Glossary

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5 Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors
A medication used to treat BPH and decrease the size of the prostate by blocking testosterone, an enzyme that acts on the male hormone to boost organ growth.
Abdominal Ultrasound
Ultrasound technology allows providers to examine a patient’s internal organs without resorting to surgery. A transmitter sends high frequency sound waves into the body, where they bounce off the different tissues and organs to produce a distinctive pattern of echoes. A receiver “hears” the returning echo pattern and forwards it to a computer, which translates the data into an image on a television screen. Because ultrasound can distinguish subtle variations between soft, fluid-filled tissues, it is particularly useful in providing diagnostic images of the abdomen. Ultrasound can also be used in treatment.
Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
A benign prostate disease caused by bacteria. It tends to come on suddenly and is often accompanied by a urinary tract infection.
Alpha-Adrenergic Receptor Blockers
A medication used to treat BPH by blocking adrenergic nerve receptors in the lower urinary tract, helping to relax the smooth muscle of the prostate and bladder neck. This helps to relieve pressure and to improve urine flow.
Alpha-Feto Protein (AFP)
A fetal blood protein that may present abnormally in adults with some forms of cancer.
Androgens
Male hormones that are responsible for the development of the prostate in a male fetus. Testosterone is the most common androgen.
Androgen-Blocking Agents
A hormonal therapy that prevents testosterone from attaching to prostate cells.
Antimicrobial Medications
A group of drugs that includes antibiotics, antifungals, antiprotozoals, and antivirals. These drugs are used to treat microbial infections.
Anus
The external opening of the rectum.
Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis
A benign prostate disease where the patient experiences no symptoms, but infection-fighting white blood cells are present in the semen.
Benign
Of no danger to health; not recurrent or progressive; not malignant.
Benign Prostate Disease
Nonmalignant conditions affecting the prostate gland.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
One of the most common prostate conditions, especially in men over the age of 50. The term benign means that the condition is not cancerous and the term hyperplasia means abnormal or unusual growth. The result of BPH is that the prostate becomes enlarged. The gland tends to expand in an area that doesn’t expand with it, causing pressure on the urethra, which can lead to urinary problems.
Benign Testicular Disease
Nonmalignant conditions affecting the testicles. Testicular trauma, testicular torsion, epididymitis, and hypogonadism are examples of benign testicular diseases.
Bladder
A membraneous sac that serves as a temporary receptacle for urine.
Brachytherapy
Also known as internal radiation therapy. Brachytherapy involves the placement of radioactive material or seeds inside the patient, directly in or near the tumor.
Chemical Castration
Drugs used to treat advanced prostate cancer by blocking the production of testosterone. This procedure has the same result as surgical removal of the testicles, but can be reversed after the cancer is controlled.
Chemotherapy
A single drug or a combination of anticancer drugs used to treat, destroy or disable cancer cells. Chemotherapy can also damage healthy cells, causing a variety of side effects. It can be administered intravenously or orally.
Choriocarcinoma
A highly malignant subtype of nonseminoma, which are testicular cancers arising in germ cells.
Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
A benign prostate disease. The condition is caused by bacteria in the prostate. It does not occur suddenly, but gradually gets worse over time. The only symptom a man may experience is a recurring bladder infection, with the same bacteria building up repeatedly.
Chronic Nonbacterial Prostatitis
Nonbacterial prostatitis is typically a chronic, painful disease. The symptoms (including chills, fever, pain in the lower back and genital area, body aches, burning or painful urination, and the frequent and urgent need to urinate) characteristically go away and then come back without warning. The urine and fluid from the prostate show no evidence of a known infecting organism, but the semen and other fluids from the prostate contain cells that the body usually produces to fight infection.
Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome
Persistent pain in the pelvic region, often linked to prostatitis.
Computerized Tomography, or CT Scans
Tests that use computers to create three-dimensional or cross-sectional images and linked to an X-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly.
Cryptorchidism
A condition in which one or both testicles fail to descend normally.

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Digital Rectal Exams (DRE)
An exam to diagnose possible diseases of the prostate. During the DRE, the provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the patient’s rectum and examines the rectal wall surface for lesions, or for an abnormally firm area that might indicate cancer. The provider also examines the prostate, looking for any bumps, irregularities, soft spots, or hard spots that may require additional tests.
Ejaculation
The expulsion of seminal fluid from the urethra of the penis during orgasm.
Electrical Vaporization
The use of electrical current to vaporize excess prostate tissue.
Embryonal Carcinoma
A type of testicular cancer that may occur in men in their late teens to early 40s. One of four subtypes of nonseminomas.
Epididymis
The coiled tube that lies on and behind each testicle. These tubes are involved in the transportation, storage and maturation of sperm cells that are produced in the testicles. The epididymis connects the testicles with the vas deferens, which are the tubes that carry sperm.
Epididymitis
An inflammation of the epididymis and can be caused by an infection such as a sexually transmitted disease called chlamydia.
Erectile Dysfunction
The inability for a man to achieve an erection or to maintain an erection until ejaculation.
