Glossary of Terms


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  • Active Surveillance

    Closely monitoring a patient diagnosed with prostate cancer prior to some future possible treatment. Similar to “watchful waiting,” monitoring typically involves annual biopsies and quarterly PSA blood tests. Treatment is undertaken when the biopsy results worsen, PSA rises or the patient decides he wants to pursue treatment.


  • Adenocarcinoma

    A cancer originating in glandular tissue. Prostate cancer is classified as adenocarcinoma of the prostate.


  • Adjuvant

    An additional treatment used to increase the effectiveness of the primary therapy. Radiation therapy and hormonal therapy are often used as adjuvant treatments following a radical prostatectomy.


  • Agonist

    A chemical substance that combines with a receptor on a cell and initiates an activity or reaction. See LHRH analogs.


  • Algorithm

    A step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end, especially by a computer.


  • Alpha-Blockers

    Drugs used to improve urination by relaxing the internal sphincter of the urethra.


  • Analog

    A synthetic version of a drug or one of the body”s chemicals.


  • Androgen

    A hormone that produces male characteristics. See testosterone


  • Androgen Deprivation Therapy

    A therapy designed to inhibit the body’s production of androgens (male hormones). See also Hormonal Therapy.


  • Androgen-dependent cells

    Prostate cancer cells which are nourished by male hormones and therefore are capable of being destroyed by hormone deprivation (also known as androgen-sensitive cells).


  • Androgen-independent cells

    Prostate cancer cells which are not dependent on male hormones and therefore do not respond to hormonal therapy (also known as androgen-insensitive cells).


  • Androgens

    The male hormones, such as testosterone.


  • Anesthetic

    A drug that produces general or local loss of physical sensations, particularly pain. A “spinal” is the injection of a local anesthetic into the area surrounding the spinal column.


  • Aneuploid

    Having an abnormal number of chromosomes, as revealed by ploidy analysis. Aneuploid prostate cancer cells tend not to respond well to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).


  • Angiogenesis

    The body”s formation of new blood vessels. Some anti-cancer drugs work by blocking angiogenesis, thus preventing blood from reaching and nourishing a tumor.


  • Antagonist

    A chemical substance in the body that acts to reduce the physiological activity of another chemical substance.


  • Anti-androgens

    Drugs such as flutamide, that can block or neutralize the effects of testosterone and DHT on prostate cancer cells (by preventing testosterone and DHT from binding to the androgen receptor).


  • Antibody

    A protein produced by the body that counteracts the toxic affects of a foreign substance, organism, or disease within the body.


  • Antigen

    A foreign substance such as a virus or bacterium that causes an immune response or the formation of an antibody.


  • Antioxidants

    Any substances which delay the process of oxidation.


  • Apoptosis

    The normal molecular mechanism which governs the life span of cells so that they die in a very organized way. Cancerous cells are resistant to normal apoptosis.


  • Benign

    A non-cancerous condition. See Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy.


  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) or benign prostatic hyperplasia

    A non-cancerous condition of the prostate that results in a growth of tumorous tissue and increase in the size of the prostate gland.


  • Bichemical Disease Free Survival

    Bichemical Disease Free Survival means that after undergoing a prostate cancer treatment the patient’s PSA level does not rise for 2 to 3 consecutive PSA tests.


  • Biochemical Failure

    An indication that a particular treatment has failed based on PSA readings over time.


  • Biomarker

    An indicator of cell or tissue activity that can be used to monitor a state of health or disease. The PSA and PAP tests are biomarkers for prostate cancer.


  • Biopsy

    A procedure involving the removal of tissue from the body of a patient. Removed tissue is typically examined microscopically by a pathologist in order to make a precise diagnosis of the patient”s condition.


  • Bone Density Scan

    Bone Density Scan is a diagnostic image of the skeleton to measure the density of the bone.


  • BPH

    See benign prostatic hypertrophy.


  • Brachytherapy (seed implantation)

    A form of radiation therapy in which radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate to deliver radiation directly to the tumor.


  • Cancer

    A cellular malignancy typically forming tumors. Unlike benign tumors, these tend to invade surrounding tissues and spread to distant sites of the body.


