Prostate Glossary

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abdominal-pelvic CT scan: A computed tomography (x-ray) scan that examines the organs of the abdomen and pelvis.

acid phosphatase test: A blood test that measures levels of a substance secreted by both normal and cancerous prostate-gland cells. Test is sometimes used to help determine the presence of metastatic prostate cancer. If levels are elevated above the normal value, the cancer is suspected to have spread beyond the prostate gland.

active surveillance: A strategy for managing prostate cancer in which the patient is regularly examined but is not treated until the disease shows signs of worsening. Sometimes called deferred treatment or watchful waiting.

acute urinary retention: An inability to urinate despite having the urge to do so, generally caused by an enlarged prostate gland blocking the passageway in the prostate from the bladder to the penis.

adenocarcinoma: A type of cancer arising from specific tissues that form glands. Nearly all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas.

adjuvant hormone therapy: The use of hormone therapy at the same time as another treatment, such as radiation therapy.

adrenal glands: A pair of organs located above the kidney that synthesize a number of important hormones, including adrenaline, androgens (in men), and steroids such as cortisol.

alpha blocker: Used to treat high blood pressure and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), this type of medication is often prescribed for chronic prostatitis.

agonist: A drug that can initiate the same activity or reaction as a substance that occurs naturally in the body.

alternative medicine: A therapy used in place of conventional medicine.

anaplastic: A more severe form of poorly differentiated cancer.

androgen-deprivation therapy: Another term for hormone therapy.

androgen-independent prostate cancer: Prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy.

androgen receptors: The parts of a cell that binds to androgens.

androgens: The male hormones. Generally, androgens refer to testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

anemia: A condition in which there is a low or inadequate amount of red blood cells. Red blood cells function to carry oxygen throughout the body; consequences of anemia include fatigue and shortness of breath.

anterior: Refers to the front portion of the body, gland, or organ.

anti-androgen: A type of drug that blocks the growth-promoting influence of androgens on the prostate gland and prostate cancer cells.

anti-androgen withdrawal response: A paradoxical effect in which stopping an anti-androgen causes prostate cancer to regress.

atypical small acinar proliferation: A condition in which cells look abnormal and are increased in number, but they don’t look abnormal enough to make a definitive diagnosis of cancer.

aspiration biopsy: A biopsy procedure in which tissue or clusters of cells are pulled through a syringe.

assay: A test or method for measuring a substance, usually in minute quantities.

autodonation of blood: A procedure whereby a patient donates his own blood for use at a later time, usually during future surgery.

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benign: The absence of cancer; opposite of malignant.

benign mimics: Cells that look like prostate cancer under the microscope but aren’t cancerous.

benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): Enlargement of the prostate gland, usually developing with age. It may be associated with an elevated PSA, but there is no cancer present in the gland.

biochemical recurrence: A post-treatment increase in PSA level, indicating that prostate cancer has recurred or spread following the original treatment for prostate cancer. Also referred to as a “rising PSA” following the original prostate cancer treatment.

biomarker: A distinctive biological indicator of an event, process, or condition.

biopsy: A procedure for obtaining samples of tissue to determine the presence or absence of disease. It can be done using a needle or as a surgical procedure.

bladder: The muscular sac that collects and stores urine made by the kidneys until it can be eliminated from the body.

blind biopsy: A biopsy in which the needle for obtaining tissue is placed into tissue where there are no specific abnormal areas to guide the procedure.

blood-thinning agents: Medicines that decrease the ability of the blood to clot; often given to patients following surgery to reduce the risk of blood clots.

body mass index (BMI): A measure of body fat that accounts for a person’s weight and height.

bone scan: A test in which a substance is injected into a vein. If any skeletal bones are abnormal, the material accumulates in the abnormal areas and can be detected by a special camera that takes pictures of the bones hours after the injection.

