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Terms have been defined with reference to medicine in general and cancer in particular. An attempt has been made to go beyond the mere dictionary meaning so as to provide a wider perspective. Related words are mentioned in parenthesis at the end of the explanation.
| Adenocarcinoma ||Cancer arising in a gland.|
| Allogenic ||Originating in a genetically different individual, but|
|from the same species.|
| Analgesic ||Pain-relieving drug, such as aspirin.|
Anoci-Association An association based on the Hippocratic motto
|primum non nocere , meaning that the least that a |
| therapy should do to a patient, is to do no harm. |
| Antigen || A substance, that on introduction into the body, |
| excites a highly specific response in the form of |
| antibody (a protein) and/or cells (lymphocytes). An |
| antigen's specific reactivity with antibody/cells |
| allows laboratory detection of its presence in blood |
| or tissue. Some cancers carry on their cells and/or |
| secrete into the blood antigens, of which the |
| carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is an example. |
| CEA, found most commonly with cancer of the |
| gastrointestinal tract, is detected in the laboratory |
| by demonstrating its reactivity with a specific |
| antibody. CEA is a normal constitutent of human |
| plasma, and what tests detect is its elevated level in |
| some cancers. |
| Aphthous ulcer || Small, painful ulcer/s accompanying inflammation of |
| the mouth. |
| Arteriosclerosis || Thickening and hardening of arteries, a common |
| accompaniment of aging. |
| Autochthonous || Arising from an individual's own tissues; not |
| transplanted. |
| Benign || Not threatening health or life; opposite of malignant; |
| GLOSSARY 171 |
|non- cancerous. A benign tumour/lump has|
|microscopic features resembling a normal tissue.|
| Bronchial cancer ||A bronchus is a subdivision of the air-passages|
|beyond the trachea (windpipe). Cancer of the lung|
|usually starts in a large bronchus, and thus is often|
|referred to as bronchial cancer or bronchial|
| Burkitt's tumour || A lymphoma with characteristic microscopic picture, |
|commoner at younger age. Also called Burkitt's |
| lymphoma. |
| Cancerability || It is the faculty of a normal cell to cancerate and thus |
|turn into a cancer cell.|
| Cancerogen ||A substance supposedly producing cancer. Also|
|called, carcinogen. A substance that assists a|
| cancerogen is called cocancerogen , and one that|
| opposes its action is called anticancerogen. Similarly, |
| cocarcinogen and anticarcinogen. |
| Cancerogenesis ||The production of cancer. Also called carcinogen- |
| esis. |
| Cancerologist ||The cancer specialist. Also called oncologist . The|
|speciality is called cancerology or oncology .|
| Cancerotrophic ||An agent promoting the growth of cancer.|
| Cancerrealism ||An approach to cancer based on cancerologic,|
|cytologic and biologic facts. Such facts constitute|
| cancerrealities .|
| Celluloma || A lump or a mass made up of cells. - oma as a suffix |
|indicates swelling; hence, lipoma, fibroma,|
|astrocytoma, melanoma, etc.|
| Chemotherapy ||Thearpy by drugs.|
| Cholelithiasis ||Formation of stones in the biliary tract. Gall stones.|
| Choriocarcinoma, ||A cancer arising from the chorionic covering of a|
| gestational ||foetus, and growing in the uterus of the mother.|
| Chronic || Any illness characterized by long duration, or frequent |
|recurrence over a long time, and often by slowly|
|progressing severity; opposite of acute.|
| Chronic lymphocytic Often abbreviated as CLL. A type of slowly growing|
| leukemia || leukemia characterized by the excessive proliferation |
|of lymphocytes all over. A disease mainly of the|
|middle and old age.|
| Chronic myeloid ||Often abbreviated as CML. A type of slowly|
| leukemia ||progressing leukemia, characterized by the|
| excessive proliferation of granular white blood cells, |
| starting in the bone marrow and then appearing in |
