Cancer Education at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center  

Glossary of Cancer Terms - S

 

S-phase fraction A measure of the percentage of cells in a tumor that are in the phase of the cell cycle during which DNA is synthesized. The S-phase fraction may be used with the proliferative index to give a more complete understanding of how fast a tumor is growing.

sacrum The large, triangle-shaped bone in the lower spine that forms part of the pelvis. It is made of 5 fused bones of the spine.

safingol A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein kinase inhibitors. Also called L-threo-dihydrosphingosine.

SAHA Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid. A drug that is used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma that does not get better, gets worse, or comes back during or after treatment with other drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. SAHA belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors. Also called suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, vorinostat and Zolinza.

saline A solution of salt and water.

saliva The watery fluid in the mouth made by the salivary glands. Saliva moistens food to help digestion and it helps protect the mouth against infections.

salivary gland A gland in the mouth that produces saliva.

salivary gland cancer A rare cancer that forms in tissues of a salivary gland (gland in the mouth that makes saliva). Most salivary gland cancers occur in older people.

salpingo-oophorectomy Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

salvage therapy Treatment that is given after the cancer has not responded to other treatments.

samarium 153 A radioactive substance used in cancer therapy.

samarium Sm 153 lexidronam pentasodium A drug used to treat pain caused by bone cancer and other cancers that have spread to the bones. Samarium Sm 153 lexidronam pentasodium belongs to the family of drugs called radiopharmaceuticals. Also called Quadramet.

saponin A substance found in soybeans and many other plants. Saponins may help lower cholesterol and may have anticancer effects.

saquinavir mesylate A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called protease inhibitors. It interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

sarCNU A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called sarcosinamide nitrosourea.

sarcoid An inflammatory disease marked by the formation of granulomas (small nodules of immune cells) in the lungs, lymph nodes and other organs. Sarcoid may be acute and go away by itself, or it may be chronic and progressive. Also called sarcoidosis.

sarcoidosis An inflammatory disease marked by the formation of granulomas (small nodules of immune cells) in the lungs, lymph nodes and other organs. Sarcoidosis may be acute and go away by itself, or it may be chronic and progressive. Also called sarcoid.

sarcoma A cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels or other connective or supportive tissue.

sarcosinamide nitrosourea A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called sarCNU.

sargramostim A substance that helps make more white blood cells, especially granulocytes, macrophages and cells that become platelets. It is a cytokine that is a type of hematopoietic (blood-forming) agent. Also called granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and GM-CSF.

satraplatin A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called platinum analogs. Also called BMS-182751 and JM 216.

saturated fat A type of fat with certain chemical properties that is usually solid at room temperature. Most saturated fats come from animal food products, but some plant oils, such as palm and coconut oil, also contain high levels. Eating saturated fat increases the level of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of heart disease.

saw palmetto A shrub that is a member of the palm tree family. An extract made from the berries of this shrub has been studied in the treatment of certain urinary and prostate disorders. The scientific name is Serenoa repens.

scan A picture of structures inside the body. Scans often used in diagnosing, staging, and monitoring disease include liver scans, bone scans, and computed tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. In liver scanning and bone scanning, radioactive substances that are injected into the bloodstream collect in these organs. A scanner that detects the radiation is used to create pictures. In CT scanning, an X-ray machine linked to a computer is used to produce detailed pictures of organs inside the body. MRI scans use a large magnet connected to a computer to create pictures of areas inside the body.

scanner In medicine, an instrument that takes pictures of the inside of the body.

SCF Stem cell factor. A drug being studied for its ability to increase the number of stem cells in the blood. It is a type of hematopoietic cell growth factor. Also called stem cell factor, ancestim and Stemgen.

SCH 54031 A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called PEG-Intron and PEG-interferon alfa-2b.

SCH 66336 An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors. Also called lonafarnib.

SCH-58500 A substance that has been studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. SCH-58500 is a weakened adenovirus that carries the p53 gene into tumor cells, causing them to die. It is a type of gene therapy. Also called recombinant adenovirus-p53, ACN53 and rAd/p53.

schedule In clinical trials, the step-by-step plan for how patients are to be treated; for example, the drug or type of radiation therapy that is to be given, the method by which it is to be given, the amount of time between courses and the total length of treatment.

Schiller test A test in which iodine is applied to the cervix. The iodine colors healthy cells brown; abnormal cells remain unstained, usually appearing white or yellow.

schizophrenia A group of severe mental disorders in which a person has trouble telling the difference between real and unreal experiences, thinking logically, having normal emotional responses to others, and behaving normally in social situations. Symptoms include seeing, hearing, feeling things that are not there, having false ideas about what is taking place or who one is, nonsense speech, unusual behavior, lack of emotion and social withdrawal.

Schwann cell A type of glial cell of the peripheral nervous system that helps separate and insulate nerve cells.

schwannoma A tumor of the peripheral nervous system that arises in the nerve sheath (protective covering). It is almost always benign, but rare malignant schwannomas have been reported.

scientist A person who has studied science, especially one who is active in a particular field of investigation.

scintimammography A type of breast imaging test that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of some women who have had abnormal mammograms, or who have dense breast tissue. Scintimammography is not used for screening or in place of a mammogram. In this test, a woman receives an injection of a small amount of a radioactive substance called technetium 99, which is taken up by cancer cells, and a gamma camera is used to take pictures of the breasts. Also called Miraluma test and sestamibi breast imaging.

scleroderma A chronic disorder marked by hardening and thickening of the skin. Scleroderma can be localized or it can affect the entire body (systemic).

screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms.

screening mammogram X-rays of the breasts taken to check for breast cancer in the absence of signs or symptoms.

scrotum In males, the external sac that contains the testicles.

