Ureteral Cancer can be defined as the proliferation of cancer cells in the cellular lining of the ureter, the tubes that connects the kidneys to the urinary bladder. It is a part of the urinary tract, which chiefly functions by carrying the urine produced by the kidneys to the bladder.
It is quite rare in nature and is related to bladder cancer. Since the cells that line the ureter and get metastasized during ureteral cancer are similar to that of the bladder, people diagnosed with ureteral cancer often have an increased risk of bladder cancer. Although, it can happen to anyone, yet it usually occurs in older adults and in people who have been previously diagnosed and treated for bladder cancer.
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Just like other forms of cancer, the ultimate cause of ureteral cancer is yet unknown, but it usually occurs when there is a change or mutation in the DNA of the cells that line the ureter. This mutation triggers them to grow abnormally without dying and get piled up to form tumorous structures eventually blocking the ureter and hindering normal urinary functions.
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Certain causative factors that increase the risk of ureteral cancer include:
Age: The risk of ureteral cancer is more common in people of older age, especially the ones in their 70s and 80s.
Gender: Although men are more prone to ureteral cancer, women have 50% chance of dying if diagnosed with ureteral cancer.
Previous Cancer Conditions: Ureteral cancer is more common in people previously diagnosed with bladder cancer or kidney cancer.
Smoking: People who have an unhealthy habit of smoking tobacco are more prone to this type of cancer and other types like bladder cancer, kidney cancer, urinary tract cancer as well.
Genetics: The chances of getting diagnosed with ureteral cancer are more if you have a family history of ureteral cancer.
Exposure To Chemicals: Getting exposed to certain chemicals at the workplace while making plastic, textile, rubber or leather can increase the risk of this type of cancer.
Medications: Using large amounts of painkillers for an extended period can increase the risk of ureteral cancer.
Herbal Formulations: Some herbal medications that help in shedding weight can make one more prone to ureteral cancer.
The common signs and symptoms of ureteral cancer include:
- Presence of blood in urine, i.e. hematuria as in the case of urinary incontinence
- Back pain
- Pain while urinating
- Sudden loss of weight
- Bone pain
Diagnosis And Treatment
If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, do consult a doctor right away to get diagnosed at the earliest. The doctor usually does a thorough physical check-up, acknowledges the patient’s past medical history followed by a few diagnostics including:
- Imaging techniques like Intravenous pyelogram, CT urography, Magnetic resonance urogram etc.
- Urine tests
- Cystoscopy to look for signs of bladder cancer
The available treatment options usually depend upon the size of the tumor, exact location of the cancer, and the particular stage of the cancer. This includes:
- Clinical trials