BPH: See benign prostatic hyperplasia.

brachytherapy: A type of radiation therapy in which small seeds of radioactive material are placed into the prostate gland. Also called interstitial radiation therapy or “seeds.”

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cancer: The presence of abnormal or malignant cells that have lost normal regulatory controls of growth; cancer cells may also spread to other parts of the body and grow.

carcinoma: A type of cancer that includes adenocarcinoma, or most prostate cancer.

castrate: The term used to describe dramatically low levels of testosterone. This state is achieved through the surgical removal of the testicles, or by taking medication (hormone therapy).

castration: Surgical castration involves the removal of the testicles. Chemical castration refers to the use of hormone therapy to dramatically lower testosterone without removing the testicles.

castration-resistant: The term used to describe a prostate tumor that continues to grow despite low levels of male hormones (androgens).

catheter: A narrow flexible tube inserted into the urethra and up into the bladder to allow passage of urine when someone is unable to urinate.

chemoprevention: The use of drugs to prevent the development of cancer.

chemotherapy: The use of specific chemicals (drugs) to eradicate cancer cells. For prostate cancer, these include cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, estramustine, and paclitaxel.

combined androgen blockade: The use of an anti-androgen with an LHRH agonist to block all androgen activity—not only the production of testosterone, but also its action in the prostate itself.

complementary medicine: Therapies used in conjunction with conventional medicine. Sometimes referred to as integrative medicine.

computed tomography (CT) scan: A type of radiological test in which organs can be visualized with the aid of x-rays and computers.

computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan: An older term for a computed tomography (CT) scan.

contrast medium: A chemical injected into or ingested by someone undergoing an imaging scan to improve the clarity of the images.

core: A piece of tissue obtained in a biopsy procedure.

cortisone: An anti-inflammatory medicine that contains a common type of steroid.

cryosurgery: A surgical procedure that eliminates abnormal tissues with extreme cold. In prostate gland cryosurgery, coils are placed into the gland, which freezes and eventually kills the tissue, including both cancer and normal cells.

cryotherapy: A surgical procedure that eliminates abnormal tissue by freezing it.

culture: Sample of bacteria gown in a laboratory in sufficient quantities to be studied.

cytopathologist: A specialist in pathology who is able to interpret details of cellular structure.

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definitive radiation therapy: The use of radiation treatments to treat and cure a patient of his or her cancer.

definitive treatment: The primary treatment for a disease, one that is intended to cure.

diethylstilbestrol (DES): A female hormone used to treat men with prostate cancer by suppressing testosterone production.

differentiated: A term used to describe the normal process of cell development; applied to cancer, it describes how closely the cancer resembles the organ from which it originated. The terms well differentiated, moderately differentiated, and poorly differentiated are commonly used as a way of grading cancer.

digital rectal examination (DRE): A part of the physical examination in which the physician puts a gloved finger into the rectum and examines the prostate gland and rectum for abnormalities that can be detected by touch.

dihydrotestosterone (DHT): A male hormone (androgen) that influences the growth and development of both normal prostate tissue and prostate cancer.

disseminated prostate cancer: Cancer found throughout the gland, or in the case of metastatic disease, throughout the body; opposite of focal.

disseminated recurrence: The reappearance or return of a cancer in multiple areas of the body.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): The molecule that makes up the genes and determines the inherited characteristics of the individual and the functioning of the cell, tissue, or organ.

downstage: To lower the stage assigned to the cancer, usually following some treatment intervention.

DRE: See digital rectal examination.

