3-dimensional radiation therapy
A type of radiation therapy that uses a computer to create a 3-dimensional picture of the tumor. This allows doctors to give the highest possible dose of radiation to the tumor, while sparing the normal tissue as much as possible. Also called 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy.
5-alpha reductase inhibitors
Drugs that are used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by shrinking the prostate or stopping it getting any bigger.
The area of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestine, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.
This term can be used to describe both active surveillance and watchful waiting.
See active surveillance and watchful waiting.
A way of monitoring prostate cancer with regular tests, rather than treating it straight away. The aim is to avoid unnecessary treatment in men with less aggressive cancers. The tests check for any changes that suggest that the cancer may grow, and treatment can then be offered at an early stage.
A cancer that occurs in the cells of a gland, such as the prostate gland. The majority of prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas.
Treatment given on top of the main treatment to increase the likelihood of successfully controlling the cancer. For example, hormone therapy given at the same time as radiotherapy. See also neoadjuvant.
Advanced prostate cancer
Prostate cancer that has spread outside the prostate gland to other parts of the body, such as the bones.
A quickly growing cancer. A cancer that is more likely to develop and spread
Drugs that can be used to help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by relaxing the muscles around the neck of the bladder and in the prostate, making it easier to pass urine.
A sac-like enlargement of a canal or duct.
In chemistry, a substance that is similar, but not identical, to another.
Hormones that are responsible for male characteristics. The male sex hormone
testosterone is an androgen. See also hormones and testosterone.
A substance that prevents pain from being felt, given before an operation.
Hormone therapy drugs that stop testosterone from reaching the prostate cancer cells. Without testosterone the cancer cells are not able to grow.
The opening of the rectum to the outside of the body.
Having no signs or symptoms of disease.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (hye-per-PLAY-zha)
BPH. A benign (noncancerous) condition in which an overgrowth of prostate tissue pushes against the urethra and the bladder, blocking the flow of urine. Also called benign prostatic hypertrophy.
The removal of small samples of tissue to be looked at under a microscope. A biopsy of the prostate gland may be used to help diagnose prostate cancer.
A sample of tissue taken during a biopsy.
A group of drugs which may be used by men with prostate cancer that has spread to the bones. They do not treat the cancer but may help with symptoms.
The organ that stores urine. It is a muscular sac which collects and stores
urine before it is passed out of the body.
Bladder neck incision
A procedure to help improve the flow of urine and relieve urinary symptoms by making small cuts in the neck of the bladder.
Soft tissue found inside the bones that makes red blood cells, white blood cells
and platelets. Chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer affects how well your bone marrow works.
A technique to create images of bones on a computer screen or on film. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel and travels through the bloodstream; it collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.
A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called internal radiation, implant radiation, or interstitial radiation therapy.
A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. There are several main types of cancer. Carcinoma is cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. Sarcoma is cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. Leukemia is cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream. Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system.
Any substance that causes cancer.
Having to do with the heart and lungs.
Having to do with the heart and blood vessels.
Castrate resistant prostate cancer is cancer that is no longer responding as well to
treatment with orchidectomy or LHRH agonists and has started to grow. It is
sometimes referred to as hormone refractory or hormone resistant prostate cancer
although these are slightly different.
Removal or destruction of the testicles or ovaries using radiation, surgery, or drugs. Medical castration refers to the use of drugs to suppress the function of the ovaries or testicles.
A flexible tube used to deliver fluids into or withdraw fluids from the body.
A thin tube that is used to drain urine from the bladder out of the body. This can be a tube through the penis (urethral catheter), or through the abdomen (suprapubic catheter).
The basic building blocks which make up every part of the body. Cells normally multiply in a controlled way. Cancer occurs when they start multiplying uncontrollably, forming a tumour.
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be used to treat prostate cancer that has spread outside theprostate gland and is no longer responding to hormone therapy. Chemotherapy is used to help control symptoms of prostate cancer and not to cure it. Some men at an earlier stage of prostate cancer may be offered chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial.
Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
A nurse who specialises in a particular medical condition. A clinical nurse specialist
for prostate cancer may be part of your multidisciplinary team.
A medical research study involving people, who are always volunteers. Trials may
investigate new drugs and combinations of drugs, as well as new technology and
Computed tomography (tuh-MAH-gra-fee)
CT scan. A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called computerized tomography and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.
A tube-like instrument used to view the interior of the bladder.
A treatment that uses freezing and thawing to kill the cancer cells in the prostate gland. It can be used to treat prostate cancer that has come back after treatment with radiotherapy or brachytherapy. It is also sometimes offered as a first treatment for prostate cancer, and may be available as part of a clinical trial or
national study. Also known as cryosurgery or cryoablation.