Scutellaria barbata An herb that belongs to a group of herbs named the Scutellaria species or scullcap. Both the root and the above-ground part have been used to make herbal medicines. The root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lung cancer and other medical problems.

sebum An oily substance produced by certain glands in the skin.

second primary cancer Refers to a new primary cancer in a person with a history of cancer.

second-line therapy Treatment that is given when initial treatment (first-line therapy) doesn’t work, or stops working.

second-look surgery Surgery performed after primary treatment to determine whether tumor cells remain.

secondary cancer A term that is used to describe either a new primary cancer or cancer that has spread from the place in which it started to other parts of the body.

sedative A drug used to calm a person down, relieve anxiety or help a person sleep.

sedimentation rate The distance red blood cells travel in one hour in a sample of blood as they settle to the bottom of a test tube. The sedimentation rate is increased in inflammation, infection, cancer, rheumatic diseases, and diseases of the blood and bone marrow. Also called erythrocyte sedimentation rate and ESR.

sedoxantrone trihydrochloride A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called DNA-intercalating compounds. Also called CI-958.

segmental cystectomy The removal of cancer as well as some of the bladder tissue around the tumor. Sometimes called partial cystectomy.

segmental mastectomy The removal of cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor. Usually some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out. Also called partial mastectomy.

segmentectomy Surgery to remove a section of tissue, organ or gland. It may be used to remove cancer and some healthy tissue around it.

seizure Convulsion; a sudden, involuntary movement of the muscles.

selection bias An error in choosing the individuals or groups to take part in a study. Ideally, the subjects in a study should be very similar to one another and to the larger population from which they are drawn (for example, all individuals with the same disease or condition). If there are important differences, the results of the study may not be valid.

selective estrogen receptor modulator SERM. A drug that acts like estrogen on some tissues but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are SERMs. Also called SERM.

selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor SSRI. A type of drug that is used to treat depression. SSRIs slow the process by which serotonin (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another) is reused by nerve cells that make it. This increases the amount of serotonin available for stimulating other nerves. Also called SSRI.

selenium A mineral that is needed by the body to stay healthy. It is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Selenium is a type of antioxidant.

self-esteem A feeling of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-respect.

sella turcica A depression of the bone at the base of the skull where the pituitary gland is located.

semaxanib A substance that has been studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called SU5416.

semen The fluid that is released through the penis during orgasm. Semen is made up of sperm from the testicles and fluid from the prostate and other sex glands.

seminal fluid Fluid from the prostate and other sex glands that helps transport sperm out of the man's body during orgasm. Seminal fluid contains sugar as an energy source for sperm.

seminal vesicle A gland that helps produce semen.

seminal vesicle biopsy The removal of fluid or tissue with a needle from the seminal vesicles for examination under a microscope. The seminal vesicles are glands in the male reproductive tract that produce a part of semen.

seminoma A type of cancer of the testicles. Seminomas may spread to the lung, bone, liver, or brain.

semiparasitic In botany, a plant that gets food from a host but also contains chlorophyll and is capable of photosynthesis.

semustine An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

senega root The root of an herb called Polygala senega. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, including problems of the respiratory system.

senile keratosis A precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin. Also called solar keratosis and actinic keratosis.

sensitivity When referring to a medical test, sensitivity refers to the percentage of people who test positive for a specific disease among a group of people who have the disease. No test has 100% sensitivity because some people who have the disease will test negative for it (false negatives).

sensor A device that responds to a stimulus, such as heat, light or pressure, and generates a signal that can be measured or interpreted.

sensory Having to do with the senses.

sentinel lymph node The first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. When cancer spreads, the cancer cells may appear first in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes.

sentinel lymph node biopsy Removal and examination of the sentinel node(s) (the first lymph node(s) to which cancer cells are likely to spread from a primary tumor). To identify the sentinel lymph node(s), the surgeon injects a radioactive substance, blue dye, or both near the tumor. The surgeon then uses a scanner to find the sentinel lymph node(s) containing the radioactive substance or looks for the lymph node(s) stained with dye. The surgeon then removes the sentinel node(s) to check for the presence of cancer cells.

sentinel lymph node mapping The use of dyes and radioactive substances to identify the first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. Cancer cells may appear first in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes and other places in the body.

seocalcitol A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called vitamin D analogs.

sepsis The presence of bacteria or their toxins in the blood or tissues.

septate An organ or structure that is divided into compartments.

septicemia Disease caused by the spread of bacteria and their toxins in the bloodstream. Also called blood poisoning and toxemia.

sequential treatment One treatment after the other.

SERM Selective estrogen receptor modulator. A drug that acts like estrogen on some tissues but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are SERMs. Also called selective estrogen receptor modulator.

Seromycin A drug used to treat tuberculosis. It is also being studied in the treatment of pain and nerve problems (numbness, tingling) caused by chemotherapy and in the treatment of low back pain, autism, certain anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. Seromycin belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics. Also called D-cycloserine.

serosa The outer lining of organs and body cavities of the abdomen and chest, including the stomach. Also called serous membrane.

serotonin A hormone found in the brain, platelets, digestive tract and pineal gland. It acts both as a neurotransmitter (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another) and a vasoconstrictor (a substance that causes blood vessels to narrow). A lack of serotonin in the brain is thought to be a cause of depression. Also called 5-hydroxytryptamine.

serous Having to do with serum, the clear liquid part of blood.

serous membrane The outer lining of organs and body cavities of the abdomen and chest, including the stomach. Also called serosa.

Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor of the ovary A rare type of ovarian tumor in which the tumor cells secrete a male sex hormone. This may cause virilization (the appearance of male physical characteristics in females). Also called androblastoma and arrhenoblastoma.

sertraline A drug that is used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Also called Zoloft®.

serum The clear liquid part of the blood that remains after blood cells and clotting proteins have been removed.

serum albumin The main protein in blood plasma. Low levels of serum albumin occur in people with malnutrition, inflammation, and serious liver and kidney disease.

serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase SGPT. An enzyme found in the liver and other tissues. A high level of serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase released into the blood may be a sign of liver damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called alanine transferase and SGPT.

serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase SGOT. An enzyme found in the liver, heart, and other tissues. A high level of serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase released into the blood may be a sign of liver or heart damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called aspartate transaminase and SGOT.

serum tumor marker test A blood test that measures the amount of substances called tumor markers (or biomarkers). Tumor markers are released into the blood by tumor cells or by other cells in response to tumor cells. A high level of a tumor marker may be a sign of cancer.

Serzone A drug used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of drugs called antidepressant agents. Also called nefazodone.

sesquiterpene lactone A substance found in some plants. Sesquiterpene lactones may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Plants containing sesquiterpene lactones have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems.

sestamibi breast imaging A type of breast imaging test that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of some women who have had abnormal mammograms, or who have dense breast tissue. Sestamibi breast imaging is not used for screening or in place of a mammogram. In this test, a woman receives an injection of a small amount of a radioactive substance called technetium 99, which is taken up by cancer cells, and a gamma camera is used to take pictures of the breasts. Also called scintimammography and Miraluma test.

sestamibi scan An imaging test used to find overactive parathyroid glands (four pea-sized glands found on the thyroid) and breast cancer cells, and to diagnose heart disease. The patient receives an injection of a small amount of a radioactive substance called technetium which is bound to another substance called sestamibi. This substance collects in overactive glands, cancer cells, heart muscle or other tissues and a picture is taken by a gamma camera (a special camera that detects radioactivity).

severe myelosuppression Severe reduction in the numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the bone marrow. Severe myelosuppression is a side effect of some cancer treatments. Also called myeloablation.