External Radiation Therapy
The use of radiation from a source outside of the body to destroy or shrink cancer cells. External radiation therapy is a local therapy, meaning that the radiation is aimed only at a specific part of the body.
Germ Cell Tumors
The most common type of testicular cancer. Germ cell tumors grow in the cells that produce sperm. There are two kinds of germ cell tumors: seminomas and nonseminomas.
Gleason Score
A system of grading prostate cancer tissue based on how it looks under a microscope. Gleason scores range from two to ten and indicate how likely it is that a tumor will spread.
Hormonal Manipulation
The adjustment of the levels of testosterone, either by using specific medication or through surgery. Because prostate tumors require testosterone to grow, reducing the testosterone level is often effective in preventing further growth and spread of prostate cancer.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
HCG is a protein in the blood that is often secreted as a result of testicular cancer. HCG can be used medically to treat male hypogonadism and cryptorchidism.
Hypogonadism
A condition that occurs when a man’s testicles do not produce an adequate supply of testosterone due to an abnormality in the testicles or a problem with the pituitary gland.

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Incontinence
An inability to control urination or defecation, so that either may take place involuntarily.
Impotence
The inability of a male to perform sexual intercourse, usually because erection of the penis cannot be achieved or sustained.
Internal Radiation Therapy
The use of radiation from a source inside of the body to destroy or shrink cancer cells. Radioactive material or seeds inside the patient, directly in or near the tumor. This technique is also called brachytherapy.
Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH)
One of a group of enzymes found in the blood and other body tissues. Elevated levels of LDH may indicate the presence of metastatic disease.
Laparoscope
A lighted narrow tube used to view the abdomen and pelvis.
Laparoscopic
A surgery technique that uses small incisions to insert instruments and a camera into the abdomen. The camera transmits images to a video monitor, allowing the provider to view the interior organs.
Laser Enucleation
A surgical procedure using a laser to remove excess prostate tissue without cutting into it.
Laser Surgery
A procedure involving the use of a laser to vaporize prostate tissue that obstructs the flow of urine. The provider passes a laser fiber through the urethra into the prostate and then delivers several bursts of energy lasting from 30 to 60 seconds. The laser energy destroys or shrinks excess prostate tissue.
Laser Vaporization
A surgical procedure using a laser to remove excess prostate tissue without cutting into it.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI
A noninvasive method of visualizing the internal structures of the body. A magnet, radio waves, and a computer are used to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body.
Malignant
A term used to describe a tumor that invades the tissue around it and may spread to other parts of the body.
Metastasize
To spread.

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Nonseminomas
Germ cell cancers that are classified by the type of cell in which they begin. The four subtypes of nonseminomas are embryonal carcinoma, teratoma, choriocarcinoma, and yolk sac carcinoma.
Open Prostatectomy
A procedure where the provider removes the prostate through a cut in the lower abdomen or between the anus and scrotum. This surgery is performed only in rare cases when the prostate is very large and severely obstructed, or when other procedures cannot be done.
Orchiectomy
A surgical treatment for prostate cancer involving the removal of the testes. The goal of this surgery is to alter hormone production, specifically the production of testosterone.
Osteoporosis
A disease most commonly found in postmenopausal women. This condition is characterized by decreased bone mineral density causing an increased risk of bone fractures. Osteoporosis can also occur in men as well as premenopausal women.
Penis
The external male sex organ used to copulate and ejaculate semen and to convey urine outside the body.
Perineum
The area between the anus and scrotum.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
A test used for the detection of cancer. Radioactive glucose, or sugar, is injected into the patient’s vein. Because cancers use sugar much faster than normal tissues, the cancerous tissue accumulates more of the radioactive material than normal cells. A scanner can identify the radioactive deposits.
Prostate
A gland found only in men. The prostate is located in front of the rectum and underneath the urinary bladder, and is about the size of a walnut.
Prostate Biopsy
A procedure to determine whether abnormal cell growth in the prostate gland is cancerous. A small sample of tissue is removed from the prostate and examined under a microscope.
Prostate Cancer
A disease in which the cells of the prostate begin to grow uncontrollably, forming tumors.
Prostate-Specific Antigen Test (PSA)
A blood test used to measure the amount of PSA, a protein produced by prostate cells in the blood.
Prostatectomy
A surgical procedure where the entire prostate and seminal vesicles are removed.
Prostatitis
A wide range of disorders that can affect the prostate.
Radiation Therapy
The use of high-energy rays to destroy or shrink cancer cells. Local radiation therapy affects cancer cells only in the treated area.
Radical Inguinal Orchiectomy
A surgery to remove a cancerous testicle or possibly both testicles.
Radical Prostatectomy
The removal of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles for the treatment of early stages of prostate cancer.
Rectum
The last 6 to 8 inches of the large intestine that stores solid waste until it leaves the body through the anus.
Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection
A surgical procedure to remove lymph nodes. This procedure may be combined with the removal of one or both testicles.