|the blood and elsewhere. A disease mainly of the|
|middle and old age.|
| Cirrhosis ||A chronic disease characterized by progressive|
|destruction and hardening of the liver.|
| Collagen || The fibrous protein that provides the scaffold for the |
|animal body, being one of the principal skeletal|
|substance binding cells and tissues together.|
| Colposcopy ||Examination of the vagina and cervix with an|
|instrument called colposcope that provides|
|illumination and magnification.|
Cytodifferentiation The process whereby a cell changes its character to
|turn into another type of cell. Also called differentia- |
| tion. |
| Cytokinetic || Related to the process of cell division and prolifera- |
|tion the science of which is called cytokinetics. |
| Cytologist ||One specializing in the study of cells. (Cytology).|
| Cytotoxic || Toxic or lethal to cells. X-rays and 'anticancer' drugs |
|are cytotoxic agents, being indiscriminately toxic to|
|both normal and cancerous cells.|
| Desenesce ||Rejuvenate.|
| Diabetes mellitus ||What is commonly known as diabetes is medically|
|termed as diabetes mellitus (sweet diabetes)|
|because of the patient passing sugar in the urine.|
| Such diabetes is to be distinguished from diabetes |
| insipidus, wherein the patient passes large qualities |
|of 'insipid' urine.|
| Disease ||The term is derived from old French desaise ( des -|
| absence of, and aise - ease), and really means dis- |
| ease or lack of ease. The etymologic emphasis has |
| been lost in medical science so that the word disease |
| is freely used even though the so-called disease - a |
| cancerous mass in the prostate or the breast - in no |
|way dis-eases the owner.|
| Dysplasia ||Literally, abnormality of a tissue. In current fashion,|
| it implies cellular abnormalities of the lining epithelium |
|of the cervix of the uterus, that 'a pathologist|
|recognizes as abnormal, yet not to a degree he is|
|willing to call cancer.'|
| E.coli || Short form for Escherichia coli, a bacterium normally |
| found in billions in the human and animal intestine. |
| Ectopic ||Out of the normal place. A hormone is normally|
| secreted by its special gland. When it is also secreted |
|elsewhere by another tissue, it is called ectopic|
| EKGitis ||A term to describe the inordinate faith of the doctor|
|or the patient in the diagnostic and prognostic|
|usefulness of the electrocardiogram (ECG),|
|sometimes abbreviated as EKG.|
| Follow-up || The medical practice of periodically reassessing and |
|recording the condition of a patient following|
|diagnosis and/or treatment.|
| Gaussian distribution A theoretical frequency distribution that is bell|
|shaped, symmetrical and of infinite extent. Also|
|called normal distribution. Many a biologic feature,|
|related to health or disease, exhibits gaussian|
| Gerontology ||Science of aging, and of the problems of the aged.|
| Grading ||A mode of describing the severity of a cancer by|
|grading it as Grade 1 through 4. The severity of a|
|cancer is assumed to be directly proportional to the|
|departure of its cells from normality when seen|
| through a microscope. A cancer belongs to Grade 1 |
| when most of its cells are near-normal in appearance |
|and arrangement, and to Grade 4 when most cells|
| look abnormal in appearance and arrangement. |
| Histological || Related to the study of tissue - normal or cancerous |
|- with a microscope. (Histology, Histologist).|
| Hodgkin's disease ||A form of lymphoma with special microscopic|
| Hysterectomy ||Surgical removal of the uterus.|
| Iatrogenic ||Produced by a doctor. Also called iatral .|
| Immunological ||Related to the science of immunology that studies|
|the nature of antigen/antibody reactions and cells|
|that possibly mediate the immunity (defence|
| mechanisms) of the body against a disease. (Tumour |
| Intercurrent disease The occurrence of an unrelated disease in a cancer|
| Leukemia ||Cancer of the white blood cells.|
| Linear accelerator Specialized machine for X-ray treatment of cancer.|
