A
  • Ablation: Removal of diseased or unwanted tissue from the body by surgery or other means.
  • Absorbent products: Disposable or reusable pads and garments worn to absorb leaked urine.
  • Adjuvant therapy: A treatment method used in addition to the primary therapy. Radiation therapy often is used as an adjuvant to surgery.
  • Alopecia: Hair loss.
  • Androgen: Any of a group of hormones that influence the development of the male reproductive system.
  • Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or sensation resulting from the use of certain drugs or gases.
  • Antiemetic: A medicine to prevent or relieve nausea or vomiting.
  • Artificial sphincter: An artificial valve in the genitourinary tract or in the anal canal to restore continence.
  • Anemia: A condition in which the blood is deficient in red blood cells, hemoglobin or total volume.
  • Anxiety: A debilitating condition of fear which interferes with normal life functions.
  • Apheresis: A procedure in which blood is drawn from the body and separated into its components, some of which are retained (such as immune cells to be reprogrammed to fight cancer) and the remainder returned by transfusion to the patient.
  • Assisted reproductive technologies (ART): Methods used to achieve pregnancy by artificial or partially artificial means. These procedures include artificial insemination (AI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) and sperm microinjection techniques.
  • Autologous: Derived from the same individual.

B

  • Behavioral techniques: Methods to help "retrain" the bladder and get rid of the urgency to urinate. (see biofeedback, bladder training, electrical stimulation, habit training, pelvic muscle exercises, prompted voiding)
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia: A condition in which the prostate becomes enlarged as part of the aging process.
  • Benign tumor: A tumor that is not cancerous.
  • Bilateral: A term describing a condition that affects both sides of the body or two paired organs, such as kidneys.
  • Biofeedback: A procedure that uses electrodes to help people gain awareness and control of their pelvic muscles.
  • Biological therapy: Treatment by stimulation of the body's immune defense system.
  • Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue to see whether cancer cells are present.
  • Bladder: A hollow, muscular balloon-shaped organ that stores urine until it is excreted from the body.
  • Bladder training: A behavioral technique that teaches the patient to resist or inhibit the urge to urinate, and to urinate according to a schedule rather than urinating at the urge.
  • Brachytherapy: An internal radiation therapy in which a radioactive substance sealed in a needle, “seed,” wire or catheter is implanted in the patient’s body directly into or near the cancer.

C

  • Cancer: A general term for more than 100 diseases that have uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells that can invade and destroy healthy tissues.
  • Catheter: A thin, flexible tube through which fluids enter or leave the body.
  • Catheterization: Insertion of a slender tube through the urethra or through the anterior abdominal wall into the bladder, urinary reservoir or urinary conduit to allow urine drainage.
  • Chancre: A hard, syphilitic primary ulcer, the first sign of syphilis, appearing approximately two to three weeks after infection. The ulcer begins as a painless lesion or papule that ulcerates.
  • Chemolysis : A term used to describe the decomposition of organic substance by the use of chemical agents. Used primarily to dissolve certain types of kidney stones.
  • Chemotherapy: Treatment with anticancer drugs.
  • Cobalt 60: A radioactive substance used to treat cancer.
  • Colon: The section of the large intestine extending from the cecum to the rectum.
  • Creatinine: A waste product that is filtered from the blood by the kidneys and expelled in urine.
  • Cryotherapy: The use of extreme cold in surgery or other medical treatment to kill certain cells.
  • Cystocele: A hernia in which the bladder protrudes into the vagina. Sometimes occurs after childbirth.
  • Cyst: A lump filled with either fluid or soft material, occurring in any organ or tissue. May occur for a number of reasons but is usually harmless unless its presence disrupts organ or tissue function.
  • Cystectomy: Surgical removal of the bladder.
  • Cystoscopy: A diagnostic procedure utilizing a lighted scope to determine abnormalities in the bladder and lower urinary tract.

D-E

  • Diabetes mellitus: A common form of diabetes in which the body cannot properly store or use glucose (sugar), the body's main source of energy.
  • Dietitian: A professional who plans diet programs for proper nutrition.
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE): Insertion of a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate and check for abnormalities.
  • Dosimetrist: A person who plans and calculates the proper radiation dose for treatment.
  • Diuretic: A drug that increases the amount of water in the urine, removing excess water from the body. Used in treating high blood pressure and fluid retention.
  • Electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL): The use of a special probe to break up small kidney stones or gallstones.
  • Electron beam: A stream of particles that produces high-energy radiation to treat cancer.
  • Enterocele: Descent of the small bowel into the pelvis, where it can bulge into the vagina.
  • Estrogen: Hormones produced by the ovaries responsible for the development of female sex characteristics.
  • External beam radiation therapy: A type of radiation therapy that uses a machine outside the body to aim high-energy rays at cancer cells.
  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL): A technique that uses high-pressure waves focused on a very small area to pulverize small objects such as kidney stones and gallstones.

