· sagittal [saj´ ih tal] The front to rear plane of the body (chest to back).
· SAQ Sexual Adjustment Questionnaire. A quality of life assessment tool.
· sarcoma [sar ko´ ma] A tumor that arises from connective tissue, bone, cartilage or striated muscle. It spreads by extension into neighboring tissue or by way of the blood stream. Sarcomas are often highly malignant.
· scans Images of structures inside the body for diagnosis and to monitor progress. The most common scans are the CT and MRI. To improve clarity of the images, contrast agents (special dyes) or radioactive substances might be prescribed and allowed to circulate in the body before the scan is made.
· schwannoma [schwah no´ ma] A benign brain tumor that originates in the Schwann cells which produce the myelin that protects a nerve. If the schwannoma is on the 8th cranial nerve (the nerve of hearing), it is called a vestibular schwannoma or an acoustic neuroma.
· screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms; usually performed on high-risk individuals, e.g. lung x-rays for those who smoke.
· second primary A second type of cancer in an already diagnosed cancer patient. The second cancer is not related to the first.
· secondary tumor Cancer that has spread from the organ in which it arose to a new site. Also called a metastatic cancer.
· SEER Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results. A program of the National Cancer Institute, SEER is the source of most of the published cancer statistics in the United States. It collects data from cancer registries representing about 15% of the total US population to represent the country as a whole.
· seizure [see´ zhur] A sudden attack that causes a wide range of repetitive, involuntary movements, behaviors and sensations; caused by abnormal electrical activity in the cerebral hemispheres of the brain. Also called convulsion, epilepsy.
· selective Discriminating, choosy. A term used in relation to 1) the blood brain barrier, which is selectively permeable; 2) antibodies, where antibodies will bind only to particular
cells, a trait that is crucial for effective drug or radiation delivery; 3) other forms of treatment whose success relies on limiting the types of tissue affected.
· sella [sel´ ah] The saddle-shaped, hollowed extension of the sphenoid bone that contains the pituitary gland. The full name is sella turcica.
· sella turcica [sel´ ah • tur´ sik ah] The saddle-shaped, hollowed extension of the sphenoid bone that contains the pituitary gland.
· senses, somatic Senses other than the special senses — touch, pain, temperature, pressure, vibration, tickling, proprioception (sense of body position).
· senses, special Sight (vision), hearing (auditory or acoustic), balance (vestibular), taste (gustatory), smell (olfactory).
· sensitive Responsive to, affected by.
· sensory Sensation, the senses. Information from the external or internal environment. The “sensory cortex” is located in the postcentral gyrus in the parietal lobe.
· sequela [sih kwel´ ah] A condition caused by a disease, a consequence of a disease. For example, hearing loss due to an acoustic neuroma.
· serum [sere´ um] The clear liquid that separates from blood when it clots. This fluid retains any antibodies that were present in the whole blood.
· SFR Spatially Fractionated Radiation. A method of delivering radiation based on the knowledge that if radiation is limited to small areas, a much larger dose can be used without undue risk. SFR directs many small beams of radiation to a large tumor instead of one or more larger beams. Also called GRID.
· shunt A drainage system. Spinal fluid flows through a surgically implanted tube from a ventricle in the brain into a body cavity. Often used to relieve increased intracranial pressure caused by brain tumors blocking the flow of spinal fluid. The ventriculo-atrial shunt empties into the heart; the ventriculo-peritoneal shunt empties into the abdomen.
· side effects Symptoms related to treatment or experienced following treatment. Common side effects of cancer treatments include nausea and vomiting, hair loss, decreased blood
counts and/or mouth sores.
· signaling pathways The molecular steps preceding and following an action by any gene or gene product. The way cells regulate functions such as cell replication, movement, etc. The way cells communicate, signal, or “talk” to one another.
· single blind study A technique that might be used in a clinical trial to prevent bias on the part of a patient. Patients are not told whether they are receiving standard treatment or the new treatment being tested, but their doctors know.
· sinus A cavity or channel from one area to another; in the brain, veins drain through several sinuses.
· site Location in the brain or spinal cord.
· skull base The bony areas that support the bottom of the brain.
· skull base tumors Tumors located along the bones that form the bottom of the skull, or along the bony ridge in back of the eyes are called skull base tumors. These tumors are most often chordomas, meningiomas, glomus jugulare, schwannomas or metastatic tumors.
· SmartBeam Brand name of a method used to shape the radiation beam used in IMRT.
· SNDA Supplemental New Drug Application. The application a pharmaceutical company files with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to obtain approval to market a drug for an indication in addition to its original purpose.
· SNO Society for Neuro-Oncology. A multidisciplinary professional organization dedicated to promoting advances in neuro-oncology through research and education.
· SOB Shortness of breath.
