Exploring Medical Terminology

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Sarah E. Byerley 12 March 2014 AHS 115: Medical Terminology Written assignment: A Brief Survey of Cancer In the eighth edition of Exploring Medical Language: A Student-Directed Approach, by Myrna LaFleur Brooks and Danielle LaFleur Brooks, cancer, known medically as a malignant neoplasm (35, 49), is broadly defined as a group of diseases involving unregulated, abnormal growth of new cells (29). In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant masses, or tumors, and, if left untreated, invading nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the body through the lymphatic system or bloodstream. This process is medically defined as metastasis, or the spread of disease from one organ to another…show more content…
For example, breast cancer is normally referred to simply as breast cancer (Brooks and Brooks 322, 353), and lung cancer is also generally referred to simply as lung cancer, rather than bronchogenic carcinoma or carcinoma of the lungs (Brooks and Brooks 160), though technically the term “lung cancer” includes four distinct cell types, including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large cell cancer, and small cell cancer (Venes et al, eds. 328). It should also be noted that some types of cancer are named for the size and shape of the cells under a microscope, such as giant cell carcinoma and small cell carcinoma (Venes et al, eds.…show more content…
With the exception of the non-melanoma skin cancer known as basal cell cancer, which originates from the lowest level of epidermis, rarely metastasizes or kills, and is not only easily treatable via surgery and/or radiation but can be completely eliminated, often without scarring, with proper treatment (Brooks and Brooks 109; Venes et al, eds. 1987), cancer is often either deadly or recurrent or chronic or can even lead to other cancers, given that cytotoxic drugs used to treat certain kinds of cancer can in turn damage chromosomes to the point where secondary malignancies are caused (Venes et al, eds. 324). Given that cancer is more common in the elderly, since more people are living to an old age, the incidence of cancer in the world is expected to increase (Venes et al, eds. 324). Research is ongoing, though, and, hopefully, the increase in the number of cancer patients diagnosed in the coming years will ensure that cancer research continues to be of high priority in the future, with continued improvements in the understanding of molecular and cellular biology and increased knowledge in cancer as a whole leading to ever more effective and safer treatment

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