A helpful list of terms you might come across in alphabetical order.

Abiraterone Also known as (Zytiga®) is a newer type of hormone therapy. It is for

men with ad advanced prostate cancer where the cancer has spread and

become resistant to hormone therapy. Abiraterone can now be prescribed, depending on clinical need, before the man starts chemotherapy or after a course of chemotherapy.

Active Surveillance This means actively monitoring the cancer through regular check-ups, PSA tests, DRE and possible biopsies.
Acute Condition A condition that starts suddenly.
Adrenal glands There are two adrenal glands just above the kidneys; they produce a variety of different hormones.
Advanced prostate cancer When cancer cells have broken through the prostate capsule and have spread away from the prostate and start to grow at other sites.
Aggressive A greater chance of the cancer growing quickly and spreading out of the prostate.
Alpha-Blockers A group of drugs that switch off/relax muscles by targeting the so-called alpha-receptors
Anaesthetic A general anaesthetic means being put to sleep during an operation.
Anaemia The haemoglobin level in the blood falls below the normal level. Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness and difficulty in breathing
Analgesic A drug that helps with pain.
Androgens Male hormones responsible for male characteristics, eg. testosterone.
Androgen deprivation therapy A prostate cancer treatment that stops or blocks androgens to the prostate cancer cells.
Anti-androgens Medications that block the testosterone receptor.
Anti-emetics A medicine that prevents sickness or helps with being sick.
Antioxidants Substances (found in certain foods) that can inhibit certain cells from being damaged by substances called free radicals, and may help to prevent the cells becoming cancerous.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) A condition which can affect men, through an enlarged prostate, due to the growth of non-cancerous growths in the prostate.
Benign A growth that is not cancer.
Biopsy Taking tiny pieces of tissue from the prostate to look at them under a microscope to check for any cancerous cells
Bisphosphonates Drugs that can help protect bones against some of the effects of prostate cancer. At the time of writing (April 2016) these were only available only as part of a clinical trial.
Bladder The organ sitting just above the prostate which holds urine.
Bone scan A very small amount of radioactive material is injected then a special scan is done to find out if the cancer has spread to the bones.
Brachytherapy A type of radiotherapy where tiny metal seeds that emit radiation are placed in the prostate to kill cancer cells.
Cancer Cells grow faster than normal and cause a growth called a tumour.
Cancer cells Cells that grow and multiply abnormally and can spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer journey The time from when your cancer is diagnosed through to treatment and check-ups.
Cannula A small tube which has a needle on the end. The needle is inserted into a vein in your arm or the back of your hand, which can be connected up to a drip.
Catheter A thin flexible tube which drains urine from the bladder into a bag.
Chemotherapy Treatment with drugs that are intended to kill cancer cells.
Chronic Condition A long-term condition.
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.
Computerised tomography (CT or CAT scan) Special x-ray equipment combined with advanced computers to take many pictures of lots of different views inside the body.
Consent form A form you will be asked to sign to confirm that you are willing to go ahead with treatment, tests or examinations.
Constipation Unable to open the bowels.
Continuous hormone therapy Hormone therapy which continues with no breaks.
Cryotherapy A technique using freezing to kill prostate cancer cells.
CT simulator A special type of x-ray machine.
Cystogram An x-ray of the bladder using special dyes.
Cytoscopy An examination of the inside of the bladder using a special instrument called a cystoscope that has a light and camera at one end. It is inserted into the urethra and gently slid up inside the bladder.
Diagnose Identify a disease by its signs and symptoms and then confirm with tests.
Digital rectal examination (DRE) The doctor slides a gloved finger into the back passage to examine the prostate for signs of disease.
Dry orgasm During orgasm ejaculate does not come out of the penis but slips back into the bladder.
Early or localised prostate cancer The cancer has stayed inside the prostate and has not spread to other parts of the body.
Ejaculate A thick, clear fluid that is formed in the prostate and mixed with sperm to form semen and released at point of orgasm.
Enema A capsule or fluid that is put into the bowel to clear the bowel out before a procedure.
Enzalutamide Also known as Xtandi ® is now available via the NHS in Scotland for men with advanced prostate cancer where the cancer has spread and become resistant to hormone therapy. This means that Enzalutamide can now be prescribed, depending on clinical need, before the man starts chemotherapy or after a course of chemotherapy.
Epidural anaesthetic A local anaesthetic injected into the spine which causes numbness from the waist down.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence When a man has trouble getting or keeping an erection.
External beam radiotherapy (EBRT) High energy x-ray beams from outside the body to kill cancer cells.
Extraperitoneal Avoiding the abdomen
Fatigue Extreme tiredness.
First (1st) line treatment The treatment or drug given as the first or main treatment.
Fistula An abnormal opening or passageway between two organs in the body.
Flare reaction The short-lived increase in testosterone for the first few weeks after starting an LHRH agonist.
Fraction A small daily dose of radiation to kill the cancer cells.
Free Radicals Molecular substances that can cause instability in the body within cells.
Frequency Needing to pass urine often.
Gleason score This is a number between 6 and 10 and gives an idea of how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread.
Gonadotrophin releasing hormone antagonists Stop the testes making testosterone.
Gynaecomastia Swelling or enlargement of the breast tissue.
Haematuria Having blood in the urine.
HDR brachytherapy HDR (high dose radiation) given by a radioactive Iridium wire being placed into the prostate through flexible needles.
High intensity focused

