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Prostate Cancer: Glossary


Metastasize: to spread from one part of the body to another.


Nonbacterial prostatitis: the type of prostatitis that occurs when no definite infectious cause can be identified. Men with nonbacterial prostatitis often have a number of white blood cells (associated with infection) in their urine, but no bacteria are found.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): a class of drugs effective for reducing inflammation and pain without steroids. Examples of these drugs include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.


Obstruction: a clog or blockage that prevents fluid from flowing easily.

Occult blood: Blood in the stool that is not always visible to the naked eye. This type of bleeding is detected by performing a laboratory test on a stool sample.

Oncologist: a doctor who specializes in the medical treatment of cancer. Medical oncologists have a thorough knowledge of how cancers behave and grow. This knowledge is used to calculate your risk of recurrence as well as the possible need for and benefits of additional or adjuvant therapy (such as chemotherapy or hormonal therapy).Your medical oncologist generally manages your overall medical care and monitors your general health during your course of treatment. He or she checks your progress frequently, reviews your lab and X-ray results, and coordinates your medical care before and after your course of treatment.

Oncologist, radiation: a doctor trained in cancer treatment using radiation therapy.

Oncologist, surgical: a doctor who performs biopsies and other surgical procedures specifically related to cancer.

Orchiectomy: surgical removal of the testes.


Palpation: a simple technique, when a doctor presses on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath.

Patient Controlled Analgesia: a method of giving pain medication that is activated by the patient.

Pathologist: a doctor who specializes in analyzing tissue samples. In the case of prostate cancer, the doctor can examine prostate tissue samples under a microscope to detect the cellular makeup of the tumor, whether the cancer is localized or has the potential to spread, and how quickly it is growing. Pathologists can detect subtle differences in cancer cells that help your surgeon and oncologist confirm the diagnosis.

Penile prosthesis: See prosthesis.

Perineum: the area between the scrotum and anus.

Permanent radioactive seed implants: a form of radiation therapy for prostate cancer. During the procedure, radioactive implants are implanted into the prostate gland using ultrasound guidance. The number of implants and where they are placed is determined by a computer-generated treatment plan individualized for each patient. The implants remain in place permanently, and become inactive after a period of months. This technique is also referred to as low-dose rate (LDR) and allows for delivery of radiation to the prostate with limited effect to surrounding tissues.

Peyronie's disease: a condition that causes buildup of plaques and scarring along the walls of the erectile tissue of the penis. This condition causes curvature of the penis, especially when erect.

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