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SEER Training Modules

Exercise 12

Suffixes are added to words to incorporate additional meanings into the word. Some of the suffixes most relevant to the vocabulary of a tumor registrar are listed below. You should read the definition of each term used to illustrate the use of the suffix, but do not memorize them now. You will learn their meanings later in this training module.

  1. 1. These suffixes are used to indicate repeat action:
    • -itate — e.g., irritate: to simulate repetitively, to tease
    • -tate — e.g., agitate: to move repeatedly , to stir
  2. These suffixes are used to indicate the agent which performs the act:
    • -ist — e.g., anesthetist: one who administers anesthesia
    • -ter — e.g., sphincter: that which constricts
  3. These suffixes are used to indicate the surgical procedure done:
    • -ectomy — e.g., gastrectomy: excision or removal
    • -otomy — e.g., duodenotomy: incision into

    This is just a brief introduction to the medical terminology used in diagnostic and operative procedures. You will learn a great deal about medical terminology in the book on abstracting.

  4. There are many suffixes that indicate "the act of" or "the condition resulting from the action." Those you will encounter often are listed and used below:

    Word Element Example Definition of the Term
    -ion- lactation secretion of milk by mammary glands
    -tus diabetes mellitus a disease that impairs the ability of the body to use sugar
    -sus pulsus the result of heating; the pulse
    -xus plexus an interlacing; the result of turning or braiding
    -sia acro-esthesia increased sensitiveness; pain in extremities
    -sis hemoptysis a condition characterized by the splitting up or the coughing up of blood
    -tion aglutition inability to swallow
    -ence excrescence the result of an outgrowth
    -itus pruritus intense itching

The phrase "no general symptoms" sometimes will be described by the term asymptomatic (without symptoms). It is possible for a person to be examined for some problem not related to cancer, and the examination will reveal the presence of cancer. Also, cancer might first be diagnosed during a routine physical exam.

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