Sezary syndrome A form of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a cancerous disease that affects the skin.

SGN-30 A monoclonal antibody that binds to cells that have the CD30 antigen on their surface, including Hodgkin’s disease cells and cells from anaplastic large cell lymphoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. SGN-30 is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called monoclonal antibodies.

SGN-40 A monoclonal antibody that binds to cells that have the CD40 antigen on their surface, including cells from multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. SGN-40 is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called monoclonal antibodies.

SGOT Serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase. An enzyme found in the liver, heart, and other tissues. A high level of SGOT released into the blood may be a sign of liver or heart damage, cancer or other diseases. Also called aspartate transaminase and serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase.

SGPT Serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase. An enzyme found in the liver and other tissues. A high level of SGPT released into the blood may be a sign of liver damage, cancer or other diseases. Also called alanine transferase and serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase.

sham therapy An inactive treatment or procedure that is intended to mimic as closely as possible a therapy in a clinical trial. Also called placebo therapy.

shave biopsy A procedure in which a skin abnormality and a thin layer of surrounding skin are removed with a small blade for examination under a microscope. Stitches are not needed with this procedure.

sheep sorrel Rumex acetosella. A plant that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects. Also called dock and sorrel.

Sheridan’s Formula A liquid that has been promoted as a treatment for a wide range of diseases, including cancer. The ingredients thought to be in Sheridan’s Formula have been tested, and none of them has been shown to be effective in treating any form of cancer. Sheridan’s Formula is not available in the United States. Also called Entelev, Cancell, Jim’s Juice, Crocinic Acid, JS–114, JS–101, 126–F and Cantron.

shiitake mushroom Lentinus edodes. A dark oriental mushroom widely used as a food. Several anticancer substances have been found in shiitake mushrooms, including lentinan, which has been studied in Japan as a treatment for stomach and colorectal cancer.

shinbone The larger of two bones between the knee and ankle. Also called tibia.

Sho-saiko-to A Japanese formulation of seven Chinese herbs that is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

shunt In medicine, a passage that is made to allow blood or other fluid to move from one part of the body to another. For example, a surgeon may implant a tube to drain cerebrospinal fluid from the brain to the abdomen. A surgeon may also change normal blood flow by making a passage that leads from one blood vessel to another.

sialic acid Any of a group of simple sugar molecules.

sialyl Tn-KLH A vaccine composed of a substance that enhances immunity plus an antigen found on some tumors of the colon, breast, lung, ovary, pancreas and stomach.

side effect A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some common side effects of cancer treatment are fatigue, pain, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores.

side-to-end coloanal anastomosis A surgical procedure in which the side of the colon is attached to the anus after the rectum has been removed. A section of the colon about 2 inches long is formed into a mini-pouch in order to replace the function of the rectum and store stool until it can be eliminated. This procedure is similar to the J-pouch coloanal anastomosis but a much smaller pouch is formed.

sideropenic dysphagia A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having sideropenic dysphagia may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Paterson-Kelly syndrome and Plummer-Vinson syndrome.

SIDS Sudden infant death syndrome. The sudden and unexpected death of a healthy child who is younger than one year old, usually during sleep. The cause of SIDS is not known. Also called sudden infant death syndrome and crib death.

sigmoid colon The S-shaped section of the colon that connects to the rectum.

sigmoidoscope A thin, tube-like instrument used to examine the inside of the colon. A sigmoidoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may have a tool to remove tissue.

sigmoidoscopy Examination of the lower colon using a sigmoidoscope, inserted into the rectum. A sigmoidoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. Also called proctosigmoidoscopy.

signal transduction inhibitor A drug that may prevent the ability of cancer cells to multiply quickly and invade other tissues.

signet ring cell carcinoma A highly malignant type of cancer typically found in glandular cells that line the digestive organs. The cells resemble signet rings when examined under a microscope.

significant In statistics, describes a mathematical measure of difference between groups. The difference is said to be significant if it is greater than what might be expected to happen by chance alone. Also called statistically significant.

SIL Squamous intraepithelial lesion. A general term for the abnormal growth of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix. The changes in the cells are described as low grade or high grade, depending on how much of the cervix is affected and how abnormal the cells appear. Also called squamous intraepithelial lesion.

sildenafil A drug used to treat erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil relaxes the smooth muscle of the penis to allow increased blood flow and erection. It is a type of phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Also called Viagra.

silicon phthalocyanine 4 A drug that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, it becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called photodynamic therapy agents.

silicone A synthetic gel that is used as an outer coating on breast implants and as the inside filling of some implants.

Silybum marianum A plant that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, including stomach, liver, and gallbladder disorders. The active extract of Silybum marianum seeds is called silymarin. It is being studied in the prevention of liver damage caused by some cancer treatments. Also called milk thistle.

silymarin A substance obtained from milk thistle seeds that is being studied in the prevention of liver damage caused by certain cancer treatments.

simian virus 40 SV40. A virus that infects some types of monkeys. It may also infect humans, and was found in some polio vaccines tested in the early 1960s. Although the virus has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, there is no evidence that it causes cancer in people. Also called SV40.

simple mastectomy Removal of the breast. Also called total mastectomy.

simple nephrectomy Surgery to remove one kidney.

simple vulvectomy Surgery to remove the entire vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips and the opening to the vagina).

simulation In cancer treatment, a process used to plan radiation therapy so that the target area is precisely located and marked.

single blind study A type of clinical trial in which only the doctor knows whether a patient is taking the standard treatment or the new treatment being tested. This helps prevent bias in treatment studies.

single nucleotide polymorphism SNP. The most common type of change in DNA (molecules inside cells that carry genetic information). An SNP occurs when a single nucleotide (building block of DNA) is replaced with another. These changes may cause disease, and may affect how a person reacts to bacteria, viruses, drugs, and other substances. Also called SNP.

single-photon emission computed tomography SPECT. A special type of computed tomography (CT) scan in which a small amount of a radioactive drug is injected into a vein and a scanner is used to make detailed images of areas inside the body where the radioactive material is taken up by the cells. SPECT can give information about blood flow to tissues and chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body. Also called SPECT.

siplizumab A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of certain lymphoproliferative disorders and psoriasis. Also called MEDI-507.

sirolimus A drug used to help prevent the body from rejecting organ and bone marrow transplants. It is also being studied as a treatment for cancer. Sirolimus belongs to the family of drugs called immunosuppressants. It was previously called rapamycin.

