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Trish's Pathology Dictionary Trish's Pathology Dictionary

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Unread 06-23-2001, 02:00 PM
Trish's Pathology Dictionary

This is intended to be a dictionary of terms that show up in pathology reports and doctor's conversations here in the land of hyster. If you have any that you want the definition for, just add your question to this thread. Or if you have a good definition, just add it to the thread and I'll check it out. When it gets more complete it'll be a pulldown. When I've added a term, I'll delete the post, partly for my brain but also so people won't have so much to wade through.

I'm going to be relying a lot on the On-line Medical Dictionary at

Acute: Severe or sharp (as in, an acute pain).

Adenocarcinoma: A specific kind of cancer that involves cells from the lining of many different organs in the body. For instance, breast cancer is a type of adenocarcinoma, also endometrial adenocarcinoma.

Adenomyosis: When the endometrial lining is abnormally thickened and extends into the fibrous and muscular layers of the uterus. Usually happens only in women who've had kids.

Adenomyosis externa: Same thing as endometriosis.

Atypia: Vague term meaning the cells are changing from normal. Can be benign or malignant.

BSO: Bilateral (or both) salphingo (the Fallopian tubes) oopherectomy (removal of the ovaries). So the removal of both ovaries and both tubes.

Carcinoma in situ: Cancer that involves only the cells in which it began and has not spread to other tissues. So, ductal carcinoma in situ is only in the ducts where it started.

Cervicitis: Inflammation of the cervix most likely caused by bacteria. It can spread into the abdominal cavity, so it needs to be dealt with.

Chronic: Long period of time, long lasting.

CIN: Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. premalignant changes in the surface of the cervix.

CIN 1: Mild or early development and spread of abnormal cells in the cervix.

CIN 2: Moderate development and spread of abnormal cells in the cervix--up to 2/3 of the thickness of the cervix's surface layer has abnormal cells.

CIN 3: Severe development and spread of abnormal cells in the cervix, most or all of the surface layer is abnormal.

CIS: Carcinoma in situ--cancer of the squamous cells of the cervix that hasn't invaded other areas (in situ = in place).

Colposcopy: Procedure to examine the cervix through a magnifying device to detect abnormal cells.

Cone biopsy: Procedure that cuts a cone of tissue (mucous membrane) off the cervix to diagnose the condition of the cells. Also used to remove precancerous cells.

Corpus luteum: Glandular mass in the ovary that forms when the egg is released by the follicle during the menstrual cycle. If the egg is fertilized, then it stays around and produces progesterone. If the egg is not fertilized, then it dissolves. If it doesn't dissolve when it's supposed to, it forms a cyst.

Cyst: A sealed up sac that contains liquid or semi-solid material.

Dysplasia: Abnormal cells--abnormal in size, shape, organization, and/or development.

Endometrial carcinoma: Cancer of the cells that line the uterus.

Endometrium: The lining of the uterus that grows thicker and thicker until a woman menstruates and sloughs it off.

Endometriosis: The normal uterine mucous membrane (the endometrium), containing typical endometrial granular and stromal elements, appears in various locations in the pelvic cavity outside the uterus, where it doesn't belong.

Epithelial abnormalities: Abnormal cells on the surface of an organ.

Epithelioid: Having something to do with the epithelium.

Epithelioid smooth muscle tumor: A lump of smooth muscle cells that are in the interior surface of the uterus.

Epithelium: The covering of internal and external surfaces of the body.

Fallopian tubes: The ducts or "canals" that carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus.

Fibroid: Benign smooth muscle tumor of the uterus.

Hemorrhagic: Bleeding, full of blood.

Hemorrhagic corpus luteal cyst: (see corpus luteum) A cyst that has hung around too long. If premenopausal, then it's most likely benign but dangerous because it can get infected and turn into peritonitis if it bursts. If postmenopausal, then a likely cause is cancer and it has to be biopsied.

Hyperplasia: Normal cells in a normal arrangement, multiplying at an abnormal rate in a tissue (any tissue).

Leiomyosarcoma: Malignant tumor of smooth muscle origin, such as a uterine fibroid. Can occur elsewhere in the body (for example, blood vessels are smooth muscles). Surgery is the treatment of choice.

Leiomyomata: Multiple fibroids (smooth muscle tumors).

Menorrhagia: Excessive uterine bleeding occurring at the regular intervals of menstruation, the period of flow being of greater than usual duration. From the Greek Rhegnynai = to burst forth (must be doctor's humor).

Metaplasia: Change from one type of normal cell into another type of normal cells. Some cells from the ducts in the cervix turn into squamous cells at the point of contact.

Myometrium: Smooth muscle layer of the uterus.

Nabothian cyst: A cyst formed when chronic inflammation of the cervix closes off a mucus duct

Parakeratosis: Cell nuclei persisting in the upper layer of mucous membranes. Parakeratosis shows up in psoriasis.

Paratubal: Beside, beyond, associated with the tubes (in our case, Fallopian tubes)

Proliferative: Whatever it is that follows is multiplying and spreading.

Proliferative phase: The normal time in the menstrual cycle when the endometrium grows thicker.

Smooth muscle: Usually the involuntary muscles, like those in blood vessel walls, surrounding the intestine, and in the uterus.

Smooth muscle tumor: A lump made up of smooth muscles cells.

Squamous: Cells, usually surface, that look scaly, can be either "normal" or cancer.

TAH: total abdominal hysterectomy or removal of uterus and cervix through an abdominal incision.

Trabecula: A transverse partition that divides or partly divides a cavity.

Trabeculated: Crossbarred.

Tunnel clusters: Structure that develops in the cervix with aging. Uniform normal glands in the cervical mucous membrane.

TVH: total vaginal hysterectomy or removal of uterus and cervix through an incision in the vagina.

Uterine cancer: Cancer anywhere in the uterus.
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