Skin Cancer Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Skin Cancer article.

Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Actinic: Referring to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight and UV lamps. Sunburn is an ...

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Actinic keratosis: Rough, scaly patches of skin that are considered precancerous and are d...

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Albinism: A group of genetic disorders in which there is partial or total lack of the pigm...

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Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic indiv...

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Arms: An appendage in anatomy and in clinical trials. See: Arm.

Autoimmune: Pertaining to autoimmunity, a misdirected immune response that occurs when the...

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Basal cell carcinoma: The most common type of skin cancer, which commonly presents as a so...

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Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to check for ...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Cancer causes: In most individual cases of cancer, the exact cause of cancer is unknown. T...

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Cancer symptoms: Abnormal sensations or conditions that persons can notice that are a resu...

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Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover body organs. Ex...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Cheek: The side of the face, which forms the side wall of the mouth. The cheekbone is part...

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Chemotherapy: 1. In the original sense, a chemical that binds to and specifically k...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chest X-ray: A type of X-ray commonly used to detect abnormalities in the lungs. A chest X...

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Clinical trials: Trials to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications or medical...

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Cryosurgery: Treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal tis...

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Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Curettage: Removal of tissue with a curette from the wall of a cavity or another surface. ...

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Cutaneous: Related to the skin.

Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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Dermatologist: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin problems...

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Dermatology: 1. The branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Dysplasia: Abnormality in form or development. For example, retinal dysplasia is abnormal ...

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Dysplastic nevi: Atypical moles whose appearance is different from that of a common ordina...

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Electrodesiccation: Use of an electric current to destroy cancerous tissue and control ble...

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Excision: 1. Surgical removal, as in the excision of a tumor. 2. The remov...

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External radiation therapy: Radiation therapy in which the source of radiation is a machin...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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Freckle: A flat circular spot on the skin about the size of the head of a nail that develo...

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Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Immunosuppression: Suppression of the immune system and its ability to fight infection. Im...

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Immunotherapy: Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune (defense) syst...

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Itching: An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on ...

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Keratosis: A localized horny overgrowth of the skin, such as a wart or callus. Among the c...

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Lesion: An area of abnormal tissue change. Lesions vary in severity from harmless to serio...

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Liquid nitrogen: Nitrogen in a liquid state. Liquid nitrogen is supercool -- about 200 deg...

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Lymph: The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system, carrying cell...

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Lymph node: One of many small, bean-shaped organs located throughout the lymphatic system....

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Lymphatic: Pertaining to a small, thin channel that is similar to a blood vessel and that ...

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Lymphatic system: The tissues and organs, including the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and l...

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Malignancy: A tumor that is malignant (cancerous), that can invade and destroy nearby tiss...

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Malignant: 1. Tending to be severe and become progressively worse, as in malignant ...

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Malignant melanoma: See: Melanoma.

Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer, a malignancy of the melanocyte, the cell...

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Metastasis: 1. The process by which cancer spreads from the place at which it firs...

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Microscope: An optical instrument that augments the power of the eye to see small objects....

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Mole: 1. In dermatology a mole is a pigmented spot on the skin, Also called a nevus...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nevi: The plural of nevus.

Nevus: A pigmented spot on the skin, such as a mole. The plural of nevus is nevi.

Nitrogen: Element number 7, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is biologically impo...

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Node: Literally a knot, a node is a collection of tissue. For example a lymph node, is a ...

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Oncologist: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. After a ...

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Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special func...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pigment: A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the colors o...

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Precancerous: Pertaining to something that is not yet overtly cancerous, but appears to be...

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Punch biopsy: A biopsy that is performed by using a punch, an instrument for cutting and r...

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Radiation: 1. Rays of energy. Gamma rays and X-rays are two of the types of energy ...

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Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy rays to damage cancer cells, stopping them from ...

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Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive substances a...

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Recur: To occur again; to return. For example, a symptom, sign, or disease can recur.

Recurrent: Appearing or occurring again. For example, a recurrent fever is a fever that ha...

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Rejection: In transplantation biology, when the body's immune system attacks transplanted ...

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Scaling: Abnormal shedding or accumulation of an upper layer of skin (the stratum corneum)...

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Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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SPF (sun protection factor): A number on a scale for rating the degree of protection prov...

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Squamous cell carcinoma: Cancer that begins in squamous cells -- thin, flat cells that loo...

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Sunburn: Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin that develops in response to exposure to u...

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Sunscreen: A substance that blocks the effect of the sun's harmful rays. Using lotions tha...

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Superficial: In anatomy, on the surface or shallow. As opposed to deep. The skin is superf...

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Superficial spreading melanoma: One of the four clinical types of malignant melanoma, the ...

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Surgeon: A physician who treats disease, injury, or deformity via operative or manual meth...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. For example, a topical agent is applied ...

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Transplant: The grafting of a tissue from one place to another, just as in botany a bu...

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Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be ...

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Ulceration: The process or fact of being eroded away, as by an ulcer.

Vaccines: Microbial preparations of killed or modified microorganisms that can stimulate a...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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Xeroderma: Abnormally dry skin. Xeroderma can be caused by a deficiency of vitamin A, syst...

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Xeroderma pigmentosum: A genetic disease that is characterized by such extraordinary sensi...

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Medical Dictionary