SIRS Systemic inflammatory response syndrome. A serious condition in which there is inflammation throughout the whole body. It may be caused by a severe bacterial infection (sepsis), trauma or pancreatitis. It is marked by fast heart rate, low blood pressure, low or high body temperature and low or high white blood cell count. The condition may lead to multiple organ failure and shock. Also called systemic inflammatory response syndrome.

SJG-136 A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called DNA cross-linking agents.

Sjögren's syndrome An autoimmune disease that affects the tear glands and salivary glands, and may affect glands in the stomach, pancreas and intestines. The disease causes dry eyes and mouth, and may cause dryness in the nose, throat, air passages, skin and vagina. It may also cause inflammation in the joints, muscles, and skin; pneumonia; tingling in the fingers and toes; and fatigue. It often occurs with rheumatoid arthritis or other connective tissue diseases.

skeletal Having to do with the skeleton (bones of the body).

skeleton The framework that supports the soft tissues of vertebrate animals and protects many of their internal organs. The skeletons of vertebrates are made of bone and/or cartilage.

skin cancer Cancer that forms in tissues of the skin. When cancer forms in cells that make pigment, it is called melanoma. When cancer forms in cells that do not make pigment it may begin in basal cells (small, round cells in the base of the outer layer of skin) or squamous cells (flat cells that form the surface of the skin). Both types of skin cancer usually occur in skin that has been exposed to sunlight, such as the skin on the face, neck, hands and arms.

skin graft Skin that is moved from one part of the body to another.

skin patch A bandage-like patch that releases medicine into the body through the skin. The medicine enters the blood slowly and steadily.

skin stimulation The process of applying pressure, friction, temperature change or chemical substances to the skin to lessen or block a feeling of pain.

skin test A test for an immune response to a compound by placing it on or under the skin.

skinning vulvectomy Surgery to remove the top layer of skin of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips and the opening to the vagina). A skin graft may be used to replace the skin that was removed.

SLE Systemic lupus erythematosus. A chronic, inflammatory, connective tissue disease that can affect many organs including the joints, skin, heart, lungs, kidneys and nervous system. It is marked by many different symptoms; however, not everyone with SLE has all of the symptoms. Also called lupus and systemic lupus erythematosus.

sleep disorder A disturbance of normal sleep patterns. There are a number of sleep disorders that range from trouble falling asleep, to nightmares, sleepwalking and sleep apnea (problems with breathing that cause loud snoring). Poor sleep may also be caused by diseases such as heart disease, lung disease or nerve disorders.

sleep stage One of 5 parts or stages of the sleep cycle based on the type of brain activity that occurs during the stage. During stages 1 to 4, a person will feel drowsy, fall asleep, and move into a deep, dreamless sleep. Stage 5 is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and it is during this stage that dreams occur. During several hours of normal sleep, a person will go through several sleep cycles that include REM sleep and the 4 stages of non-REM sleep (light to deep sleep).

sleeve lobectomy Surgery in which a lung tumor in a lobe of the lung and part of the main bronchus (airway) are removed. The remaining lobe or lobes are reattached to the bronchus. This surgery is done to save part of the lung.

slippery elm Ulmus fulva or Ulmus rubra. The inner bark of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have antioxidant effects. Also called gray elm, Indian elm, red elm, sweet elm, Ulmus fulva and Ulmus rubra.

small cell lung cancer An aggressive (fast-growing) cancer that usually forms in tissues of the lung and spreads to other parts of the body. The cancer cells look small and oval-shaped when looked at under a microscope. Also called oat cell cancer.

small intestine The part of the digestive tract that is located between the stomach and the large intestine.

small intestine cancer A rare cancer that forms in tissues of the small intestine (the part of the digestive tract between the stomach and the large intestine). The most common type is adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Other types of small intestine cancer include sarcoma (cancer that begins in connective or supportive tissue), carcinoid tumor (a slow-growing type of cancer), gastrointestinal stromal tumor (a type of soft tissue sarcoma), and lymphoma (cancer that begins in immune system cells).

small lymphocytic lymphoma An indolent (slow-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma marked by swollen lymph nodes that usually occurs in people older than 50 years. It is very similar to a form of leukemia called chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Also called well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma.

smoldering leukemia A group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells. Also called preleukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.

smoldering myeloma A very slow-growing type of myeloma in which abnormal plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) make too much of a single type of monoclonal antibody (a protein). This protein builds up in the blood or is passed in the urine. Patients with smoldering myeloma usually have no symptoms, but need to be checked often for signs of progression to fully developed multiple myeloma.

SN-38 liposome A form of the anticancer drug irinotecan that may have fewer side effects and work better than irinotecan alone. SN-38 liposome is being studied in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called irinotecan (CPT-11) derivatives. Also called liposomal SN-38.

SnET2 An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents. Also called tin ethyl etiopurpurin.

SNP Single nucleotide polymorphism. The most common type of change in DNA (molecules inside cells that carry genetic information). An SNP occurs when a single nucleotide (building block of DNA) is replaced with another. These changes may cause disease, and may affect how a person reacts to bacteria, viruses, drugs and other substances. Also called single nucleotide polymorphism.

SNX 111 A drug used in the treatment of chronic pain. Also called ziconotide.

soblidotin A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called tubulin inhibitors. Also called TZT-1027.

social service A community resource that helps people in need. Services may include help getting to and from medical appointments, home delivery of medication and meals, in-home nursing care, help paying medical costs not covered by insurance, loaning medical equipment and housekeeping help.

social support A network of family, friends, neighbors, and community members that is available in times of need to give psychological, physical and financial help.

social worker A professional trained to talk with people and their families about emotional or physical needs, and to find them support services.

sodium A mineral needed by the body to keep body fluids in balance. Sodium is found in table salt and in many processed foods. Too much sodium can cause the body to retain water.

sodium borocaptate BSH. A substance used in a type of radiation therapy called boron neutron capture therapy. Sodium borocaptate is injected into a vein and becomes concentrated in tumor cells. The patient then receives radiation treatment with atomic particles called neutrons. The neutrons react with the boron in sodium borocaptate and make radioactive particles that kill the tumor cells without harming normal cells. Also called BSH.

sodium salicylate A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Sodium salicylate may be tolerated by people who are sensitive to aspirin.

sodium stibogluconate SSG. A substance being studied in the treatment of certain solid tumors, lymphoma, and myeloma. Sodium stibogluconate may block enzymes needed for cancer growth. It is a type of pentavalent antimonial. Also called SSG.

sodium sulfite A chemical used in photography, paper making, water treatment, and for other purposes.

sodium thiosulfate A substance that is used in medicine as an antidote to cyanide poisoning and to decrease side effects of the anticancer drug cisplatin.

soft diet A diet consisting of bland foods that are softened by cooking, mashing, pureeing, or blending.

