WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder in front of the rectum) grow and multiply uncontrollably, damaging surrounding tissue and interfering with the normal function of the prostate. The cells can then spread to other parts of the body. Mostly occurring in older men, prostate cancer is the most common form of male cancer.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS & SYPMTOMS?
Men with prostate cancer may have one or more of these symptoms:
Painful or burning urination
Inability to urinate or difficulty in starting to urinate
Frequent or urgent need to urinate
Trouble emptying the bladder completely
Blood in the urine or semen
Continual pain in the lower back, pelvis or thighs
None of these symptoms are specific for cancer, and most men with prostate cancer have none of them. However, they may point to other health problems. Their presence should prompt men to seek further medical evaluation, including a digital rectal exam (DRE) of the prostate and serum PSA, from a urologist or other physician.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Advanced prostate cancer: When prostate cancer spreads beyond the prostate to other parts of the body.
Androgens: Male hormones, such as testosterone.
Antiandrogens: Medications that block the testosterone receptor.
Atrophy: Wasting away or shrinkage.
Biopsy: The removal of a small piece of tissue, which is then examined under a microscope.
Bladder: A hollow organ that holds urine.
Cancer: A general term for a large group of diseases where a lack of controls on cell growth and division exists.
Cancer cells: Cells that grow and multiply abnormally and can spread to other parts of the body.
Chemotherapy: Treatment with drugs intended to kill cancer cells.
Clinical trials: Studies designed to test new ways to prevent or manage disease or its symptoms.
Combination therapy: When a doctor suggests combining treatments for maximum effect, such as radiation therapy combined with hormonal therapy or LHRH agonist combined with an antiandrogen.
Diagnose: Identify a disease by its signs and symptoms and then confirm with tests.
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): A procedure in which the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to examine the rectum and the prostate gland for signs of disease.
Erectile dysfunction: The inability to have or maintain an erection.
Fatigue: Extreme tiredness.
Gastroenteritis: Inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Gleason Score: A score (2-10) that helps doctors determine how aggressive prostate cancer is.
Gynecomastia: Swelling or enlargement of the breast.
Hormonal therapy: The use of medications or surgical removal of the endocrine glands to control hormone sensitive disease.
Hormones: Body chemicals secreted by glands that circulate in the bloodstream and produce specific effects on target organs and tissues, often distant from the site of their production.
Hot Flashes: A rush of warmth in the face, neck, upper chest, and back, lasting for a few seconds to an hour which may be accompanied by increased sweating.
Incontinence: The inability to control urine flow.
Infertility: The inability to produce viable sperm or eggs.
LHRH Agonist: An injectable substance which resembles the natural hormones that lead to the release of hormones which stimulate testosterone production. If it is given continuously, it will turn off testicular production of testosterone.
Leuprolide acetate: The active ingredient in ELIGARD™ (leuprolide acetate for injectable suspension).
Lymph nodes: Small glands that release cells to defend the body against harmful foreign particles.
Malaise: A nonspecific discomfort or feeling of uneasiness.
Male hormones: Substances, such as testosterone, that stimulate specific cells such as testicular and prostatic.
Metastasis: The spread of cancer cells to areas of the body beyond the organ of original occurrence.
Orchiectomy: Surgical removal of the testicles.
Prostate cancer: Cancer of the prostate gland. Prostate cancer can also spread to other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes, bone, and seminal vesicles.
Prostate gland: A male gland, located between the bladder and the penis, which surrounds the urethra.
Prostate-specific antigen: A substance produced by prostate cells.
PSA Level blood test: A blood test used in the detection and management of prostate disease.
Prostatectomy: Surgical removal of the prostate (see "Radical Prostatectomy").
Radiation therapy: The use of directed high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells.
Radical prostatectomy: Surgery to remove the entire prostate gland along with the nearby tissue such as the seminal vesicles. (see "Prostatectomy").
Rectum: The final section of the intestines at the anus.
Semen: The thick, whitish fluid released through the penis during orgasm. The prostate makes substances that are in semen.
Seminal vesicles: A pair of glands, near the prostate, that add substances to semen.
Sperm: Male reproductive cells, produced in the testicles.
Staging: An evaluation of the extent of disease that provides the basis for making treatment recommendations.
Testes (Testicles): The pair of egg-shaped glands contained in the scrotum. They produce sperm and testosterone.
Testosterone: Stimulates a man's sexual activity and the growth of the sex organs, including the prostate.
Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS): The use of sound waves to visualize the prostate.
Urethra: The duct that carries urine from the bladder.
Watchful Waiting: Monitoring of a patient by a physician instead of immediate treatment or intervention.