cancer found in body tissues that cover or line surfaces of organs, glands, or body structures.

Return to Top | Close Window

Casefinding

Casefinding is a system for locating every patient -- inpatient or outpatient, public or private -- who is diagnosed and/or treated with a reportable malignancy.

Return to Top | Close Window

Casefinding Cycle

Identifying source documents; determine reporting methods (active, passive, or a combination);linking the identified cases. Monitoring completeness of casefinding

Return to Top | Close Window

Catecholamine

Any of various amines (as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine) that function as hormones or neurotransmitters or both.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cautery

The application of a caustic substance, a hot instrument, an electric current, or other agent to destroy tissue.

Return to Top | Close Window

CEA (Carcino-Embryonic Antigen)

CEA is a protein produced in the fetus but not in normal adult life. Produced by some carcinomas, particularly of the colon, it is an insensitive marker of malignancy. CEA is an oncofetal antigen that is used as a tumor marker.

Return to Top | Close Window

Celiac Disease

A disorder in children and adults; inability to tolerate wheat protein (gluten); symptoms include foul-smelling diarrhea and emaciation; often accompanied by lactose intolerance.

Return to Top | Close Window

Centriole

A cylinder-shaped organelle composed of microtubules and found in the nucleus of a cell. During nuclear division it forms the spindle, which ensures that the duplicated chromosomes are equally divided between the daughter cells.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cephalic

Of or relating to the head.

Return to Top | Close Window

Chediak-Higashi Syndrome

A generalized cellular disorder which affects all granule-containing cells resulting in recurrent infections and ocular, neurological, and skin manifestations.

Return to Top | Close Window

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs that can destroy cancer cells. These drugs often are called "anticancer" drugs. Anticancer drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying. Healthy cells can also be harmed, especially those that divide quickly. Harm to healthy cells is what causes side effects. These cells usually repair themselves after chemotherapy.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cholangiocarcinoma

Cholangiocarcinoma is a malignant (cancerous) growth in one of the ducts that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cholecystokinin

A hormone secreted especially by the duodenal mucosa that regulates the emptying of the gallbladder and secretion of enzymes by the pancreas and that has been found in the brain.

Return to Top | Close Window

Choriocarcinoma

The choriocarcinoma is a non-seminomatous testicular germ cell tumor characterized by the presence of large cells which express human chorionic gonadotropin. This tumor metastasizes hematogenously early in its development.

Return to Top | Close Window

Chorion (adj. chorionic)

The highly vascular outer embryonic membrane of reptiles, birds, and mammals that in placental mammals is associated with the allantois in the formation of the placenta.

Return to Top | Close Window

Chromatin

A complex of nucleic acid and basic proteins (as histone) in eukaryotic cells that is usually dispersed in the interphase nucleus and condensed into chromosomes in mitosis and meiosis.

Return to Top | Close Window

Chromosome

One of the linear or sometimes circular DNA-containing bodies of viruses, prokaryotic organisms, and the cell nucleus of eukaryotic organisms that contain most or all of the genes of the individual.

Return to Top | Close Window

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a malignant cancer of the bone marrow that causes rapid growth of the blood forming cells (known as myeloid precursors) in the bone marrow, peripheral blood, and body tissues.

Return to Top | Close Window

Chyme

The semifluid mass of partly digested food expelled by the stomach into the duodenum.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cilium (pl. cilia)

A minute, short hairlike process often forming part of a fringe; especially : one on a cell that is capable of lashing movement and serves especially in free unicellular organisms to produce locomotion or in higher forms a current of fluid.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cirrohsis

A chronic disease interfering with the normal functioning of the liver; the major cause is chronic alcoholism.

Return to Top | Close Window

Classification Scheme

A logical system for the arrangement of knowledge. A fully developed classification scheme specifies categories of knowledge and provides the means to relate the categories to each other and to specify in the classification number all or the most important of the aspects and facets of a subject.

Return to Top | Close Window

Colposcope

A magnifying and photographic device used as an aid in the diagnostic examination of the vaginal and cervical epithelia.

Return to Top | Close Window

Confidential

Spoken or written in secret and intended to be kept secret. In the cancer registry, all identifiable data is considered to be confidential.

Return to Top | Close Window

Conization

Surgery to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix and cervical canal. Conization may be used to diagnose or treat a cervical condition. Also called cone biopsy.

Return to Top | Close Window

Connective Tissue

The supporting or framework tissue of the body, formed of fibrous and ground substance with more or less numerous cells of various kinds; it is derived from the mesenchyme, and this in turn from the mesoderm; the varieties of connective tissue are: areolar or loose; adipose; dense, regular or irregular, white fibrous; elastic; mucous; and lymphoid tissue; cartilage; and bone; the blood and lymph may be regarded as connective tissues the ground substance of which is a liquid.

Return to Top | Close Window

Core Biopsy

Similar to needle biopsy, but a larger needle is used because actual tissue is removed, rather than a tiny sampling of cells. A sample of the tumoris removed, but not the whole tumor. The types of core biopsies include ultrasound-guided core biopsy and stereotactic biopsy.

Return to Top | Close Window

Corpus Callosum

The great band of commissural fibers uniting the cerebral hemispheres of higher mammals including humans.

Return to Top | Close Window

Corpus luteum

The zona granulosa and theca cells remaining in the ovary after ovulation and some surrounding capillaries and connective tissue evolve into the corpus luteum.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cortex

The outer or superficial part of an organ or bodily structure (as the kidney, adrenal gland, or a hair); especially : the outer layer of gray matter of the cerebrum and cerebellum.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cranium

The bones of the skull which contain the brain, the brain case.

Return to Top | Close Window

Crohn disease

Crohn disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); it is the general name for diseases that cause inflammation in the intestines. Crohn disease causes inflammation in the small intestine. Crohn's disease usually occurs in the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum, but it can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cryptorchidism

A condition in which one or both testicles fail to move from the abdomen, where they develop before birth, into the scrotum. Cryptorchidism may increase the risk for development of testicular cancer. Also called undescended testicles.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cryosurgery

A surgical technique that utilises freezing tissue to remove unwanted portions.

Return to Top | Close Window

CT

A standard medical abbreviation for C omputerized T omography.

Return to Top | Close Window

Culdoscopy

The introduction of a viewing tube through the end of the vagina into the cul-de-sac. The cul-de-sac is also called the rectouterine pouch, an extension of the peritoneal cavity between the rectum and back wall of the uterus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cutaneous

Pertaining to the skin, dermal, dermic.

Return to Top | Close Window

CXR

A standard medical abbreviation for C hest X - R ay.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cystic

Relating to a cyst -- any closed cavity or sac that is lined by epithelium often contains liquid or semi-solid material.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cytogenetics

The study of chromosomes, the visible carriers of DNA, the hereditary material. Cytogenetics is a fusion science due to joining of cytology (the study of cells) with genetics (the study of inherited variation).

Return to Top | Close Window

Cytology

Cytology is the study of cells and how they function.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cytoplasm

The protoplasm of a cell exclusive of that of the nucleus, it consists of a continuous aqueous solution and the organelles and inclusions suspended in it and is the site of most of the chemical activities of the cell.

Return to Top | Close Window

Cytotoxic

Any substance which has the properties to harm or destroy cells.

Return to Top | Close Window

Data Set

A data set is a named collection of data that contains individual data units organized (formatted) in a specific and prescribed way.

