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Mesothelioma Dictionary

Mesothelioma Dictionary of Legal & Medical Terms
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S

Saline Solution
Water with dissolved salt comparable to the fluids contained in the body.
Salvage Therapy
Emergency treatment with an experimental drug of an illness that has not responded to standard therapy.
Sarcoidosis
A chronic disease characterized by the presence of multiple, benign, tumor-like nodules in the lungs and in various other tissues.
Sarcoma (sar-co-muh)
A malignant tumor growing from connective tissues, such as cartilage, fat, muscle, or bone.
Sarcoma, Ewing's
A malignant tumor starting in bone, affecting the bones of extremities. It often appears before the age of 20.
Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
A rare variant mesothelioma disease in which the cells have taken on an elongated, spindle-like form, similar in appearance to connective tissues. Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma is not the same as Sarcomatoid Carcinoma, although the two are easily confused. Primarily occurring among men, sarcomatoid carcinoma is strongly connected to the use of tobacco in the form of cigarettes. The main difference is in where they arise; sarcomatoid mesothelioma attacks the pleural lining of the lung, which is known as the mesothelium. Sarcomatoid carcinoma on the other hand arises from the epithelium, which is a tissue composed of cell layers that line the inner lungs, gastrointestinal tract and the reproductive and urinary tracts.
Sarcomatous Mesothelioma
type of mesothelioma arising from the mesenchymal cells of the mesothelium.
Scan
As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of the body by gathering information with a sensing device.
Scintillation Camera (sin-till-AY-shun)
Device used in nuclear medicine scans to detect radioactivity and produce images that help diagnose cancer and other diseases.
Screening
Testing for disease in people without symptoms.
Secondary Exposure
Secondary exposure to asbestos occurs among those who are exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers but not as a direct result of working with the material itself. Most often, such cases involve women or children who inhaled asbestos fibers that were brought home on the clothing of someone who did have direct daily contact with the material, such as a spouse, father, grandfather, or brother.
Secondary Tumor
A tumor that forms as a result of spread (metastasis) of cancer from the place where it started.
Sedimentation Rate
A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the rate at which the red blood cells settle to the bottom of the test tube.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)
A psychotropic drug (e.g., Prozac, Zoloft) that is used to relieve depression; SSRI drugs act by moderating levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Sensitivity
The ability of an organism to be affected by a drug or other agent (e.g., a virus is sensitive to AZT if AZT is able to prevent viral replication).
Sepsis
The presence of organisms in the blood.
Seroconversion
The development of antibodies against a microorganism; the change in a person's antibody status from negative to positive.
Serotonin
A neurotransmitter that has many effects, including blood vessel constriction and smooth muscle stimulation.
Serpentine Asbestos
Asbestos characterized by curly fibers with a layered or tiered structure. Chrysotile, or white asbestos, is a member of the serpentine group and is also the most common form of asbestos
Serous Fluid
The clear yellowish fluid which exudes from injured or inflamed tissues.
Settlement/Settle
The agreement reached between parties to a lawsuit to resolve the lawsuit without going to trial. The parties agree to “settle” the lawsuit, usually for a particular sum of money.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)
A disease (e.g., gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydiasis) that is transmitted through sexual contact.
SGOT
An enzyme produced by the liver. Elevated levels of SGOT in the blood indicate a liver problem.
Shingles
Occurs in people who have had chickenpox. The virus can wake up after many years. Most people who get shingles are old. It sometimes infects younger people, or people with a weak immune system. Stress may lead to shingles. The disease starts with tingling, itchiness, or pain on an infected person's skin. After a few days, the disease causes a rash. This rash may be on the trunk or face. The rash grows into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters dry out and crust over for several days. The worst time of the rash causes anything from mild itching to extreme pain. The rash is confined to one region of the body. See Herpes Zoster.
Side Effect