  • Carcinoma

    A malignant tumor made up chiefly of epithelial cells, or those that form the lining of an organ or cavity. See adenocarcinoma.


  • Castrate Range

    The level of the body”s testosterone after orchiectomy. This is the range or level, which is used by physicians as a point of comparison for those drugs, which attempt to decrease the testosterone level.


  • CAT Scan (or CT Scan)

    See computed tomography


  • Catheter

    A long narrow tube placed into the bladder to allow urine to pass from the bladder to the penis (penile catheter) or out through the abdominal wall (suprapubic catheter).


  • cGy

    Abbreviation for centigray; a unit of radiation equivalent to the older unit called a “rad.”


  • Chemiluminescent assay

    A blood test to determine extremely minute amounts of PSA.


  • Chemotherapy

    The treatment of cancer using chemicals that deter the growth of cancer cells.


  • Clinical trial

    A study conducted with cancer patients, usually to evaluate a promising new treatment or medication.


  • Collimator

    A device that organizes radiation such that only parallel rays or beams emanate.


  • Combination Hormonal Therapy

    Combination Hormonal Therapy (CHT): Also referred to as Combined Hormonal Blockage (CHB), or Combined Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT).  The preferred term is ADT, often designed with a number referring to the number of agents used (i.e, mono-therapy ADT, ADT2, ADT3). This combined therapy can utilize a number of mechanisms, including surgical or medical ADT, anti-androgens, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, estrogenic compounds, agents that block adrenal androgen production, and agents that decrease the receptivity of the androgen receptor.


  • Combination Therapy

    Combination Therapy refers generally to any combination of treatment modalities used to treat prostate cancer.


  • Complication

    An unexpected effect of a treatment. A complication is different from a side effect which is an expected, unwanted effect (temporary or permanent) of treatment.


  • Computer Tomography

    Computer generated cross-sectional images of a portion of the body. Also called CT or CAT scan.


  • Conformal Radiation

    A treatment utilizing external radiation and conforming precisely to the size and shape of the prostate, with the use of computerized planning and state-of-the-art imaging techniques.


  • Contraindication

    A situation in which a particular medical treatment or therapy is not recommended because of potential side effects.


  • Core

    The small amount of prostate tissue that is extracted during a needle biopsy.


  • Cryosurgery (Also referred to as Cryotherapy or Cryoablation)

    The freezing of tissue with the use of liquid nitrogen probes. When used to treat prostate cancer, the cryoprobes are guided by transrectal ultrasound.


  • CT scan

    See computer tomography


  • Cytokine

    Any of a class of immunoregulatory substances that are secreted by cells of the immune system.


  • DHT (dihydrotestosterone)

    The active form of the male hormone, testosterone, produced after testosterone is transformed by an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase.


  • Diagnosis

    Evaluation of a patient”s symptoms and/or test results, with the intent of identifying and verifying the existence of any underlying disease or abnormal condition.


  • Digital rectal examination (DRE)

    A procedure in which the physician inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate gland for signs of cancer


  • DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid)

    A complex protein that is the carrier of genetic


  • Doppler Ultrasound Technique

    A machine that sends out ultrasonic waves that pick up the velocity of blood flow through the veins and are transmitted as sound to make an image.


  • Dosimetry

    The process of calculating the radiation dose delivered to a specific area of the body. With prostate brachytherapy, dosimetry involves using computer programs to determine seed placement, seed strength, and needle placement.


  • Doubling Time

    Doubling Time is the time it takes for the PSA to double.


  • Downsizing

    The use of hormonal therapy or other forms of intervention to reduce tumor volume prior to primary, curative treatment.


  • Downstaging

    The use of hormonal therapy or other forms of intervention to lower the clinical stage of prostate cancer prior to primary, curative treatment.


  • Ejaculation

    The release of semen through the penis during orgasm.


  • Ejaculatory Ducts

    The tubular passages through which semen reaches the prostatic urethra during orgasm.


  • Endocrine

    A term referring to the ductless glands, such as the pituitary and the testes, which make an internal secretion or hormone which passes into the bloodstream and has an important influence on metabolic processes.


  • Enzyme

    A chemical substance produced by living cells that causes chemical reactions to take place while not being changed itself.


