Odds and Ends

Anxious to find out what those big words your doctor tells you about with that worried look on his face? Well, we need to cover a few more items that don’t fit into any particular system. Next, we start organ systems!

Technicolor terms

Leuk/o= whiteleukemia leukemia pronunciation (overabundance of white blood cells)
melan/o= blackmelanoma melanoma pronunciation (black tumor of the skin)
cyan/o= bluecyanosis cyanosis pronunciation (blueness may be due to cold or not enough oxygen in blood)
xanth/o= yellowxanthoma xanthoma pronunciation (yellow tumor)

Tumor talk

Adding – oma (a swelling) to organ and tissue word roots names tumors. Not all tumors are malignant malignant pronunciation (cancerous). Many are benign benign pronunciation (not life-threatening).

Aden/o= glandadenoma adenoma pronunciation
Lip/o= fatlipoma lipoma pronunciation
My/o= musclemyoma myoma pronunciation
Lymph/o= lymph lymph pronunciation tissuelymphoma lymphoma pronunciation
Carcin/o= malignantcarcinoma carcinoma pronunciation
Osteo/o= boneosteoma osteoma pronunciation

Directions, please?

Endo    = within, inside ofendoscopy endoscopy pronunciation (to inspect the inside of an organ or space with a lighted instrument)
Peri    = aroundperianal perianal pronunciation (around the anus)
Circum= aroundcircumcise circumcise pronunciation (cut around)
Retro    = behindretrosternal retrosternal pronunciation (behind the breastbone)
Epi= upon, on topepidermis epidermis pronunciation (the top or outermost layer of skin)
Trans= throughtransurethral transurethral pronunciation (through the urinary exit duct)
Intra    = withinintravenous intravenous pronunciation (inside the veins, e.g. IV fluids)
Sub    = below    subclavian subclavian pronunciation (below the clavicle = collar bone)

In review, the word parts that make up medical terminology are prefixes, suffixes and word roots. The most typical sequence is prefix, word root, suffix with the word root being central but this is not always the case. In the interests of simplification, I have taken some liberties with formal construction, putting a hyphen in front of a suffix to indicate it is added to the end of a word, example, -itis. Prefixes and word roots I have shown as freestanding word parts. You may have noticed that sometimes I have added a slash and a vowel, example, melan/o. These are called combining forms which make it easier to attach to other word parts, and, hopefully, making them easier to pronounce. 

Signs and symptoms – (Ever wonder what’s the difference?)

A symptom is something you observe and complain about to the physician. “Doctor, I have a fever”.

A sign is something the physician observes and/or can measure. “Mrs. Smith, you are running a temp of 102″.