· social worker A licensed professional who provides counseling to patients, their families and other healthcare professionals, as well as connecting them to essential community resources.
· SoCRA Society of Clinical Research Associates, a professional society.
· SOMA Subjective Objective Management Analytic. A mental ability scoring tool used to assess the effects of radiation on normal brain tissue.
· somatic cells [so mat´ ik] All cells in the body except for eggs and sperm (germ cells).
· somatic Refers to the wall of the body. Excludes the internal organs (viscera) of the abdomen and chest.
· Somatosensory Evoked Potentials Somatosensory-evoked potentials measure the electrical response (evoked potential) of an area of the brain which has been delicately stimulated by a special probe. Used to pre-determine the function of critical areas of brain tissue so those areas can be avoided during surgery and more extensive tumor removal can be achieved. Abbreviated SSEP.
· somatotropin Growth hormone, produced by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland.
· spasticity [spas tis´ ih tee] Increased involuntary muscle contraction.
· spatially fractionated radiation A method of delivering radiation based on the knowledge that if radiation is limited to small areas, a much larger dose can be used without undue risk. SFR directs many small beams of radiation to a large tumor instead of one or more larger beams. Also called GRID.
· specialists Highly trained individuals: doctors who are board certified in their area of expertise who usually have undergone some years of additional training via fellowships; health care professionals who have undergone specialized training and are certified or licensed in their area of expertise. Some of the specialists involved in caring for brain tumor patients are:
neurosurgeons, neurologists, radiation oncologists and therapists, medical oncologists, dieticians, psychologists, endocrinologists, physiatrists, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, nurses, anesthesiologists, neuro-oncologists, neuropathologists, ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, pharmacists, physician’s assistants, and speech pathologists.
· SPECT Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography. A scanning technique that uses radioactive materials.
· speech (and language) therapist A professional trained to assist patients in restoring speech and communication functions.
· SPF Sun Protection Factor. A system indicating the amount of sun screen protection in a product.
· sphenoid sinus [sfe´ noyd • sigh´ nus] An opening through the sphenoid bone of the skull that connects with the nasal cavity.
· spinal cord Nerve fibers that begin in the medulla oblongata of the brain stem and continue through the hollow center of the bones of the spine.
· spinal cord tumors Tumors of the spine or spinal cord. Common tumor types include metastatic tumors, chordomas, schwannomas, meningiomas, astrocytomas and ependymomas.
· spinal fluid The clear fluid made in the ventricular cavities of the brain that bathes the brain and spinal cord. It circulates through the ventricles and the subarachnoid space. Also called cerebrospinal fluid, and abbreviated CSF.
· spinal tap Needle penetration into the subarachnoid space of the lumbar spine. Used to withdraw a sample of spinal fluid for examination or to inject a dye into the spine prior to a myelogram. Also called lumbar puncture.
· spine The backbone, consisting of 33 segments called vertebrae: 7 cervical (the neck); 12 thoracic (the chest); 5 lumbar (the waist and lower back); 5 sacral (fused into one sacrum); and 4 coccygeal (fused into one coccyx), the tailbone.
· SPORE Specialized Programs of Research Excellence. A National Cancer Institute funded program of clinical research that focuses on research designed to convert novel ideas into interventions that can help people with cancer or those at risk for cancer.
· SRS Stereotactic radiosurgery.
· SRT Stereotactic radiotherapy.
· S/S, S&S Signs and Symptoms of a disease. Signs are what doctors see or measure; symptoms are what the patient feels.
· SSA Social Security Administration.
· SSI Supplemental Security Income.
· SSDI Social Security Disability Insurance.
· stable disease The tumor is staying the same size; it is not
getting bigger or smaller.
· stage, staging A method of indicating if a tumor has spread beyond its site of origin. Malignant brain tumors might spread into the cerebrospinal fluid, to the spinal cord and throughout the brain. The system of staging for cancers elsewhere in the body (called the TNM system) generally does not apply to brain tumors.
· stalk A stem. Often refers to the pituitary stalk that connects the pituitary gland to the hypothalamus.
· standard treatment An effective, approved treatment — as opposed to an investigational treatment.
· state-of-the-art treatment Treatment using the most current and effective tools and techniques available. Individuals practicing state-of-the-art health care attend and participate in professional meetings and often participate in clinical research.
· stem cells Immature, uncommitted cells that can develop into one of various different types of cells. Stem cells are of interest to the research community because of their ability to replace injured or absent cells, and for other potential therapeutic uses.
· stem cell or bone marrow transplantation
1. A procedure to replace bone marrow destroyed by high doses of anticancer drugs or radiation. Transplantation can be autologous (the person’s own marrow or stem cells saved before treatment), allogenic (marrow or stem cells donated by someone else) or syngenic (marrow or stem cells donated by an identical twin).
