Last modification: 2024/01/15

This is a glossary of a number of special words and medical terms used by this information service.

A B C D E F G H I L M N O P R S T U V W X    all  

paediatric oncologist
paediatrician who is specialized on the management of children and adolescents with cancer

Paget`s disease syn. osteodystrophy deformans
here: bone disease the cause of which has not yet been clearly elucidated; it begins insidiously and is accompanied by curvature and thickening of one or more long bones, corresponding deformities and pain.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: patients with Paget`s disease have an increased risk of developing bone tumours for reasons that are not yet clearly understood.

palliative therapy
anti-cancer therapy that is primarily aimed at maintaining or improving the quality of life; palliative therapy becomes relevant when a patient can no longer be cured. In contrast, curative therapy is primarily aimed at healing the patient.

a physician who identifies diseases and determines the malignancy of tumours by means of histological and molecular genetic examination of cells and tissues

peripheral nervous system (Abrev.: PNS)
can be described as the receiving and executing organ of the central nervous system (CNS); it consists of the numerous nerves that run through the body; they carry impulses either from the periphery to the CNS (sensory nerve pathways) or from the CNS to the periphery (motor nerve pathways). The peripheral nervous system includes, for example, the cranial nerves, spinal cord nerves and peripheral nerve cells.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: partial functions of the peripheral nervous system may be impaired by certain tumours (e.g. some CNS tumours).

Perlman syndrome
a very rare hereditary disorder associated with tall stature, high mortality in the early stages of life, kidney malformations, nephroblastomatosis and kidney tumours; the disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner and is one of the cancer predisposition syndromes.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: children with Perlman syndrome have a very high risk of developing a (often bilateral) Wilms tumour.

smallest, punctual bleedings of the skin and/or mucous membranes

Peyer`s patches
heaps of lymphatic nodules in the intestine (ileum), which, as part of the immune system, play an important role in defending against infection in the intestine; due to the further dissemination of immunological information, they are important for the entire immune system.

rare tumour, in about 10 % of cases malignant; it predominantly develops in the adrenal medulla, less often in the area of the sympathetic trunk. It occurs more frequently in connection with familial disease syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasms (MEN syndromes), neurofibromatosis and Hippel-Lindau disease.

phosphorus (Abrev.: P)
chemical element essential for human life; phosphorus compounds are, for example, components of DNA and RNA, the carrier substance of the genetic information of all living organisms, as well as of cell membranes. Furthermore, they play an important role in cell metabolism (e.g. energy metabolism). Phosphates are also an elementary component of the pH buffer system in the blood.
References: genetic

physical examination
an important part of diagnostic examinations; includes palpation and listening to certain body organs as well as testing reflexes to obtain indications of the nature or course of a disease.

pineal gland syn. glandula pinealis
hormone gland attached to the diencephalon between the two cerebral hemispheres; its function is the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes the body respond to changes in light conditions.

pituitary gland
endocrine gland inside the skull; together with the hypothalamus, it plays a central role in the regulation of hormones in the body. The pituitary hormones stimulate the production and secretion of hormones in the various hormone glands of the body (such as thyroid, mammary glands, ovaries, testicles). For example, they control growth prior, during and after puberty, promote the growth of internal organs and the development of germ cells in the ovaries or testicles and have an influence on metabolism.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: After irradiation of the brain (e.g. as part of the treatment of certain brain tumours), there may be disturbances in the function of the pituitary gland and subsequent hormonal imbalances requiring treatment.

pleural effusion
excessive fluid accumulation in the pleural cavity, i.e. in the chest between the lungs and ribs, or more precisely, between the lungs and the pleura

positron emission tomography
an imaging, nuclear medicine procedure based on the principle of scintigraphy, which can be used in cancer medicine to visualize tumours or metastases. To detect tumour tissue, a radioactively labeled sugar compound is administered. Since tumours have a higher metabolism than healthy tissue, the radioactive substance is increasingly taken up and stored by the tumour cells. The tumour cells enriched with this substance emit signals that are captured by a special camera (PET scanner) and converted into an image (tomogram).

posterior cranial fossa
part of the bony skull that includes the cerebellum, part of the brainstem (the back of the bridge = pons), the 4th cerebral ventricle, and the confluence of the venous blood ducts (confluens sinuum)
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: the posterior cranial fossa ist the location of some of the primary brain tumours such as medulloblastoma or cerebellar astrocytoma.

following surgery

prior to surgery

primary tumour
the tumour that developed first, from which metastases can originate

primary urine
largely protein-free filtrate, which is produced by the renal corpuscles during the blood flow to the kidneys; the composition of primary urine corresponds to blood plasma. In addition to water, it contains small molecules (e.g. electrolytes, amino acids, glucose, lactate, citrate). On the way through the renal tubules, the secondary urine is formed from the primary urine through absorption and secretion processes. In an adult, about 180 liters of primary urine are produced daily. Only about one percent of the primary urine (1.8 liters) enters the bladder as so-called secondary urine and is excreted as urine.
References: blood plasma - molecule

prediction of the course and outcome of a disease / prospect of recovery

prognostic factors
factors that allow an approximate assessment of the further course of the disease (i.e. the prognosis);
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: prognostic factors in cancer medicine are, for example, the size, location and/or spread of a tumor, its malignancy or the age and state of health of the patient. Which factors play a particularly important role in the course of the disease depends on the type of cancer.

protein kinase
enzymes that lead to the activation, or less commonly, inactivation of a protein or other organic molecule by chemical modification (phosphorylation)
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: in many cancers, cancer-promoting genes (oncogenes) are activated by a mutation. The activated oncogene often codes for a protein kinase that accelerates tumour growth. The inhibition of such protein kinases has become an important treatment approach in cancer therapy. The corresponding substances are called protein kinase inhibitors.

the process of sexual maturation; the period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction

removal of fluids and pieces of tissue from the body using special instruments (e.g. hollow needles) for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes