Also known as urothelial carcinoma, urological cancer is a common type of cancer. It affects the urinary system and other accessory organs, including the kidneys, urinary bladder, ureter that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. Cancers in the urinary tract are not as rare as they were before. The most common one is transitional cell cancer that occurs in the transitional epithelium lines of the ureter, urinary bladder, and superior urethra. This cancer is so common that it accounts for about one out of every 25 upper urinary tract tumours. It can also metastasize into nearby organs and affect the patient's reproductive organs, such as testicles, epididymis, vas deferens, prostate and penis.
Most urological cancers are found "accidentally" when being investigated for other urinary problems. However, symptoms like flank pain, flank mass, abnormalities in the external genitalia, blood in urine, other lower urinary tract symptoms, weight loss, weakness, bony pains need to be investigated. Luckily, surgery along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy can cure most of these cancers if identified early. Hence, expert consultation is advised to ensure timely intervention of urological cancers.
Causes and risk factors
Smoking is associated with an increased risk of ureter cancer. Chronic irritation of the kidney due to the use of nephrotoxic medications and exposure to chemicals such as leather, plastics, or rubber is the main cause of cancer of the ureter. Older adults and patients with a history of bladder cancer are at an increased risk of ureter cancer.
In the initial stages, urological cancers show no symptoms. But various symptoms begin to appear in the later stages of cancer, such as:
- Persistent back pain
- Ureter pain; especially if there are kidney stones
- Flank pain (discomfort in the upper abdomen or back and sides)
- Increased urinary frequency
- Urinary urgency
- Hematuria (blood in urine)
diagnosis of urological cancer. The attending physician will go through the patient’s symptoms, personal and family medical history to assess the risk of cancer. If they suspect cancer, they will order further tests like physical exams and screening tests to help identify a patient’s urologic cancer type. These tests can include:
- Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) test – to detect chromosomal abnormalities
- Urography – imaging studies such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging for staging the cancer
- Intravenous pyelography (IVP) – urography with x-ray for staging and detecting the abnormalities in the urinary system
- Ureteroscopy – to detect abnormalities in the ureter
- Biopsy – microscopical examination of the lesion for staging the cancer
The standard treatment for ureter cancer is surgery. It is performed to remove the entire ureter or a part of the ureter, depending on the extent of the disease. In some cases, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also given to destroy the remaining cancer cells.
Endoscopic resection or fulguration is performed to remove cancer cells with the help of ureteroscopy. The fulguration procedure uses an electric current to remove cancer cells. Laser surgery is also performed using a laser beam to destroy cancer cells.
These treatments can adversely affect your quality of life. Whether you're waiting for a diagnosis, undergoing the treatment, or finished with the treatment, you first have to learn how to cope with cancer. Also, remember to help your caregivers understand the situation and let them provide support to you in coping with cancer.
Why Eternal Hospital?
At Eternal Hospital, we have a highly qualified and dedicated team of urologists who are always committed to providing the latest and most advanced medical care to all our patients. Being a trusted name in healthcare, we act compassionately while ensuring confidentiality to those who need it. We have set high standards in patient-centric premium care along with outstanding patient safety and exceptional maintenance in a timely manner. We adhere to the use of up to the minute innovations to offer state-of-the-art treatments to our patients with unparalleled results.