Ureteral cancer is the abnormal growth of cells on the inner lining of the ureters. Ureters are the two tubes that connect your kidneys and bladder and carry your urine to the urinary bladders. This type of cancer is rare and increases the risk for bladder cancer. The same kind of cancer cells grow in the ureters and bladder; hence, one can pose an increased risk for cancer of the other. Also, it usually affects older people.
What are the symptoms of ureteral cancer?
Symptoms of ureteral cancer may include:
- Blood or blood clots in urine
- Weight loss
- Back pain
- Pain while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Dark urine
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help from a Urologist.
What causes ureteral cancer?
The exact cause of ureteral cancer is still unknown. It starts when the cells in the ureters undergo some changes in their DNA. The cells multiply rapidly and block the ureter resulting in blockage of urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Some factors can also increase your risk of getting ureteral cancer which includes:
- Old Age: This type of cancer is rare, and it usually affects people over the age of 65
- Smoking: It increases the risk of urological problems, such as ureteral cancer, kidney cancer, and bladder cancer.
- History of Bladder Cancer: a person who was previously suffering from bladder cancer is at increased risk of getting ureteral cancer
- Genetic: Lynch syndrome, also called Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) increases the risk for cancers, so if your family has a history of cancer, you’re at an increased risk.
When should you see a doctor?
Contact your doctor if you experience any of the abovementioned symptoms and suspect ureteral cancer. Your doctor will refer you to a urologist (a doctor specializing in urological problems).
How can you prevent it?
Even if the cause is not known, you can stay away from those aspects that can increase the risk of getting this cancer. Some things that you can adopt to prevent ureteral cancer are:
- Stop smoking as it is the cause of a lot of urological problems
- Limit your alcohol
- Drink plenty of liquids and stay hydrated
How is ureteral cancer treated?
The treatment depends on how much the tumour has spread or is still only present in the ureter. There are three stages of cancer: localized, regional, and metastatic. Localized cancer remains at the origin and has not yet spread to other body parts. Regional cancer spreads to the surrounding tissues, while metastatic cancer spreads to other body parts. Your doctor may conduct physical examinations, blood tests, urine tests, and tests for bladder cancer, as your treatment will depend upon the size and location of the cancer. Usually, surgery is conducted to get rid of intense ureteral cancer. Chemotherapy can also be recommended in which certain drugs are used to get rid of cancer cells.
It is a life-threatening situation and should not get ignored. You should consult a urologist or urological hospital near you and get medical help so that your cancer can be detected early and treated.
You should get a regular full-body checkup as early detection of cancers will help a lot in controlling them. If your cancer is in the early stage, it can even be cured.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is ureter cancer curable?
Yes, ureter cancer is curable, and the treatment usually involves surgical methods. If you have later stages of cancer, more extensive surgery such as nephrectomy, or nephroureterectomy may be needed. If your cancer is in the early stages, they can get treated by electrosurgery or laser. After your surgery, chemotherapy may be recommended.
What kind of doctor should I see for ureteral cancer?
You should consult a family doctor. They will then refer you to a urologist (a doctor specialising in urological problems) or an oncologist (a doctor specialising in cancer treatment).
Is immunotherapy a treatment option for ureteral cancer?
Immunotherapy can be a treatment option for the early stages of ureteral cancer. Immunotherapy involves using your immune system to fight cancer cells.