Urologic cancers include cancers of the bladder, kidney, prostate and testicles. Each type of cancer has different symptoms and treatments and affects different groups of the population with varying frequency.
The bladder is an organ located in the pelvic cavity that stores and discharges urine. Bladder cancer occurs in the lining of the bladder. It is the sixth most common type of cancer in the United States.
Cancer only in cells in the lining of the bladder is called superficial bladder cancer. This type of bladder cancer often comes back after treatment, but it does not tend to progress.
Cancer that begins as a superficial tumor may grow through the lining and into the muscular wall of the bladder. This is known as invasive cancer. Invasive cancer may extend through the bladder wall. It may grow into a nearby organ such as the uterus or vagina in women or the prostate gland in men. It also may spread to other parts of the body.
Treatments for bladder cancer include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and biologic therapy. Biologic therapy, or immunotherapy, boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer.
Kidney cancer is a cancer that starts in the kidneys. Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer in which the cancerous cells are found in the lining of very small tubes (tubules) in the kidney.
Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults. It occurs most often in people 50 - 70 years old, and typically affects men. The exact cause is unknown.
Surgical removal of all or part of the kidney is recommended. This may include removing the bladder or surrounding tissues or lymph nodes.
Radiation therapy does not usually work for renal cell carcinoma and, therefore, is not often used. Hormone treatments may reduce the growth of the tumor in some cases. Chemotherapy is generally not effective for treating renal cell carcinoma.
Testicular cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles.
Two main types of testicular cancer are seminomas (cancers that grow slowly and are sensitive to radiation therapy) and nonseminomas (different cell types that grow more quickly than seminomas).
Testicular cancer accounts for only 1% of all cancers in men in the U.S., but is the most common form of cancer in men age 15 - 40. In rare cases, it may occur at a younger age.
Surgical treatment removes the testicle and associated lymph nodes. This is usually performed in the case of both seminoma and nonseminomas.
Radiation therapy using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays may be used after surgery to prevent the tumor from returning. Radiation therapy is usually only used for treating seminomas.
Chemotherapy uses drugs such as cisplatin, bleomycin, and etoposide to kill cancer cells. This treatment has greatly improved survival for patients with both seminomas and nonseminomas.
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