Stages of Ureter Cancer
The stages of ureter cancer are determined by the size of the malignancy and whether or not the cancer cells have spread past the ureter or renal pelvis.
Localized cancer remains at the point of origin, and has not spread beyond the kidney or ureter. Regional cancer has progressed into the tissue surrounding the kidney and/or neighboring lymph nodes, while metastatic cancer has invaded other parts of the body.
Treating Ureter Cancer
The criteria for deciding on a course of treatment for ureter cancer includes the patient's age and overall health, in addition to the type of tumor, its grade, stage and position.
Surgical procedures for the treatment of ureter cancer include:
Nephrectomy: complete kidney is removed or, whenever possible, only part of it. This is the most common treatment option.
Nephro-ureterectomy: removal of the kidney, ureter and upper bladder. If necessary, the adjacent lymph glands, tissue and fat may also be removed.
Segmental ureterectomy resection: If the tumor is small and localized, it is possible to remove only the part of the ureter that contains cancer cells.
Ureteroneocystomy (reimplantation): If the cancer cells are only in the lower part of the ureter, only the lower part is removed, and the remaining section of the ureter is reconnected to the bladder.
If the cancer is detected in its early stages, or if cancer cells appear only on surface of the ureter, laser or electrosurgery are options.
- Laser therapy: A ureteroscope (tube with a lens on one end) is inserted through the bladder into the ureter. A beam of intense laser sent through the tube destroys the tumor.
- Electrosurgery: Tumor is destroyed by an electric current, and adjacent tissue is burned away.
After surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy is usually prescribed to eliminate any remaining cancer cells and reduce the possibility of recurrence.
Follow-up appointments to monitor recovery and the potential for recurrence will be necessary. These usually include a physical examination, urine and blood tests, and regular cystoscopies to detect any changes in the ureter.
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