Glossary

Aggressive Prostate Cancer: A fast-growing cancer of the prostate.



Anti-oxidants: Substances which are believed to be able to counteract the harmful effects of highly reactive chemicals (known as free radicals) on the body’s tissues.

Autopsy: A surgical procedure performed after a person has died to determine the cause of death.

Baseline PSA: Different individual’s PSA levels. Your baseline PSA is the PSA level which is normal for you.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland which causes the prostate to obstruct the bladder and/or urethra (the tube which carries urine from the bladder out of the body) affecting urine flow.

Brachytherapy: Cancer treatment in which radiation is delivered to the affected tissue of the prostate through the placement of small radioactive implants in direct contact with the cancerous cells.

Breast Cancer predisposition genes: genes which usually protect against cancer, but which when damaged/altered confer an increased chance of developing breast, ovarian and prostate cancer (known as BRCA1 and BRCA2).

Cancer: Disease which is characterised by the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells.

Chemoprevention: The use of substances (natural or synthetic) in an attempt to prevent, delay the development of, or the recurrence of, cancer.

Chromosomes - Units of inheritance in the form of small tightly packed bundles of instructions known as genes (these genes control how the body grows and develops). All human cells except for sperm and eggs contain 23 pairs of chromosomes - 46 chromosomes in total. Of each of these chromosome pairs, we inherit one chromosome from our mothers, and one from our fathers.



Di-hydrotestosterone: A hormone which is similar to testosterone.

Geneticist: Doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals affected by genetic conditions.

Gene alteration: Variation in the structure of a gene.

Genes: Sets of genetic instructions, inherited from our parents, which control the development and behaviour of our bodies. These instructions come in the form of a long strand of a chemical compounds (DNA) which is arranged in a precise manner to make up a specific code (– the coding sequence of a gene). Most gene codes contain the information to make a specific protein.

Hormone: A chemical message, produced by the body, which regulates the function of organ(s) or cell(s) of that body.

Impotence: the inability to attain or maintain an erection.

Inherited Predisposition: An increased risk of developing a disease which is inherited from our parents through permanent gene alterations.

Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs): Small molecules, similar in structure to insulin, which are produced by various organs of the body. These molecules are part of the normal functioning of the body, but they are also thought to play a role in cancer development through the stimulation of cell division, and the avoidance of cell death.

Latent (indolent) Prostate Cancer: Slow-growing cancer of the prostate gland which never causes any clinical symptoms or a reduction in life span.

Lycopene: Red pigment found in some fruit. Particularly prevalent in tomatoes.


Lymph nodes: Bean-shaped organs of the lymphatic system. Important for the filtration of body fluids. Also store white blood cells (lymphocytes) that are part of the body’s immune system to fight disease.

Non-melanoma Skin Cancer: The most common type of cancer. Does not involve the melanocytes (pigment producing cells of the skin).

Oncologist: Doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Ovarian Cancer: Occurs when the cells of the ovary grow in an uncontrolled, abnormal, manner. Has the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Women have two ovaries, one on each side of the body, and they are the part of the reproductive system responsible for producing eggs.

Predictive Genetic Testing: A type of genetic test used to confirm whether or not an individual carries a specific gene alteration which is known to run in their family. Testing involves looking for an alteration at a specific location within a gene, which has been identified in another member of the family.

Prostate (gland):A gland (or secretory organ) found only in men. It is about the size of a walnut, and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum (back passage). It surrounds part of the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder, and produces a thick fluid that forms part of the semen.

Prostate Biopsy: Procedure to diagnose prostate cancer. Tissue samples are taken from the prostate using a needle. These samples are then examined by a pathologist for the presence of cancerous cells.

Prostate Cancer: Occurs when the cells of the prostate grow in an uncontrolled, abnormal, manner. Has the potential to spread to other parts of the body.

Prostate Cancer Incidence: The number of people diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.

Prostate Cancer Mortality: The number of people who die from prostate cancer each year.

Prostate Cancer Screening: Diagnostic test to detect prostate cancer. Screening tests can be used to diagnose cancer before symptoms have been observed.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: PSA is a protein produced by the prostate which is a component of semen. The PSA test is a simple blood test which measures the total level of PSA in the blood. If the prostate become enlarged as a result of cancer, the amount of PSA produced by the prostate will increase. Unfortunately, however, the PSA test is not specific for cancer, and levels also rise if a person is suffering from benign (non-cancerous) conditions of the prostate such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis.

Prostatectomy: Surgical procedure to remove part, or all, of the prostate gland.

Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN): If, upon biopsy, the cells that line the ducts of the prostate are found to be abnormal, this is referred to as PIN (Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia). PIN is not regarded as a disease, and therefore does not require treatment. Two different forms of PIN exist, high-grade and low-grade, and urologist often consider it necessary investigate further if a patient is diagnosed with high-grade PIN. This is because PIN can occasionally develop into prostate cancer.

Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate gland.

Puberty: The process of reaching sexual maturity through the development of secondary sex characteristics. In males puberty is characterised by: accelerated growth; growth of abdominal, chest, facial and armpit hair; increased shoulder width; voice changes; growth of the penis, scrotum and testes.

Radiotherapy: The use of radiation to treat disease.

Risk Factors: Factors which are known to increase an individual’s chance of developing a specific disease.

Selenium: A mineral which is essential for good nutrition, but which can be toxic at high doses. Brazil nuts and liver are particularly rich sources; can also be obtained from cereals, meat, fish, and eggs.

Sporadic Cancer: Cancer which occurs due to a spontaneous genetic alteration (and not because of an inherited genetic alteration). The majority of cancer cases are believed to be sporadic.

Testes: Male reproductive glands. Located outside of the body, in the scrotum. Responsible for the production of sperm and male sex hormones (including testosterone).

Testosterone: Male sex hormone (or androgen). Produced by the testes, Responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics and production of sperm.

Ultrasound Waves: High frequency sound waves which can be applied externally to view images of the body’s internal tissues.

Urethra: A tube which carries urine from the bladder, through the penis, out of the body.

Urinary incontinence: The inability to control urination.

Urologist: Doctor who specialises in diseases of the urinary organs and urinary tract.



Vasectomy: surgical removal of part, or all, of the vas deferens (a tube that carries sperm from the testes to the urethra). Usually results in male sterility.

Vitamin E: An antioxidant which can be obtained from consuming vegetable oils, nuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, whole grains, fish, peanut butter, and green leafy vegetables.

Womb Cancer (also known as endometrial or uterine cancer): Uncontrolled, abnormal growth of the cells of the womb (uterus).