  • Erectile Dysfunction (E.D.)

    Dysfunction (Also known as E.D. or Impotence): The loss of ability to produce and/or sustain an erection sufficient for intercourse.


  • Estrogen

    Female hormones that block the luteinizing hormone (LH) and can inhibit testosterone production to the castrate range.


  • Eulexin

    See flutamide.


  • External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

    A form of radiation therapy that utilizes radiation delivered by an external source (machine) and directed at a target area to be radiated. In contrast to EBRT, brachytherapy utilizes radiation sources (seeds) that are internal, implanted in the target tissue. EBRT may use conventional photons, protons, neutrons or electrons.


  • Extracapsular Extension

    Used to describe prostate cancer, which has spread outside the prostate gland.


  • False Negative:

    An erroneous negative test result. For example, an imagine test that fails to show the presence of a cancer tumor later found by biopsy to be present in the patient is said to have returned a false negative result.


  • False Positive:

    A positive test result that mistakenly identifies a state or condition that does not in fact exist.


  • Fistula

    With regard to prostate cancer, an abnormal passage due to injury or disease that connects an abscess or hollow organ to the surface of the body or to another hollow organ. If there is significant damage to the rectal wall proximate to the bladder, a fistula may occur between the bladder and rectum.


  • Flare Reaction

    A testosterone surge caused by the initial use of an LHRH analog, causing a temporary increase of tumor growth and symptoms (known as clinical flare), or an increase in PSA (biochemical flare).


  • Flutamide

    The generic name of Eulexin, an anti-androgen used in hormonal therapy for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer and for adjuvant and neoadjuvant treatment of earlier stages of prostate cancer.


  • Foley Catheter

    A catheter inserted in the penis and threaded through the urethra to the bladder where it is held in place with a tiny, inflated balloon. It removes urine from the bladder and can be used to irrigate the urethra and prevent blood clots.


  • Free PSA

    PSA that is unattached to any major protein in the blood. Free PSA is associated with benign prostate growth. The percentage of free PSA is derived by dividing the free-PSA level by the total-PSA x 100. Studies have shown that men with free PSA%>25% were at low risk for prostate cancer, while men with PSA%<10% were at high risk for having prostate cancer.


  • Frozen Section

    A technique in which removed tissue is frozen, cut into very thin slices and stained for microscopic examination. A pathologist can rapidly complete a frozen section analysis, and for this reason, it is commonly used during surgery to quickly provide the surgeon with vital information.


  • Gene Therapy

    The insertion of normal or genetically altered genes into cells, usually to replace defective cells.


  • Gland

    An aggregation of cells that secretes a substance for use in or discharge from the body.


  • Gland Volume

    The size in cubic centimeters (cc) or grams of the prostate gland.


  • Gleason Score

    A widely used method for classifying the cellular differentiation of cancerous tissue. The less the cancerous cells appear like normal cells, the more malignant the cancer. Two grades of 1-5, identifying the two most common degrees of differentiation present in the examined tissue sample, are added together to produce the Gleason score. High numbers indicate greater differentiation and more aggressive cancer. The grading system is name after its originator, Donald Gleason, M.D.


  • Globulin

    Globulin is any of a number of simple proteins that occur widely in plant and animal tissues. Without adequate Globulin levels it can be difficult for the body to properly fight infection, clot or transport nutrients to the muscles, leading to health difficulties for the patient. Medical examinations must be done to determine if the globulin levels are where they should be, and what might be causing them to be lower or higher than normal. Medications can then be used to help return the globulin levels to the normal stage to avoid any potential dangers.


  • Grade

    A way to describe the possible severity of a cancer based on the appearance of cells under a microscope. See also Gleason Score.


  • Gray (Gy)

    A unit of measure for radiation dose. The dose may also be quantified as centigray (cGy), which is 1000 Grays.


  • Gynecomastia

    A side effect involving breast enlargement and tenderness, associated with various hormonal therapies that increase the level of estrogens in the body.


  • HDR Brachytherapy

    High Dose Rate brachytherapy involves the temporary insertion of radioactive iridium isotopes into the prostate gland using transrectal ultrasound guidance.


  • Hematuria

    Blood in the urine.


  • Hereditary

    Inherited genetically from parents and earlier generations.


