Fighting Prostate Cancer Together

Adjuvant Therapy

Treatment used in addition to or following the main treatment for cancer; i.e. hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, radiation after surgery.

Adrenal Glands

Two small endocrine glands, located above each kidney, which secrete several steroid hormones.


Any male sex hormone. Testosterone is the major androgen.


Any substance capable of inhibiting testosterone or its biological effects.


Not malignant; noncancerous; benign growths do not geneerally spread to other organs or come back when they are removed.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Noncancerous enlargement of the prostate that may cause difficulty in urination.


Removal of a small tissue sample for microscopic examination.

Bone Scan

A nuclear image of the skeleton.


Internal radiation treatment given by placing radioactive material directly into the tumor or close by it. Also called interstitial radiation therapy or seed implantation.


An abnormal growth that can invade nearby organs and spread to other parts of the body; a cancer is also called a malignant tumor.


A tubular, flexible surgical instrument used to withdraw fluid from the bladder by inserting it into the urethra through the penis.


Treatment with drugs to kill cancer cells.

Computed Tomographic Scan (CT Scan)

An X-ray that produces cross-sectional images of the body.


A surgical procedure that involves destroying diseased tissie of the prostate with a freezing method.


An inflammation of the urinary bladder.


The normal process through which cells mature so that they can carry out the jobs they are meant todo. Cancer cells are less "differentiated" than normal cells.

Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)

Insertion of a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate. Some tumors of the rectum and prostate gland can be felt during a DRE.

Early Detection

Early detection means finding the disease at an early stage, before it has spread to other areas in the body. The PSA blood test can help find prostate cancer at an early stage.


Release of semen from the penis during sexual climax.

External Beam Radiation

Radiation focused from a source outside the body on the area affected by the cancer. It is much like getting a diagnostic X-ray, but for a longer interval of time.

Foley Catheter

A catheter inserted through the urethra and into the bladder; used to drain urine.

Gleason Grade

Prostate cancer grading system, which assigns a grade from 1 through 5. The grade is assigned to the two areas that make up most of the cancer and added together to give a Gleason score between 2 and 10.

Gleason Score

Method of classifying prostate cancer cells on a scale of 2 to 10. The higher the score, (also called Gleason sum) the faster the cancer is likely to grow and the more likely to spread beyond the prostate.

Hormonal Therapy

The use of medications or surgical removal of the testicles to prevent male hormones from stimulating further growth of prostate cancer.


Inability to achieve or sustain an erection.


Lacking normal voluntary control of bladder and/or bowel function.


Swelling and pain resulting from irritation or infection.

Interstitial Irradiation

The permanent placement of radioactive seeds (isotopes) inside the prostate.


Radioactive molecules that can be used for cancer treatment.


A miniature telescope connected to a monitor. After insertion through a small incision in the abdomen, it allows the surgeon to view lymph nodes near the prostate and the pelvic cavity.


Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone; a hormone produced by the hypothalamus, a tiny gland in the brain.


Sexual desire.

Luteinizing Hormone Releasing Hormone (LHRH) Analog

Man-made hormones that block the production of the male hormone testosterone and are sometimes used to treat prostate cancer.

Lymph Nodes

Small glands located throughout the body that help defend the body against infection.




The spread of cancer cells from the primary site to distant areas of the body by way of the lymph system or the bloodstream.


To pread by metastasis.


Surgical removal of the testes.


A doctor who interprets tissue samples to determine the presence or absence of disease.


The area between the anus and the scrotum.


A prediction of the course of a disease; the outlook for the cure of a patient.


A gland of the male reproductive system that surrounds the urethra, which is just below the bladder, and produces some of the sperm-carrying fluid of the semen.

Prostate Cancer

A malignant tumor of the prostate gland.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)

A protein made by the prostate gland. Levels of PSA in the blood often go up in men with prostate cancer, but they may go us for other reasons.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

Blook measurement of a substance produced by the prostate cells, which can increase if prostate cancer is present. The PSA test is used to help find prostate cancer as well as to monitor the results of treatment.

Radiation Oncologist

A doctor who has special training in radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer patients.

Radiation Therapy

X-ray or other radiation treatment for cancer.

Radical Prostatectomy

Complete surgical remove of the prostate and seminal vesicles.


Fluid containing sperm and secretions from the male reproductive organs.

Seminal Vesicles

Small, saclike glands attached to the prostate that produce some of the fluid for semen.

Surgical Lymphadenectomy

The surgical removal of pelvic lymph nodes.


The male reproductive glands found in the scrotum. The testicles (or testes) produce sperm and the male hormone testosterone.


The main male hormone; made primarily in the testes,that stimulates blood flow, growth of certain tissues, and the secondary sexual characteristics. In men with prostate cancer, it can also stimulate growth of the tumor.

Transrectal Utrasonography

An examination tht produces an image of the prostate by inserting a probe into the rectum to direct sound waves to the prostate.


Any abnormal swelling in or on a part of the body. The term is usually applied to a benign or malignant abnormal growth of tissue.

Tumor Grade

A classifying system that indicates how quickly a cancer is growing.

Tumor Stage

The classification of a primary tumor, by its size and the presence or absence of metastasis, in order to plan treatment.


The tube that carries urine from the bladder and semen from the prostate and other sex glands out through the tip of the penis.


A doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system.

Watchful Waiting

An approach to handling localized, slow-growing prostate cancer by having regulr checkups instead of immediate treatment.


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FPCN's information should not take the place of the advice from your doctor."
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Site last updated: 29 Jun 2004 01:28 PM