Prostate Cancer Help

urologic terms and definitions

BCG – vaccine used for the treatment of bladder cancer. BCG is mixed and instilled in the bladder. Patient returns for weekly instillations for 6-8 weeks.

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) – as men age, their prostrate may enlarge. This may cause difficulty starting and completely stopping the urinary stream, painful urination, decreased pressure in stream, incomplete emptying and frequency. If cancer is not present, this condition is known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Various types of surgery, the most common is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), or hormonal therapy are the usual forms of treatment.

Biopsy – the removal of cells or tissues for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. All biopsies are sent to our laboratory for processing. This could be a prostate needle biopsy, a bladder biopsy or some other tissue sample. When only a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an incisional biopsy or core biopsy. When an entire lump or suspicious area is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, the procedure is called a needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration.

Bladder – the organ that stores urine.

Brachytherapy – a procedure in which radioactive material is 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.

Calculi – “stone”, ususally refers to a renal calculi or “kidney stone: (also see lithiasis).

Catheter – most often refers to a tube that drains the bladder, through the urethra, but can refer to any tube that drains.

Circumcision – operation to remove all or part of the foreskin.

Clinical Trial – a type of research that uses volunteers to test new methods of screeing, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. The trial may be carried out in a clinic or other medical facility. Also called a clinical study.

Cryosurgery – treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal tissue.

Cystitis – inflammation of the bladder, usually from infection but can refer to any cause of inflammation such as radiation cystitis or interstitial cystitis.

Cystocele – herniation of the bladder into the vagina, commonly referred to as “bladder drop”.

Cystoscopy – looking into the urinary bladder with an instrument called a cystoscope. The bladder is filled with sterile water; the bladder is expanded and able to then be visualized with the scope that has a light source.

Dilation – in urologic terms, the stretching of the opening from the bladder (urethra).

Enuresis – usually refers to nocturnal enuresis or “bedwetting”.

FISH - (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization) is a molecular test where the pathologist examines the DNA of cells in the urine to detect bladder cancer. The FISH test is a useful tool for patients with a history of bladder cancer or who have an abnormal urine cytology.

Genitourinary System – the parts of the body that play a role in reproduction and getting rid of waste products in the form of urine, or both.

Grade – 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.

Hematuria – blood in the urine. Gross hematuria is when blood can readily be seen in the urine. Gross hematuria may indicate a tumor of the bladder or an acute cystitis. Patients with gross hematuria should be seen on an emergent basis. Microscopic hematuria is when blood is only seen on a microscopic urinalysis. Although this may be indicative of disease of the urinary tract, it is often idiopathic – there is no known cause. However, a complete urinary work-up is needed to rule out the disease.

Hernia – protrusion of a part or structure through the tissues normally containing it.

Hormonal Therapy – 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 or 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 the hormones. Also called hormone therapy, hormone treatment, or endocrine treatment.

Hydrocele – literally “water sac”, a collection of fluid in the scrotum that surrounds the testicle.

Impotence – inability to achieve or maintain an erection. May be caused by psychological, vascular or neurological dysfunction.

Incontinence – the involuntary voiding of urine.

Infertility – diminished or absent ability to produce offspring.

Interstitial Cystitis – disease characterized by pain with bladder filling. This diagnosis is only considered when other causes of pain or urgency have been evaluated.

Kidney Stone (renal calculi,nephrolithiasis) – a stone which forms in the kidney.

Lithiasis – stone, as in “nephrolithiasis”.

Lymph Node – a rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph nodes filter lymphatic fluid and store lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are located along lymphatic vessels. Also called a lymph gland.

Malignant – cancerous malignant tumors can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

Medical Oncologist – a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and biological therapy. A medical oncologist often is the main health care provider for a person who has cancer. A medical oncologist also may coordinate treatment provided by other specialists.

Metastasis – The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumor formed by cells that have spread is called a “metastatic tumor” or a “metastasis.” The metastatic tumor contains cells that are like the those in the original (primary) tumor.

Nephrolithiasis – stone, found within the kidney

Nocturnal Enuresis – incontinence that occurs at night or while a person is sleeping. Known as “bedwetting”.

Orchiectomy – surgery to remove one or both of the testicles.

Pathologist – a doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

Prostate – 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 the semen.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (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 an infection or inflammation of the prostate.

Prostatitis – inflammation of the prostate gland, usually this refers to chronic prostatitis.

Renal – refers to the kidney; also “nephro”

Risk Factor – something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. Some examples of risk factors for cancer include age, family history of certain cancers, use of tobacco products, certain eating habits, obesity, exposure to radiation or cancer-causing agents, and certain genetic changes.

Spermatocele – cyst of the epididymis containing sperm.

Staging – Performing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer within the body, expecially whether the disease has spread from the orginal site to other parts of the body. It is important to know the stage of the disease in order to plan the best treatment.

Stent – (see ureteral stent)

Stricture – a narrowing of a channel, most often of the ureter or urethra.

Stenosis – see stricture (also stenotic).

Torsion – (related to the testicle) twisting or rotation of the testicle upon its long axis. If not self-corrected, surgical intervention is needed to prevent the testicle from dying.

Undescended testicle – a testicle that has not descended into the scrotal sac.

Ureter – thin walled tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder.

Urethra – channel that drains the bladder.

Ureteral Stent – small tube placed within the ureter usually to help the drainage of urine from the kidney to the bladder most often because of an obstructing stone in the ureter.

Ureterolithiasis – the formation or presence of calculi (stones) in one or both ureters.

Ureteroplasty – reconstruction of one or both ureters.

Ureterostomy – establishment of an external opening into the ureter.

Urethral diverticulum – a sac-like outpouching of the urethral wall.

Urinalysis – analysis of the urin, either chemically or microscopically, to detect infection and/or disease.

Urine Cytology – A Urine Cytology test is an exam of the cells in your urine to detect bladder cancer. The urine specimen is processed in our laboratory and examined under a microscope by a pathologist who looks for any abnormal looking cells.

Varcicocele – dilated veins that drain the testicle, resulting in poorer drainage and, possibly, infertility.

Vasectomy – an operation to cut or tie off the two tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles.

Vesicoureteral Reflux – backward flow of urine from the ureter back into the kidney.

Watchful Waiting – closely monitoring a patient’s condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change. Also called observation.