The urethra is a tube which expels urine out of the body. Abnormal cancerous growth in the urethra leads to urethral cancer. This rare cancer is seen both in men and women.
Types of Urethral Cancer
Depending on the cell type, urethral cancer is of the following types:
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is a common type of urethral cancer which starts in the cells close to the bladder in women and the urethral lining in the penis in men.
- Adenocarcinoma: This rare cancer starts in the glands present in the urethra.
- Transitional Cell Carcinoma: In men, this cancer starts in the urethral opening in the urethral. In women, it starts in the cells surrounding the urethra.
In the early stages, urethral cancer may not show any symptoms. The symptoms, however, a flare-up in the later stages. The common symptoms include:
- Frequent urination.
- Pain during urination.
- Presence of blood in the urine.
- Interrupted urine flow.
- Lump in the penis.
- Unusual discharge from the urethra.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin area.
Urethral cancer is caused by:
- Sexually transmitted disease.
- Chronic infection.
- History of bladder cancer.
- Family history.
Testicular cancer is diagnosed by:
- Physical examination: The doctor will assess your medical history and current illnesses. Furthermore, you will also be physically examined for swelling, lumps, or tenderness in the area.
- Urine test: The doctor will also assess urine for the presence of abnormal cells and blood in the urine.
- Imaging tests: Various imaging tests such as CT scans, and MRIs will be performed to gauge the size, location, and stage of the tumour.
- Biopsy: The doctor will extract a small tissue from the area and examine for the presence of cancer cells.
The treatment strategy for urethral cancer depends on the stage and type of cancer, age, and overall health of the patient. Surgery is usually the mainstay of the treatment. It may be combined with chemotherapy and radiation therapy for better outcomes.
- Active surveillance: In case of slow-growing urethral cancers, the doctor will closely monitor the patient. Once cancer growth is observed, the doctor starts therapy.
- Surgery: Surgery is the mainstay of urethral cancer. The doctor will remove a part of the urethra along with surrounding tissues.
- Radiation therapy: High energy X-rays will be used to destroy cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: High doses of anti-cancer drugs will be administered to destroy cancer cells. In some cases, chemotherapy is combined with radiation therapy to remove cells from the body