  • Holistic Medicine

    Medical care, which considers the patient as a whole, including his physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and economic needs.


  • Hormonal Therapy

    Treatment that attempts to shut down the production of hormones that nourish prostate cancer cells (also known as hormone therapy, hormone ablation therapy, hormone deprivation therapy, anti-androgen therapy and anti-hormonal therapy). Because prostate cancer is usually dependent on male hormones to grow, hormonal therapy can be an effective means of alleviating symptoms and retarding the development of the disease.


  • Hormone

    A substance produced by one tissue or gland and transported by the bloodstream to another to effect or regulate physiological activity such as metabolism and growth.


  • Hormone Refractory PCa

    Prostate cancer that is androgen independent, and therefore, unresponsive to hormonal therapies.


  • Hot Flash

    A side effect of some forms of hormonal therapy, experienced as a sudden rush of warmth to the face, neck, and upper body.


  • IG-IMRT

    Image-Guided Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, using a SonArray Ultrasound Guided System with intra-fractional motion gating, which takes IMRT to an even higher level of accuracy of delivering the exact dose to the exact location each and every time. Also referred to as 4D IG-IMRT.


  • Imaging

    Radiology techniques that are often computer-enhanced and allow the physician to visualize areas inside the body that would not normally be visible.


  • Implant

    A procedure in which radioactive seeds are placed in the body in order to kill cancer cells. See also Brachytherapy.


  • Impotence (also Erectile Dysfunction)

    The loss of the ability to produce and/or sustain an erection (while desire for sex remains unchanged).


  • Incontinence

    A loss of urinary control. There are various kinds and degrees of incontinence. Overflow incontinence is a condition in which the bladder retain urine after voiding. As a consequence, the bladder remains full most of the time, resulting in involuntary seepage of urine from the bladder. Stress incontinence is the involuntary discharge of urine when there is increased pressure upon the bladder, as in coughing or straining to lift heavy objects. Total incontinence is the failure of ability to voluntarily exercise control over the sphincters of the bladder neck and urethra, resulting in total loss of retentive ability.


  • Inflammation

    Redness or swelling caused by injury or infection.


  • Informed Consent

    Permission to proceed given by a patient after being fully informed of the purposes and potential consequences of a medical procedure.


  • Intermittent Androgen Deprivation (IAD)

    The most recent state-of-the-art, computer-aided technique for delivering higher doses of radiation more accurately than either conventional External Beam Radiation of Conformal Radiation.


  • Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

    A test that utilizes the injection of a special dye to check for the spread of cancer to the kidneys and bladder.


  • Investigational

    Describes a drug or procedure allowed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in clinical trials. Insurance companies tend to deny coverage to procedures, which are described as investigational.


  • Isodose Line

    A line or two-dimensional shape that circumscribes an area receiving a radiation dose greater than or equal to a specified amount.


  • Laparoscopic Lymphadenectomy

    The removal of pelvic lymph nodes with a laparoscope via four small incisions in the lower abdomen


  • Leuteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone (LHRH)

    A chemical signal originating in the hypothalamus that causes the pituitary to make LH, which in turn stimulates the testicles to make testosterone.


  • LH (luteinizing hormone)

    A chemical signal originating in the pituitary gland that causes the testes to make testosterone.


  • LHRH (luteinizing hormone releasing hormone)

    A chemical signal originating in the hypothalamus that causes the pituitary to make LH.


  • LHRH Analogs (LHRH Agonists)

    Synthetic versions of the body”s chemical LHRH that can inhibit pituitary production of the hormone LH.


  • LHRH Antagonist

    A chemical agent that blocks the LHRH receptor without the testosterone surge associated with LHRH analogs. LHRH antagonists include Abarelix (Plenaxis).


  • Linear Accelerator

    A high energy x-ray machine generating radiation fields for external beam radiation therapy. These machines are typically mounted with a collimator (or multileaf collimator) in a gantry that rotates vertically around the patient being treated.


  • Localized Prostate Cancer

    Cancer that is confined to the prostate gland, and therefore considered curable.


  • Lymph Node

    A small bean-shaped mass of tissue along the vessels of the lymphatic system. The lymph nodes filter out bacteria and other toxins, as well as cancer cells.