F-G

  • Fluoride: A chemical applied to the teeth to prevent tooth decay.
  • Gamma rays: High-energy rays that come from a radioactive source.
  • Gray: A measurement of absorbed radiation dose (1 gray = 100 rads).

H-I

  • Habit training: A behavioral technique that calls for scheduled toileting at regular, planned intervals. Unlike bladder training, there is no effort to motivate the patient to delay voiding and resist urge.
  • High dose rate remote brachytherapy: A type of internal radiation in which each treatment is given in a few minutes while the radioactive source is in place. The source of radioactivity is removed between treatments. Also known as high dose rate remote radiation therapy.
  • Hormonal therapy: A therapy that uses drugs that either block or change the way the body’s natural hormones work. Hormone therapy may also refer to the removal of glands or organs that produce hormones, such as the prostate or ovaries.
  • Hydrocele: A painless swelling of the scrotum caused by a collection of fluid around the testicle; commonly occurs in middle-aged men.
  • Hyperfractionated radiation: Division of the total dose of radiation into smaller doses that are given more than once a day.
  • Hypermobility: A condition in which the pelvic floor muscles can no longer provide the necessary support to the urethra and bladder neck. As a result, the bladder neck drops when any downward pressure is applied and causes involuntary leakage.
  • Hyperplasia: Excessive growth of normal cells of an organ.
  • Insemination: The placement of semen into a woman's uterus, cervix or vagina.
  • Intraoperative radiation: A type of external radiation used to deliver a large dose of radiation therapy to the tumor and surrounding tissue at the time of surgery.
  • Impotence: The inability to get or maintain an erection for sexual activity. Also called erectile dysfunction (ED).
  • Incontinence: Loss of bladder or bowel control; the accidental loss of urine or feces.
  • Interstim continence control therapy: A therapeutic device that is implanted into the sacral nerves of the lower spine where it delivers electrical impulses that help regulate bladder function.
  • Interstitial laser: A probe that uses laser energy to destroy tissue in the prostate.
  • Intrinsic sphincter deficiency (ISD): Weakening of the urethra sphincter muscles that prevents the sphincter from functioning normally regardless of the position of the bladder neck or urethra.
  • Irritable bladder: Involuntary contractions of muscles in the bladder that can cause incontinence.

K-L

  • Kegel exercises: Exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor to increase muscle control and prevent incontinence.
  • Kidney: One of a pair of organs located at the back of the abdominal cavity. Kidneys filter the blood and remove the waste in the form of urine.
  • Kidney stone: A hard mass composed of substances from the urine that form in the kidneys.
  • Laparoscopy: Surgery using a laparoscope to visualize internal organ through a small incision that is generally less invasive than traditional surgery and requires a shorter recovery period.
  • Laparoscopic lymph node dissection: Procedure using a laparoscope to obtain a tissue sample of a lymph node.
  • Lithotripsy: A procedure done to break up stones in the urinary tract using ultrasonic shock waves so the fragments can be easily passed from the body.

M-O

  • Malignant: Cancerous. (see cancer)
  • Medical oncologist: A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy.
  • Menopause: The period that marks the permanent cessation of a woman’s menstrual activity, usually occurring between the ages of 40 and 58.
  • Metastasis: The spreading of a cancerous tumor to another part of the body.
  • Microwave therapy (Targis): A treatment that uses microwaves to heat up tissue and cause cell death. Often used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.
  • Mixed incontinence: Having both stress and urge incontinence.
  • Nephrectomy: Removal of an entire kidney.
  • Open nephrolithotomy: A surgical procedure for removing kidney stones from the urinary tract or kidney. Open nephrolithotomy is the most invasive procedure for removing kidney stones and is therefore used only when other methods have failed.
  • Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in treating cancer.
  • Orchiectomy: The surgical removal of one or both of the testicles.
  • Orchitis: Inflammation of a testicle.
  • Overactive bladder: A condition characterized by involuntary bladder muscle contractions that cause a sudden urge to urinate, which may lead to incontinence.
  • Overflow UI: Leakage of small amounts of urine from a bladder that is always full.

