Urologic cancers occur in parts of the body connected to the urinary tract, most commonly in the bladder, kidney, prostate and testis. Our trained professional team, led by a board-certified urologist, works closely with The Cancer Program at Rutherford Regional.
A cancer diagnosis can be scary, but survival rates have improved in the past 25 years thanks to early detection, targeted treatment and management of side effects. As a patient here, you will have full access to the scope of services required to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate, and support you and your family.
Researchers do not know exactly what causes most bladder cancers, and some people with bladder cancer have no obvious risk factors.
Causes: Smoking greatly increases your risk of bladder cancer (among other cancers). Other risk factors include workplace exposure to certain chemicals in industries that produce rubber, leather, textiles and paint products. Professions like hairdressers, painters, machinists, printers and truck drivers also are at a greater risk for bladder cancer because of workplace chemical exposure.
Signs and symptoms: Some common symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
- Blood in the urine, making the urine slightly rusty to deep red
- Pain during urination
- Frequent urination, or feeling the need to urinate but not being able
This is not a comprehensive list, and other conditions like infections, benign tumors and bladder stones can also cause these symptoms. Advanced bladder cancer symptoms may include weight loss, fatigue, inability to urinate, abdominal and/or lower back pain.
Treatment options: There are a number of ways to test for bladder cancer, including a cystoscopy (inserting a long, thin probe through the urethra), biopsy (collecting and testing a cell sample), a urinalysis and an imaging test like an MRI or CT scan. People diagnosed with bladder cancer have many treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or biological therapy. Some patients may receive a combination of therapies.
Before the routine use of imaging equipment like CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds, kidney cancer was always discovered in the advanced stages. Now it’s being caught early during imaging treatment for a separate condition.
Causes: Men are 2-3 times more likely than women to get kidney cancer, and the risk increases with age. Risk factors include obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and exposure to industrial agents containing cadmium. You’re also at higher risk if you’ve had kidney failure or a family history of kidney cancer.
Signs and symptoms: There are no telltale kidney cancer symptoms at the early stage. As a kidney tumor grows, symptoms may occur. These may include:
- Blood in the urine
- A lump or mass in the kidney area.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Recurrent fevers
- Pain in the side that doesn't go away
- A general feeling of poor health
Treatment options: The most common way to treat early-stage kidney cancer is to surgically remove the tumor or treat it with thermal ablation, which uses heat or cold to kill cancer cells. People with advanced kidney cancer may also receive biological therapy that works your body’s immune system to fight the disease.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for American men, but the good news is it has a 97% survival rate.
Causes: Genes play a large role in prostate cancer risk, so it’s important for men with a family history to be routinely checked. Older age, high-fat diets, low vitamin D levels, and are also considered risk factors.
Signs and symptoms: There are no telltale prostate cancer symptoms in the early stages. A digital rectal exam can detect an enlarged prostate. In advanced stages, symptoms can include:
- Trouble urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in semen
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Bone pain
- Erectile dysfunction (ED).
Treatment options: Some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may not need immediate treatment. Other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. Laboratory tests can determine which one is present. Make an appointment to discuss treatment options that could include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, cryoblation (freezing the cancer cells to kill them), chemotherapy and biological therapy that works with you body’s immune system to fight the disease.
Testicular cancer can happen at any age, but teens and younger men (commonly between ages 15-35) are more often diagnosed.
Causes: Nearly all testicular cancer begins in cells in the testicles that produce immature sperm. Researchers do not know how these cells become abnormal.
Signs and symptoms: Cancer typically only affects one testicle. Symptoms include:
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
- A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
- Back pain
Treatment options: Testicular cancer is highly treatable, even when cancer has spread beyond the testicle. Depending on the type and stage of testicular cancer, you may receive one of several treatments, or a combination including surgery to remove your testicle or lymph nodes, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.