Return to Top | Close Window

Death Clearance

The process of linking a file of known decedents against a cancer registry file in order to determine all deaths among registrants and to identify deaths from cancer among persons previously unknown to the registry.

Return to Top | Close Window

Dendrite

Any of the usually branching protoplasmic processes that conduct impulses toward the body of a nerve cell.

Return to Top | Close Window

De novo

Latin: new. Anew, afresh. A "trial de novo" is a retrial.

Return to Top | Close Window

Diapedesis

Passage of blood cells (especially white blood cells) through intact capillary walls and into the surrounding tissue.

Return to Top | Close Window

Diaphragm

The diaphragm is the primary muscle of inspiration. It is a thin, dome-shaped sheet of muscle that inserts into the lower ribs. When it contracts, it pushes downward and spreads out, increasing the vertical dimension of the chest cavity and driving up abdominal pressure. This increase in pressure drives the abdominal contents down and out, which in turn increases the transverse size of the chest cavity.

Return to Top | Close Window

Diarrhea

Frequent, loose, and watery bowel movements. Common causes include gastrointestinal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, medicines, and malabsorption.

Return to Top | Close Window

Diethylstilbestrol (DES)

A drug given to pregnant women from the early 1940s until 1971 to help with common problems during pregnancy. The drug has been linked to cancer of the cervix or vagina in women whose mother took the drug while pregnant.

Return to Top | Close Window

Differential

In performing the blood count, a total of 100 cells are counted. The percent of each type found in these 100 cells is the cell "differential" for each type.

Return to Top | Close Window

Differentiation

In cancer, differentiation refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor. Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and grow at a slower rate than undifferentiated tumor cells, which lack the structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.

Return to Top | Close Window

Diploid

Individual or cell having two complete sets of chromosomes.

Return to Top | Close Window

Disease Index

A computerized listing of patients seen in a hospital (inpatient and outpatient) organized by discharge diagnosis code. For example: unspecified hypertension is coded 401.9 (in ICD-9, but is I10 in ICD-10) and malignant neoplasm of the central portion of the female breast is coded 174.1 (in ICD-9, but is C50.1 in ICD-10).

Return to Top | Close Window

Disease Registry

An organized system for the collection, storage, analysis, and interpretation of data on persons with the particular disease of concern.

Return to Top | Close Window

Distal

Remote, farther from any point of reference, opposed to proximal.

Return to Top | Close Window

Diverticulum

A small sac-like structure that sometimes forms in the walls of the intestines, diverticula can trap particles of food (especially small seeds and undigested grains) and become very inflammed and painful (this condition is called diverticulitis).

Return to Top | Close Window

DNA

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a double-stranded helix of nucleotides which carries the genetic information of a cell. It encodes the information for the proteins and is able to self-replicate.

Return to Top | Close Window

Dorsal

Pertaining to, or situated near, the back, or dorsum, of an animal or of one of its parts.

Return to Top | Close Window

Down Syndrome

A combination of birth defects caused by the presence of an extra #21 chromosome in each cell of the body. Many children with Down syndrome also have congenital heart disease—usually atrioventricular canal defect.

Return to Top | Close Window

Dysphagia

Difficulty in swallowing.

Return to Top | Close Window

Dysplasia

Premalignant change characterized by alteration in the size, shape and organization of the cellular components of a tissue.

Return to Top | Close Window

Echography

Echography (ultrasound, ultrasonography or sonography) is a diagnostic test using high frequency sound waves that is utilized by many medical specialities.

Return to Top | Close Window

Electrolyte

A substance that, when dissolved in a suitable solvent or when fused, becomes an ionic conductor.

Return to Top | Close Window

Emboli

Material, usually blood clot but may be fat, bone fragment, nitrogen bubble or bullet, that travels through the circulation, eventually obstructing blood flow through a smaller calibre vessel (for example stroke, pulmonary embolism, central retinal artery occlusion).

Return to Top | Close Window

Embryo

An egg that has been fertilized by a sperm and undergone one or more divisions.

Return to Top | Close Window

Endocrine

A system in the body in which substances (hormones) are made and released (secreted) in the body. If the endocrine system is affected by certain drugs then there can be changes in hormones which can affect growth or sexual development and functions.

Return to Top | Close Window

Endocytosis

Incorporation of substances into a cell by phagocytosis or pinocytosis.

Return to Top | Close Window

Endoplasmic Reticulum

A system of interconnected vesicular and lamellar cytoplasmic membranes that functions especially in the transport of materials within the cell and that is studded with ribosomes in some places.

Return to Top | Close Window

Endoscopic Biopsy

Endoscopic biopsy is done through an endoscope (a fiber optic cable for viewing inside the body) which is inserted into the body along with sampling instruments. The endoscope allows the physician to visualize the abnormality and guide the sampling.

Return to Top | Close Window

Endothelial

Pertaining to or made up of endothelium.

Return to Top | Close Window

Endothelium

An epithelium of mesodermal origin composed of a single layer of thin flattened cells that lines internal body cavities.

Return to Top | Close Window

Enzyme

A protein that speeds up chemical reactions in the body. (CNet) Any of a group of chemical substances which are produced by living cells and which cause particular chemical reactions to happen while not being changed themselves. E.g., an enzyme in the saliva of the mouth starts the process of breaking down the food.

Return to Top | Close Window

Eosinophilia

Elevated eosinophil count in the circulating blood. Commonly associated with chronic parasite infections.

Return to Top | Close Window

Epidermis

The outer epithelial layer of the skin.

Return to Top | Close Window

Epithelium

The covering of internal and external surfaces of the body, including the lining of vessels and other small cavities.

Return to Top | Close Window

Erythrocyte

Red blood cell.

Return to Top | Close Window

Erythropoietin

A glycoprotein hormone produced primarily by cells of the peritubular capillary endothelium of the kidney that is responsible for the regulation of red blood cell production.

Return to Top | Close Window

Estrogen

Any of various natural steroids (as estradiol) that are formed from androgen precursors, that are secreted chiefly by the ovaries, placenta, adipose tissue, and testes, and that stimulate the development of female secondary sex characteristics and promote the growth and maintenance of the female reproductive system.

Return to Top | Close Window

Excisional Biopsy

Also known as a surgical or open biopsy, the purpose of an excisonal biopsy is to attempt to remove the entire mass or a large portion of the mass. The tissue that is removed is then sent to the pathologist for diagnosis.

Return to Top | Close Window

Exocytosis

The release of cellular substances (as secretory products) contained in cell vesicles by fusion of the vesicular membrane with the plasma membrane and subsequent release of the contents to the exterior of the cell.

Return to Top | Close Window

Exophthalmus

An abnormal protrusion of the eyeball(s).

Return to Top | Close Window

Familial Polyposis

Hereditary, autosomal dominant precancerous syndrome characterized by innumerable adenomatous polyps of the colon.

Return to Top | Close Window

Fanconi Anemia (congenital pancytopenia)

A rare congenital anemia characterized by pancytopenia and hypoplasia of the bone marrow

Return to Top | Close Window

Fascia

Fascia, a connective tissue, is the packing material of the body. It envelopes the muscles, bones and joints and holds us together supporting the body structure and giving us our shape. Fascia organizes and separates: it provides protection and autonomy for the individual muscles and viscera. It joins and bonds these separate entities and establishes spatial relationships. Chemically it is the collagen in the fascia that enables it to change.

