build-up of fluid in the tissues, causing swelling. See also lymphedema.
effectiveness. The ability of a treatment to produce the desired result.
to release semen during male orgasm. See also retrograde ejaculation, semen.
also known as electrocautery. A type of treatment that destroys cancer cells by burning with an electrical current.
a type of treatment that reduces the blood supply to the cancer by injecting materials to plug up the artery that supplies blood to the tumor.
vomit or vomiting.
radiation for cancer delivered from a handheld device that is placed inside a body opening. It may be given alone or with external beam radiation therapy. See also external beam radiation therapy, radiation therapy.
glands that release hormones into the bloodstream. The ovaries, testicles, thyroid, and adrenals are all examples of endocrine glands. See also adrenal gland, glands, hormones, ovary, testicles, thyroid.
manipulation of hormones to treat a disease or condition. See also hormone therapy.
a doctor who specializes in diseases related to the glands of the endocrine system, such as the thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal glands. See also adrenal gland, endocrine glands, pancreas, thyroid.
the lining of the womb (uterus). See also uterus.
a probe that is placed and left in the rectum during an MRI, which helps get a more accurate picture of the prostate area. See also magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), prostate, rectum.
a test that uses sound waves from a probe placed in the rectum; also called transrectal ultrasound. It can be used to see how far through the wall a rectal cancer may have spread, and if it has spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes. See also lymph node, rectum, ultrasound.
inspection of the inner linings of hollow body organs or cavities using a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope.
a health professional, often a nurse, who teaches people how to care for ostomies (surgically created openings such as a colostomy) and other wounds. See also stoma.
surgical removal of something without cutting into it. Sometimes used to describe removal of a whole tumor; also may describe removing the whole eyeball while leaving eye muscles and other contents of the eye socket.
proteins that start, help, or speed up the rate of chemical reactions in living cells.
the study of diseases in populations (large groups of people from the general population who share a common factor such as age, sex, or health condition) by collecting and analyzing statistical data. In the field of cancer, epidemiologists look at how many people have cancer; who gets certain types of cancer; and what factors (such as environment, job hazards, family patterns, and personal habits, like smoking and diet) are linked to developing cancer.
hormone-like substances linked to certain types of cancer that are known to make cells grow. Some cancer cells grow faster because they contain more growth factor receptors than normal cells. See also hormone.
tiny tubes inside the scrotum that sit coiled on top of and behind each testicle. Sperm travel through these tubes after forming and are stored there until they mature; the tubes lead into the vas deferens. See also scrotum, sperm, testicles, vas deferens.
injection of anesthetic drugs into the space around the spinal cord. This is used to numb the lower part of the body while allowing the patient to stay awake. See also anesthesia, spinal cord.
a thin, valve-like, cartilage structure at the root of the tongue that covers the glottis (the vocal cord area) when you swallow. This keeps food and drink from getting into the windpipe (trachea).
also called ED or impotence. Not being able to have or keep an erection of the penis.
a special way to speak used by some people after the voice box (larynx) has been removed. Air is swallowed and a “belching” type of speech can be produced. New devices, improved surgery, and the use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy instead of surgery have reduced the need to learn esophageal speech.
a hollow, muscular tube through which food passes from the mouth to the stomach. It lies behind the windpipe (trachea) and in front of the spine.
a hormone found in both men and women, but with higher levels in women. Often called the female sex hormone, it is made mostly by the ovaries, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal cortex. In girls, estrogen helps to regulate puberty, such as growth of breasts. In women, estrogen levels normally cycle on a monthly schedule to regulate menstruation and prepare the body for fertilization and reproduction. Estrogen may promote the growth of cancer cells in breast cancer. In men, estrogen is sometimes used to treat advanced prostate cancer by countering the action of testosterone. See also adrenal gland, estrogen receptor assay, estrogen therapy, hormone, hormone therapy, ovary.
a lab test done on a sample of the cancer to see whether estrogen receptors are present. The growth of normal breast cells and some breast cancers is stimulated by estrogen. Estrogen receptors are molecules that function as a cell’s “welcome mat” for estrogen circulating in the blood. Breast cancer cells without these receptors (called estrogen-receptor negative or ER-negative) are unlikely to respond to hormone therapy. Estrogen-receptor positive cancers are more likely to respond to hormone therapy. See also estrogen, hormone therapy.
the use of estrogen from other sources after a woman’s ovaries stop making it. This type of hormone therapy is used for short periods to relieve symptoms of menopause. Estrogen alone can raise the risk of endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the womb), so a women who still has a uterus (womb) is usually also given progesterone to lower this risk. Sometimes called estrogen replacement therapy, it can also increase breast cancer risk in some women. See also estrogen, menopausal hormone therapy, menopause, progesterone.
the cause of a disease. There are many possible causes of cancer. Research is showing that both genetics (genes passed on from your parents) and lifestyle (including exposures to carcinogens) are major factors in many cancers. See also carcinogen, gene.
removal by cutting the body (surgery). This can mean cutting out a tumor or cutting off a body part.
also called watchful waiting. In some cases of prostate cancer, close monitoring that is done instead of starting active treatment right away. This may be a reasonable choice for older men with small tumors that might grow very slowly. Because the man is being watched carefully, changes are noted quickly, and treatment can be started right away when needed.
also called EBRT. Radiation from a source outside the body that is focused on the cancer. It is much like getting an x-ray, but for a longer time. Compare to brachytherapy. See also radiation therapy.