Clinical Glossary

Understand medical terminology

Use this glossary of clinical terms to help you better understand medical terminology and take an active role in your health.

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    • Advanced prostate cancer

      Prostate cancer that has progressed and that may be able to be treated, but is unlikely to be cured.

    • Androgen

      A group of sex hormones, primarily testosterone, that play a role in the reproductive system, help maintain sexual desire and function, and more.

    • Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)

      ADT reduces the amount of testosterone the body makes.

    • Androgen receptor inhibitor (ARI)

      ARIs are a type of novel hormone therapy (NHT). ARIs decrease how often androgens like testosterone connect with an androgen receptor, and thereby may slow the growth of prostate cancer tumors and cells. Learn more about how XTANDI works.

    • Biopsy

      The only test that can confirm prostate cancer, this procedure involves removing cells or a small piece of tissue from your body and testing it for cancerous cells.

    • Bone scan

      A procedure to check for abnormal areas or damage in the bones.

    • Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)

      Also called “hormone-resistant prostate cancer,” this type of prostate cancer no longer responds to hormone therapy or surgical treatment to lower testosterone.

    • Castration-sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC)

      Also called “hormone-sensitive prostate cancer,” this type of prostate cancer responds to hormone therapy or surgical treatment to lower testosterone.

    • Computed tomography (CT) scan

      A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are taken from different angles and are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs.

    • De novo cancer

      A term that describes the first occurrence of cancer in the body.

    • Gleason score

      A grading system used by healthcare providers to assess a prostate cancer's aggressiveness. It is based on how cells from the tumor look under a microscope—more aggressive tumor cells look less like normal tissue. The higher the Gleason score, the more aggressive your cancer may be. Doctors use the Gleason score to help choose the most appropriate treatments.

    • Hormone

      One of many substances made by glands in the body. Hormones circulate in the bloodstream and control the actions of certain cells or organs.

    • Imaging

      A scan that helps doctors monitor a disease or decide on treatment. Common imaging scans used for cancer include MRI, PSMA PET, and PET/CT scans.

    • Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) therapy

      A form of ADT, LHRH agonists prevent the release of LHRH, whereas LHRH antagonists block the pituitary gland from making LHRH. Lack of LHRH causes the testicles to stop making testosterone.

    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

      A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to show the difference between normal and diseased tissue; especially useful for imaging the brain, spine, bones, joints, and soft tissues.

    • Median

      A statistical term meaning the middle value in a set of numbers.

    • Medication holiday

      A medication holiday may be recommended by your doctor. This means you may take a break from your treatment. The length of your break will be determined by your doctor. Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.

    • Metastatic

      A term describing cancer that has spread from the place where it started to other places in the body, such as nearby or distant bones, tissues, or other organs.

    • Novel hormone therapy (NHT)

      NHTs (which include ARIs) are a type of hormone therapy used to treat advanced prostate cancer. They work by inhibiting the production of androgens or by inhibiting the connection of androgens to androgen receptors within the body, helping to slow cancer cell growth.

    • Overall survival

      The length of time a patient is alive after the start of treatment.

    • Progression

      The course of a disease as it gets worse or spreads in the body.

    • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)

      A protein made inside the prostate. Its job is to help semen transport sperm. An unusually high amount of PSA in the blood may be a sign of prostate cancer.

    • Testosterone

      A hormone made in the testes, required for development of male sex characteristics, such as muscle growth and facial hair.

    • Tumor

      An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells grow or divide more than they should or live longer than they should. Tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

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