Return to Top | Close Window

Fertilization

The process of union of two gametes whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated.

Return to Top | Close Window

Fetus

An unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind; specifically : a developing human from usually three months after conception to birth.

Return to Top | Close Window

Fibroblast

A connective-tissue cell of mesenchymal origin that secretes proteins and especially molecular collagen from which the extracellular fibrillar matrix of connective tissue forms.

Return to Top | Close Window

Fibrosis

Refers to the presence of scar tissue or collagen fibers in any tissue. In the liver, fibrosis or scarring of the liver damages the architecture and thus the functionality of the organ. Fibrosis, combined with the liver's ability to regenerate, causes cirrhosis (regeneration within the scar tissue).

Return to Top | Close Window

Fistula

In medicine, a fistula is an abnormal channel that creates an open passageway between two bodily structures that do not normally connect.

Return to Top | Close Window

Flagellum

A long tapering process that projects singly or in groups from a cell and is the primary organ of motion of many microorganisms.

Return to Top | Close Window

Flow Cytometry

Analysis of biological material by detection of the light-absorbing or fluorescing properties of cells or subcellular fractions such as chromosomes passing in a narrow stream through a laser beam. Flow cytometry is used with automated sorting devices to sort successive droplets of the stream into different fractions depending on the fluorescence emitted by each droplet.

Return to Top | Close Window

Foramen Magnum

The opening in the skull through which the spinal cord passes to become the medulla oblongata.

Return to Top | Close Window

Fossa (pl. fossae)

An anatomical pit, groove, or depression.

Return to Top | Close Window

Free Radicals

An atom or a group of atoms with an unpaired electron. Radicals are unusually reactive, strongly oxidizing species capable of causing a wide range of biological damage.

Return to Top | Close Window

Freestanding Facility

A diagnosing or treatment facility which is not owned by a hospital and owns/maintains it's own patient records.

Return to Top | Close Window

Fulguration

Destroying tissue using an electric current.

Return to Top | Close Window

Gamma Globulin

Component of blood serum (plasma) containing antibodies (sometimes abbreviated as IgG).

Return to Top | Close Window

Gamma Ray

A highly energized, deeply penetrating photon that radiates from the nucleus during fission and frequently accompanies radioactive decay.

Return to Top | Close Window

Ganglion (pl. ganglia)

A mass of nerve tissue containing nerve cells external to the brain or spinal cord.

Return to Top | Close Window

Gastrectomy

A surgical procedure where all or a portion of the stomach is removed.

Return to Top | Close Window

Gastropylorectomy

Excision of the pylorus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Gastrostomy

The operation of making a permanent opening into the stomach, for the introduction of food.

Return to Top | Close Window

Gene

A hereditary unit that is composed of a sequence of DNA and occupies a specific position or locus.

Return to Top | Close Window

George Nicolas Papanicolaou

George Nicolas Papanicolaou was a Greek physician, anatomist, and cytologist in the United States.

Return to Top | Close Window

Glossitis

Inflammation of the tongue.

Return to Top | Close Window

Glucagon

A protein hormone that is produced especially by the islets of Langerhans and that promotes an increase in the sugar content of the blood by increasing the rate of glycogen breakdown in the liver.

Return to Top | Close Window

Glucose

An optically active sugar C6H12O6 that has an aldehydic carbonyl group; especially : the sweet colorless soluble dextrorotatory form that occurs widely in nature and is the usual form in which carbohydrate is assimilated by animals.

Return to Top | Close Window

Glycoprotein

A molecule that consists of a carbohydrate plus a protein. Glycoproteins play essential roles in the body. For instance, in the immune system almost all of the key molecules involved in the immune response are glycoproteins.

Return to Top | Close Window

Goblet Cell

A mucus-secreting epithelial cell (as of intestinal columnar epithelium) that is distended at the free end.

Return to Top | Close Window

Goiter

Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. The resulting bulge on the neck may become extremely large, but most simple goiters are brought under control before this happens. Occasionally a simple goiter may cause some difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

Return to Top | Close Window

Golgi Apparatus

A cytoplasmic organelle that consists of a stack of smooth membranous saccules and associated vesicles and that is active in the modification and transport of proteins.

Return to Top | Close Window

Gonagotropin (adj. Gonadotropic)

A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates gonads.

Return to Top | Close Window

Granule

A small quantity of a solid substance, smaller than a grain.

Return to Top | Close Window

Grave's Disease

Also known as myasthenia gravis, Grave's disease is a defect in the immune system which causes production of immunoglobulins (antibodies) which stimulate and attack the thyroid gland, causing hyperthyroidism (abnormal growth of the thyroid gland) and overproduction of thyroid hormone. Similar antibodies also attack the tissues in the eye muscles (causing exophthalmus).

Return to Top | Close Window

Growth Factor

A substance that promotes the growth of cells. Growth factors include epidermal growth factor (EGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), erythropoietin (EPO), hematopoietic cell growth factor (HCGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), stem cell factors, and neurotrophins. Growth factor is produced by normal cells during embryonic development, tisue growth, and wound healing. Tumors, however, produce large amounts of growth factors.

Return to Top | Close Window

HEENT

A standard abbreviation for Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Throat.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hematocrit

Hematocrit is the percentage of the volume of a blood sample occupied by cells, as determined by a centrifuge or device which separates the cells and other particulate elements of the blood from the plasma. The remaining fraction of the blood sample is called plasmocrit (blood plasma volume).

Return to Top | Close Window

Hematologic

Of or relating to blood or to hematology.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hemigastrectomy

Excision of the distal one-half of the stomach.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hemorrhage

A copious discharge of blood from the blood vessels.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hematogenous

Originating in the blood or spread through the bloodstream.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hemotopoiesis (Adj. Hematopoietic)

The formation of blood or of blood cells in the living body.

Return to Top | Close Window

Heparin

A drug given directly into a vein that thins the blood when there is a danger of clotting (an anticoagulant)

Return to Top | Close Window

Hepatic flexure

The hepatic flexure is situated between the ascending and the transverse part of the colon, beneath the liver.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hepatocyte

An epithelial cell of the liver responsible for the synthesis, degradation, and storage of a variety of materials.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hernia

The bulging of an internal organ through a weak area or tear in the muscle or other tissue that holds it in place. Most hernias occur in the abdomen.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hiatal Hernia

A type of hernia that occurs when a portion of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm (where the oesophagus normally passes through).

Return to Top | Close Window

Hilum

A notch in or opening from a bodily part suggesting the hilum of a bean.

Return to Top | Close Window

Histamine

Histamine is a chemical present in cells throughout the body that is released during an allergic reaction. Histamine is one of the substances responsible for the symptoms on inflammation and is the major reason for running of the nose, sneezing, and itching in allergic rhinitis. It also stimulates production of acid by the stomach and narrows the bronchi or airways in the lungs.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hodgkin's Disease

Hodgkin's disease, or Hodgkin's lymphoma, is a cancer of the lymphatic system. There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's. The presence of Reed-Sternberg cells is diagnostic of Hodgkin's lymphoma and distinctly separates the Hodgkin's lymphomas from the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hypodermis

The layers beneath the epidermis, comprising thick-walled sclerenchymatous cells.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system - the network of lymph glands and channels which occurs throughout the body.

