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What Did My Doctor Say?

The special words doctors and nurses use can be hard to understand. You may see or hear these words at your doctor’s office, on the Internet, on the radio or TV, or in newspapers or magazines. We call these words “medspeak.” The Medical Library Association created this site to help you understand what a doctor or nurse tells you. You’ll find tips on how to understand many health words. The terms on this site were created with the help of the Working Group for Health Literacy, Massachusetts Health Sciences Library Network (MAHSLIN)
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  • SARCO

    This is part of a word. It means flesh or soft tissue.Sarcoma means cancer of the soft tissue.
  • SCHIZO

    This is part of a word. It means divide or split. For example, a schizoid person is split off from other people.
  • SCLER, SCLERO

    This is part of a word. It means hard. Arteriosclerosis means hardening of the arteries. Arteries are the blood vesselsthat move blood away from the heart.
  • SCLEROSING ADENOSIS

    This means a benign (not cancer) condition with increased, abnormal growth of scar-like tissues in the breast's lobes.
  • SEPSIS

    This is an infection. It can make you sick. It is sometimes called blood poisoning.
  • SEROCONVERSION

    This is when the body makes higher amounts of antibodies. Antibodies can fight HIV.
  • SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE (STD)

    This is a disease you can get from having sex.
  • SOFT TISSUE

    These are soft parts inside the body. Examples of soft tissues are muscle, fat, or nerves.

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