Urologic Oncology is the field of medicine concerned with the research and treatment of cancers of the urinary system for both genders, as well as those affecting the male sexual organs. Most often, these include cancers of the kidneys and bladder, as well as the prostate,testes and penis.
Kidney Cancer, also known as renal cancer, is a type of cancer that starts in the cells in the kidney.
The two most common types of kidney cancer are renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and transitional cell carcinoma (TCC, also known as urothelial cell carcinoma) of the renal pelvis. These names reflect the type of cell from which the cancer developed.
The different types of kidney cancer (such as RCC and TCC) develop in different ways, meaning that the diseases have different long term outcomes, and need to be staged and treated in different ways. RCC is responsible for approximately 80% of primary renal cancers, and TCC accounts the majority of the remainder.
Bladder cancer begins when cells in the urinary bladder start to grow uncontrollably. Most bladder cancers start in the innermost lining of the bladder, which is called the urothelium or transitional epithelium. As the cancer grows into or through the other layers in the bladder wall, it becomes more advanced and can be harder to treat.
Bladder cancers that have grown large enough or have spread to other parts of the body can sometimes cause symptoms, such as:
- - Appearance of blood in urine
- - Increased frequency of passing urine and urgency
- - Being unable to urinate
- - Loss of appetite and weight loss
- - Feeling tired or weak
- - Bone pain
Prostate cancer is the development of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow relatively quickly. The cancer cells may spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. It may initially cause no symptoms. In later stages it can lead to difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, or pain in the pelvis, back or when urinating. A disease known as benign prostatic hyperplasia may produce similar symptoms. Other late symptoms may include feeling tired due to low levels of red blood cells.
Factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer include: older age, a family history of the disease, and race. About 99% of cases occur in those over the age of 50.
Penile cancer is a malignant growth found on the skin or in the tissues of the penis. Around 95% of penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. The cause of penile cancer is unknown but certain factors have been identified as increasing the risk including the following;
- - Infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- - Being over 60 years
- - Smoking
- - Having a weakened immune system
- - Not being circumcised (although circumcision as an adult offers no protection)
- - Build-up of secretions under the foreskin – more common in men with phimosis, a condition whereby the foreskin cannot be drawn back fully.
- - Having received PUVA (Psoralen and light therapy) for psoriasis.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in 15-45 year old men. The good news is that there is a 98% cure rate if caught early enough. Even at later stages the survival rate is good.
There are different types of testicular cancers – seminomas and non-seminomas comprising teratoma, embryonal carcinoma, choriocarcinoma and yolk sac tumours. However, the symptoms and treatments are similar. Usually the first symptom noticed is a lump in one of the testicles. Often the lump is painless although some men experience a dull ache in the affected testicle or even sharp pains. There may be pain in the lower abdomen, and if the cancer has spread to lymph glands at the back of the abdomen the backache can be quite severe. Other lymph glands may be involved e.g. those in the mediastinum, the cavity area in the centre of the chest between the lungs, which may result in the man suffering from a cough, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing and having a lump. Lumps can grow wherever there are lymph glands such as in the neck area. Testicular cancer tends not to spread to many organs but the lungs can be affected. If this happens the person will have a cough and be breathless.