soft palate The back, muscular (not bony) part of the roof of the mouth.

soft tissue Refers to muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels or other supporting tissue of the body.

soft tissue sarcoma A cancer that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels or other supporting tissue of the body.

solar keratosis A precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin. Also called actinic keratosis and senile keratosis.

solid tumor An abnormal mass of tissue that usually does not contain cysts or liquid areas. Solid tumors may be benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous). Different types of solid tumors are named for the type of cells that form them. Examples of solid tumors are sarcomas, carcinomas and lymphomas. Leukemias (cancers of the blood) generally do not form solid tumors.

soluble Able to be dissolved in a liquid.

solvent A liquid that is able to dissolve a solid.

somatic Having to do with the body.

somatic cell Any of the body cells except the reproductive (germ) cells.

somatic mutation An alteration in DNA that occurs after conception. Somatic mutations can occur in any of the cells of the body except the germ cells (sperm and egg) and therefore are not passed on to children. These alterations can (but do not always) cause cancer or other diseases.

somatostatin receptor scintigraphy SRS. A type of radionuclide scan used to find carcinoid and other types of tumors. In SRS, radioactive octreotide, a drug similar to somatostatin, is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive octreotide attaches to tumor cells that have receptors for somatostatin. A radiation-measuring device detects the radioactive octreotide, and makes pictures showing where the tumor cells are in the body. Also called octreotide scan and SRS.

somnolence syndrome Periods of drowsiness, lethargy, loss of appetite and irritability in children following radiation therapy treatments to the head.

sonogram A computer picture of areas inside the body created by bouncing high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) off internal tissues or organs. Also called an ultrasonogram.

sorafenib A drug that is used to treat advanced kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called Raf kinase inhibitors, VEGF receptor kinase inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called BAY 43-9006, sorafenib tosylate, and Nexavar.

sorafenib tosylate A drug that is used to treat advanced kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called Raf kinase inhibitors, VEGF receptor kinase inhibitors and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called BAY 43-9006, sorafenib and Nexavar.

sorivudine An antiviral drug that is being studied as a treatment for herpesvirus. It belongs to the family of drugs called nucleic acid synthesis inhibitors.

sorrel Rumex acetosella. A plant that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects. Also called sheep sorrel and dock.

soy Glycine max. A plant of Asian origin that produces beans used in many food products. Soy products contain isoflavones (estrogen-like substances) that are being studied for the prevention of cancer, hot flashes that occur with menopause, and osteoporosis (loss of bone density). Soy products in the diet may lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Also called soya, soybean and Glycine max.

soya Glycine max. A plant of Asian origin that produces beans used in many food products. Soy products contain isoflavones (estrogen-like substances) that are being studied for the prevention of cancer, hot flashes that occur with menopause and osteoporosis (loss of bone density). Soy products in the diet may lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Also called soy, soybean and Glycine max.

soybean Glycine max. A plant of Asian origin that produces beans used in many food products. Soy products contain isoflavones (estrogen-like substances) that are being studied for the prevention of cancer, hot flashes that occur with menopause, and osteoporosis (loss of bone density). Soy products in the diet may lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Also called soy, soya and Glycine max.

spasm A sudden contraction of a muscle or group of muscles, such as a cramp.

specialist In medicine, a doctor or other health care professional who is trained and licensed in a special area of practice. Examples of medical specialists include oncologists (cancer specialists) and hematologists (blood specialists).

specific immune cell An immune cell such as a T or B lymphocyte that responds to a single, specific antigen.

specificity When referring to a medical test, specificity refers to the percentage of people who test negative for a specific disease among a group of people who do not have the disease. No test is 100% specific because some people who do not have the disease will test positive for it (false positive).

SPECT Single-photon emission computed tomography. A special type of computed tomography (CT) scan in which a small amount of a radioactive drug is injected into a vein and a scanner is used to make detailed images of areas inside the body where the radioactive material is taken up by the cells. SPECT can give information about blood flow to tissues and chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body. Also called single-photon emission computed tomography.

speculum An instrument used to widen an opening of the body to make it easier to look inside.

speech pathologist A specialist who evaluates and treats people with communication and swallowing problems. Also called a speech therapist.

speech therapist A specialist who evaluates and treats people with communication and swallowing problems. Also called a speech pathologist.

sperm The male reproductive cell, formed in the testicle. A sperm unites with an egg to form an embryo.

sperm banking Freezing sperm for use in the future. This procedure can allow men to father children after loss of fertility.

sperm count A count of the number of sperm in a sample of semen. A sperm count may be used as a measure of fertility.

sperm retrieval Removal of sperm from a man's testis or epididymis by a doctor using a fine needle or other instrument.

SPF Sun protection factor. A scale for rating the level of sunburn protection in sunscreen products. The higher the SPF, the more sunburn protection it gives. Sunscreens with an SPF value of 2 through 11 give minimal protection against sunburns. Sunscreens with an SPF of 12 through 29 give moderate protection. Those with an SPF of 30 or higher give high protection against sunburn. Also called sun protection factor.

sphincter A ring-shaped muscle that relaxes or tightens to open or close a passage or opening in the body. Examples are the anal sphincter (around the opening of the anus) and the pyloric sphincter (at the lower opening of the stomach).

spiculated mass A lump of tissue with spikes or points on the surface.

spinal column The bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The spinal column encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called spine, backbone and vertebral column.

spinal cord A column of nerve tissue that runs from the base of the skull down the back. It is surrounded by three protective membranes, and is enclosed within the vertebrae (back bones). The spinal cord and the brain make up the central nervous system, and spinal cord nerves carry most messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

spinal tap A procedure in which a needle is put into the lower part of the spinal column to collect cerebrospinal fluid or to give drugs. Also called lumbar puncture.

spindle cell cancer Cancer that arises in cells that appear spindle-shaped when viewed under a microscope. These cancers can occur in various places in the body, including the skin, lungs, kidney, breast, gastrointestinal tract, bone and muscle.

spindle cell sarcoma A type of connective tissue cancer in which the cells are spindle-shaped when examined under a microscope.

spine The bones, muscles, tendons and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The spine encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called backbone, spinal column and vertebral column.

spine cancer Cancer that begins in the spinal column (backbone) or spinal cord. The spinal column is made up of linked bones, called vertebrae. The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissue that runs from the base of the skull down the back. It is surrounded by three protective membranes, and is enclosed within the vertebrae. Many different types of cancer may form in the bones, tissues, fluid or nerves of the spine.

spiral CT scan A detailed picture of areas inside the body. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine that scans the body in a spiral path. Also called helical computed tomography.

spirituality Having to do with deep, often religious, feelings and beliefs, including a person’s sense of peace, purpose, connection to others and beliefs about the meaning of life.

spleen An organ that is part of the lymphatic system. The spleen produces lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells. It is located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach.

splenectomy An operation to remove the spleen.

splenic Having to do with the spleen (an organ in the abdomen that makes immune cells, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells).

splenomegaly Enlarged spleen.

spotted thistle Cnicus benedictus. A plant whose leaves, stems, and flowers have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. Spotted thistle may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called blessed thistle, St. Benedict's thistle, cardin and holy thistle.

