Palliative care – Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or lifethreatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms
of the disease, side effects caused by treatment of the disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to the disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
Permanent interstitial implant – A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in seeds is placed directly into or near a tumour. Also called brachytherapy, internal radiation, or implant radiation. While the radioactivity decays away, the actual seeds remain indefinitely.
Prostate – A gland in the male reproductive system just below the bladder. The prostate surrounds part of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder, and produces a fluid that forms part of semen.
Psychosocial distress – In the context of cancer, distress has been defined as a multifactor unpleasant emotional experience of a psychological (cognitive, behavioural, emotional), social, and/or spiritual nature that may interfere with the ability to cope effectively with cancer, its physical symptoms, and its treatment. Feelings of distress range along a continuum, from sadness and vulnerability to disabling depression.
Radiation – Radiant energy given off by X ray machines, radioactive substances, rays that enter the
Earth’s atmosphere, and other sources.
Radiation dosimetrist – A specialist who measures the amount of radiation exposure during
Radiation oncologist – A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat a variety of diseases
Radiation physicist – A person who makes sure that the radiation machine or implant delivers the right amount of radiation to the correct site in the body. The physicist works with the radiation oncologist to choose the most suitable treatment schedule and dose.
Radiation therapist – A health professional who gives radiation treatment.
Radiotherapy – The use of high-energy radiation from X rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other
sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external beam radiotherapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiotherapy, implant radiation, or brachytherapy). Systemic radiotherapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabelled monoclonal antibody, which circulates throughout the
Restenosis – Narrowing of a blood vessel (usually a coronary artery) following the removal or
reduction of a previous narrowing (angioplasty).
Seeds – Radioactive pellets, approximately the size of a grain of rice, used in brachytherapy.
Stage – The extent of a cancer within the body, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.
Stent – A device placed in a body structure ― such as a blood vessel or the gastrointestinal (GI) tract)
― to provide support and keep the structure open.
Temporary interstitial implant – A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is temporarily placed directly into or near a tumour.
Tumour – An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. Tumours perform no
useful body function. They may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Tumour staging – This is an important step in the management of cancer. Typically, several tests are performed to determine three things. The first part is to quantify the size and extent of a primary cancer. The second is to determine whether the cancer involves nearby lymph nodes. The third is to check whether cancer has spread through the blood stream to other parts of the body. Using this information, people with cancer are assigned a stage. This helps to determine the best course of
treatment and it also predicts the response to treatment. Each type of cancer has a specific staging system.
Unsealed internal radiotherapy – Radiotherapy given by injecting a radioactive substance into the bloodstream or a body cavity, or by swallowing it. This substance is not sealed in a container.
Vascular – Relating to or containing blood vessels.
Volume study – This is a procedure used in prostate brachytherapy to map out the prostate gland. An
ultrasound probe is placed in the rectum to get images of the prostate. Once the map is made, a computer plan is generated to show the best place to put radioactive seeds in and around the prostate. This is often done before or during a prostate implant procedure.