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Glossary


S

  • S-100 B - A protein secreted by malignant melanoma cells and being investigated as a tumor marker.
  • Satellite Metastases - Areas of visible tumor growth extending beyond the primary melanoma.
  • Screening - The process of looking for melanoma while it is still without symptoms and in its most-curable form.
  • Seborrheic Keratoses - Raised, benign, waxy-looking lesions resulting from excessive growth of keratinocytes. They can appear on either sun-exposed or covered areas and range in color from tan to dark brown or black.
  • Sentinel Lymph Node - The first lymph node to receive drainage from a given tumor site and therefore the most likely to harbor metastatic disease, if any lymph nodes are involved.
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - A procedure in which the sentinel node is identified and removed for microscopic examination to determine whether the cancer has spread beyond its original location.
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping - A diagnostic procedure used to determine the first lymph node or nodes that drain a tumor. After being identified, the sentinel lymph node may be removed and examined for possible lymph node involvement.
  • Shave Biopsy - Type of skin biopsy in which the top layers of the skin are "shaved" off with a surgical blade. Shave biopsies are most useful in diagnosing superficial, benign skin diseases that do not require a deep-tissue sample.
  • Side Effect - A result of drug or other therapy which is in addition to the desired therapeutic effect.
  • Site Biopsy - Removal of tissue by a doctor or surgeon using a scalpel or other instrument designed for cutting.
  • Skin - The outer covering of the body and the body's largest organ, consisting of an outer layer (epidermis), an inner layer (dermis), and a layer of fatty tissue (subcutis). The skin protects underlying tissue and internal organs from injury and microorganisms, controls the loss of water and other fluids, and regulates body temperature.
  • Skin Cancer Screening - Examination of apparently healthy individuals in order to detect unrecognized skin cancer or precancerous lesions.
  • Skin Grafting - A procedure in which skin from another part of the body is taken to cover a surgical excision.
  • Skin Lesion - Any benign or malignant growth on the skin. Benign growths include moles and freckles; malignant growths include skin cancer, such as melanomas.
  • Skin Self-Examination - Checking one's own skin from head to toe for signs of melanoma, including changes in existing moles and the development of new moles. Self-examination is the most effective way to find melanoma in its early, most-treatable stages.
  • SPF - Sun protection factor.
  • Squamous Cells - Flat cells located in the middle layer of the epidermis that make keratin, an important skin protection. Squamous cells are a type of keratinocyte.
  • Squamous-Cell Carcinoma - A type of skin cancer arising from squamous cells.
  • Stage - The extent of a cancer within the body; especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. The stage of disease usually correlates with prognosis. The system for staging melanoma has 4 main stages: stages I and II for melanoma confined to the skin; stage III for lymph node involvement; and stage IV for spread of melanoma to other organs.
  • Staging - A process of determining how far melanoma has advanced.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery - A high-precision method of radiation therapy in which several powerful beams of radiation located at different angles around the head come together to focus precisely on a brain tumor.
  • Subcutis, Subcutaneous Tissue - Layer of fat located under the dermis. The subcutis conserves heat and helps protect the body’s organs from injury. Also known as the subcutaneous layer.
  • Subungual Melanoma - See Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM)
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) - A scale for measuring how long a sunscreen protects the skin from UVB rays before sunburn occurs compared with how long it takes to burn without protection. Sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher provide the best protection from the sun's harmful rays.
  • Sunblock - A substance that physically deflects ultraviolet rays and is recommended for people who are out in intense sun for long periods of time.
  • Sunburn - A reddening of the skin caused when ultraviolet radiation damages blood vessels close to the skin's surface. Sunburn occurs when the skin cannot produce protective melanin quickly enough or in sufficient quantity.
  • Sunscreen - A substance that helps to absorb, reflect, or scatter most of the sun's harmful rays. Recommended sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays and have an SPF of at least 30. Using lotions or creams that contain sunscreens can help protect the skin from premature aging and damage that may lead to cancer.
  • Superficial Spreading Melanoma - The most-common type of melanoma, spreading along the epidermis for a period of months to years before penetrating more deeply into the skin. The melanoma appears as a flat or barely raised lesion, often with irregular borders and variations in color. Lesions most commonly appear on the trunks of men, the legs of women, and the upper back of both sexes.
  • Surgery - An operation to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out whether disease is present.
  • Surgical Oncologist - A surgeon who specializes in treating patients who have cancer and who has usually received subspecialty training in cancer management.
  • Symptomatic - Producing obvious signs or symptoms of disease.
  • Systemic Treatment - A treatment using substances that travel through the bloodstream to reach and affect cancer cells all over the body. Systemic treatments include chemotherapy and immunotherapy.