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ONCOLOGY Powered By Docstoc
Oncology is the study of tumours. A tumour is an abnormal swelling, which consists of
dividing cells that appear to be out of control. There are two types of tumours:

(i) A benign tumour is one that does not infiltrate or metastasise and is unlikely to recur once
removed. Benign tumours are usually surrounded by a fibrous capsule and are described as
encapsulated. These tumours are usually insitu, meaning they are restricted to the area they
started growing and do not invade neighbouring tissue and they do not threaten life.

(ii) A malignant tumour is invasive and destroys the tissues it invades. It can spread to
neighbouring tissues and to more distant sites through the blood and the lymphatic systems. If a
tumour spreads it is said to be metastatic and the spread to other tissues is called metastasis
(plural metastases) or secondaries. The original tumour site is called the primary tumour.
Malignant tumours are also referred to as cancers or carcinomas.

Term or word part                                  Meaning
Carcin                      Carcin/o               Malignant tumour/cancer
Hist                        Hist/o                 Tissue
Onc                         Onc/o                  Tumour / mass
Papill                      Papill/o               Nipple-like / optic disc
Sarc                                               Fleshy growth / fleshy connective tissue

Sarcoma                     Sarcomat/o             Sarcoma, malignant tumour
-cele                                              Hernia / swelling / protrusion
-oma                                               Tumour
                                                   Condition of growth/formation (increase in
                                                   number of cells)
                                                   Outer layer of skin and lines hollow organs,
Epithelial tissue
                                                   except blood and lymph vessels

The process of tumour formation is also known as neoplasia. The suffix –oma used by itself in
combination with a tissue type, indicates a benign tumour eg, osteoma – benign bone tumour.
Malignant tumours are also designated by –oma but they are usually preceded by the word

Treatment for tumours is either by one or all of the following:

1.      Surgery where the tumour and affected tissues are removed

2.      Chemotherapy is the treatment of disease using chemicals. Drugs are given to try to shrink
        or destroy the tumour. Side effects of chemotherapy may include nausea and alopecia or
        hair loss.

3.      Radiotherapy is the treatment of disease using ionising radiation. If the tumour tissue is
        radiosensitive it will be reduced or destroyed by the radiation. If it is radioresistant it will not
        be affected by the radiation. If a tumour is destroyed by radiotherapy it is said to be radio

ONCOLOGY                                                                                        Page 1 of 4
 Activity 1
 Build words which mean

 1.    Formation of a tumour      _______________________________________________________
 2.    Person who specialises in the study and treatment of tumours _________________________

 Write the meaning of:

 3.    carcinogenic ________________________________________________________________
 4.    chondrosarcoma _____________________________________________________________
 5.    meningeal sarcoma ___________________________________________________________
 6.    haemangiosarcoma __________________________________________________________


 BCC                     Basal cell carcinoma
 Bx                      Biopsy
 Ca                      Cancer / carcinoma
 CIS                     Carcinoma in situ
 FS                      Frozen section
 KS                      Kaposi's sarcoma (found in terminal stages of diseases such as AIDS)
 N                       Nodes
                         Defines the number of lymph nodes that have been invaded.
 N1, N2, N3, N4
                         Eg. N1 = tumour has spread to one lymph node draining the area.
 M                       Metastases
                         Indicates presence or absence of metastases and the degree and
 M1, M2, M3, M4
 SCC                     Squamous cell carcinoma
 SM                      Simple mastectomy
 T                       Tumour
 T0                      No evidence of primary tumour
 TIS                     Tumour in situ
                         Categorizes the primary tumour and its size. Eg t2 = primary tumour is
 T1, T2, T3, T4
                         large and has spread to deeper structures.

Neoplasms (new growths) malignant and benign:

Basal cell carcinoma         Commonest form of skin cancer, internal layer of skin, malignant.
(bcc)                        Slow growing
Malignant melanoma           Highly malignant tumour usually occurring in skin, but also found in
(mm)                         the eye and mucous membranes

 ONCOLOGY                                                                              Page 2 of 4
Myeloma                 Malignant disease of the bone marrow

Naevus                  Birthmark, mole etc. (benign)

Neoplasm                Any new or abnormal growth, benign or malignant

Neoplasm - benign       Not invasive or metastatic

Neoplasm - invasive     Infiltrates and destroys surrounding tissue

Neoplasm - metastatic   Capable of secondary growth distant from primary tumour

Papilloma               Benign nipple like growth on the skin

Poly-                   Many / much

                        Cancer of the connective tissue, bone fat, muscle, blood and
Squamous cell
                        Malignant tumour, upper layer of skin
carcinoma (scc) -

                        The extent of malignant disease defined by categories.
Staging                 Staging defines the size of tumour, its growth and progression at
                        any one point

Conditions and Terms:

Anaplasia               Loss of normal cell characteristics (usually tumour)

Benign tumour           Non-invasive tumour, not life threatening

                        Is term used to describe someone in the late stages of chronic
                        disease especially cancer. The patient is weak, very thin, the eyes
                        are sunken, the skin yellowish and pale. A progressive state of
                        malnutrition: emaciation

Cancer                  Malignant tumour, carcinoma, sarcoma

Carcinogen              Is a substance that stimulates the formation of a malignant tumour.

Carcinoma               Is a malignant tumour of epithelial origin.

Carcinoma in situ       Carcinoma that has not spread from its original anatomical location,
(CIS)                   primary site

Encapsulated            Enclosed in a capsule or sheath
                        Red patches that may signal a malignant change in mucous
Extracapsular           Outside of the capsule

ONCOLOGY                                                                       Page 3 of 4
                         Grow rapidly and produce fungus-like growths. These often occur in
Fungating tumours
                        the late stages of malignant tumours.

Hodgkin's disease       Malignant disease of lymphatic tissues

                        White patches that may signal a malignant change in mucous

Malignant tumour        Invasive tumour, life threatening

                        Secondary site, the distant spread of malignant tumours via the
                        blood or lymphatic system or across body cavities (spread of
(metastases - plural)
                        original tumour)

Papillary               Nipple like or wart like projection of cells

                        A tumour of the mucous membrane. Polyps are usually pre-
                        malignant that is, they are likely to become malignant if left to grow.

Primary tumour          Original tumour

Remission               Subsidence of symptoms of a disease for a long time

                         Is a malignant tumour of the connective tissue cells that can affect
                        lymph nodes, skin, liver, spleen, heart, lungs, muscle or bones.

ONCOLOGY                                                                          Page 4 of 4

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