An action or effect of a drug other than that which is intended. The term usually refers to undesired or negative effects such as headache, skin rash or liver damage hair loss caused by chemotherapy, and fatigue caused by radiation therapy.
Sigmoidoscopy (sig-moid-AH-sko-pee)
A test to help find cancer or polyps on the inside of the rectum and part of the colon. A slender, hollow, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope is placed into the rectum. The doctor is able to look for polyps or other abnormalities.
Signal Transduction Inhibitors
Protein which inhibits signal transduction, the process by which extracellular signals induce intracellular responses. Usually a hormone or neurotransmitter binds to a cell surface receptor which is coupled to a second messenger system, such as that involving cAMP, or to an ion channel. The final downstream consequence of signal transduction is a change in the cell's function, such as a modification in glucose uptake or in cell division. Such a change may be the result of an activation or an inhibition event.
Silica
The chief component of sand and a substance responsible for lung disease and cancer. Silica is not asbestos.
Silicate
Refers to a compound that occurs in many minerals and rocks, eg, quartz, sand, agate
Silicosis
A fibrogenic pneumoconiosis caused by inhaling crystalline free silica (quartz) dust and characterized by nodular pulmonary fibrosis.
Simian Virus 40 (SV40)
Type of virus commonly found in monkeys; may produce infections in humans and malignancies in human cell cultures.
Simian virus 40- and mesothelioma in Great Britain. Price MJ, Darnton AJ, McElvenny DM, Hodgson JT. Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. BACKGROUND: Simian virus 40 (SV40) is a DNA virus that has been shown capable of infecting and transforming cells in various species. Laboratory studies have suggested that inoculation with SV40 is associated with various types of cancer, including mesothelioma. AIMS: To test the hypothesis, via an ecological analysis, that exposure to SV40 via contaminated polio vaccines is a risk factor for mesothelioma in humans. METHODS: Mesothelioma mortality rates in Great Britain for two birth cohorts likely to have been exposed to SV40 via poliovirus vaccination were compared with a birth cohort likely to be largely unexposed. RESULTS: There was some evidence for both males (P < 0.05) and females (P < 0.05) that the mesothelioma mortality rates were higher in the first exposed cohort: rate ratio (RR) = 2.4 [95% CI (confidence interval) 1.2-5.0] and RR = 3.7 (95% CI 1.0-14). However, in the second exposed cohort, mortality rates were elevated in females only, and the evidence was slightly less convincing (P = 0.055). CONCLUSION: Although the results for females show a reduction in the mesothelioma mortality rate coinciding with the introduction of the SV40-free Sabin polio vaccine, the absence of a similar result in males and of a priori biological evidence of a sex-specific SV40 effect, makes chance the most plausible interpretation of these findings.
Small Cell Lung Cancer
A type of lung cancer in which the cells are small and round.
SOB
Shortness Of Breath.
Solanacae
Of the plant kingdom genus that contains the group of plants including tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum, eggplant as well as the belladona family eg. Deadly nightshade.
Solasodine Glycosides
A family of steroidal compounds with sugar side chains found in most solanacae plants.
Solid tumor
A cancer that originates in organ or tissue other than bone marrow or the lymph system.
Soluble Mesothelin In Effusions
A useful tool for the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. Creaney J, Yeoman D, Naumoff LK, Hof M, Segal A, Musk AW, De Klerk N, Horick N, Skates SJ, Robinson BW. Department of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Verdun Ave, Nedlands 6009, Western Australia, Australia. BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is frequently difficult, the most common differential diagnosis being reactive pleural conditions and metastatic adenocarcinoma. Soluble mesothelin levels in serum have recently been shown to be highly specific and moderately sensitive for mesothelioma. As most patients with mesothelioma present with exudative effusions of either the pleura or the peritoneum, a study was undertaken to determine if levels of mesothelin were raised in these fluids and if the increased levels could help to distinguish mesothelioma from other causes of exudative effusion. METHODS: Pleural fluid was collected from 192 patients who presented to respiratory clinics (52 with malignant mesothelioma, 56 with non-mesotheliomatous malignancies and 84 with effusions of non-neoplastic origin). Peritoneal fluid was collected from 42 patients (7 with mesothelioma, 14 with non-mesotheliomatous malignancies and 21 with benign