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ejaculate: The semen; the bodily fluids (including the sperm) that are discharged through the penis during orgasm. It contains many secretions of the prostate gland.

elevated PSA: A value of PSA that is outside and above the normal range established for the PSA test. See prostate-specific antigen.

endogenous testosterone: Testosterone produced by the body.

epididymis: A structure in which developing sperm are stored while they mature.

epidural block: Analgesia or anesthesia produced by an injection to the area between the vertebral bones of the back.

epithelial cells: Closely packed cells that constitute the epithelium, the tissue that covers internal organs and lines ducts, blood vessels, and other body parts.

erectile dysfunction (ED): A more specific term for impotence that refers to the inability to have and to maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse.

exogenous testosterone: A form of testosterone produced outside the body.

external-beam radiation therapy: A type of radiation therapy that uses an external source (called a linear accelerator) of radiation, which is aimed at the cancer.

extracapsular: When referring to the prostate gland, the tissues surrounding the natural boundary of the prostate gland. Extracapsular disease is cancer that has spread to these surrounding tissues.

extraprostatic: Disease that has spread beyond the prostate gland.

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fecal incontinence: Leakage of stool from the rectum.

5-alpha reductase: An enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. The latter stimulates prostate growth.

focal prostate cancer: Cancer found in one or a few small nests within the gland.

focal therapies: Treatments that target individual spots of prostate cancer instead of the entire gland.

follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): A hormone released from the brain that controls the function of sperm production from the testes.

free PSA: PSA that floats freely in the bloodstream, unbound to other proteins. See prostate-specific antigen.

free testosterone: Testosterone that floats freely in the bloodstream, unbound to carrier molecules, and is readily available to cells.

frequency: The urge to urinate on a frequent basis.

frozen section: A sample of tissue that is taken during a biopsy procedure, frozen, and then immediately examined under the microscope.

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gastroenterologist: A physician who specializes in the treatment of intestinal disorders; often the person who helps evaluate patients with diarrhea or rectal bleeding following treatment of prostate cancer with radiation therapy.

Gleason score: A system of identifying and grading the appearance of prostate cancer, as viewed under the microscope. Scores range from 2 to 10.

GreenLight (KTP) laser prostatectomy: A surgical technique to treat BPH that allows surgeons to use high-energy lasers to remove large amounts of prostate tissue with little bleeding.

gynecomastia: Breast enlargement occurring in men.

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hematospermia: A condition in which blood is seen in the ejaculate.

hesitancy: Difficulty in initiating urination.

high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU): A treatment that ablates tumors with heat generated by ultrasound energy.

hormone refractory disease: When referring to prostate cancer, disease that is no longer sensitive to the beneficial effects of hormone treatments.

hormone therapy (for prostate cancer): Treatments (medical or surgical) intended to reduce or eliminate the supply of male hormones to the prostate and metastases, causing cell death and slowing cancer growth.

hot flashes: Sweats or a hot and flushed feeling; a side effect of hormonal therapy for prostate cancer.

hot spots: Slang term to indicate abnormal areas in the bones likely to contain cancer, as determined by bone scan.

human-protection board: A committee of scientific and lay people, usually organized within a hospital, who oversee the use of experimental and investigational treatments and the study of new treatments in humans.

hydronephrosis: Distention of the kidney with urine, occurring when the ureter and the flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder are blocked.

hypogonadism: A condition characterized by extremely low levels of testosterone.

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idiopathic: Having no apparent cause.

immunohistochemistry (IHC): Applying histochemical and immunologic methods to chemical analysis of living cells and tissues. Helps to differentiate benign mimics from prostate cancer.

impotence: The inability to obtain or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse; also called erectile dysfunction.

institutional review board: See human-protection board.

intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): A type of radiation therapy that allows doctors to change the intensity of radiation within each of the radiation beams.

intermittent hormone therapy: Treatment for prostate cancer that alternates cycles of hormone therapy with off-treatment periods.

interstitial implants: The placement of radioactive seeds into the prostate gland, usually as a treatment for prostate cancer; brachytherapy.

interstitial radiation therapy: See brachytherapy and interstitial implants.

intracavernosal injection therapy: The injection of substances into the shaft of the penis to allow erection in impotent patients; a method of treating erectile dysfunction.

investigational treatment: The use of medicines not yet formally approved by the FDA for the treatment of various disease conditions; or the use of approved medications for medical conditions when this use has not yet been approved by the FDA.

