Your urethra is a hollow tube that runs from your bladder to the outside of your body, allowing urine to pass through. Due to its expose nature, the urethra can be prone to infections such as UTIs. Though unpleasant, UTIs are temporary and highly treatable.
However, the urethra can also develop more serious conditions such as urethral cancer.
Urethral cancer is one of the rarest forms of urological cancer, affecting 1-2 people out of 100 cancer patients. It’s generally more common in men and people over 60. Those who have had bladder cancer, frequent UTIs, or STDs (particularly HPV) may be at greater risk.
There are three types of urethral cancer:
Squamous cell carcinoma – This is the most common form. For women, it starts in the urethra near the bladder. For men, it forms in the cells lining the urethra in the penis.
Transitional cell carcinoma – For women, cancer cells develop near the opening of the urethra. For men, it grows in the tube that passes through the prostate gland.
Adenocarcinoma – For both men and women, cancerous cells begin to develop in the glands around the urethra.
Symptoms of Urethral Cancer
As with many forms of cancer, urethral cancer might not show any symptoms at first. As it grows, however, patients may notice a lump on their urethra. Some may also experience pain or bleeding while urinating. It’s important to remember that urethral lumps and blood in urine are by no means exclusive to cancer.
If you are experiencing symptoms relating to urethral cancer, or you’re experiencing any other urinary problems, it’s important to see a urologist right away.
What You Can Do About Urethral Cancer
The step is to visit a urologist. Urologists are specially trained in conditions affecting the bladder, urinary tract, and male reproductive organs. They will be able to accurately identify and diagnose your condition. This may include a pelvic and rectal exam, as well as blood and urine tests. They might also perform a cystoscopy which allows them to see the inside of your urethra.
From there, they inform you of your options and provide treatment.
If you have urethral cancer, they’ll likely check to see if the cancer has spread elsewhere. Depending on your condition and the location of the cancer, your urologist may be able to remove the cancer via surgery. In more advanced situations, your urethra and bladder may need to be removed. Alternatively, they may use radiation or chemotherapy.
Though cancer is a frightening situation, it’s important that it’s addressed as soon as possible. If you are experiencing discomfort in your pelvic region, loss of proper urine function, or blood in your urine, schedule an appointment with a urologist. You may need to first visit your general practitioner.
For a urology doctor in the Dayton, Ohio area, contact Urology Specialists of Ohio today!