  • Lymphadendectomy

    The surgical removal and examination of lymph nodes to precisely diagnose and stage cancer.


  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    A painless, non-invasive technique using strong magnetic fields to produce detailed images of internal body structures. An MRI scan usually takes about 45 minutes.


  • Malignant

    Having the invasive and metastatic properties of cancer. Tending to become progressively worse.


  • Margin

    See Surgical Margin.


  • Metalloprotease Inhibitors

    Drugs used to suppress the body”s production of certain enzymes.


  • Metastasis

    The spread of cancer, by way of the blood stream or lymphatic system, beyond the boundaries of the organ or structure where the cancer originated. (Metastases is plural.)


  • Metastasize

    A verb that indicates cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the bones or lymph nodes.


  • Metastatic Work-up

    A group of tests including bone scans, x-rays and blood tests, to ascertain whether cancer has spread throughout the body, or metastasized.


  • Monoclonal Antibody (mAb)

    An antibody that is directed against one specific protein (antigen).


  • Morbidity

    Unhealthy consequences and complications resulting from treatment.


  • MRI

    See Magnetic Resonance Imaging.


  • Nadir

    The lowest point. Doctors sometimes use this as a verb to describe return of cancer or treatment failure.


  • Necrosis

    Death of cells or tissues caused by disease or injury.


  • Neoadjuvant

    The use of a different type of therapy before primary, curative treatment. For example, neoadjuvant Androgen Deprivation Therapy is often used prior to radiation therapy or radical surgery, with the intent of improving the effectiveness of the primary treatment by reducing the size of the tumor and/or prostate gland.


  • Nerve-sparing

    A procedure used during radical prostatectomy in which the surgeon attempts to save the nerves (neurovascular bundles) that allow for normal sexual functions.


  • Neurovascular Bundles

    Strands of interwoven nerves and veins that run down the side of the prostate. The bundles contain microscopic nerves that are essential for erection; they also contain arteries and veins. Cutting the nerves in the bundles during surgery, or otherwise harming them in another procedure, usually renders the patient impotent.


  • Nocturia

    Getting up at night to urinate.


  • Noninvasive Treatment

    A treatment that does not require an incision into the body. An example is external beam radiation therapy. Minimally invasive indicates that a small incision (laparoscopic or robotic) or a needle insertion (seed implantation) is performed as part of the procedure.


  • Oncogenes

    Genes associated with tumor growth.


  • Oncology

    The branch of medical science dealing with tumors. An oncologist is a specialist in the study of cancerous tumors.


  • Orchiectomy

    A simple operation that involves surgical removal of the testicles, which produce most of the body’s testosterone.


  • Organ-confined Disease (OCD)

    Prostate cancer that is confined to the prostate capsule, as indicated clinically or pathologically.


  • Osteoporosis

    A decrease in bone mass and density causing fragility and porosity.


  • Overstaging

    Overstaging refers to an exaggerated assessment of how serious or advanced a cancer is.


  • Palladium 103 (Pd-103)

    An isotope used in prostate brachytherapy and other implant sites. Pd-103 emits low energy radiation mostly beta and has a half life of 17 days. It therefore dissipates approximately 90% of its energy within 2 months.


  • Pallaitive

    Treatment that relieves symptoms of either treatment or the cancer but is not curative.


  • Palpable

    Capable of being felt when examined by touch or manipulation. In prostate cancer, a palpable nodule is also known as a “positive digital rectal exam (DRE).


  • Palpatory

    Capable of being examined by touch or manipulation.


  • PAP

    See Prostatic Acid Phosphate


  • Partin Tables

    Tables that use a patients PSA, Gleason score and DRE stage to predict the likelihood of spread to disease beyond the prostate gland. The tables determine the risk of cancer involving the edge of the gland (extracapsular extension), the lymph nodes, and the seminal vesicles.


  • Pathologist

    A doctor who specializes in the examination of cells and tissues removed from the body.


  • PBRT

    See Proton Beam Radiation Therapy.


  • Perineum

    The area of the body between the anus and the scrotum. A perineal procedure uses this area as the point of entry into the body.


