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About Testicular Cancer: Testicular Cancer Dictionary
Home > About Testicular Cancer > Testicular Cancer Dictionary

Common Testicular Cancer Lingo

Alpha-fetoprotein - This test measures the levels of a protein called alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in the blood or amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid is the substance that surrounds a baby in the womb. The function of AFP is not well understood. Unborn and young children produce

Anemia - Anemia is a condition in which red blood cells or the hemoglobin (a protein) in red blood cells is abnormally low.

Benign Tumor - any abnormal growth that does not represent cancer.

Biopsy - A biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue from the body. The sample is then examined under a microscope. Biopsies are used to diagnose many medical conditions, from skin problems to cancer.

Bleomycin - BLEOMYCIN (Blenoxane®) is a type of chemotherapy for treating cancer. Bleomycin is an antibiotic that interferes with the cycle of cell growth. It is effective in containing many types of cancer, including testicular cancer.

Blood Count - A CBC, also called a complete blood count, is a screening test used to diagnose and manage many diseases. A CBC measures the status of important features of the blood, including the: number of red blood cells (RBCs) number of white blood cells (WBCs) number of platelets total amount of hemoglobin in the blood percentage of blood composed of cells, or hematocrit mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) mean corpuscular volume (MCV).

Catheter - An intravenous line, or IV, that is inserted into a vein to deliver medication, fluids, or nutrition. It can also be used to remove blood for sampling.

Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy refers to medications that can kill or control cancer. These medications are delivered to all parts of the body in the bloodstream. For this reason, chemotherapy is considered a systemic treatment, or one that affects the entire body. (2)chemotherapy. This treatment is given to men with nonseminomas or seminomas that are large or have spread. Chemotherapy is often used when other treatments have not been effective. Cisplatin, bleomycin, and etoposide are the medications most commonly used. They are often used in combination.

Chest X-ray - Chest x-rays detect abnormalities of the lungs, heart, great blood vessels, chest wall, ribs, diaphragm and thoracic spine. The healthcare provider will discuss abnormal results with the individual.

Cisplatin - Cisplatin is considered to be the platinum agent of choice in combination chemotherapy for head and neck and testicular cancers.

Etoposide - ETOPOSIDE, VP-16 (VePesid®) is a type of chemotherapy for treating cancer. Etoposide interferes with the growth of cells. Etoposide is effective in treating cancer of the lung and testicles.

Hemoglobin - The iron-protein component in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) - Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a gonad-stimulating polypeptide hormone normally secreted by the placenta during pregnancy.

Immune System - The body's system of defenses against disease, composed of certain white blood cells and antibodies. Antibodies are protein substances that react against bacteria and other harmful material.

Lymph - A nearly colorless fluid that bathes body cells and moves through the lymphatic vessel of the body.

Lymph nodes - Bean-shaped structures scattered along vessels of the lymphatic system. These nodes act as filters, collecting bacteria or cancer cells that may travel through the lymphatic system.

Lymphatic system - Circulatory network of vessels carrying lymph, and the lymphoid organs such as the lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus, that produce and store infection-fighting cells.

Malignant - Tending to become progressively worse; in the case of cancer, it implies ability to invade, spread, and actively destroy normal tissue.

Metastasize - Cancer growths that started from cancer cells shed by a primary cancer arising in another part of the body.

Nonseminoma - Testicular cancers made up of specialized cells.

Oncologist - A physician who specializes in cancer.

Oncology - Study of the physical, chemical, and biological properties and features of cancer.

Orchiectomy - Surgical removal of one or both testes.

Pathologist - A physician who interprets and diagnoses the changes cause by disease in the body.

Prognosis - An estimate of the outcome of a disease; a prediction.

Protocol - A general treatment plan that several hospitals use for one type of cancer.

Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection (RPLND) - type of surgery in which potentially cancerous lymph nodes are removed from the area behind the abdomen, known as the retroperitoneum.

Seminoma - primitive cells resembling the primordial germ cell.

Testis (Testicle) gonads - Male reproductive organs located in the scrotum that produce sperm and the male hormone, testosterone.

Testosterone - Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is secreted from the Leydig cells of the testes in males and from the adrenal cortex and ovaries in females. Testosterone is necessary for the development and maintenance of secondary sex characteristics in the male.

Tumor - A spontaneous new growth of tissue forming an abnormal mass. A neoplasm, or tumor, serves no useful function growing at the expense of the healthy organism.

Tumor marker - Tumor markers are chemical substances that are produced by some cancers. Most of these substances can be found in the bloodstream in small amounts even when cancer is not present. When cancers produce these substances, they are usually produced in very large amounts. The amount of the substances may increase far above a normal level as the disease worsens.

Ultrasound - A test to examine a number of organs in the body. The ultrasound machine uses high-frequency sound waves to echo off the body and create a picture.

Urologist - A physician/surgeon specializing in the urinary tract and male reproductive tract.

X-Rays - High-energy radiation used in high doses to treat cancer or in low doses to diagnoses disease.


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At bedtime one night in March 2003, I suddenly noticed that my right testicle was more than double normal size...
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