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laparoscopy: A surgical procedure in which a tube is placed into the abdomen, allowing an examination of the abdominal contents; often used to examine and biopsy lymph nodes around the prostate gland. Laparoscopy is also used instead of open surgery to remove the prostate gland.

latent cancer: A cancer that is detected incidentally during a patient’s lifetime, but that may be inactive.

lesion: A general term indicating any abnormality; usually found during physical examination, on radiological evaluation, or at surgery.

LHRH agonists: Drugs used to treat prostate cancer by preventing the secretion of luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone, which prompts testosterone production.

linear accelerator: A type of radiation machine that delivers high-energy radiation waves to diseased areas of the body, usually in the treatment of cancer.

localized: When used alone or with the term cancer, generally refers to cancer that is limited to a specific gland, without any distant spread; an organ-confined cancer.

local recurrence: The reappearance of a cancer in a localized area, such as the prostate gland. This generally refers to an area that has previously been treated.

luteinizing hormone (LH): A hormone released from the brain that controls the production of androgens by the testes.

luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LHRH): A hormone released from the brain that controls the release of luteinizing hormone.

luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LHRH) analogue: A chemical hormone similar in structure to luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone that is used as a treatment for prostate cancer.

lymph-node dissection: See lymphadenectomy.

lymph nodes: Small specialized clusters of tissues that help fight infections and capture cancer cells that have moved out of a given tissue or organ.

lymphadenectomy: The surgical removal of lymph nodes, usually done as a staging procedure in the evaluation of patients with prostate cancer. Also called lymph-node dissection.

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magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A test that relies on magnetic fields to visualize abnormalities in the body.

magnetic resonance spectroscopy: An enhanced type of MRI that analyzes the chemical composition of tissues; important because particular chemical “signatures” are associated with cancer.

margin: In reference to the prostate gland, the outermost surface of the gland that is removed during radical prostatectomy.

margin positive: The term used to indicate that the margin of the prostate gland, removed at surgery, contained cancer at its outermost surface.

medical oncologist: A physician specializing in the medical treatment of cancer.

metabolic syndrome: A cluster of attributes that increase the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

metastatic: Refers to cancer that has spread throughout the body, beyond the organ or tissue in which it originated.

micrometastases: Cancer cells outside the primary tumor, such as in the lymph nodes, that are still too small to be detected by CT or bone scan or by physical examination.

microRNA: Short strands of RNA.

microscopic cancer: Cancer that can be detected only with the aid of a microscope.

moderately differentiated: A term applied to the appearance of a cancer that resembles to a moderate degree its tissue or organ of origin.

multidisciplinary: Involving health care providers from different fields who combine their expertise and skills to provide care; a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment might involve physicians from different specialties, nurses, and social workers.

multimodality: The combination of several disciplines or specialties in managing and recommending treatment for a patient with cancer. An example includes a team consisting of a surgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist.

myelogram: A radiological procedure that visualizes the spinal canal; it is performed by placing a substance into the spinal space that outlines the spinal cord, allowing definition of the structures of the spinal area.

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nadir: The lowest level; often used in reference to prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml): A small quantity of a substance; equivalent to 1 one-billionth of a gram (454 grams make 1 pound) in 1 one-thousandth of a liter (1 liter is approximately 1 quart).

