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Genitourinary Oncology

Glossary

adenocarcinoma - a cancer that develops in the lining or inner surface of an organ.

adjuvant treatment - treatment that is added to other therapies to increase effectiveness.

antigen - a protein marker on the surface of cells that identifies the cell.

benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) - an enlargement of the prostate caused by disease or inflammation. It is not cancer, but its symptoms are similar to those of prostate cancer.

benign tumor - an abnormal growth that is not cancer and does not spread to other areas of the body.

biopsy - removal of a small tissue sample for microscopic examination.

cancer - general term for a large group of diseases (more than 100), all characterized by uncontrolled growth, invasion and spread of abnormal cells to other parts of the body.

capsule - the layer of cells around an organ such as the prostate.

carcinoma - cancer that begins in the tissues that line or cover an organ.

chemotherapy - treatment with drugs to destroy cancer cells.

clinical trials - research studies to test new drugs or procedures or to compare current standard treatments (medications, procedures) with others that may be equal or better.

cryosurgery or cryoprostatectomy - freezing of the prostate through the use of liquid nitrogen probes guided by transrectal ultrasound of the prostate.

cystoscopic examination - an examination of the urethra and urinary bladder with a cystoscope, an instrument with a narrow tube with light at one end of an opening..

diagnosis - identifying a disease by its signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings.

digital rectal exam (DRE) - procedure in which the physician inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to examine the rectum and the prostate gland for signs of cancer.

external urethral sphincter muscle - a voluntary and involuntary ring-like band of muscle fibers that you voluntarily contract when you want to stop urinating.

expectant management or therapy - "watchful waiting" or close monitoring of prostate cancer by a physician instead of immediate treatment.

false negative report - a negative result when in reality it is positive in nature.

false positive report - a positive result when in reality it is negative in nature.

fine needle aspiration - the use of a thin, hollow needle to withdraw tissue from the body. In the case of suspected prostate cancer it may be used in conjunction with transrectal ultrasound of the prostate (TRUS/P).

grading - a diagnostic process done in the lab with cells taken from the prostate to measure how aggressive the tumor is. The cancer cells are measured by how closely they look like normal cells.

hormone therapy - the use of hormones, medications, or surgery to suppress (block) or mimic hormones and alter the growth of hormone sensitive cancer.

impotence - not being able to have or keep an erection.

investigational new drug - a drug allowed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in clinical trials, but not approved for sale to the general public.

urinary incontinence - loss of bladder control.

laparoscopic lymphadenectomy - the removal of pelvic lymph nodes with a laparoscope.

lymphadenectomy - a procedure in which lymph nodes are taken from the body for purposes of diagnosing or staging cancer.

lymphangiogram - an x-ray that uses a special dye to determine whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

lymph nodes - small glands located in many areas of the body that help defend the body against harmful foreign particles.

malignant tumor - a mass of cancer cells that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body.

metastasis - the spread of cancer cells to distant areas of the body by way of the lymph system or blood stream.

nerve sparing technique - a surgical technique during a radial prostatectomy where one or both of the neurovascular bundles controlling erections are spared.

orchiectomy (castration) - the surgical removal of the testicles.

palliative treatment - therapy that relieves symptoms, such as pain, but does not alter the course of the disease. Its primary purpose is to improve the quality of life.

pelvic node dissection - lymph nodes near the prostate are removed to determine if cancer has spread.

prognosis - a prediction of the course of the disease; the future prospects for the patient.

prostate acid phosphatase (PAP) - an enzyme produced by the prostate that is elevated in some patients when prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate.

prostatalgia - pain in the prostate gland.

prostate - specific antigen (PSA) - an antigen made by the prostate gland and found in the blood that may indicate cancer in the prostate gland.

prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test - a blood test used to help detect prostate cancer by measuring a substance called prostate-specific antigen made by the prostate.

prostatism - any condition of the prostate that causes interference with the flow of urine from the bladder.

prostatitis - an inflamed condition of the prostate gland that may be accompanied by discomfort, pain, frequent urination, infrequent urination and sometimes fever.

radiation therapy - the use of x-rays to kill cancer cells.

radical prostatectomy - surgery to remove the prostate along with the two seminal vesicle glands attached to the prostate.

radical retropubic prostatectomy - an operation to remove the entire prostate gland and seminal vesicles through the lower abdomen.

staging - an evaluation of the extent of disease that provides the basis for making treatment recommendations.

testosterone - male sex hormone produced mostly by the testicles, although a small amount is made by the adrenal glands.

transrectal ultrasound of the prostate (TRUS/P) - a test using sound wave echoes to create an image of an organ or gland to visually inspect for abnormal conditions like gland enlargement, nodules, penetration of tumor through capsule of the gland and/or invasion of seminal vesicles. It may also be used for guidance of needle biopsies of the prostate gland and guiding the nitrogen probes in cryosurgery.

transurethral surgery - surgery in which no external incision is needed. For prostate transurethral surgery, the surgeon reaches the prostate by inserting an instrument through the urethra.

See below for different types of transurethral surgery.

transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP) - a procedure that widens the urethra by making some small cuts in the bladder neck, where the urethra joins the bladder, and in the prostate gland itself.

transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) - a surgical procedure by which portions of the prostate gland are removed through the penis.

transurethral laser incision of the prostate (TULIP) - the use of laser through the urethra that melts the tissue.

transurethral hyperthermia - an investigative procedure that uses heat, usually provided by microwaves, to shrink the prostate.

Watchful Waiting - Close monitoring of prostate cancer by a physician instead of immediate treatment. Also called expectant management.


This page was last updated on: November 22, 2006.