Absolute neutrophil count: A measure of the number of neutrophils—a type of white blood cell that fights infection—in the blood. The count can show if a person has an infection, inflammation, leukemia or other conditions. Chemotherapy can sometimes lower a person’s absolute neutrophil count.
Adjuvant therapy: "Add-on" treatment (e.g., chemotherapy, radiation, hormone or biological therapy) aimed at killing stray cancer cells; typically it follows surgery.
Alopecia: Hair loss, a common side effect of chemotherapy
Anemia: A condition in which the body has too few red blood cells
Antiemetic: A drug that controls (or even prevents) nausea and vomiting, a common side effect of chemotherapy
Biological therapy: Treatments targeting a specific molecule in cancer cell growth or survival; used to strengthen the immune system and lessen side effects of other treatments
Biopsy: Removal and examination of tissues, cells or fluids to determine if disease is present
Blood cell count: A test that checks the number of red and white blood cells and platelets in your blood
Brachytherapy: Radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate itself; low-dose ones may be left within the prostate, higher dose ones are typically only left there for a short time.
Carcinomas: Solid tumors that start on surfaces of the body and in the lining of glands, such as the prostate.
Colony-stimulating factors: White blood cell boosters
Complementary therapy: Alternative treatments that are used in addition to conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is not used as a replacement for regular therapy.
Cryosurgery: Hollow needles are inserted into the prostate and freezing gases are passed through them until the prostate and cancer cells are destroyed
Digital rectal exam: A test for abnormalities of organs or other structures in the pelvis and lower abdomen that is done by inserting a finger in the rectum
External beam radiation therapy (IMRT, IGRT, EBRT): Radiation treatments that are focused on the prostate gland from a machine outside the body
Foley catheter: A thin, flexible tube that’s used to drain urine from the bladder through the penis.
Gleason score: A method to measure how aggressive your cancer is. To find your Gleason score, a pathologist will examine a sample of your prostate cancer cells under a microscope and assign it a number between 2 and 10. The lower your score, the less likely your cancer is to grow and spread rapidly.
Granulocyte: A type of white blood cell that fights bacteria and infections. Types of granulocytes are basophils, eosinophils and neutrophils.
Hormonal therapy: The hormone testosterone can fuel the growth of prostate cancers, so the goal of hormone therapy is to either shut down your body’s testosterone production or block the cancer from using this hormone.
Imaging studies: Tests that use a magnetic field or radio waves to produce images of the body’s inside. Imaging studies for cancer include X-rays, CAT scans, CT-PET scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound.
Infusion: Intravenous delivery of meds or fluids
Intravenous: Given through a vein
Leukocyte: A white blood cell, including neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes and lymphocytes
Lymphangiogram (LAG): A test in which you are injected with a dye, then given an X-ray to examine your lymphatic system.
Metastasis: Spread of cancer cells, through blood or lymph, from the primary tumor to other parts of the body.
Neutropenia: A condition marked by low levels of white blood cells called neutrophils, which makes a person more vulnerable to infection. Chemotherapy can sometimes cause neutropenia.
Open radical prostatectomy: The removal of the prostate and surrounding lymph nodes through a five- to eight-inch incision in the lower belly, or through a smaller incision in the perineum (the space between the anus and scrotum).
Peripheral neuropathy: Nerve damage in the hands and/or feet, which can cause pain or numbness. Peripheral neuropathy can sometimes be a side effect of cancer treatments.
Port: A device inserted under the skin that allows medications (such as chemo), blood products and nutrients to be given intravenously. A port eliminates the need for repeated needle sticks to start an IV line or draw blood.
Prognosis: The chance of recovery versus recurrence
PSA test: A screening device for prostate cancer, which measures the levels of prostate-specific antigens (proteins produced by the prostate gland) in your blood. It can also be used to track how well your treatment is working.
Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors
Receptors: Sites on or in cells where particular substances can attach, causing cells to react—in the case of cancer, usually to grow.
Remission: When cancer symptoms disappear or are significantly reduced
Robotic/laparoscopic radical prostatectomy: The removal of the prostate through tiny incisions using tools held by a surgeon directly or moved using robotic arms that the surgeon controls.
Thrombocytopenia: A shortage of platelets (cells that help blood clot). Symptoms include easy bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums and/or small dots on the skin
Tissue margin: Tissue around a cancer site. A negative tissue margin test means no cancer cells were found; a positive test means cancer cells remain and more surgery or radiation is needed.
TNM level: Part of the standardized system doctors use to describe a particular cancer; the “T” is a measure of how big the main tumor is, and how far it’s spread into your pelvis, the “N” number tells your doctor whether any cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph and the “M” tells your doctor whether your cancer has metastasized