Retrograde Ejaculation
A condition caused by nerves damaged from the removal of retroperitoneal lymph nodes. When a male ejaculates, the sperm are not deposited outside the body but instead, are deposited in the bladder.
Risk Factor
A feature of somebody’s habits, genetic makeup, or personal history that increases the probability that disease or harm to health will occur.
Scrotum
Part of the male’s external genitals. The scrotum is the sac (pouch) that contains the testes, blood vessels, and part of the spermatic cord. It is located behind the penis.
Secondary Testicular Tumors
Tumors caused by cancer that has spread to the testicles from other parts of the body.
Semen
Fluid and sperm that is released through the male penis during orgasm.
Seminal Vesicles
A structure in the male that is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) long and is located behind the bladder and above the prostate gland. The seminal vesicles contribute fluid to the ejaculation.
Seminomas
Slow growing tumors that can remain in the testicle for a long period of time. Seminomas consist of immature germ cells, the cells that would normally become sperm.
Spermatic Cord
A structure that secures the testicles at one end within the scrotum.
Stages of Prostate Cancer
A staging system to help determine the size and location of the cancer, and if the cancer has metastasized (spread) beyond the prostate. One staging system often used with prostate cancer is the TNM system. “T” indicates the tumor size, “N” indicates the lymph node involvement, and “M” indicates the degree of metastasis, or where the cancer has spread within the body.
Stromal Tumors
A type of testicular cancer that grows in other parts of the testicles, such as the cells that produce hormones.
Testes
Another word for testicle.
Testicles
Part of the male reproductive system, two oval shaped organs approximately the size of large olives. They are located inside the scrotum, which is the loose sac of skin that hangs behind the penis.
Testicular Cancer
When abnormal cells in the testicles divide and grow uncontrolled.
Testicular Self-Examinations (TSE)
A self-exam that should be conducted monthly to check the size and feel of the testicles to detect any changes.
Testicular Torsion
An condition that requires immediate treatment. The testicles are attached to the spermatic cord and hang within the scrotum. It is possible for this cord to become twisted around a testicle, cutting off the testicle’s blood supply this is known as testicular torsion. Symptoms of testicular torsion include sudden and severe pain, enlargement of the affected testicle, tenderness, and swelling.
Testicular Trauma
Trauma to the testicles that generally occurs during an activity such as sports that can cause severe pain, along with swelling and bruising.
Testosterone
A hormone responsible for the development and maintenance of male secondary sex characteristics.
Teratoma
A type of testicular cancer that tends to occur in men in their late teens to early 40s. Teratoma is a subtype of nonseminoma, which is classified by the type of cell in which it begins.
Transrectal Biopsy
During this type of biopsy, a thin needle is inserted through the rectum in order to gather tissue from the prostate for testing.
Transrectal Ultrasound
A test that involves the insertion of a probe slightly larger than a pen into the rectum. The probe directs high-frequency sound waves toward the prostate, and the echo patterns form an image of the prostate on a computer screen.
Transurethral Incision of the Prostate (TUIP)
A surgical treatment for BPH of the prostate where instead of removing tissue, the provider widens the urethra by making small cuts in the bladder neck, where the urethra joins the bladder, and in the prostate gland itself. These incisions help to relieve pressure without trimming away tissue.
Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT)
A non-surgical approach to remove tissue from an enlarged prostate without major surgery that uses microwaves to remove excess prostate tissue.
Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA)
This procedure delivers low-level radio frequency energy through twin needles to burn away a specific area of the enlarged prostate.
Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
A surgical treatment for BPH. In this procedure, the provider passes an instrument through the urethra and trims away extra prostate tissue in order to relieve an obstructed urine flow.
Transurethral Vaporization of the Prostate (TUVP)
The use of electrical current to vaporize prostate tissue.
Tumor
A mass or lump of tissue made of abnormal cells that may spread, or metastasize.
Ultrasound
A test that uses sound waves and a computer to create a picture of your internal organs.
Urethra
The tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis and runs through the prostate.
Urinalysis
A test for blood or nitrates in your urine.
Urodynamic Tests
Tests that measure bladder pressure and urine flow rate. The patient may be asked to urinate into a special device that measures how quickly the urine is flowing and records how many seconds it takes for the peak flow rate to be reached. Another test measures the amount of urine left in the bladder after urinating.
Vaporization
The process to change a liquid or solid into a vapor. A procedure to remove excess prostate tissue, generally by laser or electrical current.
Vas Deferens
Part of the male organs; the tubes that carry sperm.
Watchful Waiting
A passive technique used to determine whether the cancer is growing slowly and not causing symptoms. The patient and the provider will carefully monitor the condition with regular physical exams and tests.
Water-Induced Thermotherapy (WIT)
This treatment uses a special catheter to treat urinary symptoms of BPH. The catheter uses hot water circulated through an inflated balloon to heat the inside of the prostate causing adjacent tissue to die.
Yolk Sac Carcinoma
A type of testicular cancer that tends to occur in men in their late teens to early 40s. Yolk sac carcinoma is a subtype of nonseminoma, which is classified by the type of cell in which it begins.