effusions). Mesothelin levels were determined in effusion and serum samples by ELISA. RESULTS: Significantly higher levels of mesothelin were found in effusions of patients with mesothelioma; with a specificity of 98%, the assay had a sensitivity of 67% comparing patients with mesothelioma and those with effusions of non-neoplastic origin. In 7 out of 10 cases mesothelin levels were raised in the effusion collected 3 weeks to 10 months before the diagnosis of mesothelioma was made; in 4 out of 8 of these, mesothelin levels were increased in the effusion but not in the serum. CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of mesothelin concentrations in the pleural and/or peritoneal effusion of patients may aid in the differential diagnosis of mesothelioma in patients presenting with effusions.
S-Phase Fraction (SPF)
The percentage of cells that are replicating their DNA. DNA replication usually means that a cell is getting ready to split into two new cells. A low SPF is a sign that a tumor is slow-growing; a high SPF shows that the cells are dividing rapidly and the tumor is growing quickly.
Special Access Scheme (SAS)
An Australian Government scheme that allows use of experimental Drugs under certain conditions and cicumstances.
Spinal Tap
A procedure in which a thin needle is placed in the spinal canal to withdraw a small amount of spinal fluid or to give medicine into the central nervous system through the spinal fluid.
Spirometer
The instrument that measures the amount of air entering or leaving the lungs.
Spleen
An organ of the lymphoid system located in the abdominal cavity. The spleen is a reservoir for macrophages and is an important part of the immune system.
Sputum
The mucus and other matter brought up from the lungs, bronchi and trachea that one may cough up, spit or swallow. "Sputum" is borrowed directly from the Latin "to spit." It is also called expectoration.
Sputum Cytology (spu-tum sigh-tahl-uh-gee)
A study of phlegm cells under a microscope to see whether they are normal or not.
Squamous Cell
A flat cell of the skin.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
A malignant deterioration of some of the squamous cells of the skin, frequently arising in the larger bronchi and commonly spread by direct extension and lymph node metastasis.
Stable Disease
Cancer that is neither decreasing nor increasing in extent or severity.
Stage
As regards cancer , the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. See also: Staging .
Staging
In regard to cancer, the process of doing examinations and tests to learn the extent of the cancer, especially whether it has metastasized (spread) from its original site to other parts of the body.
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 Treatment
The tested and most widely used treatments for a particular disease.
State-Of-The-Art
Has several meanings: (1) refers to medical, scientific and technological knowledge that what was reasonably known at the time the product was designed, manufactured or sold; (2) refers to evidence of industry customs, standards, or practices; (3) refers to a defense used by defendants where they claim lack of knowledge of the hazards of asbestos.
Statistical Significance
The probability that an observed outcome of an experiment or trial is due to chance alone. In general, a result of a clinical trial is considered statistically significant if there is a less than 5% probability that the difference observed would occur by chance alone if the treatments being compared were equally effective (i.e., a p-value of less than .05).
Statute Of Limitations (SOL)
The amount of time allowed for a suit to be filed. If a suit is not filed within the set time there is a ban against receiving compensation.
Stem Cell
Building block cells from which several different types of tissue cells can evolve. Many promising treatments may be possible if research is allowed to continued unabated.
Stenosis (steh-no-sis)
A narrowing (stricture) of a duct or canal.
Stereotactic Needle Biopsy (ster-e-o-TACK-tik buy-op-see)
A method of needle biopsy that is useful in some cases in which calcifications or a mass can be seen on mammogram but cannot be found by touch. A computer maps the location of the mass to guide the placement of the needle. (See also needle aspiration, needle biopsy.)
Steroid
a family of substances that share a similar chemical structure, including certain hormones (e.g., testosterone) and various drugs. Some steroid drugs are used to lessen inflammatory reactions. In bone marrow transplantation, a drug commonly used in combination with other drugs to prevent and control graft-versus- host disease.
Stoma
An artificial opening between two cavities or between a cavity and the surface of the body to allow elimination of body waste. (See also colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy.)
