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Urethral Cancer
Written By : Dr. James Pendergraft 
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Urethral Cancer is a painful and potentially lethal condition in which a cancer originates from the urethra, which is the tubular part of the excretory system of the human body which connects to the urinary bladder and discharges the urine from the body.

Causes

The occurrence of cancer in any part of the body is not explained. Most probably the development of cancer is associated with a chromosome problem that causes the appearance and growth of malignant cells. This could be caused as a result from exposure to certain carcinogenic agents, stimuli or substances which could cause of cancer.

However, while discussing the causes of Urethral Cancer, it is important to know who are at risk of this disease and in what conditions. People who have been suffering from bladder cancer are more likely to develop Urethral Cancer than any other people. People who develop frequent inflammations of the urethra, those above the age of 60, especially white females, have a tendency to develop Urethral Cancer than most other people.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Urethral Cancer include the following.

· Frequent urination
· Blood in urine
· Bleeding in the urethra
· Discharge from urethra
· Lump in the perineum or penis
· Weak flow of urine
· Interrupted flow of urine

Diagnosis

There are several tests that could be carried out for determining that a person is suffering from Urethral Cancer. First of all, the patient will be examined physically by the physician in which he or she will be examined for the apparent signs and symptoms such as lumps or enlarged lymph nodes. Then, further tests and screenings will be prescribed to determine the presence of cancerous cells. These tests include laboratory tests and examinations such as rectal and pelvic exams which are carried out for the signs of the disease.

Laboratory tests for the diagnosis of Urethral Cancer include Urinalysis and Urine Cytology, which respectively check for the nature of problem through the analysis of the properties and composition of urine and the presence of malicious cells respectively. Complete Blood Count test is also recommended. Cystoscopy could be carried out which involves inserting a thin tube into the urethra and the urinary bladder to check for the presence of cancerous cells. In most cases, a biopsy of the tissues will be taken for examination to confirm the presence of cancer.

Scans such as X-rays, MRI and CT scans are used to determine the size and staging of the cancer to prescribe proper treatment. The staging is determined according to the part of urethra that is affected. Anterior Urethral Cancer is not too advanced or deep, while the Posterior Urethral Cancer is deep rooted and in advanced stage. Anterior parts are closer to the body opening, while the posterior part of the urethra is next to the urinary bladder and in males, the prostate gland.
Treatment

Once the presence of Urethral Cancer is determined, the appropriate treatment for the particular stage of the cancer is prescribed. There are various treatment options available for Urethral Cancer. The type of treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and the damage done to the tissues around the urethra, especially when the cancer has reached other organs like the urinary bladder.

Surgery is one of the most widely practiced treatments for Urethral Cancer. There are quite a few surgery types used in this regard.

-Open Excision: Surgical removal of the urethra.
-Laser Surgery: Using laser beams for surgery and removing cancerous cells.
-Lymph Node Dissection: Removal of the lymph nodes in the groin area affected from the cancer.
-Electro-resection: Using electric current for the removal or destruction of the cancer cells.
-Cystourethectomy: Surgical removal of the urethra and urinary bladder affected by the cancer.
-Radical penectomy: Surgical removal of the penis affected by the cancer.
Cystoprostatectomy: Surgical removal of the prostate and bladder affected by the cancer in males.

Radiation therapy is another method of treatment in which X-rays of very high energy are used to destroy the cancerous cells. Alternatively, or combined with surgery, chemotherapy is also administered to control the growth of the cancer.

Urethral Cancer is a rare type of cancer which occurs more frequently in females.

Find out more about: cancer
 
 
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