There are thirty- five different types of lymphoma recognised in the most recent classification system. These are grouped into two main types called Hodgkin's disease (five sub-types), and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (thirty sub-types). Hodgkin's disease (HD) is distinguished from all other types of lymphoma by the presence of a distinctive abnormal lymphocyte called a Reed-Sternberg cell. All types of lymphoma except Hodgkin's disease are collectively known as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). The Editorial Committee of the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Third Edition, adopted the European eponymic standard, which is to drop the apostrophe 's' on eponyms (such as Hodgkin's ). Therefore, the medical community is learning to refer to Hodgkin's disease as Hodgkin disease (and Hodgkin lymphoma) and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hofmeister-Finsterer Operation

Partial gastrectomy with closure of a portion of the lesser curvature and retrocolic anastomosis of the remainder to the jejunum.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hormonal therapy

Treatment of cancer by alteration of the hormonal balance. Some cancer will only grow in the presence of certain hormones.

Return to Top | Close Window

HSM

A standard medical abbreviation for Hepato Spleno Megaly (hepatosplenomegaly) -- HSM = enlarged liver (hepato) and enlarged spleen (spleno).

Return to Top | Close Window

Hyaline

Transparent or nearly so and usually homogeneous.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hydatidiform Mole

In human pregnancy, abnormal growth of the chorion, the outermost vascular membrane that in a normal pregnancy would enclose the embryo and ultimately give rise to the placenta. In the situation in which the hydatidiform mole develops, the embryo is usually either absent or dead.

Return to Top | Close Window

Hypochromic Anemia

Anemia characterized by a decrease in the concentration of corpuscular hemoglobin.

Return to Top | Close Window

ICD-9-CM

ICD-9-CM - International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification. ICD-9-CM is a clinically modified statistical classification system that arranges diseases and injuries into groups according to established criteria. It is based on the ICD-9, which was designed for the classification of morbidity and mortality information for statistical purposes, and published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Return to Top | Close Window

ICD-O

ICD-O - International Classification of Diseases for Oncology. Most registries are currently using the Third Edition of the ICD-O (ICD-O-3).

Return to Top | Close Window

Idiopathic

Refers to a disease or condition of unknown cause or origin.

Return to Top | Close Window

Islets of Langerhans

Also called ISLANDS OF LANGERHANS, irregularly shaped patches of endocrine tissue located within the pancreas of most vertebrates. They are named for the German physician Paul Langerhans, who first described them in 1869. The normal human pancreas contains about 1,000,000 islets.

Return to Top | Close Window

Immune System

A complex system of cellular and molecular components having the primary function of distinguishing self from not self and defense against foreign organisms or substances. The primary cellular components are lymphocytes and macrophages, and the primary molecular components are antibodies and lymphokines; granulocytes and complement system are also involved in immune responses, although they are not always considered as part of the immune system per se.

Return to Top | Close Window

Immunoglobulin

An antibody or, more generally, antibodies which provide protection against infectious agents. Immunoglobulins are produced by lymphocytes of the B cell type in response to the stimulation of infectious agents or the contents of vaccines. Immunoglobulins are soluble proteins present in blood serum and other body fluids. Temporary protection via immunoglobulins can be transferred to another person through injection of a purified portion of a donor's serum.

Return to Top | Close Window

Immunosuppression

The artificial suppression of the immune response, usually through drugs, so that the body will not reject a transplanted organ or tissue. Drugs commonly used to suppress the immune system after transplant include prednisone, azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporin, OKT3 and ALG.

Return to Top | Close Window

Immunotherapy

Treatment of disease by stimulating the body's own immune system. This is a type of therapy currently being researched as a treatment for cancer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Incidence

The rate at which a certain event occurs (e.g., the number of new cases of specific disease occurring during a certain period of time).

Return to Top | Close Window

Incisional Biopsy

An incisional biopsy is different from an excisional biopsy because the surgeon does not attempt to remove the entire mass. An incisional biopsy is performed to abtain a fragment of tissue to send to the pathologist for diagnosis.

Return to Top | Close Window

Infrared

Denoting thermal radiation of wavelength greater than that of the red end of the spectrum (the recorded band of wavelengths of electromagnetic vibrations of variable light).

Return to Top | Close Window

Infundibulum

Any of various funnel-shaped organs or parts.

Return to Top | Close Window

Insulin

A hormone that helps the body use glucose (sugar) for energy.

Return to Top | Close Window

Intraepithelial

Within the layer of cells that forms the surface or lining of an organ.

Return to Top | Close Window

Ionizing radiation

Corpuscular (e.g., neutrons, electrons) or electromagnetic (e.g., gamma) radiation of sufficient energy to ionise the irradiated material.

Return to Top | Close Window

Ipsilateral

Situated or appearing on or affecting the same side of the body.

Return to Top | Close Window

Isotope

A form of a chemical element which varies from other forms of this element by the number of neutrons in it's nucleus. An isotope can be stable or radioactive depending upon the composition of its nucleus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Kahler Disease

A fatal condition with occurrence of multiple malign tumours disease (multiple myeloma) in the bone marrow, causing disturbances of its function. AKA: Kahler-Bozzolo disease, Bence Jones syndrome, Huppert disease, MacIntyre syndrome, Rustitskii disease, von Rustitskii syndrome.

Return to Top | Close Window

Kaposi sarcoma

A malignant neoplastic vascular proliferation characterized by soft purplish nodules that usually occur first on the toes or feet and then slowly spread over the skin, increasing in size and number.

Return to Top | Close Window

Keratinocytes

Keratinocytes are the primary cell types found in the epidermis, the outer layer of skin.

Return to Top | Close Window

Klinefelter Syndrome

Syndrome in males that is characterized by small testes and long legs and enlarged breasts and reduced sperm production and mental retardation; a genetic defect in which an extra X chromosome (XXY) is present in the male.

Return to Top | Close Window

LAD

A standard medical abbreviation for LymphADenopathy (lymphadenopathy) -- LAD = enlarged or swollen lymph nodes.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lamina Propria

A highly vascular layer of connective tissue under the basement membrane lining a layer of epithelium.

Return to Top | Close Window

Leiomyosarcoma

A rare malignant tumor consisting of smooth muscle cells and small cell sarcoma tumor.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lesion

An abnormal change in structure of an organ or part due to injury or disease; especially: one that is circumscribed and well-defined.

Return to Top | Close Window

Leukemia

Malignant proliferation of hematopoietic cells, characterized by replacement of bone marrow by neoplastic cells. The leukemic cells usually are present in peripheral blood, and may infiltrate other organs of the reticuloendothelial system, such as liver, spleen and lymph nodes. Leukemia is broadly classified into acute and chronic leukemia, with multiple distinct clinicopathologic entities subclassified in each category.

Return to Top | Close Window

LFTs

A standard medical abbreviation for Liver Function Tests.

Return to Top | Close Window

Ligament

A band of fibrous tissue that connects bones or cartilages, serving to support and strengthen joints.

Return to Top | Close Window

Linitis Plastica

The name "Linitis plastica" is derived from a Latin word meaning "hard", which refers to gastric cancers with symptoms of the entire stomach swelling up as for an inflammation.

Return to Top | Close Window

Liposarcoma

The soft tissue sarcomas are a group of cancers which develop from a number of different supportive tissues in the body including fibrous tissue, muscle, ligaments, tendons and fat.

