Urethral Cancer (cont.)
Age and a history of bladder cancer can affect the risk of developing urethral cancer.
Risk factors include the following:
- Having a history of bladder cancer.
- Having conditions that cause chronic
inflammation in the urethra, including:
- Being 60 or older.
- Being a white
Possible signs of urethral cancer include bleeding or trouble with
These and other symptoms may be caused by urethral cancer. Other conditions
may cause the same symptoms. Sometimes early cancer of the urethra does not
cause any symptoms at all. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following
- Bleeding from the urethra or blood in the urine.
- Weak or interrupted
("stop-and-go") flow of urine.
- Frequent urination.
- A lump or thickness in the
perineum or penis.
- Discharge from the urethra.
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the groin
Tests that examine the urethra and bladder are used to detect (find) and
diagnose urethral cancer.
The following tests and procedures may be used:
- Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of
health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else
that seems unusual. A history of the patient's health habits and past illnesses
and treatments will also be taken.
- Laboratory tests: Medical procedures that
test samples of tissue, blood, urine, or other substances in the body. These
tests help to diagnose disease, plan and check treatment, or monitor the disease
- Urine cytology: Examination of urine under a microscope to check for
- Urinalysis: A test to check the color of urine and its contents,
such as sugar, protein, blood, and white blood cells. If white blood cells (a
sign of infection) are found, a urine culture is usually done to find out what
type of infection it is.
- Digital rectal exam: An exam of the rectum. The doctor
or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the lower part of the rectum
to feel for lumps or anything else that seems unusual. This procedure may be
done while the patient is under anesthesia.
- Pelvic exam: An exam of the vagina,
cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. The doctor or nurse
inserts one or two lubricated, gloved fingers of one hand into the vagina and
places the other hand over the lower abdomen to feel the size, shape, and
position of the uterus and ovaries. A speculum is also inserted into the vagina
and the doctor or nurse looks at the vagina and cervix for signs of disease.
This may be done while the patient is under anesthesia.
- Cystoscopy: A procedure to look inside the urethra and bladder to check for
abnormal areas. A cystoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through the
urethra into the bladder. Tissue samples may be taken for biopsy.
- Biopsy: The
removal of cells or tissues from the urethra, bladder, and, sometimes, the
prostate gland, so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to
check for signs of cancer.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/18/2014
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