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Prostate Cancer: Glossary

Abscess: a collection of pus caused by a bacterial infection.

Acid phosphatase: an older blood test for an enzyme produced primarily in the prostate. High levels may indicate the presence or spread of prostate cancer.

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Acute: abrupt onset of a medical condition that is usually severe; happens for a limited period of time.

Acute bacterial prostatitis: also called infectious prostatitis, a bacterial infection of the prostate gland that causes inflammation and swelling of the prostate. Acute bacterial prostatitis requires prompt treatment as the condition can lead to cystitis, abscesses in the prostate, or blocked urine flow in extreme cases. In some cases, acute prostatitis requires hospitalization.

Adjuvant therapy: treatment provided in addition to the primary treatment to prevent cancer recurrence.

Adrenal glands: two glands that sit on top of the kidneys that make and release hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline), which raises heart rate and blood pressure; norepinephrine, which causes constriction of blood vessels; and steroid hormones, including cortisone, which help reduce inflammation and control how the body utilizes fat, protein, carbohydrates, and minerals. Other steroid hormones produced in the adrenal gland are called androgens, or male sex hormones.

Adverse effect: negative or harmful effect.

Alpha-adrenergic blocker: class of drugs used to treat benign (noncancerous) prostate enlargement. These medications tend to relax the prostate muscles and improve urine flow. They are also used to treat hypertension.

Analgesic: medicine used to relieve pain.

Androgen: a hormone, such as testosterone and androsterone, responsible for the development of male sex characteristics.

Anemia: a condition when blood is deficient in one of three ways: 1) not enough red blood cells, 2) hemoglobin, or 3) total volume of blood. Hemoglobin is a substance in the red blood cells that enables the blood to transport oxygen through the body.

Antegrade ejaculation: normal forward ejaculation.

Antiandrogen drug: any medication that reduces or blocks the normal activity of an androgen hormone.

Antibiotic: medication used to treat bacterial infection.

Anti-inflammatory: medication used to reduce pain, swelling, or other irritation, often caused by prostatitis.

Antimicrobial: a drug that kills bacteria or prevents them from multiplying; antibiotics are naturally occurring antimicrobials. Antimicrobial medications are used to treat acute infectious prostatitis and chronic prostatitis.

Antibodies: proteins produced by the body to protect itself from foreign substances (such as bacteria or viruses).

Antigens: Foreign substances that cause an immune response in the body. The body produces antibodies to fight antigens, or harmful substances.

Antispasmodics: drugs that help decrease involuntary muscle spasms that may occur in the bladder.

Asymptomatic: no symptoms or no clear sign that disease is present.

Atrophy: wasting of tissue or organ due to disease or lack of use (as in muscle atrophy). The testicles can become atrophic due to disease, cancer, or abnormal development.

WebMD Medical Reference

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