Inflammation of the bladder that causes a burning sensation when you pass urine,
difficulty passing urine, or the need to pass urine more often. Radiation cystitis can be a side effect of radiotherapy.
Identification of a health problem or condition.
Passing frequent, loose or watery stools (feces) from the bowel.
Difluoromethylornithine. A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.
Digital rectal examination
DRE. An examination in which a doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities.
Erectile dysfunction (ED)
Difficulty getting or keeping an erection. Erectile dysfunction has many possible
causes. It can be a side effect of some treatments for prostate cancer. Also known
as impotence.ejaculation The release of semen through the penis during orgasm.
Radiation therapy that uses a machine to aim high-energy rays at the cancer. Also called external radiation.
Problems controlling bowel movements which lead to stools (faeces) leaking from
the back passage. Also known as bowel incontinence.
Waste matter that is passed out of the body from the back passage (rectum). Also known as stools or bowel motions.
An abnormal opening between two parts of the body that may be caused by injury or infection. This is an uncommon complication of some treatments for prostate cancer, where a hole forms between the back passage (rectum) and the tube that carries urine through the penis (urethra).
When cancer grows more quickly for a short time because of a temporary rise in the level of testosterone. This can be caused by the first injection of an LHRH agonist.
A single session of a course of radiotherapy treatment.
The frequent need to pass urine. This can be a symptom of a prostate problem.
General practitioner (GP)
A doctor who deals with a range of medical problems in people of all ages. Also known as a family doctor.
The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.
Drugs that cause loss of feeling or awareness and put the person to sleep.
Inherited; having to do with information that is passed from parents to offspring through genes in sperm and egg cells.
An organ that makes and releases substances to other parts of the body.
A system of grading prostate cancer cells based on how they look under a microscope. Non-aggressive cells are grade 1 and the most aggressive are grade 5. Your gleason score is worked out by adding the gleason grades of the two most common types of cancer patterns in the biopsy samples. The higher the Gleason score, the more aggressive the cancer and the more likely it is to spread.Gleason scores range from 2 to 10 and indicate how likely it is that a tumor will spread. A low Gleason score means the cancer cells are similar to normal prostate cells and are less likely to spread; a high Gleason score means the cancer cells are very different from normal and are more likely to spread.
(GnRH) antagonist A hormone therapy drug that is given by injections in the abdomen. It blocks the message from the brain that tells the testicles to produce testosterone.
Swelling of the breast tissue. This can be a side effect of some types of hormone therapy.
The grade of a tumor depends on how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the tumor is likely to grow and spread. Grading systems are different for each type of cancer.
The need to wait a while before being able to pass urine, even when the bladder is full.
High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
A treatment that uses high frequency ultrasound waves to heat and destroy cancer
cells. HIFU is a relatively new treatment for prostate cancer and you may be offered it as part of a clinical trial or through private healthcare.
Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP)
A type of surgery that may be used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). A laser is used to remove tissue from the prostate gland that is pressing on the urethra. Also known as laser prostatectomy.
Hormone refractory / hormone resistant
Prostate cancer that is no longer responding as well to treatment with any type of
hormone therapy and has started to grow.
Chemicals found in the body that help control some of the body’s functions. The male hormone testosterone can cause hormonal therapyprostate cancer to grow more quickly.
Treatment that adds, blocks or removes hormones. For certain conditions (such as diabetes or menopause), hormones are given to adjust low hormone levels. To slow or stop the growth of certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer), synthetic hormones or other drugs may be given to block the body’s natural hormones. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the gland that makes hormones. Also called hormone therapy, hormone treatment, or endocrine therapy.
A common side effect of hormone therapy. Hot flashes give a sudden feeling of warmth. They can affect each man differently, from feeling overheated for a few seconds to hours of sweating and discomfort.
Tests that produce pictures of areas inside the body.
Image guided radiotherapy (IGRT)
A way of carrying out external beam radiotherapy that uses scans immediately
before treatment to check the position of the prostate gland.
In medicine, describes the inability to have an erection of the penis adequate for sexual intercourse.
The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.
A cut made in the body to perform surgery.
Inability to control the flow of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or the escape of stool from the rectum (fecal incontinence).
A type of cancer that grows slowly.
Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
A type of external beam radiotherapy using radiation beams that can be adjusted to give different doses of radiotherapy to different parts of the prostate gland.
The insertion of a thin, lighted tube (called a laparoscope) through the abdominal wall to inspect the inside of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.
Surgery to remove the prostate gland through several small cuts in the abdomen. Also known as keyhole surgery.
Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists are a type of hormone therapy drug, given by injection or implant, which stop the body producing testosterone.
The desire to have sex. Hormone therapy can reduce your libido.
