06.11 Hematology Oncology & Immunology Terminology

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Included In This Lesson



  1. Hematology, Immunology & Oncology 
  1. Divisions of blood
  2. Divisions of the lymphatic system
  3. Oncology Considerations
  4. Related Terms

Nursing Points


  1. Divisions of Blood
    1. Red – erythr/o
    2. White – leuk/o
    3. Clot – thromb/o
    4. Granules – granul/o
    5. Cell – -cyte
    6. Attraction for – -phil
    7. Blood condition  – -emia
    8. Abnormal condition of cells – -cytosis
    9. Deficiency – -penia
    10. Blood – hem/o or hemat/o
    11. Hemoglobin – hemoglobin/o
    12. Neutral (base or acid) – neutr/o
  2. Divisions of the lymphatic system 
    1. Protection – immun/o
    2. Lymph – lymph/o
    3. Lymph node – lymphaden/o
    4. Lymph vessel – lymphangi/o
    5. Spleen – splen/o
    6. Thymus – thym/o
  3. Oncology Considerations
    1. Carcinogenesis & Growth
      1. Growth – -plastic or -plasia
      2. Formation – -genesis
      3. Causing genetic change – mutagen/o
      4. Tumor – onc/o or -oma
    2. Classes 
      1. Carcinomas
        1. Largest group of cancers 
          1. Come from epithelial tissue
        2. Can come from glands (aden/o)
        3. Cancer – carcin/o
      2. Sarcomas
        1. Come from connective tissues 
        2. Flesh (connective tissue) – sarc/o
      3. Mixed tissue tumors
        1. Involve both epithelial and connective tissue
        2. Rare 
        3. Examples
          1. Wilms tumor (renal embryonal adenosarcoma)
          2. Ovaries & testes (teratoma – contains bone, muscle, skin, etc.) 
    3. Treatments
      1. Drug – pharmac/o
      2. Rays (x-rays) – radi/o
      3. Chemical/Drug – chem/o
      4. Therapy – -therapy
      5. To Stop – -suppression
    4. Related Terms
      1. One/Single – mon/o
      2. Shape/Form – morph/o
      3. Removal – -apheresis
      4. Destroy/Breakdown – -lytic
      5. Attraction – -philia
      6. Formation – -poiesis
      7. Stopping – -stasis
      8. Fiber – fibr/o
      9. Follicle – follicul/o
      10. Dead/dying – necr/o
      11. More/many – ple/o
      12. Polyp – polyp/o
      13. Immature cells – -blastoma


In this lesson, we’re going to talk about medical terms that deal with hematology, oncology, and immunology.

When we talk about our blood, we’re talkin about all of the components that are in Blood and blood plasma, which are all these different cells. We use medical terms to differentiate all the different types of cells. So red blood cells are erythrocytes, because erythro means red. White blood cells are called leukocytes, because the term leuko means White. When it comes to platelets, they’re a little bit different because we have to look at what they actually do. Platelets form clots, so this is why we use the term thrombocyte to describe platelets, because thrombo means clot.

Sometimes we need to use medical terms to describe different conditions all of our blood. So if we think there’s a deficiency, we will use the suffix penia. If a patient has low levels of white blood cells, we would say the patient has leukopenia. We will also use the suffix emia to describe just a generalized blood condition. So let’s say a patient has a condition that’s altering their hemoglobin. We would add the combining form hemoglobino,  and the suffix emia, and say the patient has a hemoglobinemia.

Moving on to the lymphatic system, we recognize it has an important role in Immunology. If you look at the medical term immuno, it means protection. So Immunology is the study of the  protective mechanisms of the body. When were talking about the lymph system we use the term lymph to describe actual lymph fluid or the lymph system itself. When we talked about the lymph node specifically we refer to them as a lymphadeno. So a patient that has a condition with all of the blood cells would have some sort of lymphadenopathy. Anytime we deal with the spleen will use the medical term spleno  and for the thymus will actually use the term thymo.

Now oncology is a bit more complicated. We have to first look at the beginning stages of cancer. We were talking about  carcinogenesis, or the beginning stages of cancer, we look at growth and formation. Genesis is the term used for formation, and growth is described with the term plastic or plasia.  The term neo means new, so neoplasia would be new growth. For many oncology providers, neoplasia is a general term for cancer, until they get to the specific classes which will talk about in a second. Anytime you’re dealing with a tumor, you’ll use the terms onc/o or -oma.  for example, the study of tumors is called oncology.

What’s important to know about the classes is that  there are three different types of classes for cancer generally speaking. Carcinomas come from epithelial tissue, sarcomas come from connective tissue, and it makes tissue tumors have both. The differences  between the 3 are and how we describe them. So a type of cancer that comes from epithelial tissue can come from the lands as well. We either use the term Adeno, or carcino. it’s not uncommon to have a tumor that has both gland and epithelial origin. So this would be an adenocarcinoma.

Now we use the term term Sarco to describe sarcomas, which literally means flesh, but we’re talking about connective tissues.  When it comes to mixed tissue tumors, they are extremely rare, but a couple of examples of these are Wilms tumors, which are renal embryonal adenosarcomas. If we break this down,  we can see that it starts in the kidney, it’s formational, because we’re looking at the term embryonal which refers to an embryo, and it’s an ad no sarcoma meaning that it comes from a gland and it comes from connective tissue.  Another type of these mixed tissue tumors are teratomas, and they contain bone, muscle, skin, or other types of tissue.

Last thing we want to look at when were talking about oncology are the different types of treatments, and the medical terms used to describe those treatments.  There are obviously different types of therapies, used with the medical term therapy, but they can have different Origins. So a patient can have radiotherapy, which is sometimes called radiation therapy, and radio waves or x-rays to treat tumors, or they can have chemotherapy, which is the use of chemicals or drugs to treat tumors.

The medical term that you should be aware of is the term suppression, which means to stop. Some drugs are immunosuppressive, which means that they are suppressing the immune system from working.

To go along with this lesson are some related terms that you may see, and it’s important that you take a look at these. We’re not going to go over all of them, but some come into play here. Sometimes the word Morpho will play into hematology or oncology. If a cell is polymorphic, it means that it has multiple shapes, and that could mean that  it could change the diagnosis for a patient. Another term you may see is apheresis, which is the removal of something. Some patients will need to go through a procedure called plasmapheresis where their plasma is removed and filtered and then returned to them. It’s really similar to dialysis. Another term that you may see is stasis, such as hemostasis which is the process of stopping something and in the term hemostasis it’s actually to stop blood.

A couple of other terms that you may see are fibro which means fiber. So that could be something like a fibrosarcoma. The other term that you may see is necro, which means dead or dying. If something is necrotic, that means that it is in the process of dying,  or has died. The best thing that you can do for all of these terms is to practice them because they are a little bit more complicated.

That’s it for our lesson on hematology, immunology, and oncology, and all the medical terms associated with them. Make sure you check out all the resources attached to this lesson. Now, go out and be your best self today, and as always happy nursing.