What Is Urethral Cancer?
There are three types of urethral cancer:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- The most common kind of urethral cancer
- In men it starts in the cells that line the urethra in the penis
- In women it starts in the part of the urethra near the bladder
- Transitional cell carcinoma
- In men it starts where the urethra passes through the prostate
- In women it starts near the urethral opening
- Starts in the glands around the urethra
What Are Symptoms of Urethral Cancer?
Symptoms of urethral cancer in men may be vague and nonspecific. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Blood in urine
- Difficulty urinating
- Painful urination
- Urethral discharge
- Urinary retention
- Perineal pain
- Genital swelling
- Prolonged erection (priapism)
- Periurethral abscess
Symptoms of urethral cancer in women may include:
- Urinary irritation
- Blood in urine
- Painful sexual intercourse
What Causes Urethral Cancer?
The cause of urethral cancer is unknown.
Risk factors associated with urethral cancer include:
How Is Urethral Cancer Diagnosed?
Urethral cancer is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination. Tests used to diagnose urethral cancer include:
What Is the Treatment for Urethral Cancer?
Treatment for urethral cancer varies based on the location of the tumor, whether it has spread (metastasized), and the gender of the patient.
Treatment for urethral cancer may include one or more of the following:
- Removal of the urethra (urethrectomy)
- May also include removal of parts of the penis or vagina, depending on whether the cancer has spread
- If this is the case, reconstructive surgery may also be performed
- Removal of any affected lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy)
- Radiation therapy
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy: administered before surgery
- Adjuvant chemotherapy: administered after surgery
- Chemoradiotherapy (a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy)