Urology Glossary of Terms
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A malignant tumor that originates in the cells of a gland, such as the prostate glandAdjuvant Therapy
Treatment occurring immediately after the primary treatment with the purpose of increasing the probability of success. Androgen
A type of hormone that controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics. Anti-Androgen
A substance that tends to inhibit the production, activity, or effects of a male sex hormone, typically preventing the growth of prostate cancer cells. Back to top
Non-cancerous tumors that do not travel to the lymph nodes or distant tissues. Biopsy
The removal and examination of a sample of tissue for diagnostic purposes. Brachytherapy
A treatment where radioactive material "seeds" is introduced directly into the treatment site (prostate). Back to top
A hollow tube used to drain fluids from the bladder. Cryosurgery
A treatment for prostate cancer involving the insertion of tiny, cooling probes into the prostate. Cystocele (Anterior Vaginal Prolapse)
This type of prolapse occurs when the wall between the vagina and the bladder stretches or detaches from its attachment to the pelvic muscles. This loss of support allows the bladder to prolapse or fall down into the vagina. Cystoscopy
Cystoscopy is a way to look at the inside of your bladder using a tiny telescope and light. Sterile fluid is then used to fill the bladder, so that your doctor can see inside. This allows your doctor to make sure that there are no abnormalities or other problems. Back to top
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
a digital rectal exam is an examination of the lower rectum. The doctor uses a gloved, lubricated finger to check for abnormalities. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
A androgenic hormone that is thought to be responsible for the development of male sexual functions. Back to top
The discharge of semen from the penis usually accompanied by orgasm. Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
The inability to achieve or maintain an erection satisfactory for sexual relations to engage in sexual intercourse. May be referred to as impotence. Erection
The state of swelling, hardness, and stiffness due to increased filling of the penis during sexual excitement. External Beam Radiation (EBR)
A form of radiation therapy where radiation is delivered by a machine pointed at the specific area to be radiated. May be referred to as external beam radiation (EBR, XBR) or external beam radiation therapy (EBRT, XBRT). Back to top
A permanent abnormal passageway between two organs in the body or between an organ and the exterior of the body. It is an uncommon complication of some prostate cancer treatments. Free PSA (fPSA)
A prostate specific antigen (PSA) is either bound to protein or unbound ("free"). Risk of prostate cancer can be further evaluated by measuring both forms. Frequency
The need to urinate many times a day. This can be caused by a prostate problem. Back to top
Gleason Score (GS)
A grading system used to help evaluate the aggressiveness of cancer and prognosis of men with prostate cancer. It is based on a 2 to 10 scale, the higher the score the more likely cancer cells will or have spread. Grade/Grading
A means for providing information about the probable growth rate of a tumor and its likelihood of spreading. See Gleason Score. Back to top
Hormone Refractory Prostate Cancer (HRPC)
Prostate cancer that is resistant to hormone therapy. Hormone Therapy (HT)
Treatment that adds, blocks, or removes hormones using surgery, injections or tablets. Back to top
The inability to achieve or maintain an erection of the penis adequate for sexual intercourse. Also referred to as erectile dysfunction. Incomplete Bladder Emptying
The inability to completely void the bladder during urination. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
A type of radiation therapy that uses 3-dimensional images to show the size and shape of the tumor to better focus therapy towards the cancer. This type of radiation therapy minimizes the damage to healthy tissue next to the tumor. IVP
A diagnostic test for kidney stones in which a series of x-rays is taken to track a dye in the kidneys and ureters. Back to top
An x-ray of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Back to top
A technique of surgery that utilizes a camera and scope and specialized instruments that allow the surgeon to use small incisions (about half an inch long) to perform surgery that would otherwise require larger incisions. This type of surgery often offers the patients a quicker recovery with less pain than surgery with larger incisions. Libido
Desire or interest in sexual activity. Prostate cancer diagnosis and its treatment can affect this. Back to top
A medical term used to describe a cancerous tumor that has the ability to spread. Marker
A tumor marker is a substance found in the blood, urine, or body tissues. There are many different tumors markers, each indicative of a particular disease process, and they are in oncology to help detect the presence of cancer. Metastasis
The spread of cancer from one area of the body to another. Back to top
Preliminary cancer therapy, usually chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which precedes a necessary second type of treatment modality of treatment. Nerve Sparing
A surgical technique during a radical prostatectomy where one or both of the neurovascular bundles, a term applied to the body nerves, arteries, veins and lymphatics that tend to travel together in the body controlling erections, are not cut or severed. The aim of this technique is to avoid damaging the nerves that help control erections and continence. Nocturia
The need to urinate at night, thus interrupting sleep. Back to top
A doctor who specializes in cancer treatment. Orchiectomy
A type of hormone therapy for prostate cancer where one or both testicles are surgically removed to reduce testosterone. Overactive Bladder
Refers to any of the following conditions:
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- Frequency (more than 8 voids in each 24 hours)
- Urgency (a powerful urge to urinate, that is difficult to put off)
- Nocturia (waking up twice or more at night to urinate)
- Urge incontinence (leakage of urine associated with an urge to urinate, or not making it to the bathroom in time)