2. Stem cell transplantation is also being investigated as a source of replacement cells for those that have been injured or are absent and to treat a host of other diseases.
· stereotactic [steh ree o tak´ tik] Precise positioning in three dimensional space. Refers to surgery or radiation therapy directed by various scanning devices. Also called stereotaxis.
· stereotactic needle biopsy A needle biopsy accomplished with stereotactic guidance systems — a combination of computers and MRI or CT scanning equipment.
· stereotactic radiosurgery [steh ree o tak´tik] A special, focal form of radiation therapy that uses a large number of narrow, precisely aimed, high dose beams of ionizing radiation. The beams are aimed from many directions circling the head, and meet at a specific point: the tumor. The treatment is delivered in one session. Stereotactic radiotherapy or fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery is stereotactic radiosurgery delivered in multiple fractions over a period of time. Commonly abbreviated SRS.
· stereotactic radiotherapy [steh ree o tak´ tik] A radiation therapy technique that uses a large number of narrow, precisely aimed, highly focused beams of ionizing radiation, delivered in divided doses over a period of time (fractionated). The beams are aimed from many directions circling the head, and meet at a specific point. Stereotactic radiotherapy is abbreviated SRT.
· stereotactic surgery The use of computers to create a three dimensional image is called stereotaxy. Its purpose is to provide precise information about a tumor’s location and its position relative to the many structures in the brain. Stereotaxy can be used by the surgeon to map out the surgical procedure beforehand, to plan and simulate or during the surgery itself.
· stereotaxic biopsy A computer guided needle biopsy. A needle biopsy is performed by making an incision in the skin and then drilling a small hole into the skull. A narrow, hollow needle is inserted through the hole and into the tumor. A small amount of tumor is drawn up into the needle. Also called a stereotactic needle biopsy.
· steroids [stair´ oidz] Medications used to decrease swelling and inflammation around tumors. Also called glucocorticosteroids or corticosteroids.
· stomatitis [sto ma tie´ tus] Inflammation of the cells (mucous membrane) lining the mouth, a possible side-effect of chemotherapy. One form of mucositis.
· STR Subtotal resection.
· strabismus [strah biz´ mus] Imperfect eye coordination (crossed eyes) due to an eye muscle imbalance.
· stratify Grouped by like characteristics. In a clinical trial, patients are stratified into sub-groups so that more accurate comparisons can be made. For example, astrocytoma patients might be stratified by the grade of their tumor or the extent of their resection.
· study arm One of the treatments offered in a clinical trial. Also called arm, treatment arm.
· subarachnoid space [sub ah rack´ noyd] The space between the arachnoid and the pia mater membranes of the meninges through which cerebrospinal fluid flows.
· subcutaneous [sub cue tay´ nee us] Beneath the skin.
· subependymal giant cell astrocytoma [sub ep en´ dih mul • as tro sigh toe´ ma] A grade I astrocytoma, it is the ventricular tumor associated with tuberous sclerosis.
· subependymoma [sub ep en dih mow´ ma] A grade I, benign tumor that most often arises in the 4th ventricle or one of the lateral ventricles.
· suicide gene Carried to the tumor by a harmless virus, the gene changes the tumor’s genetic structure slightly so that a unique protein is produced. An anti-viral drug is then given which converts the protein into a toxin that kills the tumor cells.
· sulcus [sull´ kus] A groove, crease or crevice on the surface of the brain. Also called a fissure. The lateral fissure (fissure of sylvius) divides the temporal lobe from the frontal and parietal lobes; the central fissure divides the frontal and parietal lobes; the parieto-occipital fissure divides the parietal and occipital lobes. Sulci occur between adjacent gyri. The singular of gyri is gyrus. The plural of sulcus is sulci.
· superficial [sou purr fish´ al] Close to the surface.
· support group A group of people with a similar disease or illness who meet to discuss how better to cope with their illness and its treatment.
· suppressor T cells A subset of T cells that turn off antibody production and other immune responses.
· supratentorial [sou pra ten tor´ ee al] Above the tentorium, in the upper part of the brain. Also called the supratentorium.
· surgery [sir´ jer ee] The physical removal of a tumor during an operation. Also called resection. Often used with an adjective, for example, macroscopic total resection — removal of all visible tumor; partial or subtotal resection — some visible tumor could not be removed.
· SWOG Southwest Oncology Group. A clinical cooperative group funded by the National Cancer Institute organized to test new treatments in adult cancer patients.
· symptom A change from normal function, sensation or appearance as described by the patient or someone close to them.
· syngenic transplant [sin jen´ ik] Material such as blood, bone marrow or stem cells that is donated and received between identical twins.
· systemic [sis tem´ ik] Affecting or circulating throughout the body.
· systemic therapy [sis tem´ ik] Treatment using substances that circulate in the bloodstream thereby affecting the entire body.