P

  • Palliative care: Treatment to relieve, rather than cure, symptoms caused by cancer. Palliative care can help people live more comfortably.
  • Palliative radiation therapy: Radiation therapy intended to relieve symptoms of cancer but not intended to cure cancer.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCN): A surgical procedure for removing medium or large kidney stones from the urinary tract through a small puncture in the back using an instrument called a nephroscope.
  • Pelvic muscle exercises: Exercises intended to improve pelvic muscle tone and prevent leakage for sufferers of stress urinary incontinence. Also called Kegel exercises. (see also biofeedback)
  • Periurethral bulking injections: A surgical procedure in which injected implants are used to "bulk up" the area around the neck of the bladder, allowing it to resist increases in abdominal pressure which can push down on the bladder and cause leakage.
  • Physical therapist: A health professional trained in the use of treatments such as exercise and massage.
  • Platelets: Special blood cells that help stop bleeding.
  • Post-void residual (PVR) volume: A diagnostic test that measures how much urine remains in the bladder after urination. Specific measurement of PVR volume can be accomplished by catheterization, pelvic ultrasound, radiography or radioisotope studies.
  • Prophylactic radiation therapy: Radiation therapy used as an adjuvant therapy to prevent or delay the spread of cancer.
  • Prostaglandin: Any of various oxygenated unsaturated cyclic fatty acids of animals that have a variety of hormone-like actions, such as controlling blood pressure or smoothing muscle contraction.
  • Prostate: A muscular, walnut-sized gland that surrounds part of the urethra. The prostate secretes seminal fluid, a milky substance that combines with sperm (produced in the testicles) to form semen.
  • Prosthesis: An artificial replacement of a part of the body.
  • Prostatectomy: Surgical removal of the prostate.
    • Suprapubic / Retropubic Prostatectomy: The removal of obstructing prostatic tissue through a supra-pubic incision ( a cut below the belly button ).
    • Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy: Removal of the prostate through an abdominal incision.
    • Perineal Prostatectomy: Removal of the prostate through a perineal incision.
  • Prostatic stent: A spring-like device inserted in the urethra that expands after placement, thus pushing prostate tissue away from passageway and allowing for easier urination.
  • Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate.
  • Prostatron: A device that reduces the size of the prostate using microwave heat. Also called Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT).
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA): A protein made only by the prostate gland. High levels of PSA in the blood may be a sign of prostate cancer.
  • Prostate-specific antigen test (PSA test): A blood test used to help detect prostate cancer.
  • Pubovaginal sling: A surgical procedure used to treat urinary incontinence by placing a “sling” of material under the bladder and urethra to provide support.
  • Pyelonephritis: Inflammation of the kidney, usually due to a bacterial infection.
  • Pyuria: The presence of pus in the urine; usually an indication of kidney or urinary tract infection.

R–S

  • Radiation absorbed dose (rad): A measurement of the amount of radiation absorbed by tissues (100 rad = 1 gray).
  • Radiation: Energy carried by waves or a steam of particles.
  • Radiation oncologist: A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.
  • Radiation physicist: A person trained to ensure that the right amount of radiation is delivered to the treatment site.
  • Radiation therapist: A person with special training who runs the equipment that delivers radiation.
  • Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy penetrating rays or subatomic particles to treat disease.
  • Radiologist: A physician with special training in reading diagnostic X-rays and performing specialized X-ray procedures.
  • Radiotherapy: See radiation therapy.
  • Rectocele: A hernia protrusion of part of the rectum into vagina.
  • Resectoscope: A tube-shaped instrument used by a urologist to scoop a tumor from the bladder lining.
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD): Infections that are most commonly spread through sexual intercourse or genital contact. Also known as a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • Simulation: A process involving special X-ray pictures that are used to precisely locate and mark the area to be treated with radiation.
  • Sling procedures: Surgical methods for treating urinary incontinence involving the placement of a sling, made either of tissue obtained from the person undergoing the sling procedure or a synthetic material.
  • Sphincter: A ring of muscle fibers located around an opening in the body that regulates the passage of substances.
  • Stress test: A diagnostic test that requires patients to lift something or perform an exercise to determine if there is urine loss when stress is placed on bladder muscles.
  • Stress urinary incontinence: The involuntary loss of urine during periods of increased abdominal pressure. Such events include laughing, sneezing, coughing or lifting heavy objects.
  • Suprapubic: An area of the central lower abdomen above the bony pelvis and overlying the bladder.

T-Z

  • T-cell: A type of cell that actively participates in the body’s immune response.
  • Testosterone: The sex hormone that stimulates development of male sex characteristics and bone and muscle growth; produced by the testicles and in small amounts by the ovaries.
  • Transient urinary incontinence: Temporary episodes of urinary incontinence that disappear when the cause of the episode is identified and treated.
  • Transurethral: Through the urethra. (see TUIP, TUMT, TUNA or TURP.)
  • Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT): Procedure used to treat urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) by destroying excess prostate tissue using a probe in the urethra to deliver microwaves.
  • Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA): Procedure used to treat urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) by destroying excess prostate tissue with electromagnetically generated heat using a needle-like device in the urethra.
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP): Surgical procedure used to treat moderate to severe urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) by removing excess prostate tissue with a resectoscope a visual and surgical instrument. TURP may also be used as a diagnostic and therapeutic treatment for bladder cancer.
  • Treatment port or field: The place on the body at which a radiation beam is aimed.
  • Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue that is either benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
  • Tumor marker: A substance found in the body (usually the blood or urine) that may be a sign of cancer.
  • Ureter: The duct through which urine passes from the kidneys to the bladder.
  • Urethra: The duct through which urine passes out of the body from the bladder. In men, the urethra also carries semen.
  • White blood cells: Blood cells that fight infection.
  • X-ray: High-energy radiation that can be used at low levels to diagnose disease or at high levels to treat cancer.