Doctor's Notes on Urethral Cancer
Urethral cancer is a rare disease where one of three cell types found in the urethra (squamous, transitional, and glandular [resulting in adenocarcinoma] cells) develop into cancer cells. These cancers metastasize quickly to the lymph nodes and occur more often in men. Signs and symptoms may include
- a lump or thickness in the perineum or penis,
- a painless swelling in the groin,
- trouble starting urination,
- stop and go urine flow,
- frequent urination at night,
- urethral discharge, and
- urethral bleeding or blood in the urine.
The cause of the development of cancerous urethral cells is not known; associated risk factors include a history of bladder cancer, STD infections (especially human papilloma virus type 16), and frequent urinary tract infections.
What Are the Treatments for Urethral Cancer (UC)?
This treatment may vary with the stage and location of the tumor. The treatments fall into three main types:
- Chemotherapy: usually several drugs in combination to kill cancer cells; also, often used in combination with radiation therapy
- Radiation therapy: may be used as primary therapy, combined with chemotherapy or after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells
Surgery: as primary treatment for non-metastatic UC, in combination with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy; there are
four main types of urethral cancer surgery
- Partial penectomy
- Radical penectomy
- Pelvic lymphadenectomy with penectomy, cystoprostatectomy, and removal of the anterior pubis, plus, forming an ileal conduit for urinary diversion
Your urologic team of doctors can design a specific treatment plan that can address your condition.
Must Read Articles:
Cancer AnxietyAnxiety and distress can affect the quality of life of patients with cancer and their families. Patients living with cancer can feel different levels of distress. There are certain risk factors for serious distress in people with cancer. Screening is done to find out if the patient needs help adjusting to cancer.
Common Cancer SymptomsMost symptoms and signs of cancer may also be explained by harmless conditions, so it's important to limit one's risk factors and undergo appropriate cancer screening. Common cancer symptoms and signs are a change in bowel habits or urination, persistent cough, blood in the stool, urine, or saliva, lump in the breast or testicle, hoarseness, swollen glands, a change in a wart or mole, unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss, and headaches.
Communication in Cancer CareGood communication between patients, family caregivers, and the health care team is very important in cancer care. Patients with cancer have special communication needs.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.