National Cancer Institute: A large governmental organization that oversees research and treatment policies for cancer. Located in Bethesda, Md., it is part of the larger National Institutes of Health.

neoadjuvant hormonal therapy: The use of hormonal treatment of prostate cancer before prostatectomy or radiation therapy.

nerve-sparing: When referring to prostatectomy, the surgical procedure that preserves the nerves necessary for potency. Also called anatomic prostatectomy.

neuroradiologist: A physician specializing in performing and interpreting radiological tests that evaluate the spinal cord and brain.

neurovascular bundles: Band-like structures that run alongside the prostate gland and contain the nerves and blood vessels necessary for the maintenance of erectile functioning and potency.

nocturia: A condition characterized by waking from sleep with the need to urinate one or more times during the night.

nocturnal penile tumescence test: A test that analyzes a man’s erections while he sleeps; helpful in evaluating erectile dysfunction.

nodal: Pertaining to the lymph nodes or contained within the lymph nodes.

nomogram: A chart or graph of mathematical calculations of risk; used in making treatment recommendations and predicting outcomes.

nuclear medicine: The specialty concerned with the use of radioactive materials (radioisotopes) for the diagnosis and treatment of disease; includes bone scans.

nucleic acid: A class of organic molecules that includes DNA and RNA.

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observation: Monitoring or observing a patient without performing any active interventions.

oncologist: A physician who deals with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. There are three types of oncologists: medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgical oncologists.

open prostatectomy: A surgical procedure in which prostate tissue is removed through an incision in the abdomen.

orchiectomy: The removal of the testicles, usually as a type of hormonal therapy for prostate cancer.

organ-confined: A cancer that is contained within the prostate gland without extension to the prostate capsule or beyond.

orthostatic hypotension: An abnormally low blood pressure, dizziness, and lightheadedness, especially occurring while sitting or standing up from a lying-down position.

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palliative: Treatments intended to relieve symptoms rather than effect a cure.

palliative radiation therapy: The use of radiation treatments not to cure cancer, but to alleviate cancer symptoms, such as pain.

pathologist: A physician who specializes in the interpretation of tissues and organs as viewed under the microscope. Pathologists determine the presence or absence of cancer in tissue and organ specimens.

pathology, pathologic findings: The report of any abnormalities or signs of a disease, based on direct examination (usually by a pathologist or other physician) of tissues or organs.

PDE 5 inhibitors: Drugs that block PDE, an enzyme that breaks down erection-producing chemicals. These drugs can help a man achieve and maintain an erection.

penile implant: A device surgically placed in the penis that allows a man to have an erection firm enough for intercourse.

penile rehabilitation: Therapy to increase the chances that a man’s erectile function will return following treatment for prostate cancer.

performance status: The general state of health and functioning of an individual, evaluated using a standard numeric scale.

perineum: The area between the scrotum and the anus.

perineural invasion (PNI): Cancer this is around a nerve or a group of nerves.

placebo: A pill with no active ingredients, or a “dummy” treatment.

poorly differentiated: A term applied to the appearance of a cancer that does not resemble the organ or tissue of origin. By examining the cancer, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the origin of the cancer.

positive biopsy: A biopsy that shows the presence of cancer cells.

postoperative: The period of time, generally 30 days, following an operation.

post-void residual: The amount of urine left in the bladder after urinating.

preoperative: The period of time leading up to an operation.

proctitis: The inflammation of the lower rectum, generally resulting from radiation. The main symptom is diarrhea, often containing blood.

prodrome: An early symptom indicating a disease is developing.

prognosis: The prediction of how well the patient is likely to do (with or without treatment of the disease), as estimated from symptoms, pathology, and other diagnostic information.

progression: The growth and spread of the cancer, either by direct extension or metastases.

prostatectomy: The surgical removal of the prostate gland.

prostate gland: A walnut-shaped gland at the base of the bladder in men that’s involved in reproductive functioning.

prostate-specific antigen (PSA): A substance secreted by the prostate gland, some of which passes into the bloodstream. It can be abnormally elevated in patients with prostate cancer, benign enlargement of the gland (see benign prostatic hyperplasia), or other conditions. See PSA-based screening, PSA density, and PSA velocity.

prostatic carcinoma: Cancer of the prostate gland.

prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN): A condition in which epithelial cells lining the acini (tiny sacs) and ducts in the prostate become abnormal but the lining itself remains intact. A form known as high-grade PIN may be a precancerous condition.

prostatic urethra: That portion of the urethral tube that passes through the prostate gland.

prostatic urethral stent: A small, springlike cylinder, typically made of titanium, designed to relieve pressure from prostatic tissue and improve urine flow. It is positioned in the narrowed area of the urethra and released to widen the channel.

prostatitis: A benign condition characterized by pelvic pain and urinary problems. It can be caused by a bacterial infection of the prostate, but most cases occur in the absence of any identifiable bacteria.

proteinuria: Excessive amounts of protein in the urine, a sign that kidney function may be impaired.

proton beam radiation therapy: A highly focused form of radiation therapy that uses proton beams.

PSA: See prostate-specific antigen.

PSA-based screening: A measurement of PSA levels in the blood to determine whether additional studies, such a a biopsy, should be done to detect prostate cancer. See prostate-specific antigen.

PSA density: The amount of PSA (as measured in the bloodstream) divided by the volume or size of the prostate gland (as measured by ultrasound examination). See prostate-specific antigen.

PSA velocity: The rate of change of PSA over time. See prostate-specific antigen.

pudendal nerve: Structure that carries sensory, motor, and autonomic signals to the skin and muscles of the perineum, the external anal sphincter, and, in men, the penis and scrotum.

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radiation oncologist: The preferred term for radiation therapist.

radiation therapist: A physician specializing in using radiation to treat cancer.

radiation therapy: A treatment designed to kill cancer cells by using high-energy waves aimed directly at the cancer-containing tissue.

radiation treatments: The use of sophisticated machines that generate radiation to treat (not diagnose) cancer.

radical prostatectomy: A surgical procedure in which the prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and lymph nodes are removed. This is one of several standard procedures for treating prostate cancer.

radiological evaluation: A battery of tests, usually using x-ray machines and performed by a radiologist to determine the presence or absence of abnormalities in various organs throughout the body.

radiologist: A physician who performs and interprets the results of x-ray tests, usually to diagnose various conditions; different from a radiation oncologist, who treats patients with radiation.

radiology: The branch of medicine that uses x-rays and specialized machines to diagnose various disease conditions.

radiotherapy: Treatment with radiation.

rectal examination: See digital rectal examination.

recurrence: The reappearance of cancer.

refractory (resistant): A disease is said to be refractory when it is no longer responsive or sensitive to the treatment being given.

regional: When used with cancer, generally refers to cancer that is no longer localized to the gland; cancer spread may be present outside the organ but is still close to it.

remission: A condition in which a cancer is under control or shrinking and responding favorably to anticancer treatment.

resectoscope: An instrument that permits a surgeon to view the prostate during transurethral resection.

residual disease: Cancer that is missed by treatment because it is undetected or proves to be more extensive than originally thought.

restage: To reassess the anatomic areas where a cancer is located. This is usually done by repeating the battery of tests that determined the original stage of cancer.

retrograde ejaculation: An adverse effect of prostate surgery and some medications that causes semen to flow back into the bladder rather than out through the penis.

risk factor: A characteristic or feature that predisposes an individual to develop a certain type of cancer or other disease; a feature whose presence may affect prognosis.

RNA (ribonucleic acid): A nucleic acid that carries out DNA’s instructions for making proteins.

robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy: A type of laparoscopic prostate surgery that is performed with the aid of computer-guided robotic arms. The surgeon sits at a computer console near the operating table, guiding the arms.