Return to Top | Close Window

LN

A standard medical abbreviation for Lymph Node or Lymph Nodes.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lumen

The cavity or channel within a tube or tubular organ.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lye

A strong caustic alkaline solution of potassium salts, obtained by leaching wood ashes. It is much used in making soap, etc.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lymphadenopathy

Abnormally enlarged lymph nodes. Commonly called "swollen glands."

Return to Top | Close Window

Lymphangiogram

X-rays of the lymphatic system. A dye is injected to outline the lymphatic vessels and organs.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lymphedema

Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissue that causes swelling, most often in the arm(s) and/or leg(s), and occasionally in other parts of the body. Lymphedema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired (primary), or when lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes removed (secondary).

Return to Top | Close Window

Lymphocyte

Any of the colorless weakly motile cells originating from stem cells and differentiating in lymphoid tissue (as of the thymus or bone marrow) that are the typical cellular elements of lymph , include the cellular mediators of immunity, and constitute 20 to 30 percent of the white blood cells of normal human blood.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lymphocytopenia

An abnormally small number of lymphocytes in the circulating blood.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lymphoid

Cells derived from stem cells of the lymphoid lineage: large and small lymphocytes, plasma cells.

Return to Top | Close Window

Lysosome

A saclike cellular organelle that contains various hydrolytic enzymes.

Return to Top | Close Window

Macrophage

A phagocytic tissue cell of the reticuloendothelial system that may be fixed or freely motile, is derived from a monocyte, and functions in the protection of the body against infection and noxious substances -- called also histiocyte.

Return to Top | Close Window

Malaise

A vague feeling of bodily discomfort.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mammography

Mammography is a procedure that involves taking x-rays of the breasts to detect breast cysts or tumors, especially those that cannot be felt (palpable) by the fingers during a physical examination. A mammogram is the photographic result. The procedure does not prevent breast cancer; it is used to detect cancer early when it is more likely to be successfully treated.

Return to Top | Close Window

Margin

Edge of the tissue removed during surgery. A negative surgical margin is usually a sign that no cancer was left behind near the area it was removed from. A positive surgical margin indicates that cancer cells are found at the outer edge of the tissue removed and is usually a sign that some cancer remains in the body.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mast cell

Cells that play an important role in the body's allergic response. Mast cells are present in most body tissues, but are particularly numerous in connective tissue, such as the dermis (innermost layer) of skin. In an allergic response, an allergen stimulates the release of antibodies, which attach themselves to mast cells. Following subsequent allergen exposure, the mast cells release substances such as histamine (a chemical responsible for allergic symptoms) into the tissue.

Return to Top | Close Window

Master Patient Index File

An alphabetized list (either card file or computerized list) maintained for all patients that have been entered into the database

Return to Top | Close Window

Matrix

Ground substance in which things are embedded or that fills a space (as for example the space within the mitochondrion). most common usage is for a loose meshwork within which cells are embedded (e.g. Extracellular matrix), although it may also be used of filters or absorbent material.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mediastinum

The space in the chest between the pleural sacs of the lungs that contains all the viscera of the chest except the lungs and pleurae; also : this space with its contents.

Return to Top | Close Window

Megakaryocyte

Very large bone marrow cells which release mature blood platelets.

Return to Top | Close Window

Melanocytes

Cells in the epidermis that produce melanin, the pigment found in the skin and eyes.

Return to Top | Close Window

Melanoma

The most serious, life-threatening form of skin cancer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Melatonin

A hormone produced by the pineal gland that boosts the immune system and helps people with jet lag or insomnia.

Return to Top | Close Window

Meningioma

Common benign brain tumours that arise from the pia-arachnoid cells of the meninges. Meningiomas tend to occur along the superior sagittal sinus, along the sphenoid ridge or in the vicinity of the optic chiasm.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mesentery

The membranes, or one of the membranes (consisting of a fold of the peritoneum and inclosed tissues), which connect the intestines and their appendages with the dorsal wall of the abdominal cavity. The mesentery proper is connected with the jejunum and ilium, the other mesenteries being called mesoccum, mesocolon, mesorectum, etc.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that invades mesothelial cells, which are specialized cells that make up the membranes lining the chest and abdominal cavity. Mesothelium, or the tissue formed by mesothelial cells, helps protect the organs by producing a lubricating fluid that allows the organs to move without irritating nerves.

Return to Top | Close Window

Metabolism

Metabolism is the uptake and digestion of food, and the disposal of waste products.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mitochondrion

Any of various round or long cellular organelles of most eukaryotes that are found outside the nucleus, produce energy for the cell through cellular respiration, and are rich in fats, proteins, and enzymes.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mitosis

Mitosis is a complex process which allows the cell to give identical copies of its DNA to each of the daughter cells.

Return to Top | Close Window

Molecule

The smallest unit of matter of a substance that retains all the physical and chemical properties of that substance, consisting of a single atom or a group of atoms bonded together; e.g., Ne, H2, H2O.

Return to Top | Close Window

Morbidity

A diseased condition or state, the incidence of a disease or of all diseases in a population.

Return to Top | Close Window

Motor

Any of various power units that develop energy or impart motion.

Return to Top | Close Window

MRI

A standard abbreviation for M agnetic R esonance I maging.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mucosa (pl. mucosae)

A moist tissue layer that lines hollow organs (stomach, etc.) and body cavities.

Return to Top | Close Window

Muscularis Propria

The muscular wall typically made up of two layers of smooth muscle, an inner circular layer and an outer longitudinal layer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mycosis

Any disease caused by a fungus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Mycosis Fungoides

A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that first appears on the skin. Also called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Return to Top | Close Window

Myelin

A soft, white, and somewhat fatty material that forms a thick myelin sheath about the protoplasmic core of a myelinated nerve fiber.

Return to Top | Close Window

Myeloid

A collective term for the non-lymphocyte groups of white blood cells. It includes cells from the granulocyte, monocyte, and platelet lineages.

Return to Top | Close Window

Myelodysplasia

Myelodysplasia is a diagnosis that includes several subcategories with very different findings and different prognoses.

Return to Top | Close Window

Myometrium

Uterine smooth muscle.

Return to Top | Close Window

Nausea

An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various stomach infections.

Return to Top | Close Window

Necrosis

The sum of the morphological changes indicative of cell death and caused by the progressive degradative action of enzymes, it may affect groups of cells or part of a structure or an organ.

Return to Top | Close Window

Needle Biopsy

Needle biopsy is a procedure using a needle to take a sample of tissue or fluid. The procedure is also called fine needle aspiration.

Return to Top | Close Window

Neoplasia

New and abnormal growth of tissue (neoplasm), which may be benign or cancerous, that serves no purpose.

Return to Top | Close Window

Neoplasm

Also called tumor. Any new and abnormal growth; specifically a new growth of tissue in which the growth is uncontrolled and progressive. Malignant neoplasms are distinguished from benign in that the former show a greater degree of anaplasia and have the properties of invasion and metastasis.

Return to Top | Close Window

Nephron

The nephron is the functional unit of the kidney that is responsible for the actual purification and filtration of the blood. About one million nephrons are in the cortex of each kidney, and each one consists of a renal corpuscle and a renal tubule which carry out the functions of the nephron.

Return to Top | Close Window

Neurilemma

The plasma membrane surrounding a Schwann cell of a myelinated nerve fiber and separating layers of myelin.

