Prostate Cancer: Terms You Need to Know
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