Form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, rather than striving to halt, delay, or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness. Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the normal support of the vagina is lost resulting in "sagging" or dropping of the bladder, urethra, cervix and rectum. As the prolapse of the vagina and uterus progresses, women can feel bulging tissue protruding through the opening of the vagina. Pelvis
The lower portion of the abdomen located between the hip bones. Perineum
The area between the anus and the scrotum. Prostate
A gland of the male reproductive system that produces a milky, white fluid. Prostate biopsy
A small number of cells from a tumor on the prostate to tested to determine the type of cancer, its location, and development. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)
An enzyme present in very small amounts in men that helps to liquefy semen. It is produced by the prostate and is found in higher amounts in the blood or men with prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate. Back to top
Quality of Life Management
A measure of a person's overall satisfaction with life and their ability to successful cope with the full range of challenges associated with the pain and symptoms after a particular treatment. Back to top
Radical Perineal Prostatectomy
Surgery to remove the entire prostate gland. It is used to treat cancer that is localized within the prostate gland. The incision is made in the perineum, midway between rectum and scrotum. Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy
Surgery to remove the entire prostate gland. It is used to treat caner that is localized within the prostate gland. The incision is made in the lower abdomen. Recurrence
Cancer that has returned after treatment. Robotic Prostatectomy
Laparoscopic prostatectomy, when it is carried out with the assistance of a robot. Laparoscopic robotic arms are controlled by a surgeon. Robotic Surgery
This includes the use of the da Vinci surgical system to perform laparascopic surgery. Robotic surgery can be used in gynecology to treat fibroids, abnormal periods, endometriosis, ovarian tumors, pelvic prolapse, and female cancers. Using the robotic system, gynecologists can perform hysterectomies, myomectomies, and lymph node biopsies. Robotic surgery is used in urology to remove the prostate gland for cancer, repair or removal of kidneys and repair bladder abnormalities.
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Fluid discharged at ejaculation in the male. It consists of sperm from the testes and fluid from the prostate and other sex glands.
A pair of simple tubular glands that secrete a significant proportions of the fluid that ultimately becomes semen.
Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM)
A validated questionnaire designed to help you and your health care provider identify if you are experiencing erectile dysfunction and if you are, to what degree.
A collective name for the muscles surrounding the urethra used to control the flow of urine from the urinary bladder.
The extent of which cancer has spread throughout the body.
A type of drug used to control swelling and inflammation.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
It is the loss of small amounts of urine associated with coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or other movements that increase intra-abdominal pressure and thus increase pressure on the bladder. It is not uncommon after prostate surgery.
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The principal male sex hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of men's sex characteristics.
Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS)
A procedure used to formulate an image of internal body tissue. It involves the insertion of a sound-wave emitting probe into the rectum (also called an endorectal ultrasound).
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The use of high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of internal organs.
The tube carrying urine to the bladder from the kidney.
The tube that carries urine and semen out the body.
An imminent need to urinate.
A group of physical and chemical tests done on a sample of urine to check for various disorders, including those of the kidneys and urinary tract.
The organ that collects urine excreted by the kidneys prior to urination.
Unintentional or involuntary leakage of urine, which has a negative impact on quality of life, particularly from hygienic and/or social standpoints. It can range from a few drops to no control at all of your urine.
A test to determine if and what variety of bacteria are growing in the urinary track.
Tests to determine the level of functionality of the bladder and urethra.
The field of urogynecology is a subspecialty within Obstetrics and Gynecology and is dedicated to the study and treatment of pelvic floor disorders in women. Urogynecologists have completed medical school and a four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, or Urology. These doctors become specialists with additional training and experience in the evaluation and treatment of conditions that affect the female pelvic organs, and the muscles and connective tissue that support the organs. Many have completed formal fellowships (additional training after residency) that focused on the surgical and non-surgical treatment of non-cancerous gynecologic problems.
A urologist is a physician who is trained to evaluate the genitourinary tract, which includes the kidneys, urinary bladder and genital structures in men and women, and the prostate and testicles in men. The urologist evaluates the function of these structures, the conditions and diseases that can affect them and the medical and surgical tools to optimize their function, treat the conditions and diseases of these organs.
When the supporting ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor that keep the uterus in the pelvis are damaged, the cervix and uterus descend into and eventually out of the vagina. Often, uterine prolapse is associated with loss of vaginal wall support (cystocele, rectocele).
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The ends of the vas deferens are severed to prevent the flow of sperm through the vas deferens.
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