Return to Top | Close Window

Neuroblastoma

A childhood tumor that arises in the adrenal gland or in tissue in the nervous system that is related to the adrenal gland.

Return to Top | Close Window

Neuroendocrine

Descriptive of cells that release a hormone into the circulating blood in response to a neural stimulus. Such cells may comprise a peripheral endocrine gland (e.g., the insulin-secreting beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas and the adrenaline-secreting chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla); others are neurons in the brain (e.g., the neurons of the supraoptic nucleus that release antidiuretic hormone from their axon terminals in the posterior lobe of the hypophysis).

Return to Top | Close Window

Neurofibromatosis

A disorder inherited as an autosomal dominant and characterized especially by brown spots on the skin, neurofibromas of peripheral nerves, and deformities of subcutaneous tissue and bone.

Return to Top | Close Window

Neuroglia

Supporting tissue intermingled with the essential elements of nervous tissue especially in the brain, spinal cord, and ganglia.

Return to Top | Close Window

Neuron

A grayish or reddish granular cell with specialized processes that is the fundamental functional unit of the nervous tissue.

Return to Top | Close Window

Neutron

A neutron is a subatomic particle found in the nucleus of every atom except that of simple hydrogen. The particle derives its name from the fact that it has no electrical charge; it is neutral.

Return to Top | Close Window

NK (Natural Killer) Cells

Natural killer cells are large lymphocytes. They are the first line of defense against viruses and other invaders because they do not need to wait for an antibody response to identify foreign cells and invaders.

Return to Top | Close Window

Notochord

An axial mesodermal tissue found in embryonic stages of all chordates and protochordates, often regressing as maturity is approached. Typically a rod shaped mass of vacuolated cells. It lies immediately below the nerve cord and may provide mechanical strength to the embryo.

Return to Top | Close Window

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials or radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose and and treat disease. It is safe, painless, and cost-effective.

Return to Top | Close Window

Omentum

A free fold of the peritoneum, or one serving to connect viscera, support blood vessels, etc. The great, or gastrocolic, omentum forms, in most mammals, a great sac, which is attached to the stomach and transverse colon, is loaded with fat, and covers more or less of the intestines. The lesser, or gastrohepatic, omentum connects the stomach and liver and contains the hepatic vessels. The gastrosplenic omentum, or ligament, connects the stomach and spleen.

Return to Top | Close Window

Oncologist

A physician who specializes in the treatment of various types of cancer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Osmosis

Movement of a solvent through a semipermeable membrane (as of a living cell) into a solution of higher solute concentration that tends to equalize the concentrations of solute on the two sides of the membrane.

Return to Top | Close Window

Osmotic

Pertaining to or of the nature of osmosis.

Return to Top | Close Window

Palliative

Palliative means "relief of symptoms." Most often, palliation is the relief of pain.

Return to Top | Close Window

Pallor

Unnatural lack of color in the skin (as from bruising or sickness or emotional distress)

Return to Top | Close Window

Pancytopenia

An abnormal deficiency in all blood cells (red blood cells and white blood cells and platelets); usually associated with bone marrow tumor or with aplastic anemia

Return to Top | Close Window

Panniculitis

Inflammation of subcutaneous fat.

Return to Top | Close Window

Papilla (pl. papillae)

A hump or swelling.

Return to Top | Close Window

Parenchyma

The essential elements of an organ, used in anatomical nomenclature as a general term to designate the functional elements of an organ, as distinguished from its framework or stroma.

Return to Top | Close Window

Parietal Peritoneum

The peritoneum is a thin membrane that lines the abdominal and pelvic cavities, and covers most abdominal viscera. It is composed of layer of mesthelium supported by a thin layer of connective tissue. Parietal peritoneum is that portion that lines the abdominal and pelvic cavities.

Return to Top | Close Window

Pathogen

A specific causative agent (such as a bacterium or virus) of disease.

Return to Top | Close Window

Patency

The state of being freely open or exposed.

Return to Top | Close Window

Perichondrium

A membrane around the surface of cartilage.

Return to Top | Close Window

Peritoneum

The smooth serous membrane which lines the cavity of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs forming a closed, or nearly closed sac.

Return to Top | Close Window

Petechiae

Pin-head-sized sites of bleeding in the skin. This type of bleeding results from a very low platelet count. The small punctate hemorrhages are frequently seen on the legs, feet, trunk and arms. They evolve from red to brown and are eventually disappear. They stop developing when the platelet count increases.

Return to Top | Close Window

Peyer's patch

These are quite large aggregates of lymphoid tissue found in the small intestine, part of the lymphatic system which help to fight infection.

Return to Top | Close Window

pH

A measure of acidity and alkalinity of a solution. The measure is a number on a scale on which a value of 7 represents neutrality and lower numbers indicate increasing acidity and higher numbers increasing alkalinity. On the scale, each unit of change represents a tenfold change in acidity or alkalinity.

Return to Top | Close Window

Phagocytic

Capable of functioning as a phagocyte. A phagocyte is a cell that is able to engulf and break down foreign particles, cell debris and disease producing micro-organisms in the body. Form an important part of the natural defence mechanism in most animals.

Return to Top | Close Window

Pheochromocytoma

A tumor that is derived from chromaffin cells and is usually associated with paroxysmal or sustained hypertension.

Return to Top | Close Window

Phenotype

A set of observable physical characteristics of an individual organism. A single characteristic can be referred to as a "trait," although a single trait is sometimes also called a phenotype. For example, blond hair could be called a trait or a phenotype, as could obesity. A phenotype can be the result of many factors, including an individual's genotype, environment, and lifestyle, and the interactions among these factors. The observed manifestation of a genotype, a phenotype may be expressed physically, biochemically, or physiologically.

Return to Top | Close Window

Philadelphia Chromosome

Characteristic chromosomal abnormality in which a portion of chromosome 22 is translocated to chromosome 9. This abnormality is found in nearly all cases of chronic myeloid leukaemia and some cases of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Return to Top | Close Window

Placenta

The vascular organ in mammals, except monotremes and marsupials, that unites the fetus to the maternal uterus and mediates its metabolic exchanges through a more or less intimate association of uterine mucosal with chorionic and usually allantoic tissues.

Return to Top | Close Window

Plasma

The fluid part of blood, lymph, or milk as distinguished from suspended material.

Return to Top | Close Window

Plasmacytoma

Any discrete, presumably solitary, mass of neoplastic plasma cells either in bone marrow or various extramedullary sites.

Return to Top | Close Window

Platelets

A particle found in the bloodstream that binds at the site of a wound to begin the blood clotting process. Platelets are formed in bone marrow.

Return to Top | Close Window

Pleomorphism

A hardening within the nervous system, especially of the brain and spinal cord, resulting from degeneration of nervous elements such as the myelin sheath.

Return to Top | Close Window

Pleura

The delicate serous membrane that lines each half of the thorax of mammals and is folded back over the surface of the lung of the same side.

Return to Top | Close Window

Pleural Effusion

A collection of fluid (or blood) in the pleural space (in one side of the chest cavity around the lung). May be secondary to trauma, cancer, nephrotic syndrome, kidney disease, pancreatitis, congestive heart failure and cirrhosis.

Return to Top | Close Window

Plicae Circulares

Plicae circulares are macroscopically visible, crescent-shaped folds of the mucosa and submucosa. Plicae circulares extend around one-half to two-thirds of the circumference of the lumen of the small intestine.