ultrasound (HIFU)

Highly focused ultrasound waves raise the focused temperature to about 100°C to kill the cancer cells.
High-risk prostate cancer There is a greater risk of the cancer growing quickly and spreading outside the prostate.
Hormone therapy The male hormone testosterone is switched off or stopped from going into the cancer cells.
Hot flushes A rush of warmth in the face, neck, upper chest, and back, lasting from a few seconds up to an hour. This may be accompanied by increased sweating.
Hot spots These may show up during a bone scan and are areas that take up a lot of radioactive material indicating there may be a tumour.
Hypercalcaemia Abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood.
Incision Making a cut during surgery.
Incontinence Unable to hold urine in the bladder.
Infertility Not being able to produce sperm.
Infusion Running a fluid containing medication into the body through a vein as treatment.
Intermediate-risk prostate cancer There is an increased chance of the cancer prostate breaking out of the prostate and spreading to other parts of the body.
Intermittent hormone therapy Hormone treatment that is given on a stop/start basis while checking on the PSA level.
Intravenous line (IV) A drip, normally in your arm, to put fluids or drugs into the body.
Investigations Tests and examinations done to find out what is wrong or to diagnose the disease.
Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy Keyhole surgery to take out the prostate.
Laser Enucleation A process of using a laser to treat/burn away a part of the prostate.
Laxative A medicine given to help you open your bowels or make it easier to open your bowels.
Libido Desire to have sexual intercourse.
Linear accelerator A special machine that produces high-energy x-ray beams.
Locally advanced prostate cancer The cancer has spread just outside the prostate through the capsule or into seminal vesicles.
Low-risk prostate cancer The cancer is likely to remain inside the prostate and grow slowly.
Luteinising hormone releasing hormone agonists (LHRH) Drugs that stop the testes producing testosterone.
Lymph nodes Small glands that release cells to defend the body against harmful foreign particles.
Malignant Tumour A cancerous growth.
Metastasis The process of a cancer spreading through the body.
Metastases The spread of cancer cells to other areas or sites in the body where the cancer cells begin to grow and cause another tumour.
Metastatic prostate cancer Prostate cancer cells have spread from the prostate to another area or site in the body and these cells have started to grow causing another growth or tumour.
Monitor, monitored or monitoring To watch carefully or keep a check on through regular tests, checks and appointments.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) A scan which uses magnets to produce detailed pictures of the prostate, bones and other organs.
Multi-disciplinary team (MDT) This is the team of doctors and specialist nurses and other health care professionals who are involved in your care.
Nausea Feeling sick.
Nerve sparing If the surgeon was able to save the nerves which lie very close to the prostate during a radical prostatectomy. These are essential for a man to have a natural erection.
Nocturia Having to get up several times a night to pass urine.
Oncology Specialising in the study and treatment of cancer.
Oncologist A specialist in the treatment of cancer.
Outlook The prediction of how the disease may affect the life of the person.
Orchidectomy Surgical removal of the testicles.
Palliative Care Care which is provided to relieve and reduce patient’s pain
Pelvic floor exercises Muscles in the pelvic floor are trained to contract, relax and strengthen to help with continence.
Prognosis The prediction of how the disease may affect the life of the person.
Prognostic grade group A grading system for determining how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread.
Prostate A small gland just below the bladder and in front of the back passage. It wraps around the urethra (water pipe that allows urine to flow out of the body from the bladder).
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) A protein made in the prostate.
Prostatitis Inflammation of the prostate.
PSA blood test level Small amounts of PSA leak out of the prostate into the blood and the level can be measured.
PSA doubling time The amount of time it takes for the PSA level to double.
Radical prostatectomy Surgery to remove the entire prostate gland along with the nearby tissue such as the seminal vesicles.
Radiologist A specialist doctor in X-ray treatment and radiotherapy.
Radiographer A specialist technician in the provision of radiotherapy.
Radiotherapy The use of high energy x-ray beams to kill cancer cells.
Rectum The last section of the bowel often called the back passage.
Retrograde ejaculation During orgasm nothing comes out of the penis as the ejaculate travels back up into the bladder.
Secondary cancers (secondaries) The cancer has spread from the original site to other areas in the body and has started to grow into another tumour.
Second (2nd) line treatment Treatment given after the first line treatment has treatment not

