Prostate Cancer: Glossary
Pulse oximetry: photoelectric device that measures the percent of oxygenation in the blood using a clip on the finger. Also measures the heart rate.
Radiation therapy: a form of cancer treatment that uses high levels of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing and dividing while minimizing damage to healthy cells.
Radical prostatectomy: surgery that removes the entire prostate gland plus some tissue around it. Radical prostatectomy is used most often if the cancer is thought not to have spread outside of the gland.
Radioactive Seed Implants: See brachytherapy.
Radiology: a branch of medicine that uses radioactive substances and visual devices to diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases.
Radiologist: a doctor who reads and interprets X-rays and other radiographic images.
Recurrence: the return of a disease after a period of remission.
Remission: disappearance of any evidence of cancer. A remission can be temporary or permanent.
Renal: relating to the kidneys.
Renal threshold: the point at which the blood is holding so much of a substance, such as glucose, that the kidneys allow the excess to "spill" into the urine. This is also called "kidney threshold," "kidney spilling point," or "leak point."
Renovascular disorders: diseases of the blood vessels of the kidney.
Retrograde ejaculation: ejaculation of semen backward into the bladder instead of through the urethra and out of the penis.
Risk factor: a factor that increases a person's chance of developing a disease or predisposes a person to a certain condition.
Scrotum: the sac of skin that contains the testes.
Semen: the fluid, containing sperm, which comes out of the penis during sexual arousal.
Semen analysis: test that provides information about the number and quality of the sperm.
Seminal vesicles: small glands near the prostate that produce some of the fluid for semen.
Sentinel lymph node: the first lymph node to which a tumor drains, making it the first place where cancer is likely to spread.
Sexually transmitted disease (STD): a disease that is spread by having sex with someone who has an STD. You can get an STD from sexual activity that involves the mouth, anus, or vagina. STDs are serious illnesses that require treatment. Some STDs, such as AIDS and genital herpes, cannot be cured.
Sildenafil: See Viagra.
Sperm: the microscopic cells produced in the testicles and transported by semen to aid in reproduction.
Stage: a labeling system indicating how far the cancer has spread, or the extent of the cancer. The stage of prostate cancer depends on the size of the cancer and whether it has spread from its original site to other parts of the body.
Systemic therapy: treatment that reaches and affects cells all over the body.
Temporary brachytherapy: a form of radiation therapy for prostate cancer during which hollow needles are placed into the prostate gland. These needles are filled with a substance that gives off radioactivity for a period of minutes. This is repeated for two to three additional treatments over a couple of days. This technique is also referred to as high-dose rate (HDR) and allows for delivery of radiation to the prostate while sparing its effect on the surrounding tissues.