Restricted to the site of origin, without evidence of spread.
Localised prostate cancer
Prostate cancer that is contained within the prostate gland.
Locally advanced prostate cancer
Prostate cancer that has spread to the area just outside the prostate gland, but has not spread to other parts of the body.
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS)
Problems passing urine, including leaking urine, needing to pass urine frequently or
urgently, and needing to get up in the night to pass urine. LUTS are common in older men and have several possible causes.
These are part of the lymphatic system. The lymph nodes in the groin and pelvic area are near the prostate gland and are a common place for prostate cancer to spread to. Also called lymph glands.
Lymph node dissection
A surgical procedure in which lymph nodes are removed and examined to see whether they contain cancer. Also called lymphadenectomy.
The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and lymphatic vessels (a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells). Lymphatic vessels branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.
A swelling in part of the body resulting from the build up of lymph. Cancer-related
lymphoedema may be caused by a blockage of the lymphatic system. This blockage may be caused by either the cancer itself or some treatments for cancer, for example surgery or radiotherapy. It is not common in prostate cancer.
Magnetic resonance imaging
MRI. A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. MRI makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as CT or x-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.
This word is used to describe a tumour that is cancerous and has the ability to spread.
Maximal androgen blockade
A form of hormone therapy that uses both an LHRH agonist and an anti-androgen to
treat prostate cancer. Also called combined androgen blockade or complete androgen blockade.
Refers to the use of drugs to suppress the function of the ovaries or testicles.
The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumor formed from cells that have spread is called a secondary tumor, a metastatic tumor, or a metastasis. The secondary tumor contains cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor. The plural form of metastasis is metastases (meh-TAS-ta-seez).
To spread from one part of the body to another. When cancer cells metastasize and form secondary tumors, the cells in the metastatic tumor are like those in the original (primary) tumor.
Having to do with metastasis, which is the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another.
Too small to be seen without a microscope.
Relating to disease or the side effects of treatment.
The number of people who die from a disease.
Multi-disciplinary team (MDT)
The team of health professionals or specialists involved in your care. The team may include a specialist nurse, a consultant oncologist and a consultant urologist.
Treatment given before the primary treatment. Examples of neoadjuvant therapy include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.
Another word for tumour.
Treatment that aims to avoid damaging nerves. For example, during surgery to
remove the prostate, the surgeon may try to avoid damaging the nerves that help
The need to get up at night to pass urine. This can be a symptom of a prostate problem or a side effect of some of the treatments for prostate cancer.
Closely monitoring a patient’s condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change. Also called watchful waiting.
A clog or blockage that prevents liquid from flowing easily.
A female sex hormone that may be used as a type of hormone therapy for men with
advanced prostate cancer.
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Surgery to remove one or both testicles. Also called orchidectomy.
A type of hormone therapy for prostate cancer which involves an operation to remove the testicles or the parts of the testicles that make testosterone.
A doctor who specialises in cancer treatments other than surgery, for example radiotherapy or chemotherapy. There will usually be an oncologist in your multi-disciplinary team.
A condition in which the bones become weaker. This can have many causes. In
prostate cancer it is a possible side effect of some types of hormone therapy. Also called bone thinning.
Care given to improve the quality of life of people with an incurable illness. The aim
of palliative care is to control pain and other symptoms and to meet a person’s psychological, social and spiritual needs.
Radiotherapy given to slow down the growth of cancer and control symptoms in men with advanced prostate cancer, rather than trying to get rid of the cancer.
Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliative cancer therapies are given together with other cancer treatments, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship, recurrent or advanced disease, and at the end of life.
A term used to describe cancer that can be felt by touch, usually present in lymph nodes, skin, or other organs of the body such as the liver or colon.
A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.
The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones.
Treatment for erectile dysfunction.
The area between the scrotum and the anus (rectum).
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus.
An inactive substance that looks the same as, and is administered in the same way as, a drug in a clinical trial.
Inflammation of the lining of the bowel. This can be caused by radiotherapy for prostate cancer and may lead to symptoms such as diarrhoea, passing more wind or needing to rush to the toilet to empty the bowels.
The likely outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery or recurrence.
A gland in the male reproductive system just below the bladder. The prostate surrounds part of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder, and produces a fluid that forms part of semen.
PSA. A substance produced by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate. Both healthy and cancer cells make PSA
Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN)
Changes in the cells that line the prostate gland. PIN is not the same as prostate cancer and does not cause any symptoms. However, PIN can be in the prostate gland alongside cancer cells and finding PIN may mean that there is a greater chance of finding prostate cancer cells in the future.
An operation to remove part or all of the prostate. Radical (or total) prostatectomy is the removal of the entire prostate and some of the tissue around it.