Stomatitis (sto-ma-ti-tis)
Inflammation or ulcers of mouth area. Stomatitis can be a side effect of some kinds of chemotherapy.
Strain
A specific genetic variant of a particular organism.
Stroma
The non-functioning supportive framework of an organ. The mesothelium which lines the pleura, peritoneum, and pericardium can be considered stroma.
Subcarinal
Denotes lymph nodes located below the bony ridge of the esophagus.
Subclavian Catheter
Central venous catheter placed into the subclavian vein just below the jugular vein.
Subcutaneous
Beneath the skin.
Subscriber
A person who enrolls in a health care plan and agrees to pay for premiums, co-payments and deductibles that are part of the plan.
Sue
To bring a legal action against a person, company, or other entity by filing a lawsuit.
Sulfonamide (Sulfa Drug)
A class of sulfur-containing antibiotic drugs (e.g., sulfadiazine) which cause sensitivity or adverse reactions in many people.
Summons
When a Plaintiff files a Complaint or Petition, the clerk of the court issues a summons that gives the Defendant notice of the lawsuit and commands the Defendant to answer by a certain date in a particular manner. A summons is generally served on the Defendant by a sheriff, marshal or other Process Server.
Superior Vena Cava
The main vein leading into the heart.
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.
Supraclavicular Lymph Nodes (su-prah-clah-VIK-u-lar)
Lymph nodes that are found just above the collarbone (clavicle).
Surgery
It is the branch of medicine concerned with diseases and conditions that require or are amenable to operative procedures on or within the body. Surgery is the work done by a surgeon to examine, remove or repair a diseased or potentially diseased portion of the body.
Surgical Biopsy
See biopsy.
Surrogate Marker
A marker or sign (e.g., viral load or CD4 cell count) that can serve in place of a clinical endpoint.
Survival
Living through and conquer illness and injury. Sometimes just getting to through the day is considered surviving.
Survival Action
This term refers to actions for personal injuries, which by statute survive the death of the injured person. A Personal Representative may bring survival actions on behalf of the deceased.
Survival Rate
The percentage of survivors with no trace of disease within a certain period of time after diagnosis or treatment. For cancer, a 5-year survival rate is often given. This does not mean that people can't live more than five years, or that those who live for 5 years are necessarily permanently cured.
SV40
A virus found in monkeys that may be linked to human mesothelioma and other cancers. The virus was found as a contaminate of polio vaccines in the United States in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.
Symptom
An indication or sign of disease. Pain and fever are examples of symptoms.
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.
Syncytium (Plural Syncytia)
A clump of cells whose membranes have fused to form a "giant cell." Strains of HIV are classified as either syncytia-inducing (SI) strains, which promote syncytia formation, tend to infect T-lymphocytes and are associated with rapid disease progression, and non-syncytia-inducing (NSI) strains, which tend to infect macrophages.
Synergistic Effect
A biologic response to multiple substances where one substance worsens the effect of another substance. The combined effect of the substances acting together is greater than the sum of the effects of the substances acting by themselves. This applies to asbestos and smoking for example.
Synergy (Synergism)
The action of 2 or more agents (e.g., drugs) working together to produce an effect greater than the combined effect of the same agents used separately.
Systemic
Affecting the whole body; not localized.
Systemic disease-A disease that affects the entire body instead of a specific organ. In cancer, this term means that the tumor that originated in one place has spread to distant organs or structures.
Systemic Therapy
Treatment that reaches and affects cells throughout the body; for example, chemotherapy.

Disclaimer: Mesothelioma Help Center’s Dictionary of Legal & Medical Terms is not designed to provide medical advice or professional services and is intended to be for educational use only. The information provided through Mesothelioma Help Center is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. If you have, or suspect you may have, a health problem you should consult your doctor. If you need legal help you should consult an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.

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Mesothelioma Symptoms

The most common Mesothelioma symptoms are the following:

Recent onset of shortness of breath (31%)
Recent increase in shortness of breath (30%)
Chest pain (43%)
 
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