  • Perineural Invasion

    Describing cancer which has spread from the prostate to the nerve bundles.


  • Photon Radiation

    Also known as X-rays. Low-energy photon radiation has just enough photon energy to penetrate the body for an x-ray film but cause minimal harm to the cells. High-energy photon radiation (such as IMRT radiation) is produced by a linear accelerator and is capable of killing cells, including cancer cells.


  • PIN (Prostatic Intraepithelia Neoplasia)

    Cells that are not quite normal yet also not cancerous. The presence of PIN can prompt the physician to increase surveillance as its presence may be associated with increased risk of prostate cancer.


  • Placebo

    A sugar pill often taken by participants in a medical study. Patients taking a placebo are compared to patients taking actual medications.


  • Ploidy Analysis

    A pathological analysis to determine the number of sets of chromosomes in a cell.


  • Posterior

    The back portion. The posterior of the prostate is the side near the rectum that is palpated during the digital rectal exam (DRE).


  • Pro-oxidant

    Pro-oxidant: A term used to describe substances that aid in oxidation.


  • Proctitis

    Inflammation of the rectum.


  • Prognosis

    The forecast of the course of a disease, and future prospects of the patient.


  • Progression

    A change in the status of the cancer indicating the condition has progressed and worsened.


  • Prostascint™ Scan

    Prostascint™ Scan is a method to determine whether or not cancer has spread to distant sites by using monoclonal antibodies. This is especially helpful with patients who have been on hormonal therapy.


  • Prostate Capsule

    The outer membranous covering of the prostate gland.


  • Prostate Gland

    A male gland which supports the urethra and prostatic ducts. It produces a fluid that forms part of semen and is located between the bladder and the penis.


  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)

    A blood test that measures a substance manufactured solely by prostate gland cells. An elevated reading indicates an abnormal condition of the prostate gland, either benign or malignant. It is presently the most sensitive tumor marker for the identification and monitoring of prostate cancer.


  • Prostatectomy

    The surgical removal of part or all of the prostate gland.


  • Prostatic Acid Phosphatase (PAP)

    An enzyme produced by the prostate that is elevated (3.0 or higher) in many patients when prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate.


  • Prostatis

    Infection or inflammation


  • Proton Beam Radiation Therapy (PBRT)

    A form of radiation therapy that utilizes protons as the source of energy (as opposed to X-rays or neutrons).


  • PSA

    See prostate specific antigen.


  • PSA Bounce (or PSA Bump)

    A rise in PSA level after first having a reduction in PSA after radiation therapy.


  • PSA Nadir

    The lowest PSA value after a particular treatment.


  • PSA Velocity (PSAV)

    The rate of increase of the PSA level, expressed as nanograms per milliliter per year.


  • Radiation Therapy

    Use of high energy rays to kill cancer cells.


  • Radiation Urethritis

    Inflammation of the urethra caused by radiation therapy.


  • Radiation Urethritis

    Inflammation of the urethra caused by radiation therapy.


  • Radical Prostatectomy

    An operation to remove the entire prostate gland and seminal vesicles.


  • Radiosensitivity

    The degree to which a type of cancer responds to radiation therapy.


  • RBA or Relative Biological Effectiveness

    A scale used to compare the intensity of radiation associated with various atomic particles.


  • Receptor

    A cellular docking site that interacts with a specific protein or enzyme (called a ligand). The interaction typically leads to the synthesis of other substances such as proteins, hormones or enzymes.


  • Recurrence

    Return of the cancer following remission or treatment intended as curative. Local recurrence indicates a return of the cancer at the site of origin. Distant recurrence indicates the appearance of one or more metastases of the disease.


  • Refractory

    No longer responsive to a certain therapy.


  • Remission

    Complete or partial disappearance of the signs and symptoms of the disease. The period during which a disease remains under control, without progressing. Even complete remission does not necessarily indicate cure.


  • Resection

    The surgical removal of a part of an organ or structure.


  • Respiratory Gating

    Advanced video tracking technology which allows for realtime monitoring and correction of physiologic motion of prostate which may occur as a result of patient breathing


  • Retention

    Difficulty in starting urination or the inability to empty the bladder.


  • Retropubic Prostatecomy

    Removal of the prostate through an abdominal incision.


