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Urethral Cancer Treatment

Stages of Urethral Cancer


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Dr. Heather Mannuel’s Bio Image

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After urethral cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the urethra or to other parts of the body.

The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the urethra or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following procedures may be used in the staging process:

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

Urethral cancer is staged according to which part of the urethra is affected. Treatment is also based on this grouping.

Urethral cancer is staged and treated based on the part of the urethra that is affected and how deeply the tumor has spread into tissue around the urethra. Urethral cancer can be described as anterior or posterior.

Anterior urethral cancer

In anterior urethral cancer, the tumors are not deep and they affect the part of the urethra that is closest to the outside of the body.

Posterior urethral cancer

In posterior urethral cancer, the tumors are deep and affect the part of the urethra closest to the bladder. In women, the entire urethra may be affected. In men, the prostate gland may be affected.

The following stages are also used to describe urethral cancer:

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)

In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in the inside lining of the urethra. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.

Stage A

In stage A, cancer has formed and spread into the layer of tissue beneath the lining of the urethra.

Stage B

In stage B, cancer is found in the muscle around the urethra. In men, the penile tissue surrounding the urethra may be affected.

Stage C

In stage C, cancer has spread beyond the tissue surrounding the urethra, and:

Stage D

Stage D is divided into stage D1 and stage D2, based on where the cancer has spread.

Urethral cancer may be associated with invasive bladder cancer.

A small number of patients who have bladder cancer are also diagnosed with cancer of the urethra, or will develop it in the future.