Medical Terminology for Cancer
© Copyright 1996-2013
11: The Respiratory System (Breathing)
ContentsFunctions of the Respiratory System
The flow of air from the nose to the lungs
Roots, suffixes, and prefixes
Related Abbreviations and Acronyms
circulatory system as the O2 and waste CO2 are carried in the blood stream.
- The nose
- is a PASSAGEWAY FOR AIR and is also a sensory organ. It warms and moistens air, and hair like processes (cilia) filter the air before it reaches the lungs.
- The pharynx
- or "throat" is a funnel shaped tube acting as a passage way for air and food. The lowest portion of the pharynx joins the esophagus (food tube).
- The larynx
- or "voice box" is lined with mucous membrane, two folds of membrane divide the larynx in two, between these is the GLOTTIS which is the narrowest part of the air passage. The glottis is protected by a lid of fibro cartilage (the EPIGLOTTIS), this closes over the glottis when you swallow.
- The trachea
- or "windpipe" is a tube composed of cartilage and lined with mucus membrane lying in front of the esophagus. The trachea diverges into the right and left bronchi.
- The bronchi
- are "C" shaped rings of cartilage lined with ciliated mucus membrane that 'sweeps' out dust particles. The bronchi branch into SECONDARY BRONCHI as they enter the lungs, these further divide into BRONCHIOLES. As the secondary bronchi and bronchioles divide the walls become thinner and more elastic, branching into minute ALVEOLI which transfer gases in the lungs.
- The lungs
- are the main organ of respiration. In the lungs millions of ALVEOLI and blood Capillaries exchange Oxygen and carbon dioxide. Each lung is housed in a separate PLEURAL CAVITY (which in turn are located in the larger THORACIC CAVITY). PLEURA are SACS of membrane that line the pleural cavity to lessen friction caused by breathing.
- The diaphragm
- is the main muscle of respiration located at the base of the thoracic cavity. The muscle contracts and flattens so that the thorax and lungs have room for incoming air causing you to INHALE, it then relaxes causing you to EXHALE.
Most medical terms are comprised of a root word plus a suffix (word ending) and/or a prefix (beginning of the word). Here are some examples related to the Respiratory System. For more details see Chapter 4: Understanding the Components of Medical Terminology
|A-||lack of||anosmia = lack of the sense of smell|
|PNEA-||breath||dyspnea = difficult or painful breathing|
|BRONCH-||bronchi||Bronchoscope = instrument to examine the bronchi|
|LARYNG-||larynx||laryngitis = inflammation of the larynx|
|PULMO-||lung||pulmonary metastases = lung secondaries|
|PNEUM-||lung / Air||pneumonia = severe infection of the lungs|
|RHINO-||nose||rhinoplasty = cosmetic surgery, a 'nose job'|
- Lung Cancer Overview
- Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. The lungs are a pair of cone-shaped organs situated inside the chest, they bring oxygen into the body and take out waste carbon dioxide. There is a strong link between smoking and lung cancer. There
are two main categories of lung cancer; Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) , and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). World-wide over 1 million people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year.
Internet Resources for Lung Cancer
- Small Cell Lung Cancer
- Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) accounts for one quarter of all lung cancers. SCLC is also known as "oat cell" carcinoma because of the shape of the cancer cells.
Internet Resources for Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)
- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about three quarters of all lung cancers. Included in the NSCLC group of cancers are a) Squamous cell, or epidermoid, cancer which arises from cells that line the airways - this is the most common type of
lung cancer; b) Adenocarcinoma which arises in the mucus-producing cells that line the upper airways; and c) Large cell carcinoma.
Internet Resources for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
- Causes of Lung Cancer
- It is estimated that about 85% of lung cancers are caused by smoking, it is usually found in people who smoke or who used to smoke cigarettes. Lung cancer is also associated with passive smoking and exposure to radon (a radioactive gas).
Internet Resources for Smoking
- Head and Neck Cancer
- Head and neck cancers are malignancies arising in the upper aerodigestive tract (this includes: lip, tongue, salivary glands, mouth, oropharynx, nasopharynx, hypopharynx, nasal cavity, and larynx). Laryngeal (voice-box) cancer is the most frequent type,
accounting for about a quarter of head and neck cancers.
Internet Resources for Head and Neck Cancer
- Laryngeal Cancer
- Laryngeal cancer is a malignancy arising in the tissues of the larynx (voicebox). People who smoke have a higher risk of developing the disaese. Most laryngeal cancers are of squamous cell histology, these can be categorised as either keratinizing or
non-keratinizing. There are a variety of other non-squamous cell laryngeal cancers.
Internet Resources for Laryngeal Cancer
- Nasal, Paranasal, and Nasopharynx Cancer
- Internet Resources for Nasal Cancer
- Oral cavity, Lip, Salivary gland Cancer
- Internet Resources for Oral cavity Cancer
|ENT||Ear nose throat|
|FEV||Forced expectorant volume (a lung test)|
|IASLC||International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer|
|NSCLC||Non-small cell lung cancer|
|SCLC||Small cell lung cancer|
|SPOHNC||Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer|
|URTI||Upper respiratory tract infection|
|VEF||Ventricular ejection fraction (tests lung function)|
Further Resources (3 links)
- Respiratory System
SEER, National Cancer Institute
Part of a SEER training module for cancer registry staff.
- Respiratory System - Self Test questions
WebAnatomy, University of Minnesota
Test your anatomy knowledge with these interactive questions. Includes different question types and answers.
- The Respiratory System
Paul Andersen starts this video with a description of the respiratory surface. He explains how worms, insects, fish and mammals take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. He then tours the major organs of the respiratory system; from the pharynx to the trachea, bronchus, bronchiole and alveoli. He also explains how oxygen is carried on the hemoglobin and how carbon dioxide is carried as bicarbonate.
This guide by Simon Cotterill
First created 4th March 1996
Last modified: 1st May 2013