Return to Top | Close Window

Polypectomy

Excision of a polyp.

Return to Top | Close Window

Polyvinylchloride

A carcinogenic polymer used in plastics and is commonly known as PVC.

Return to Top | Close Window

Primary Site

The anatomic site where the original tumor is located. Primary cancer is usually named after the organ in which it starts. For example, cancer that starts in the breast is always breast cancer even if it spreads (metastasizes) to other organs such as bones or lungs.

Return to Top | Close Window

Process

Any marked prominence or projecting part.

Return to Top | Close Window

Progesterone

A female steroid sex hormone C21H30O2 that is secreted by the corpus luteum to prepare the endometrium for implantation and later by the placenta during pregnancy to prevent rejection of the developing embryo or fetus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Prognosis

The patient's potential clinical outlook based on the status and probable course of his disease.

Return to Top | Close Window

Prolactin

Prolactin,produced from the anterior pituitary gland, it's found in the serum of normal females and males. Prolactin's principal physiological action is to initiate and sustain lactation.

Return to Top | Close Window

Proliferation

The reproduction or multiplication of similar forms, especially of cells and morbid cysts.

Return to Top | Close Window

Proptosis

Forward displacement (bulging) of an organ, typically the eyeball(s).

Return to Top | Close Window

Protein

Any of numerous naturally occurring extremely complex substances that consist of amino-acid residues joined by peptide bonds, contain the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, usually sulfur, and occasionally other elements (as phosphorus or iron), and include many essential biological compounds (as enzymes, hormones, or immunoglobulins).

Return to Top | Close Window

Proton

A proton is a subatomic particle found in the nucleus of every atom. The particle has a positive electrical charge, equal and opposite to that of the electron.

Return to Top | Close Window

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a condition characterized by severe scaling and flakiness. Recent evidence indicates that the skin is rapidly reproducing cells creating an excess build-up because the skin cannot exfoliate normally.

Return to Top | Close Window

Puberty

The condition of being or the period of becoming first capable of reproducing sexually marked by maturing of the genital organs, development of secondary sex characteristics, and in the human and in higher primates by the first occurrence of menstruation in the female.

Return to Top | Close Window

Puerperium

The period between childbirth and the return of the uterus to its normal size.

Return to Top | Close Window

Purpura

Hemorrhage under a surface that is about 1.0 cm. in diameter.

Return to Top | Close Window

Pyelogram

X-ray study of the kidney especially showing the pelvis (urine-collecting basin) of the kidney and the ureter.

Return to Top | Close Window

Radioactive Isotope

Isotope refers to one of two or more atoms of the same element that have the same number of protons in their nucleus but different numbers of neutrons. A radioactive isotope is a natural or artificially created isotope of a chemical element having an unstable nucleus that decays, emitting alpha, beta, or gamma rays until stability is reached.

Return to Top | Close Window

Radiotherapy

The treatment of disease with radiation (as X rays).

Return to Top | Close Window

Refractory

Not readily yielding to treatment.

Return to Top | Close Window

Reportable List

A list that identifies all diagnoses and types of cases to be included in the cancer registry data base. For most registries in the world, the "reportable list" is everything listed in ICD-O-3 with a /2 or a /3 in the behavior code.

Return to Top | Close Window

Reportable Malignancies

Tumors required to be reported. Typically, in most cancer registries, the reportable tumors are those that are listed in the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Third Edition which have a behavior defined as in situ (behavior code = /2) or invasive (behavior code = /3).

Return to Top | Close Window

Reproperitoneal

Having to do with the area outside or behind the peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen).

Return to Top | Close Window

Residual Disease

The disease has not been eradicated.

Return to Top | Close Window

Reticuloendothelial system

A group of cells having the ability to take up and sequester inert particles and vital dyes, including macrophages or macrophage precursors, specialized endothelial cells lining the sinusoids of the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, and reticular cells of lymphatic tissue (macrophages) and of bone marrow (fibroblasts).

Return to Top | Close Window

Retinoblastoma

An ocular malignant neoplasm of the retina, usually arise in the first 2 years of life, it is the most form of intraocular malignancy in children.

Return to Top | Close Window

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Rhabdomyosarcoma tumors arise from a cell called a "rhabdomyoblast", which is a primitive muscle cell. Instead of differentiating into striated muscle cells, the rhabdomyoblasts grow out of control. Since this type of muscle is located throughout the body, the tumors can appear at numerous locations.

Return to Top | Close Window

Ribosome

Any of the RNA-rich cytoplasmic granules that are sites of protein synthesis.

Return to Top | Close Window

Roentgen

The international unit of x- or gamma-radiation, abbreviated r or R; named after the German physicist, Wilhelm Roentgen, who discovered roentgen ray in 1895.

Return to Top | Close Window

Rubric

A rubric is a chart or template which specifies the criteria to be used to evaluate an assignment.

Return to Top | Close Window

Serum

The clear liquid that separates from the blood when it is allowed to clot. This fluid retains any antibodies that were present in the whole blood.

Return to Top | Close Window

Sarcoma

A malignant neoplasm arising in tissue of mesodermal origin (as connective tissue, bone, cartilage, or striated muscle)

Return to Top | Close Window

Sclerosis

A hardening within the nervous system, especially of the brain and spinal cord, resulting from degeneration of nervous elements such as the myelin sheath.

Return to Top | Close Window

Sebaceous

Of, relating to, or being fatty material.

Return to Top | Close Window

Sezary Disease

This is a variant of a cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. It likely represents the leukemic phase of mycosis fungoides.

Return to Top | Close Window

Shared Follow-up

Shared follow-up is the act or process of sharing information or contacting the patient at least once per year to ascertain vial status, cancer status, and other information.

Return to Top | Close Window

Sideroblast

An erythroblast having granules of ferritin

Return to Top | Close Window

Signet Ring

The early stage of trophozoite development of the malaria parasite in the red blood cell; the parasite cytoplasm stains blue around its circular margin, and the nucleus stains red in Romanowsky stains, while the central vacuole is clear, giving the ringlike appearance.

Return to Top | Close Window

Sinoatrial Node

The sinoatrial (SA) node is a section of nodal tissue that is located in the upper wall of the right atrium. The SA node is also referred to as the pacemaker of the heart.

Return to Top | Close Window

Sister Mary Joseph node (Sister Joseph node)

A malignant intra-abdominal neoplasm metastatic to the umbilicus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Sphincter

A ringlike band of muscle fibres that constricts a passage or closes a natural orifice, also called musculus sphincter.

Return to Top | Close Window

Splenomegaly

Enlargement of the spleen.

Return to Top | Close Window

Squamous cell carcinoma

A malignant neoplasm of squamous cells. In the white population, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is associated with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light and these neoplasms are slow to metastasis even after becoming invasive.

Return to Top | Close Window

Staging

A term used to define the size and physical extent of a cancer; staging is the process of assigning a stage to a particular cancer in a specific patient in light of all the available information.

Return to Top | Close Window

Stem Cell

"Master Cells" that generate other differentiated cell types. Each tissue within the body contains a unique type of stem cells that renew and replace that tissue (e.g. nerve, brain, cartilage, blood) when needed due to damage or wear and tear. Stem cells of the blood (hematopoietic stem cells) generate all other blood cells in the human body, including red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Sources of hematopoietic stem cells include umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, peripheral blood and embryos.