  • Risk

    The probability that a particular event will or will not happen.


  • Risk Group

    Patients of similar prognosis. Patients can be grouped into Low, Intermediate and High risk groups based on PSA, Gleason score and stage. Risk group classification can be helpful in assessing treatment options and comparing different treatments.


  • RP

    See Radical Prostatectomy.


  • RT

    See Radiation Therapy.


  • Rx

    The standard abbreviation for treatment.


  • Salvage Treatment

    A medical tern for “Plan B.” It means a patient must undergo another form of treatment because the first therapy was not successful. Salvage therapy does not always work and often has a greater degree of complications.


  • Saw Palmetto

    A nutrient extracted from the saw palmetto shrub, which is considered by some to aid the body’s immune system.


  • Seed Implantation (SI)

    A minimally invasive procedure by which radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate gland to destroy cancer. Also referred to as seeding and brachytherapy.


  • Selenium

    A non-metallic element thought to be beneficial as a nutrient; it is often included in multivitamin supplements.


  • Seminal Vesicles

    Glands that, like the prostate, support male reproduction. Fluid secreted by these glands regulates the consistency of semen.


  • Side Effect

    A reaction to a treatment or medication, usually referring to an undesirable effect.


  • Sphincter

    A circular muscle which contracts to close an orifice. The urethral sphincter squeezes the urethra shut, providing urinary control.


  • Stage

    The definition of the size and extent of a cancer at a particular point in time. Usually cancers are staged using the T (tumor) N (nodes) M (metastasis) staging system. T1a, b, c,T2a, b, c, and T3 are examples of stages.


  • Staging

    The testing process by which the extent and severity of a known cancer is evaluated according to an established system of classification. It is used to help determine appropriate therapy.


  • Surgical Margin

    The outer edge of the tissue removed during a radical prostatectomy. The surgical margin may be “negative,” indicating that no cancer is present and a better prognosis, or “positive,” indicating that not all of the cancer has been removed.


  • Systemic

    Throughout the body and affecting the entire body.


  • T-Cell

    An immune system cell or lymphocyte that directs an immune response to malignant or infected cells.


  • Testes

    Two male reproductive glands located inside the scrotum. The testes are the primary sources for testosterone.


  • Testosterone

    The sex male hormone chiefly produced by the testicles.


  • Thrombotic

    Causing or relating to blood clotting.


  • TNM Staging

    The most widely used classification system for evaluating the extent of prostate cancer. TNM refers to tumor, nodes and metastases. See Staging.


  • Total Androgen Blockage

    A combined form of hormonal therapy that tries to achieve a complete shutdown of the body”s testosterone production.


  • Transperineal

    Through the perineum.


  • Transrectal

    Through the rectum.


  • Transrectal Ultrasonography

    See Ultrasound.


  • Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

    A surgical procedure to remove tissue obstructing the urethra. The technique involves the insertion of an instrument called a resectoscope in the penile urethra, and is intended to relieve obstruction of urine flow due to enlargement of the prostate.


  • Transurethral:

    Through the urethra.


  • Tumor

    An excessive growth of cells caused by uncontrolled and disorderly cell replacement.


  • TURP

    See Transurethral Resection of the Prostate


  • Ultrasound (Transrectal Ultrasonography)

    A painless, non-invasive diagnostic imaging technique using sound waves to create an echo pattern that reveals the structure of organs and tissues. It does not use x-rays.


  • Understaging

    An overly low assessment of clinical stage at diagnosis.


  • Urethra

    The tube that carries urine from the bladder and semen from the prostate out of the body through the penis.


  • Urologist

    A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and in the medical and surgical treatment of problems in the urinary and male reproductive systems.


  • Vascularity

    Refers to the blood supply and blood vessels.


  • Vasectomy

    A surgical procedure to render a man sterile by cutting the vas deferens, thus eliminating the passage of sperm from the testes to the prostate.


  • Vasoactive

    Causing the dilation or constriction of blood vessels.


  • Vesicle

    A small sac containing fluid, as in seminal vesicles.


  • Whitmore-Jewett Staging

    A classification system for evaluating the extent of prostate cancer. This system is less widely used for the designation of stage than is TNM staging.



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