Medical terms in oncology – cancer

For a better understanding of the terms used in oncology, and their meaning in the text that follows we will explain the most commonly used of these. Many of the terms currently used to define certain types of cancer are unclear for most people, terms such as carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, etc.. Knowing these terms and differences between different types of cancer they represent is of utmost importance.Sarcoma is a cancer that start in connective tissue, cartilage, bone or muscle. Carcinoma is the starting point of epithelial cells and squamous adenocarcinoma origin refers to glandular cells.

Abscess
It is a closed cavity containing encapsulated purulent. It is generally easy to diagnose clinically, this party is painful and signs of inflammation (warmth, redness, and expression in relief). Some may resemble chronic abscesses and tumors will ultimately biopsy diagnosis. They must be disposed of emergency often incision under local anesthesia, toilet cavity, its debridement when necessary, massage, dressing.

Atypical
This is not simply a deviation from the normal preparation of cells viewed under a microscope but a suspicious changes in these cells. It’s actually a term that pathologist expresses its concern about these atypical cells without being able to say with certainty whether it is cancer or not. In many cases these atypical cells suspicious for cancer changes may not be altered inflammatory or malignant but to go through some normal division cycles. In all cases with cellular atypia is better to continue investigations, to be repeated biopsy and exclude other possible causes.

Carcinoma
It is a neoplasm (cancer) cells are the origin of constituent epithelial tissues. When the party is composed of neoplastic epithelial cells with glandular function (exocrine secretion) when we encounter the name of adenocarcinoma. If cells from which tumors are squamous cell carcinoma when the term is adenoscuamos (or squamous cell carcinoma).
Unlike epithelial tissue of origin, these tumors are seen under a microscope but fundamental changes in the structure of this classic epithelial tissue.

Dysplasia
Represents an abnormal development of atypical cells. It is an intermediate stage to hyperplasia and cancer. This term describes the phenomenon that atypical epithelial cells express their tendency to develop abnormal tissue, not to be controlled and coordinated in order to develop their normal body. At this stage they still tend to invade adjacent tissues, but this trend will develop further, turning cancerous epithelial tissue. Be classified as precancerous dysplasia or early cancer as a form of therapeutic measures should be adapted and diagnosis.
Probably the most common form of dysplasia is that of the cervix, in which the evolution of the neoplasm is clearly demonstrated. Other types of dysplasia are common in the prostate, and in this case it is more difficult to demonstrate progression to cancer, dysplasia being able to keep more in this form without develop into cancer.

Epithelia
Normal tissues are specialized, being the body surface or body cavities lined. These are of several types:

  • Cylindrical – lining the stomach, intestine, trachea, gallbladder, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, uterus including the cervix, etc.. and some tubular structures such as the fallopian tubes, vas deferens, etc..
  • Squamous multi-layered – which is at the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, anal canal, vagina, external part of the cervix, etc..
  • Transitional epithelium – urothelium – renal pelvis, ureters, urethra, bladder, urethra.

Granuloma
It is a special type of tissue characterized by local accumulation of inflammatory macrophages (large cells with phagocytosis role of different types of cells and corpuscles). Is characteristic granulomatous inflammatory tissue in tuberculosis, certain fungal infections (histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis), sarcoidosis (a disease whose cause is still unknown) and inflammatory reaction around foreign bodies (even around certain surgical sutures when the body has an intolerance to – granulomas thread).

Hyperplasia
It is a non-cancerous cell proliferation. In some cases it may be a normal reaction of the body due to certain stimuli. An example frequently encountered in practice is laterocervical lymph hyperplasia due to chronic and recurrent throat infections, especially in children. These nodules may increase their volume by cell proliferation and can become visible and painful on palpation.
Another example is the prostate hyperplasia, with advancing age, which may lead to signs of prostatism – urinary frequency, dysuria mainly nocturnal. In these cases, the prostate – the gland that is located around the male urethra below the bladder and has a role in fluid secretion that compose sperm – increase in size reducing the size of the prostatic urethra.
Following hyperplasia will not invade other organs and distant metastasis will not occur, but are uncomfortable simply by their local expansion. If the prostate may increase in size causing even more pressure increase urine with dilated ureters and urethra obstruction due subvezicale basins.

Inflammation
It is a usual and normal reaction of the body mediated by the immune system response to certain stimuli. It is manifested by local swelling, pain, redness, warmth and relative functional impotence – tumor, dolor, rubor, calor, functio leash. On microscopic preparations will highlight infiltrates of inflammatory cells in the affected tissue.
These are:

  • Neutrophils – cells circulating in the peripheral blood and pus forming sintering are present in acute inflammation;
  • Lymphocytes – visible especially in chronic inflammation, long-lasting;
  • Macrophages (histiocytes) – large cell with many nuclei that are visible also in chronic inflammations them having a role in phagocytosis.

Inflammation of certain organs, glands or parts thereof is expressed medical organ specific terms with the suffix-ita: cervicitis, pharyngitis, gastritis, thyroiditis, prostatitis.
Inflammatory tissues may accompany the tumor but in some cases when the body develops a defense reaction against them. Overcrowding inflammatory cells can develop a simple peritumoral inflammatory reaction (which for example in colon tumors represent a favorable prognosis) or peritumoral abscess may form.