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salvage: A term used when a secondary procedure (for example, radiation therapy or surgery) is used, following the failure of the initial treatment to control or cure the cancer.

salvage therapy: A second procedure (such as radiation or surgery) used following the failure of a the initial treatment to control or cure cancer.

screening test: A test that seeks to identify the presence of an abnormal condition or disease in people who have no specific symptoms or complaints.

scrotum: The saclike structure that contains the testes or testicles.

semen: Fluid that contains sperm and secretions from the testicles, seminal vesicles, and prostate; ejaculate.

seminal vesicles: Structures surrounding the prostate gland involved in storing and screening prostate gland secretions.

sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG): A molecule that binds tightly to testosterone and carries it through the bloodstream.

spot radiation therapy: The use of radiation therapy in limited and well-defined areas for the control of symptoms or to prevent the progression of cancer.

stage of cancer: The level of advancement of cancer. The three general stages are localized, regional, or disseminated (metastatic). Specific stages are identified using the tumor, nodes, and metastases, or TNM, system.

staging tests: A series of blood tests and radiological tests done to determine the extent (stage) of cancer in a patient.

statins: A class of drugs that lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Also called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

symptomatic: The presence of specific complaints resulting from a disease process.

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testosterone: A male hormone, or androgen, involved in the growth and development of the prostate gland and prostate cancer.

testosterone-replacement therapy: The treatment of low testosterone with testosterone supplements.

titrating: Increasing the dosage of a medication to an effective range over a period of days or weeks.

total androgen blockade: The use of two forms of hormonal therapy (either orchiectomy and anti-androgen or LHRH analogue and anti-androgen) for the treatment of prostate cancer; also called complete androgen blockade, maximum androgen blockade, or complete hormonal therapy.

transient: Temporary (as in a transient complication); a complication that is self-limited (does not result in a permanent complication).

transrectal ultrasound (TRUS): A sound wave test, using a probe inserted in the rectum, that creates a picture of the prostate gland and surrounding structures.

transurethral: Through the urethra, usually referring to instrumentation or a surgical procedure in which an instrument is placed into and through the urethra.

transurethral electrovaporization of the prostate (TVEVP): A procedure used to treat BPH that uses electrical energy to heat, vaporize, and cauterize prostate tissue.

transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP): An operation used to treat BPH in which incisions are made in the prostate tissue to relieve pressure on the urethra and alleviate urinary difficulties.

transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT): A heat therapy for BPH that uses microwaves to destroy prostate tissue that obstructs urine flow.

transurethral needle ablation (TUNA): A procedure that uses radio waves to heat and destroy prostate cells obstructing the urethra.

transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP): A treatment for BPH that removes “chips” of prostate tissue through the urethra to relieve the urinary symptoms caused by benign enlargement of the gland.

TRUS: See transrectal ultrasound.

tumor burden: A term used to describe the amount of cancer present, based on radiological tests, surgical findings, or physical examination.

TURP: See transurethral resection of the prostate.

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ultrasound-guided biopsy: A needle biopsy performed by using ultrasound to visualize and target the abnormality to be sampled.

understaging: An underestimate of the stage of the cancer, due to limitations in the sensitivity of available diagnostic tests.

urethra: In men, the tube that passes from the bladder through the prostate gland to the tip of the penis. It carries urine and other secretions out of the body.

urethral: Referring to the urethra, the tube passing from the bladder through the prostate gland to the tip of the penis in men, and the bladder to the outside in women.

urgency: The immediate need to urinate.

urinary incontinence: The leakage of urine from the bladder.

urinary retention: The inability to urinate, usually caused by a blockage of the urinary flow.

urologist: A surgical specialist dealing with urology.

urology: Surgical specialty dealing with diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive system.

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vas deferens: The tube that transports sperm from the epididymis to the seminal vesicles for storage. This tube is removed during a vasectomy.

vasectomy: Surgical removal of the tube that carries secretions involved in ejaculation; generally used as a contraceptive measure in men.

vertebral: Referring to the vertebrae, the bones that make up the back and surround the spinal cord.

virulent: Term used to describe a cancer that behaves in an aggressive fashion by spreading or metastasizing.

void: Another term for urinate.

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well differentiated: A term applied to the appearance of a cancer that resembles, to a great degree, its tissue or organ of origin.

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x-ray: A general term used to signify the use of radiation to detect abnormalities for diagnosis, as in x-ray test.