Sprycel A drug used to treat certain types of chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Sprycel is also being studied in the treatment of certain other blood diseases and types of cancer. Sprycel binds to and blocks BCR-ABL and other proteins that help cancer cells grow. It belongs to the family of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called dasatinib and BMS-354825.

sputum Mucus and other matter brought up from the lungs by coughing.

sputum cytology Examination under a microscope of cells found in sputum (mucus and other matter brought up from the lungs by coughing). The test checks for abnormal cells, such as lung cancer cells.

squalamine lactate A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. It prevents the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor.

squamous cell Flat cell that looks like a fish scale under a microscope. These cells cover inside and outside surfaces of the body. They are found in the tissues that form the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body (such as the bladder, kidney and uterus), and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts.

squamous cell carcinoma Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Also called epidermoid carcinoma.

squamous intraepithelial lesion SIL. A general term for the abnormal growth of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix. The changes in the cells are described as low grade or high grade, depending on how much of the cervix is affected and how abnormal the cells appear. Also called SIL.

SR-29142 A drug that may protect healthy tissue from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.

SR-45023A An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates. It affects cancer cell receptors governing cell growth and cell death.

SRS Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy. A type of radionuclide scan used to find carcinoid and other types of tumors. In SRS, radioactive octreotide, a drug similar to somatostatin, is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive octreotide attaches to tumor cells that have receptors for somatostatin. A radiation-measuring device detects the radioactive octreotide, and makes pictures showing where the tumor cells are in the body. Also called somatostatin receptor scintigraphy and octreotide scan.

SSG Sodium stibogluconate. A substance being studied in the treatment of certain solid tumors, lymphoma and myeloma. SSG may block enzymes needed for cancer growth. It is a type of pentavalent antimonial. Also called sodium stibogluconate.

SSRI Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. A type of drug that is used to treat depression. SSRIs slow the process by which serotonin (a substance that nerves use to send messages to one another) is reused by nerve cells that make it. This increases the amount of serotonin available for stimulating other nerves. Also called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

St. Benedict's thistle Cnicus benedictus. A plant whose leaves, stems, and flowers have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. St. Benedict's thistle may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called blessed thistle, cardin, holy thistle and spotted thistle.

St. John's wort Hypericum perforatum, an herbal product sold as an over-the-counter treatment for depression. It is being studied for its ability to lessen certain side effects of cancer treatment.

stable disease Cancer that is neither decreasing nor increasing in extent or severity.

stage The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

staging Performing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer within the body, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. It is important to know the stage of the disease in order to plan the best treatment.

standard of care In medicine, treatment that experts agree is appropriate, accepted and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide patients with the standard of care. Also called standard therapy or best practice.

standard therapy In medicine, treatment that experts agree is appropriate, accepted and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide patients with standard therapy. Also called standard of care or best practice.

statin Any of a group of drugs that lower the amount of cholesterol and certain fats in the blood. Statins inhibit a key enzyme that helps make cholesterol. Statin drugs are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

statistically significant Describes a mathematical measure of difference between groups. The difference is said to be statistically significant if it is greater than what might be expected to happen by chance alone. Also called significant.

staurosporine A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkaloids. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

stavudine A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nucleoside analogs. It is used to treat infection caused by viruses.

stellate Star shaped.

stem cell A cell from which other types of cells develop. Blood cells develop from blood-forming stem cells.

stem cell factor SCF. A drug being studied for its ability to increase the number of stem cells in the blood. It is a type of hematopoietic cell growth factor. Also called SCF, ancestim and Stemgen.

stem cell transplantation A method of replacing immature blood-forming cells that were destroyed by cancer treatment. The stem cells are given to the person after treatment to help the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells.

Stemgen A drug that is being studied for its ability to increase the number of stem cells in the blood. It belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic cell growth factors. Also called stem cell factor, SCF and ancestim.

stent A device placed in a body structure (such as a blood vessel or the gastrointestinal tract) to keep the structure open.

stereotactic biopsy A biopsy procedure that uses a computer and a 3-dimensional scanning device to find a tumor site and guide the removal of tissue for examination under a microscope.

stereotactic body radiation therapy A radiation therapy technique that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue.

stereotactic external-beam radiation A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

stereotactic injection A procedure in which a computer and a 3-dimensional scanning device are used to inject anticancer drugs directly into a tumor.

stereotactic radiation therapy A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

stereotactic radiosurgery A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

stereotaxic radiosurgery A radiation therapy procedure that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue. This procedure does not use surgery. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Also called radiation surgery, radiosurgery, stereotactic external-beam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery.

stereotaxis Use of a computer and scanning devices to create 3-dimensional pictures. This method can be used to direct a biopsy, external radiation or the insertion of radiation implants.

sterile Unable to produce children. Also means free from germs.

sterile talc powder A mineral, usually used in a powdered form. In cancer treatment, sterile talc powder is used to prevent pleural effusions (an abnormal collection of fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall). Sterile talc powder is inserted into the space, causing it to close up, so fluid cannot collect there. Also called talc.

steroid cream A skin cream containing a type of drug that relieves swelling, itching, and inflammation.

steroid drug A type of drug used to relieve swelling and inflammation. Some steroid drugs may also have antitumor effects.

steroid therapy Treatment with corticosteroid drugs to reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation.

STI571 A drug used to treat certain types of chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. STI571 blocks the protein made by the bcr/abl oncogene. It belongs to the family of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called imatinib mesylate and Gleevec.

stimulant In medicine, a family of drugs used to treat depression, attention-deficit disorder (a common disorder in which children are inattentive, impulsive, and/or over-active), and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes uncontrollable sleepiness). Stimulants increase brain activity, alertness, attention, and energy. They also raise blood pressure and increase heart rate and breathing rate.

stoma A surgically created opening from an area inside the body to the outside.

stomach An organ that is part of the digestive system. The stomach helps digest food by mixing it with digestive juices and churning it into a thin liquid.

stomach cancer Cancer that forms in tissues lining the stomach. Also called gastric cancer.

stomatitis Inflammation or irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth.

stool The waste matter discharged in a bowel movement; feces.

stool test A test to check for hidden blood in the bowel movement.

streptavidin A small bacterial protein that binds with high affinity to the vitamin biotin. This streptavidin-biotin combination can be used to link molecules such as radioisotopes and monoclonal antibodies together. These bound products have the property of being attracted to, and attaching to, cancer cells, rather than normal cells. The radiolabeled products are more easily removed from the body, thus decreasing their toxicity.

streptozocin An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

stroke In medicine, a loss of blood flow to part of the brain, which damages brain tissue. Strokes are caused by blood clots and broken blood vessels in the brain. Symptoms include dizziness, numbness, weakness on one side of the body, and problems with talking, writing or understanding language. The risk of stroke is increased by high blood pressure, older age, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, atherosclerosis (a build-up of fatty material and plaque inside the coronary arteries) and a family history of stroke.

