Of course, I have heard physicians refer to a tumor as a "mass," I suspect because it is an undifferentiated mass of cells. I guess it is an undifferentiated volume of cells as well. Come to think of it, this is the first language I have learned in which cancer is not obviously related to crab, so calling it a "volume" might be the least strange part of the Greek oncological vocabulary we have learned.
The word "cancer" though is just a translation of ancient-greek καρκίνος (which was used for the animal as well) and if i remeber it correctly the reason for this is because the swollen veins/blood vessels of the tumor reminded Hippocrates (who was the first to use this vocable) of crab-legs.
And crawfish makes sense, since that is how the zodiacal Cancer is depicted in the medieval manuscripts I have seen. My question, though, was not about καρκίνος, but rather κάβουρας, which sounds Turkish to me, though the Turkish word for crab is yengeç. The second dictionary you linked looks like it talks about an etymology at the bottom here, but I cannot read it yet well enough. It might be suggesting an ancient form κάβαρος, which sounds much more Greek to me. http://www.greek-language.gr/greekLang/modern_greek/tools/lexica/triantafyllides/search.html?lq=%CE%BA%CE%AC%CE%B2%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%82dq= Actually, thanks for pointing out the second dictionary again. I'm going to be using Digenis Akritas in a class next semester, so that Medieval Greek dictionary may come in handy.
We call it a 'mass' because it's just that: a mass of tissue that stands out, irrespective of contents. =) Other scientific names include 'lump' (a mass in the neck/breast) and 'growth' (if the mass is a tumour). Non-tumourous tissue form masses too, usually normal tissue in the wrong place (hernias, ectopy, swellings—even pregnancy)!
It's one of the accepted translations.
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