Glossary

A

Androgen deprivation

This involves the removal of the male hormone testosterone from the body and this can be achieved in a number of ways (principally medical or surgical castration) and is used in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Angiomyolipoma

A benign renal tumour composed of fat, blood vessels and smooth muscle. These can enlarge and cause problems with bleeding and occasionally can be mistaken for renal cancers.

Anticholinergics

This is a group of medicines which can treat urinary symptoms of frequency and urgency of urination as well as incontinence. There can be side effects which include having a dry mouth.

Azoospermia

Is defined as the absence of sperm in the ejaculate fluid. The management of this condition will depend on the cause; this can be due to a blockage of the tubes but there are many other causes.

B

Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans (BXO)

This appears as a white plaque on the foreskin or head of the penis (glans) and is a common cause of phimosis (a thickened non-retractile foreskin) and can also give rise to narrowing of the urethral external opening. This can occur at any age and the cause in not known.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia

This common condition of the ageing male causes obstruction of the urethra as a result of enlargement of the prostate. This can result in troublesome urinary symptoms and may require medication or surgery.

Bladder

The bladder is a complex organ situated in the pelvis. It is responsible for storing urine and voiding (urination) and is under voluntary control. It sits above and adjacent to the prostate gland in men.

Brachytherapy

This is a treatment for prostate cancer which is confined to the prostate and involves the implantation of radioactive seeds under ultrasound guidance. Brachytherapy is minimally invasive and is performed under a general anaesthetic and is completed in 1 or 2 stages.

C

Cancer

What is Cancer?
Your body is made up of tiny 'building blocks' called cells that repair and reproduce themselves in a controlled manner when other cells become damaged or die. If for some reason the cells divide and reproduce in an uncontrolled manner, resulting in more cells being made than are dying, they form into lumps. It is these lumps that are called tumours.

Tumours can be benign or malignant. Benign tumours grow but do not spread and therefore cause little trouble to the individual. Malignant tumours (or cancerous tumours) grow but also spread, often invading the surrounding tissues or structures. Sometimes cancer cells can break away from the original site and settle in other parts of the body where they may cause further damage. If this happens, the cancerous tumours that then develop are called 'secondaries' or 'metastases'.

Catheterisation

The insertion of a soft tube (catheter) into the bladder via the urethra facilitates drainage of urine from the bladder and is usually temporary following an operation but for some is permanent.

Cryotherapy

This technology uses ultrasound guided cyroprobes to deliver argon or liquid nitrogen to freeze prostate or kidney tissue under a general anaesthetic. It can be used to treat newly diagnosed prostate cancer or cancer of the prostate which has recurred following external beam radiotherapy. It is also a promising treatment for small renal cancers as an alternative to partial nephrectomy (kidney removal).

CT (computerized tomography) scan

Widely used for the investigation of urological symptoms and disease.

Cystitis

Infection and/or inflammation of the bladder which gives rise to symptoms such as frequency of urination as well as burning and pain and can give rise to incontinence. If the infection is due to bacterial infection then a course of antibiotics will be required.

D

Duplex kidneys

A congenital urinary tract abnormality where a kidney is divided up into 2 separate parts each with it's own drainage tube (ureter). If duplex kidneys are the only abnormality affecting the urinary tract, and no other disease is present, then it is likely that no treatment will be necessary because duplex kidneys can function quite normally. However, duplex kidneys are sometimes associated with other problems.