Lesion
It is a vague term that often worries patient and established in general clinically macroscopic examination and will then be determined by exploring specific type. In these cases it may be either an inflammatory lesion type but can not exclude neoplastic origin.

Metaplasia
Is the transformation of one type of tissue into another. This may be due to a chronic irritant epithelium respectively. An example is the change that occurs in the cervix when there is a chronic inflammation (chronic cervicitis) of cylindrical epithelium squamous epithelium (squamous) layer such as the vagina. The phenomenon is called squamous metaplasia. In this phase metaplasia is a dangerous phenomenon, but the existence of this chronic irritant is a risk for the subsequent development of cancer if not taken necessary measures for the disappearance of this factor.

Metastasis
It is a characteristic of neoplastic tumors (malignant) to issue circulating cancer cells that are fixed in other organs and tissues distant from the primary tumor, and develop these new locations metastatic secondary tumors. The premises are particularly frequent liver metastases (for digestive cancers) but lung (common in breast cancer), bone (spine frequently in prostate cancer), brain etc.
Pathways of metastasis are:

  • Marrow, cancer cells enter the circulation through the blood vessels, such as portal vein in digestive tract cancers, liver metastases
  • Lymphatic vessels, when cancer cells are transported to lymph nodes and invade the lymph nodes initially and subsequently developing secondary tumors (frequently found in breast cancer with axillary lymphadenopathy)
  • Peritoneal fluid, peritoneal serous injures when a tumor and its surface cells enter the peritoneal fluid after attaching to other organs where they develop secondary tumors
  • Perineural (rarely) through nerve fibers.

In surgery with radical intent practiced for cancer, will be given special attention lymph nodes, practicing so-called neck dissection. There are cancers that may be a sign of onset lymphadenopathy satellite is what determines the patient to the doctor and then by exploring what cancer will be diagnosed.

Necrosis
Means dieback or death of tissue that often the devascularisation. This may be due to an intense inflammatory process that compress certain blood vessels or tumor tissue due to excessive development could be irrigated without proper existing vascular sources. We can meet and necrobiosis term.

Neoplasm or neoplasia
Is the development of new tissue by proliferation of cells that are no longer subordinated physiological control. Neoplastic tissue or newly formed, theoretically can be benign or malignant:

  • Benign means that the tissue has a tendency to invade other structures not metastasize and has no cancerous cellular changes visible under a microscope;
  • Malignant or cancerous, meaning the tendency of invasion and metastasis.

Another feature is the existence of malignant tissue associated paraneoplastic syndromes represented by dysfunctions caused by abnormal secretion of hormones or in different amounts than normal.
However the term is commonly used in practice for malignant tissues, which are usually called neoplastic tissues.

The suffix-man – is used for terms that formations are both benign and malignant tumors. Among benign tumor formations with this suffix include: lipoma, myoma, leiomyoma, osteoma, condrom, adenoma, hemangioma, fibroma – representing tumors of tissues such as fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, glandular, vascular, fibrous, etc..
Terms origin malignant tumor formations in these tissues are: leiomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, adenocarcinoma, malignant tissue angiosarcoma represents a starting point in fibromuscular tissue, bone, cartilage, glandular, vascular, etc.. In some cases, but all of the tumors with the suffix developed in a particular tissue is malignant melanoma, such as for example.
Other tumors such as those developed in the adrenal gland called phaeochromocytomas are harder ranked in malignant and benign, in these cases only a relatively small proportion of these cells (approximately 10%) with a malignant development. These tumors are dangerous but not necessarily their developing malignant but the functional effects they have, namely synthesis and release into the circulation of adrenaline followed by hypertensive unexpected spikes and high intensity.

Polyp
It is generally a knob located in the epithelial tissue of the mucous surfaces. Polyps have a great diversity of form and implantation. May be pedunculated or sessile, meaning small base or large base of implantation implantation. They can be home hyperplasia, metaplasia, neoplastic or inflammatory.
They can occur in the lining of the colon (colon polyps) and viewed with a colonoscope, which means they could have been excised. They must be sent to the pathologist because of their risk to malignant. Another common site is the nasal polyps in people who have suffered several bouts of allergic or inflammatory.

Sarcoma
It is a malignant tumor originating from cells in tissues other than the epithelial tissues in general, fibrous tissues, muscles, cartilage, articular hyaline etc. Generally carcinomas are more common than sarcomas in adults, that due to coming into contact with various harmful factors epithelia tissue is the body’s defenses. The child sarcomas have a higher weight than adults due to growth and multiplication of these cells more pronounced in childhood, multiplication can be out of control in these cases.

Suppuration
Is a type of acute inflammation characterized by tissue infiltration by neutrophils in large numbers and produce pus from the wound.

Tumors
Generic term is used for any abnormal structure visible and /or palpable. It is formed by increasing the volume of certain tissues by neoplasia or hyperplasia. It should be understood, however, that not all tumors are cancerous and not all cancers form tumors is highlighted.

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