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Prostate Cancer: Glossary


Epididymitis : inflammation of the epididymis.

Epidural catheter: a small tube passed into the space between the spinal cord and spinal column. Pain medication can be delivered through the tube.

Erectile dysfunction : See impotence.

Flow study: a test that measures the flow of urine.

Gene: the basic unit of heredity found in all cells.

Gleason score : a rating system that indicates how aggressive a cancer is. The higher the Gleason score, the more likely it is that the cancer will grow and spread rapidly. Pathologists often identify the two most common patterns of cells in the tissue, assign a Gleason grade to each, and add the two grades. The result is a number between two and 10. A Gleason score of less than six indicates a less aggressive cancer. A grade seven and up is considered more aggressive.

Grade: a labeling system indicating how quickly a cancer is growing.

Hormones: chemicals produced by glands in the body. Hormones control the actions of certain cells or organs.

Hormone therapy: also called hormonal therapy. The use of hormone medications to treat cancer patients by removing, blocking, or adding to the effects of a hormone on an organ or part of the body. Hormone therapy may also include surgical removal of the testicles to prevent male hormones from further stimulating the growth of prostate cancer.

Hyperthermia : treatment which uses heat as a treatment to kill cells. See transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT).

Immune system: the body's natural defense system against infection or disease.

Impotence: also called erectile dysfunction, a man's inability to develop or sustain an erection satisfactory for sexual intercourse. Though prostate cancer is not a cause of impotence, some treatments for the disease can cause erectile dysfunction.

Infectious prostatitis: See acute bacterial prostatitis.

Inflammation: one of the body's defense mechanisms, results in increased blood flow in response to infection and certain chronic conditions. Symptoms of inflammation include redness, swelling, pain, and heat.

Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy: See radiation.

Interstitial Laser Coagulation (ILC): a technique used to treat an enlarged prostate. This technique uses two lasers to deliver heat to the interior of the prostate. A specially designed laser fiber is inserted into the prostate using instruments placed in the urethra. The procedure is usually done in the operating room, under local anesthesia to numb the area.

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