Stromagen A drug that is derived from a patient's stem cells (specialized cells in the bone marrow that form new blood cells) and may be given back to the patient to help restore bone marrow that has been damaged by high-dose chemotherapy.

stromal tumor A tumor that arises in the supporting connective tissue of an organ.

strontium A metal often used in a radioactive form for imaging tests and in the treatment of cancer.

strontium ranelate A substance that is being studied in the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Strontium ranelate helps new bone tissue to grow and decreases bone loss. This lowers the risk of bone fractures.

strontium-89 A radioactive compound that is absorbed by the bone. It is used to treat bone pain associated with prostate cancer.

study agent A medicine, vitamin, mineral, food supplement or a combination of them that is being tested in a clinical trial.

Sturge-Weber syndrome SWS. A rare, congenital disorder that affects the brain, skin, and eyes. Abnormal blood vessel growth occurs in the trigeminal nerve in the face and the meninges (covering) of the brain. This abnormal growth causes red or purple skin discoloration (sometimes called a port wine stain), usually on one side of the face, and can also cause seizures, learning disabilities and glaucoma. Also called SWS.

SU011248 A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). SU011248 is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib, sunitinib malate, SU11248 and Sutent.

SU101 An anticancer drug that works by inhibiting a cancer cell growth factor. Also called leflunomide.

SU11248 A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). SU11248 is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib, sunitinib malate, SU011248, and Sutent.

subcutaneous Beneath the skin.

subcutaneous port A tube surgically placed into a blood vessel and attached to a disk placed under the skin. It is used for the administration of intravenous fluids and drugs; it can also be used to obtain blood samples.

subependymal Below the ependyma (the membrane that lines the ventricles of the brain and the central canal of the spinal cord).

suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid SAHA. A drug that is used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma that does not get better, gets worse, or comes back during or after treatment with other drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. SAHA belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors. Also called SAHA, vorinostat, and Zolinza.

subglottis The lowest part of the larynx; the area from just below the vocal cords down to the top of the trachea.

subjective improvement An improvement that is reported by the patient, but cannot be measured by the healthcare provider (for example, "I feel better").

submucosa The layer of tissue under the mucosa (inner lining of some organs and body cavities that makes mucus).

subserosa The layer of tissue under the serosa (outer lining of some organs and body cavities).

subset analysis In a clinical study, the evaluation of results for some but not all of the patients who participated. The selected patients have one or more characteristics in common, such as the same stage of disease or the same hormone receptor status.

substance abuse The use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs or alcohol for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts. Substance abuse may lead to social, physical, emotional and job-related problems.

subtenon Used to describe injections through the membrane covering the muscles and nerves at the back of the eyeball.

sucralfate A drug used to treat ulcers. It adheres to proteins at the ulcer site and forms a protective coating over the ulcer. Sucralfate is also used to treat mucositis.

suction aspiration A surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated (opened) and vacuum is used to remove tissue from the uterus. Also called suction evacuation or vacuum aspiration.

suction evacuation A surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated (opened) and vacuum is used to remove tissue from the uterus. Also called suction aspiration or vacuum aspiration.

sudden infant death syndrome SIDS. The sudden and unexpected death of a healthy child who is younger than one year old, usually during sleep. The cause of SIDS is not known. Also called SIDS and crib death.

suicide The act of taking one's own life on purpose.

sulfa drug A type of antibiotic used to treat infection. Also called sulfonamide.

sulfonamide A type of antibiotic used to treat infection. Also called sulfa drug.

sulfuric acid A strong acid that, when concentrated, is extremely corrosive to the skin and mucous membranes. It is used in making fertilizers, dyes, electroplating, and industrial explosives.

sulindac A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

sun protection factor SPF. A scale for rating the level of sunburn protection in sunscreen products. The higher the SPF, the more sunburn protection it gives. Sunscreens with an SPF value of 2 through 11 give minimal protection against sunburns. Sunscreens with an SPF of 12 through 29 give moderate protection. Those with an SPF of 30 or higher give high protection against sunburn. Also called SPF.

Sun's Soup A mixture of vegetables and other edible plants that has been studied in the treatment of cancer. The vegetables include soybean, shiitake mushroom, mung bean, red date, scallion, garlic, leek, lentil, Hawthorn fruit, onion, ginseng, Angelica root, licorice, dandelion root, senega root, ginger, olive, sesame seed and parsley. Sun’s Soup is available in the United States as a dietary supplement.

sunitinib A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). Sunitinib is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib malate, SU11248, SU011248 and Sutent.

sunitinib malate A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). Sunitinib malate is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib, SU11248, SU011248 and Sutent.

sunscreen A substance that helps protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays. Sunscreens reflect, absorb, and scatter both ultraviolet A and B radiation to provide protection against both types of radiation. Using lotions, creams, or gels that contain sunscreens can help protect the skin from premature aging and damage that may lead to skin cancer.

superficial Affecting cells on the surface. Not invasive.

superfractionated radiation therapy A way of giving radiation therapy in smaller-than-usual doses two or three times a day instead of once a day. Also called hyperfractionation and hyperfractionated radiation therapy.

superior vena cava The large vein that carries blood from the head, neck, arms, and chest to the heart.

superior vena cava syndrome A condition in which a tumor presses against the superior vena cava (the large vein that carries blood from the head, neck, arms and chest to the heart). This pressure blocks blood flow to the heart and may cause coughing, difficulty in breathing, and swelling of the face, neck and upper arms.

supplemental nutrition A substance or product that is added to a person’s diet to make sure they get all the nutrients they need. It may include vitamins, minerals, protein, or fat, and may be given by mouth, by tube feeding, or into a vein.

supplemental oxygen therapy Treatment in which a storage tank of oxygen or a machine called a compressor is used to give oxygen to people with breathing problems. It may be given through a nose tube, a mask, or a tent. The extra oxygen is breathed in along with normal air. Also called oxygen therapy.

