Urological cancer can affect the kidneys, ureter, bladder and urethra, as well as the penis, prostate and testicles in men.Urological cancers are abnormal cell growths in the organs of the urinary tract (bladder and kidneys) in both men and women. It can also affect the testicles, penis and prostate in men. The organs of the urinary tract help process and transport urine out of the body, and when abnormal cells grow in them, a cancerous tumor can form.
Causes of Urological Cancer
While researchers have not determined the exact causes of urological cancers, several risk factors have been identified. They include:
- Exposure to industrial chemicals
- Radiation therapy to treat previous cancers
- Previous chemotherapy treatments
- Certain type 2 diabetes treatments
- Long-term catheterization
- Repeated urinary tract infections
- Early menopause
- Long-term bladder stones
Symptoms of Urological Cancer
In many cases, urological cancers are asymptomatic until they’ve become more advanced, and they are often discovered during routine physical examinations. The type of symptoms that appear will depend on the type of cancer. If an individual notices blood in their urine or experiences pelvic or back pain, it could be a symptom of bladder, kidney or prostate cancer.
Patients with prostate cancer may also experience problems with urination or reduced sexual function. Symptoms of testicular and penile cancer can include swelling, skin changes and noticeable lesions.
Diagnosis of Urological Cancer
Since many urological cancers are diagnosed during routine physical examinations, a physician that suspects a patient has urological cancer may recommend one of the following tests:
- A cystoscopy to check the ureter, bladder and kidneys for tumors
- A blood test to look for abnormalities
- An X-ray, MRI, CT scan or ultrasound to check for abnormal tissue
- A tissue biopsy to look for the presence of cancerous cells
Treatments for Urological Cancer
Urological cancer treatment depends on the progression of the disease as well as the preferences of the patient. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are common options, and some patients may also require additional procedures to allow for normal urological function or to reconstruct the affected organ (penis cancer).
Tampa General Hospital has an experienced team of urologists on staff and treats a wide range of urological conditions, including tumors and urological cancers.