|Such a machine, by the tremendous acceleration it|
|imparts to electrons, produces high energy, X-ray|
|beams, that allow a patient to be treated 'in one or|
| Lumpolytic ||An agent that causes dissolution, albeit temporary,|
|of a cancerous lump.|
| Lymphoma ||Cancer arising in lymphoid tissues. Unlike in|
|leukemias, the involvement of the bone marrow by|
| the cancerous cells, and their presence in the blood |
|stream are uncommon.|
| Malignancy || In cancerology, used as a synonym for cancer: hence, |
| malignant tumour or malignant lesion. In medicine |
|in general, malignant implies grave severity of a|
|disease: thus, malignant fever, malignant|
|hypertension, malignant malaria. A malignant|
|tumour shows microscopic features supposedly|
|characteristic of cancer. Opposite of benign.|
| Mammography ||Study of the breast by X-rays.|
| Melanoma ||A skin cancer arising from its pigmented cells; can|
|also arise from the eye, mucous membrane, and|
| Metastasis || Spread or transfer of disease (cancer, infection) from |
| its site of origin to another site nor directly connected |
|with it. (Metastatic, Metastasize).|
| Multifactorial ||See Polygenic inheritance. |
| inheritance |
| Mitral stenosis ||Narrowing of the mitral valve of the heart.|
| Nasopharyngeal ||Cancer of the nasopharynx, the region of the throat|
| carcinoma ||behind the cavity of the nose.|
| Nephritis ||Inflammation of the kidney.|
| Nephrosis ||Non-inflammatory, degenerative disorder of the|
| Neoplastic || Development of cancer. Neoplasm, literally meaning |
| development ||new (ly formed) tissue connotes cancer, although|
|such process also occurs in inflammation, wound|
| Ontolysis ||Dissolution of one's own self.|
| Palliative ||Any therapeutic measure that affords relief, but no|
|freedom from the disease. (Palliation, Palliatable).|
| Pernicious anaemia || A form of anaemia which, before the discovery of its |
|therapy with vitamin B 12 was inexorably fatal.|
Polygenic inheritance The occurrence of cancer in an individual is governed by many unidentifiable genes (hence called polygenic/multi-factorial inheritance) which in coordination with the genes of the entire herd,
|determine whether or not cancer would occur. And|
|such genetic governance in an individual is|
|quantitative and not qualifative. All humans can |
|develop cancer; only some do, for in them the|
|quantitative gene effect is sufficient enough to carry|
|them beyond a certain genetic threshold.|
|Polygenic inheritance has been invoked to explain|
| the occurrence of a wide variety of diseases ranging |
|from congenital malformations like cleft plata to|
|common diseases like peptic ulcer, heart attack,|
|diabetes, or hypertension.|
| Primary ||In cancerology, it refers to the site where the cancer|
|first originates; hence, primary site, primary cancer,|
|primary growth, and so on. When a cancer, taking|
|off from the primary site, establishes itself at other|
|additional site/s physically discontinuous from the|
|primary, it is said to have formed secondary or|
|metastatic cancer. From the secondary site, the|
|whole process of metastasis can be repeated.|
| Probability ||Etymologically and simply, it means likelihood.|
| Epistemologically, it implies a state of knowledge that |
|is less than certainly but greater than ignorance.|
| Epidemiologically, it means certainty at the herd level |
|which, being numerically smaller than the number|
|forming the herd, must of necessity be a matter of|
|chance, likelihood or probability when expressed at|
| an individual level. Such measurement or quantitation |
|of uncertainty is called probability.|
| The epidemiologic concept of probability can be best |
|amplified by acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form|
|of blood cancer. Globally, it occurs at the rate of 2 to|
|3 cases per 100,000 population per year with little|
|variation from country to country. Here, the certainty|
| is 2 to 3 cases per 100,0|