supplementation Adding nutrients to the diet.

support group A group of people with similar disease who meet to discuss how better to cope with their disease and treatment.

supportive care Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of supportive care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of the disease, side effects caused by treatment of the disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to the disease or its treatment. Also called palliative care, comfort care, and symptom management.

suppository A form of medicine contained in a small piece of solid material, such as cocoa butter or glycerin, that melts at body temperature. A suppository is inserted into the rectum, vagina, or urethra and the medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream.

supraclavicular lymph node A lymph node located above the clavicle (collarbone).

supraglottic laryngectomy An operation to remove the supraglottis, which is part of the larynx (voice box) above the vocal cords.

supraglottis The upper part of the larynx (voice box), including the epiglottis; the area above the vocal cords.

suprarenal gland A small gland that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. There are two suprarenal glands, one on top of each kidney. Also called adrenal gland.

supratentorial Having to do with the upper part of the brain.

suramin A drug that is used to treat infections caused by parasites. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called antiprotozoals and anthelmintics.

surface electrode A small device that is attached to the skin to measure or cause electrical activity in the tissue under it. Surface electrodes may be used to look for problems with muscles and nerves.

surgeon A doctor who removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on the patient.

surgery A procedure to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out whether disease is present. An operation.

surgical castration Surgical removal of the testicles (orchiectomy) or ovaries (oophorectomy) to stop the production of sex hormones. Decreasing the levels of hormones may stop the growth of certain cancers.

surgical oncologist A doctor who performs biopsies and other surgical procedures in cancer patients.

surveillance In medicine, the ongoing collection of information about a disease, such as cancer, in a certain group of people. The information collected may include where the disease occurs in a population and whether it affects people of a certain gender, age or ethnic group.

survival rate The percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are alive for a given period of time after diagnosis. This is commonly expressed as 5-year survival.

survivor One who remains alive and continues to function after overcoming difficulties or life-threatening diseases like cancer.

survivorship In cancer, survivorship covers the physical, psychosocial, and economic issues of cancer, from diagnosis until the end of life. It includes issues related to the ability to get health care and follow up treatment, late effects of treatment, second cancers and quality of life.

Sutent A drug used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) that have not responded to treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). Sutent is also used to treat advanced kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitors, and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called sunitinib, sunitinib malate, SU11248, and SU011248.

SV40 Simian virus 40. A virus that infects some types of monkeys. It may also infect humans, and was found in some polio vaccines tested in the early 1960s. Although the virus has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, there is no evidence that it causes cancer in people. Also called simian virus 40.

sweet elm Ulmus fulva or Ulmus rubra. The inner bark of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have antioxidant effects. Also called slippery elm, gray elm, Indian elm and red elm.

SWS Sturge-Weber syndrome. A rare, congenital disorder that affects the brain, skin, and eyes. Abnormal blood vessel growth occurs in the trigeminal nerve in the face and the meninges (covering) of the brain. This abnormal growth causes red or purple skin discoloration (sometimes called a port wine stain), usually on one side of the face, and can also cause seizures, learning disabilities and glaucoma. Also called Sturge-Weber syndrome.

sympathetic nervous system The part of the nervous system that increases heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and pupil size. It also causes blood vessels to narrow and decreases digestive juices.

symptom An indication that a person has a condition or disease. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and pain.

symptom management Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of symptom management is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of the disease, side effects caused by treatment of the disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to the disease or its treatment. Also called palliative care, comfort care, and supportive care.

symptomatic Having to do with symptoms, which are signs of a condition or disease.

syncytium A large cell-like structure formed by the joining together of two or more cells. The plural is syncytia.

syndrome A set of symptoms or conditions that occur together and suggest the presence of a certain disease or an increased chance of developing the disease.

synergistic In medicine, describes the interaction of two or more drugs when their combined effect is greater than the sum of the effects seen when each drug is given alone.

syngeneic Having to do with individuals or tissues that have identical genes. For example, identical twins and cells and tissues from them are syngeneic.

syngeneic bone marrow transplantation A procedure in which a person receives bone marrow donated by his or her healthy identical twin.

syngeneic stem cell transplantation A procedure in which a patient receives blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) donated by his or her healthy identical twin.

synovial membrane A layer of connective tissue that lines the cavities of joints, tendon sheaths, and bursae (fluid-filled sacs between tendons and bones). The synovial membrane makes synovial fluid, which has a lubricating function.

synovial sarcoma A malignant tumor that develops in the synovial membrane of the joints.

synovitis Inflammation (swelling, pain, and warmth) of a synovial membrane, which is a layer of connective tissue that lines a joint, such as the hip, knee, ankle, or shoulder. Synovitis is caused by some types of arthritis and other diseases.

synthetic Having to do with substances that are man-made instead of taken from nature.

synthetic protegrin analog A drug that may prevent oral mucositis (sores on the lining of the mouth), a side effect of some cancer treatments.

synthetic retinoid A substance related to vitamin A that is produced in a laboratory.

syringe A small hollow tube used for injecting or withdrawing liquids. It may be attached to a needle in order to withdraw fluid from the body or inject drugs into the body.

systemic Affecting the entire body.

systemic chemotherapy Treatment with anticancer drugs that travel through the blood to cells all over the body.

systemic disease Disease that affects the whole body.

systemic inflammatory response syndrome SIRS. A serious condition in which there is inflammation throughout the whole body. It may be caused by a severe bacterial infection (sepsis), trauma, or pancreatitis. It is marked by fast heart rate, low blood pressure, low or high body temperature, and low or high white blood cell count. The condition may lead to multiple organ failure and shock. Also called SIRS.

systemic lupus erythematosus SLE. A chronic, inflammatory, connective tissue disease that can affect the joints and many organs, including the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, and nervous system. It can cause many different symptoms; however, not everyone with SLE has all of the symptoms. Also called lupus and SLE.

systemic mastocytosis A rare disease in which too many mast cells (a type of immune system cell) are found in the skin, bones, joints, lymph nodes, liver, spleen and gastrointestinal tract. Mast cells give off chemicals such as histamine that can cause flushing (a hot, red face), itching, abdominal cramps, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure and shock.

systemic radiation Treatment with a radioactive substance, such as a radioactively-labeled monoclonal antibody, that travels through the blood to cells all over the body.

systemic therapy Treatment using substances that travel through the bloodstream, reaching and affecting cells all over the body.

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Higley Road and US 60
2946 E. Banner Gateway Drive
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 256-6444
(855) 256-6444

Follow Us:  
Facebook IconPinterestTwitter IconYouTube Icon
 
 
 
Jump to top links