Urethral cancer is a rare urological cancer that is more difficult to detect until it reaches the advanced stage. The urethra is a hollow tube that carries urine out of the body, from the bladder. In men, the urethra runs from the bladder and goes through the prostate to the end of the penis. In women, the urethra is much shorter than in men and ends just above the vaginal opening.
There are three types of urethral cancers:
Usually, no signs are seen in the early stages. As cancer grows, the symptoms of urethral cancer start appearing. Common signs and symptoms of urethral cancer include:
While the exact cause remains unknown, It typically occurs when cells on the inside lining of the ureter start multiplying rapidly. This abnormal growth of cells starts due to a change in DNA pattern. The growing cells block the ureter or invade other areas of the body. The human papilloma virus (HPV) can increase urethral cancer growth.
The treatment choices depend on the type of urethral cancer, stage of cancer, gender, age, test results, etc. There are many potential treatments available to cure urethral cancer.
Urethral cancer can be treated by surgical removal of urethra & the bladder. If lymph nodes are impacted by cancer, it is often removed in the pelvis. If cancer has not affected the nearby tissue, a tumour can be removed with a cystoscope.
These anti-cancer drugs can be used to shrink the tumor and decrease the growth of the cancer cells. It can be used prior to surgery or after surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy is most often used when cancer has spread to other parts of the body and surgery is risky.
Radiation therapy targets and destroys cancer cells. Radiation therapy is generally not recommended if the affected area is small. In such cases, surgery or chemotherapy may advised. Further, radiation may also have certain side effects such as bladder pain, bleeding, incontinence, and pain among others.
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