Penumbra, noun. Plural -brae.
1 a: a space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow on all sides and the full light. b: a shaded region surrounding the dark central portion of a sunspot.
2: a surrounding or adjoining region in which something exists in a lesser degree: fringe.
3: a body of rights held to be guaranteed by implication in a civil constitution.
4: something that covers, surrounds, or obscures: shroud.
[Origin: New Latin, from Latin paene almost + umbra shadow.]
“The allure and glamour of radical surgery overshadowed crucial developments in less radical surgical procedures for cancer that were evolving in its penumbra.”
1: enthusiastic vigor: vivacity, verve.
“Yet, even lacking such targets, Frei and Freireich had cured leukemia in some children. Even generic cellular poisons, dosed with adequate brio, could thus eventually obliterate cancer.”
1: having or occurring in great variety: diverse.
[Origin: Medieval Latin multifarius, from Latin multifariam in many places.]
“The biological characteristics of tumors were described as so multifarious as to defy any credible organization. There seemed to be no organizing rules.”
1: not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped: relentless.
[Origin: Latin inexorabilis, from in– + exorabilis pliant, from exorare to prevail upon, from ex– + orare to speak.]
“For an oncologist in training, too, leukemia represents a special incarnation of cancer. Its pace, its acuity, its breathtaking, inexorable arc of growth forces rapid, often drastic decisions; it is terrifying to experience, terrifying to observe, and terrifying to treat.”
All quotations from The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.