Return to Top | Close Window

Stenosis

A narrowing, as in aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart), pulmonary stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonary valve in the heart), pyloric stenosis (narrowing of the outlet of the stomach), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the vertebral canal, often with impingement upon the spinal cord).From the Greek "stenos" meaning narrow.

Return to Top | Close Window

Stereotactic Biopsy

Stereotactic biopsy is a precise method of sampling a small region of brain tissue using image-guidance and minimally invasive techniques. Through only a skin puncture and tiny bony opening, an instrument is accurately passed into a brain lesion in order to determine its nature. This approach is often used to diagnose brain tumors or other disorders. CT or MRI guidance is used.

Return to Top | Close Window

Steroid

Any hormone affecting the development and growth of sex organs. Testosterone and estrogen are steroids. Synthetic steroids are useful cancer treatments, but they might have undesirable side-effects.

Return to Top | Close Window

Stromal Cells

Connective tissue cells of an organ found in the loose connective tissue. These are most often associated with the uterine mucosa and the ovary as well as the haematopoietic system and elsewhere.

Return to Top | Close Window

Subcutis

Subcutis the deepest layer of skin and is also known as the subcutaneous layer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Sulcus

A groove or furrow, as one of the grooves on the surface of the cerebrum in mammals.

Return to Top | Close Window

Surgicel

Hemostatic agent.

Return to Top | Close Window

T-cells

T-cells are thymus-derived lymphocytes. T-cells are the major component of cell-mediated immunity. There are several types of T Cells: Cytotoxic T-cells destroy cancer cells and foreign invaders; helper T-cells that work in conjunction with white blood cells; and suppressor T cells that play a role in controlling white blood cell function.

Return to Top | Close Window

Technetium

A silvery-grey metallic element, artificially produced by bombardment of molybdenum by deuterons: used to inhibit corrosion in steel. The radioisotope technetium (Tc99m), with a half-life of six hours, is used in radiotherapy.

Return to Top | Close Window

Teratoma

A benign tumor of germ cell origin, composed of nonproliferating somatic tissues. In the testis, teratomas are rare and usually found in prepubertal children.

Return to Top | Close Window

Testosterone

A hormone that is produced especially by the testes or made synthetically and that is responsible for inducing and maintaining male secondary sex characters.

Return to Top | Close Window

Tetraploid

Individual or cell having four times the haploid number of chromosomes in the cell nucleus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Thoracentesis

Removal of fluid in the pleura through a needle.

Return to Top | Close Window

Thyroxine

An iodine-containing hormone C15H11I4NO4 that is an amino acid produced by the thyroid gland as a product of the cleavage of thyroglobulin , increases metabolic rate, and is used to treat thyroid disorders.

Return to Top | Close Window

Tinnitus

Noise perceived by the brain when no external sound is present. This sensation can be heard in one or both ears; it can be a sign of an underlying disorder but can occasionally occur for no apparent reason

Return to Top | Close Window

Toluene

A solvent used in manufacturing perfumes, detergents, gasoline, other chemicals, and medicines. Acute exposure can irritate the nose, throat, and eyes, and cause headaches, loss of consciousness, and death. Chronic exposure can cause mutations, damage developing fetuses, and damage the liver, kidneys, brain, and bone marrow.

Return to Top | Close Window

Trephine

An instrument for removing a circular disc of bone.

Return to Top | Close Window

Triiodothyronine

An iodine-containing hormone C15H12 I 3 NO 4 that is an amino acid derived from thyroxine.

Return to Top | Close Window

Tumor Markers

Tumor markers are measurable biochemicals that are associated with a malignancy. They are either produced by tumor cells (tumor-derived) or by the body in response to tumor cells (tumor-associated). They are typically substances that are released into the circulation and thus measured in the blood. There are a few exceptions to this, such as tissue-bound receptors that must be measured in a biopsy from the solid tumor or proteins that are secreted into the urine.

Return to Top | Close Window

Ultrasound

A set of sound waves at a particular frequency which can be used to image internal organs, for example, a baby in the womb.

Return to Top | Close Window

Umbilical Cord

A cord arising from the navel that connects the fetus with the placenta.

Return to Top | Close Window

Vagus Nerve

Either of the 10th pair of cranial nerves that arise from the medulla and supply chiefly the viscera especially with autonomic sensory and motor fibers -- called also vagus.

Return to Top | Close Window

Vascularity

The blood supply of a tumour.

Return to Top | Close Window

Venous

Venous refers to the system or veins by which blood is returned to the lungs for oxygenation.

Return to Top | Close Window

Vertigo

Dizziness or a sensation of whirling or irregular motion that arises from problems within the vestibular portion of the inner ear. Objective vertigo is the name given the sensation that the world is spinning about the patient. Subjective vertigo indicates the patient feels he is moving in space.

Return to Top | Close Window

Villus (pl. villi)

One of the minute finger-shaped processes of the mucous membrane of the small intestine that serve in the absorption of nutriment.

Return to Top | Close Window

Virchow node (jugular gland, signal node)

A firm supraclavicular lymph node, especially on the left side, sufficiently enlarged that it is palpable from the cutaneous surface; such a lymph node is so termed because it may be the first recognised presumptive evidence of a malignant neoplasm in one of the viscera. A signal node that is known to contain a metastasis from a malignant neoplasm is sometimes designated by an old eponym, Troisier ganglion.

Return to Top | Close Window

Viruses

Viruses are infectious agents found in virtually all life forms, including humans, animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria. Viruses consist of genetic material-either deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA)-surrounded by a protective coating of protein, called a capsid, with or without an outer lipid envelope.

Return to Top | Close Window

Viscosity

The resistance offered by a fluid (liquid or gas) to flow. The viscosity is a characteristic property and is a measure of the combined effects of adhesion and cohesion. Hyperviscosity syndrome: Blood too thick to flow properly.

Return to Top | Close Window

Vitamin

Any of various organic substances that are essential in minute quantities to the nutrition of most animals and some plants, act especially as coenzymes and precursors of coenzymes in the regulation of metabolic processes but do not provide energy or serve as building units, and are present in natural foodstuffs or sometimes produced within the body.

Return to Top | Close Window

Von Recklinghausen disease

Neurofibromatosis is an inherited disorder of the nervous system.

Return to Top | Close Window

WNL

A standard abbreviation for W ithin N ormal L imits.

Return to Top | Close Window

Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia

Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia is a cancer of white blood cells known as B lymphoctyes.

Return to Top | Close Window

Waldeyer ring

The lymphoid ring of the nasopharynx. A ring of lymphoid tissue that encircles the nasopharynx and oropharynx. It is formed by the lymphatic tissue of the pharynx, the palatine tonsil, and the lingual tonsil, as well as other collections of lymph tissue in the area.

Return to Top | Close Window

Wilms Tumor

Wilms' tumor is a solid tumor that originates in the kidney. It usually occurs in children under age 15 and is very different from adult kidney cancer.

Return to Top | Close Window

Xeroderma Pigmentosum

Xeroderma Pigmentosum is a rare genetic condition characterized by an eruption of exposed skin occurring in childhood and photosensitivity with severe sunburn; inherited as a recessive autosomal trait in which DNA repair processes are defective so they are more likely to chromosome breaks and cancers when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Return to Top | Close Window