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Prostate Cancer: Glossary


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.

Platelets: substance in blood that helps prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form at the site of an injury.

Post-void residual test: a test often performed with ultrasound imaging to detect how much urine is left in the bladder after the patient completes urination.

Priapism : persistent, painful, and unwanted erection. This condition requires immediate medical attention or it may result in permanent injury to the penis.

Prognosis: the probable outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery.

Prostate: a muscular, walnut-sized gland that surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that transports urine and sperm out of the body. The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It secretes seminal fluid, a milky substance that combines with sperm produced in the testicles to form semen. The muscles in the prostate push semen through the urethra and out of the penis during sexual climax.

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