Worked or is no longer effective.

Semen The thick, whitish fluid released through the penis at point of orgasm. The prostate makes substances that are in semen.
Seminal vesicles A pair of glands that store sperm. The vesicles are located behind the bladder, above the prostate, and in front of the rectum and are connected to the prostate.
Side-effects The unwanted effect when a disease is being treated.
Staging The size of the cancer and whether it has spread outside the prostate – the term is used when recommending treatment.
Steroids A group of drugs similar to hormones produced by the adrenal glands, which are used to relieve inflammation.
Stress incontinence Urine leaks out of the bladder when laughing, sneezing, coughing, walking or getting up from a sitting position.
Symptoms The experience/effects felt by a person with an illness, and indication of an illness or disease.
Testes Male sex organs that produce sperm and androgen/testosterone.
Testosterone The male hormone which stimulates the man’s sex drive.
Trans rectal ultrasound


The use of sound waves to give a clear picture of the shape and size of the prostate.
Tumour A growth in the body which can be non–cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant)
Trans urethral resection of the prostate (TURP) A fairly common operation for men to ‘trim off’ part of the prostate.
Ultrasound The use of sound waves for obtaining pictures or giving treatment.
Urethra The tube that carries urine from the bladder and for semen to pass out through the penis.
Urgency Needing to pass urine suddenly and without being able to control it.
Urology The study of disease affecting the waterworks.
Urologist A doctor who specialises in disease affecting the waterworks.
Vomiting Being sick.
White blood cell count The amount of white blood cells. White blood cells are important to fight infection.

Abbreviations that you might hear

ADT Androgen Deprivation Therapy
CT or CAT scan Computerised Tomography
DRE Digital Rectal Examination
EBRT External Beam Radiotherapy
ED Erectile Dysfunction
GnRH antagonists Gonadotrophin-releasing Hormone Antagonists
HRPC Hormone resistant prostate cancer
LHRH agonists Luteinising Hormone-Releasing Agonists
HIFU High Intensity Focused Ultrasound
MDT Multi-disciplinary team
MRI scan Magnetic Resonance Imaging
MUSE Medicated Urethral System for Erections
PSA Prostate Specific Antigen
SCC Spinal cord compression
TNM Tumour Lymph Nodes Metastases
TRUS Trans Rectal Ultrasound
TURP Trans urethral resection of the prostate

Who’s who on your cancer journey?

Clinical Research Team The team of doctors and other health care professionals who set up and run clinical trials
Dietitian A person who specialises in the therapeutic use of diet in the treatment of disease
Multi-disciplinary team (MDT) The team of specialist doctors and nurses and other health care professionals who are involved in your care
Occupational therapist (OT) OTs work with people to help them develop, recover, or maintain activities necessary for daily living
Oncologist A doctor who specialises in the treatment of various types of cancer
Oncology nurse A nurse who specialises in the treatment of various types of cancer
Pathologist A doctor who specialises in the examination of tissues and blood samples to help decide what diseases are present and therefore how they could be treated
Pharmacist A health professional trained in preparing and dispensing drugs
Physiotherapist (physio) A therapist who treats injury or dysfunction with exercises and other physical treatments. This can be both before and after treatment
Radiologist A medical specialist who uses radioactive substances and x-rays in the treatment of disease
Radiographer A technician trained to position patients and take x-rays or perform other radio-diagnostic procedures
Social Worker A person who helps people or families deal with social, emotional, and environmental problems associated with an illness or disability
Support Group A group made up of men and their families with a common problem, usually meeting to express feelings, share experiences and explore effective coping strategies
Urologist A doctor in hospital who specialises in treating problems with the waterworks
Urology nurse A nurse who specialises in treating problems with the waterworks