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

Tumor talk

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

Aden/o = gland adenoma
Lip/o = fat lipoma
My/o = muscle myoma
Lymph/o = lymph tissue lymphoma
Carcin/o = malignant carcinoma
Osteo/o = bone osteoma

Directions, please?

Endo = within, inside of endoscopy (to inspect the inside of an organ or space with a lighted instrument)
Peri = around perianal (around the anus)
Circum = around circumcise (cut around)
Retro = behind retrosternal (behind the breastbone)
Epi = upon, on top epidermis (the top or outermost layer of skin)
Trans = through transurethral (through the urinary exit duct)
Intra = within intravenous (inside the veins, e.g. IV fluids)
Sub = below subclavian (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. Just so you know!

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”.

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