PROSTATE Cancer

The following is a list of some medical terms that may be unfamiliar.

Androgen (AN-dro-jen): Any hormone that produces male physical characteristics (facial hair, deep voice, etc.). The main androgen hormone is testosterone.

Antiandrogen drug: A drug that blocks the activity of an androgen hormone.

Anticancer drug: A drug that attacks cancer cells.

Anus (A-nus): The opening at the lower end of the rectum through which solid body waste is eliminated.

Benign (buh-NINE): A term for a tumor that does not normally threaten a person's life (that is, a tumor that is not cancerous and does not spread to other parts of the body).

Bladder: The hollow organ that stores urine.

Cancer: A tumor with abnormal cells that grow and divide without control. Cancer cells can spread through the blood and lymph system to other parts of the body and pose a serious threat to a person's life.

Capsule: The layer of cells around an organ such as the prostate.

Cells: The basic structural and functional units of the body.

Chemotherapy (kee-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment with powerful drugs that attack cancer cells, but may also harm certain types of healthy cells.

Clinical trials: Studies conducted on patients with cancer or other diseases, usually to evaluate a promising new treatment. Each study is designed to answer specific questions and to find better ways to treat patients.

Digital rectal examination (DIH-jih-tul): An examination performed by a physician in which a gloved, lubricated finger is inserted into the rectum to feel the prostate.

Ejaculate: To inject sperm and seminal fluid.

Erectile dysfunction: Inability to have or difficulty having an erection.

Estrogen (ES-tro-jen): A female sex hormone.

External beam radiation therapy: Radiation therapy that uses rays from a machine directed at parts of the body.

Hormone therapy: In prostate cancer, treatment that interferes with the production or activity of male hormones that promote prostate tumor growth.

Incontinence (in-KON-ti-nens): Loss or urinary control.

Internal radiation therapy: Treatment with high-energy radiation from tiny radioactive seeds inserted into the prostate.

LHRH analogues (AN-a-logs): Man-made compounds that are similar to, but more potent than, natural LHRH.

Luteinizing hormone (LH) (LOO-tee-ih-ni-zing): This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland. LH stimulates the secretion of sex hormones in both men and women.

Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH): This hormone is secreted by a part of the brain. LHRH stimulates the secretion of luteinizing hormone by the pituitary gland.

Llymph (limf): A nearly clear fluid collected from tissues around the body and returned to the blood by the lymphatic system.

Lymphatic system (lim-FAH-tik): Vessels that carry lymph are a part of this system. Other parts include lymph nodes and several organs that produce and store infection-fighting cells.

Malignant (mah-LIG-nant): A term for a tumor that can threaten a person's life--that is, a tumor that is cancerous. Malignant has the same meaning as cancerous.

Metastasis (meh-TASS-tuh-sis): The spread of cancer from its original site to distant areas via blood and lymph.

Oncologist (on-KAHL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating cancer.

Orchiectomy (or-kee-EK-toe-mee): The surgical removal of the testicles, the major source of male hormones.

Perineal prostatectomy (pair-in-NEE-al prah-stah-TEK-toe-mee): an operation to remove the prostate gland through a cut made in the perineum, the area between the scrotum and the anus.

Pituitary gland (pih-TOO-ih-tair-ee): A gland located at the base of the brain. It produces a variety of hormones that stimulate the testicles (and other glands) to release hormones.

Prostatectormy (prahs-tuh-TEK-tuh-mee): The surgical removal of the prostate gland.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA): A blood substance that often increases in cases of prostate cancer and other prostate diseases.

Radiation therapy (ray-dee-AY-shun): Treatment with high-energy rays such as those from x-rays or other sources of radiation.

Rectum: The last 5 0r 6 inches of the intestine leading to the outside of the body.

Retropubic prostatectomy (reh-tro-PYOO-bik): An operation to remove the prostate gland through a cut made in the lower abdomen.

Scrotum (SKRO-tum): The external sac, or pouch, containing the testicles.

Seminal vesicles (SEM-en-ull VES-I-kels): Pouches inside the body above the prostate that store semen.

Stage: A term used to describe the size and extent of spread of cancer.

Staging: Tests conducted to determine the stage of a cancer.

Testicles (TES-ti-kuls): Two egg-shaped glands that produce sperm and sex hormones.

Testosterone (tes-TOS-terrr-own): A male sex hormone produced chiefly by the testicles. Testosterone stimulates a man's sexual activity and the growth of other sex organs, including the prostate.

Tissue: A group of cells organized to perform a specialized function.

Transrectal ultrasonography (trans-RECK-tul ul-tra-don-OG-raff-ee): Using sound waves produced by a device inserted into the rectum to produce a picture of the prostate.

Transurethral resection of the prostate (trans-yu-REETH-ral): The use of a special instrument inserted through the urethra in the penis to remove non-cancerous prostate tissue. Also called TUR or TURP.

Tumor (TOO-mer): An excessive growth of cells resulting from uncontrolled and disorderly cell replacement.

Ureter (YUR-e-ter): The tube that carries urine from each kidney to the bladder.

Urethra (yu-REETH-rah): The tube running through the penis to the outside of the body. It carries urine from the bladder and semen from the sex glands.

Urologist (yer-AHL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in disease of the male sex organs and in diseases of the urinary organs of both men and women.

Watchful waiting: When prostate cancer is simply watched by the doctor using regular digital rectal examinations and blood tests.