An artificial replacement of a part of the body.
Inflammation or infection of the prostate gland.
Prostate-specific antigen. A substance produced by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate.
Your PSA level in relation to the volume of your prostate gland.
A test that measures the amount of PSA in the blood. It can be used alongside other
tests to help diagnose prostate problems and to monitor prostate cancer growth and
the effectiveness of treatment.
The rate at which your PSA level changes over time. This can give an indication of how quickly prostate cancer is likely to grow in the future.
A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.
The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or from materials called radioisotopes. Radioisotopes produce radiation and can be placed in or near the tumor or in the area near cancer cells. This type of radiation treatment is called internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, interstitial radiation, or brachytherapy. Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiotherapy, irradiation, and x-ray therapy.
Radical prostatectomy (RAD-ih-kal pros-ta-TEK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the entire prostate.
A test that produces pictures (scans) of internal parts of the body. The person is given an injection or swallows a small amount of radioactive material; a machine called a scanner then measures the radioactivity in certain organs.
The last 6 inches of the large intestine.
The return of cancer, at the same site as the original (primary) tumor or in another location, after the tumor has had initial treatment.
Regional lymph node
In oncology, a lymph node that drains lymph from the region around a tumor.
The return of signs and symptoms of cancer after a period of improvement.
A decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made in the abdominal wall.
Something that may make a person more likely to develop a disease. For example, the risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age, so age is a risk factor for prostate cancer.
Behind the pubic bone.
Laparoscopic prostatectomy which is carried out with the help of a robot.
A type of biopsy which involves taking more tissue samples from different areas of the prostate gland than a normal biopsy. You may have a saturation biopsy if previous biopsy results are normal but cancer is still suspected. Also known as a template biopsy.
Testing the general population to find out if people have a disease at an early stage,
before symptoms develop.
In males, the external sac that contains the testicles.
The fluid that is released through the penis during orgasm. Semen is made up of sperm from the testicles and fluid from the prostate and other sex glands.
The two glands situated behind the prostate gland and bladder which produce some of the fluid in semen.
Spinal cord compression
Pressure on the spinal cord. This is a rare complication in advanced prostate cancer
where the cancer has spread to the spine (spinal metastases). The cancer presses on
nerves in the spine causing symptoms.
The circular muscle that surrounds the tube which urine is passed through (urethra) and controls the flow of urine from the bladder.
The extent of a cancer within the body. If the cancer has spread, the stage describes how far it has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.
Performing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer within the body, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. It is important to know the stage of the disease in order to plan the best treatment.
Drugs used to control swelling and inflammation. Steroids can help to reduce
inflammation in areas where advanced prostate cancer has spread.
A narrowing of a tube in the body. A stricture in the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body (urethra) can be caused by inflammation and several treatments. Check your early medical history.
The waste matter discharged in a bowel movement; feces.
Above the pubic bone.
A group of people with similar disease who meet to discuss how better to cope with their disease and treatment.
A procedure to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out whether disease is present. An operation.
An indication that a person has a condition or disease. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and pain.
The male reproductive glands where sperm are produced.
A hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.
A procedure used to examine the prostate. An instrument is inserted into the rectum, and sound waves bounce off the prostate. These sound waves create echoes, which a computer uses to create a picture called a sonogram.
Transurethral resection of the prostate
Surgical procedure to remove tissue from the prostate using an instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called TURP.
An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. Tumors may be benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous). Also called neoplasm.
A type of test in which sound waves too high to hear are aimed at a structure to produce an image of it.
The tube through which urine leaves the body. It empties urine from the bladder.
A sudden and immediate need to go to the toilet. This can be an urgency to pass
urine which can be a symptom of prostate problems, or an urgency to open the bowels which can be a side effect of radiotherapy.
Problems controlling when you pass urine. This can range from leaking a few drops of urine when you cough or sneeze to not being able to control when you pass urine at all.
The organs of the body that produce and discharge urine. These include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Fluid containing water and waste products. Urine is made by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and leaves the body through the urethra.
A test to measure how well the bladder is working. This is sometimes used to help
diagnose benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
A doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary organs in females and the urinary and sex organs in males.
The study and treatment of diseases of the urinary system, which includes the
A coiled tube that carries the sperm out of the testes.
A substance used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.
A way of monitoring men with prostate cancer with the aim of avoiding treatment unless symptoms develop. When treatment starts, its aim is to control the growth of the cancer rather than get rid of it. Watchful waiting may be suitable for men with other health problems or who may be less able to cope with treatment. It is different to active surveillance.
A type of high-energy radiation. In low doses, x-rays are used to diagnose diseases by making pictures of the inside of the body. In high doses, x-rays are used to treat cancer.