Renal pelvis or ureter cancer
Cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter is cancer that forms in the kidney's pelvis or the tube (ureter) that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter; Kidney cancer - renal pelvis; Ureter cancer; Urothelial carcinoma
Cancer can grow in the urine collection system, but it is uncommon. Renal pelvis and ureter cancers affect men more often than women. These cancers are more common in people older than 65.
The exact causes of this cancer are not known. Long-term (chronic) irritation of the kidney from harmful substances removed in the urine may be a factor. This irritation may be caused by:
People who have had bladder cancer are also at risk.
Symptoms may include any of the following:
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam, and examine your belly area (abdomen). In rare cases, this may reveal an enlarged kidney.
If tests are done:
Other tests that may be ordered include:
These tests may reveal a tumor or show that the cancer has spread from the kidneys.
The goal of treatment is to eliminate the cancer.
Following procedures may be used to treat the condition:
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.
Outcome varies, depending on the location of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. Cancer that is only in the kidney or ureter may be cured with surgery.
Cancer that has spread to other organs is usually not curable.
Complications from this cancer may include:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your provider if you have any of the symptoms listed above.
Measures that may help prevent this cancer include:
Bajorin DF. Tumors of the kidney, bladder, ureters, and renal pelvis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 197.
National Cancer Institute website. Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter treatment (PDQ) – health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/kidney/hp/transitional-cell-treatment-pdq. Updated February 7, 2018. Accessed May 15, 2018.
Wong WW, Peterson JL, Tan WW, et al. Kidney and ureteral carcinoma. In: Gunderson LL, Tepper JE, eds. Clinical Radiation Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 56.
Review Date: 4/2/2018
Reviewed By: Richard LoCicero, MD, private practice specializing in hematology and medical oncology, Longstreet Cancer Center, Gainesville, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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