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About Urologic Cancers

About Urologic Cancers

When you have symptoms – no matter how small – you need answers from experts who understand the unique risks, symptoms and types of urologic cancers. Cancer can begin in the urinary tract, mainly in the bladder and kidneys, in men and women. Tumors sometimes start in the male reproductive organs, including the penis, testicles and prostate gland.

Suspecting or having any kind of cancer raises difficult emotions, questions and concerns. At Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, you have a team of experts on your side from the beginning. Every aspect of your care is guided by doctors who are dedicated to you.

Rather than ignoring early warning signs, seek prompt and personalized help from our urology specialists. At Spartanburg Regional, we offer the most advanced and comprehensive care for any type or stage of cancer.

Early Treatment and Cross-Specialty Care  

Our urologists strive to keep you healthy and well by detecting cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages. However, if you have urologic cancer at any stage, we use innovative screening, diagnostic and treatment approaches to identify problems and direct treatment just where it’s needed. 

We bring specialists together to create customized care plans for each patient that is backed by strong clinical research. We do this by routinely enlisting the expertise of cross-specialty leaders at Spartanburg Regional and Gibbs Cancer Center.

Symptoms of Urologic Cancers

Ask your doctor about urologic symptoms such as:

  • Bloody urine 
  • Difficulty urinating 
  • Change in bladder habits
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Lump or mass  
  • Pain or discomfort in pelvic or abdominal areas 
  • Painful urination or ejaculation
  • Weak or interrupted urine stream

If cancer has metastasized (spread), symptoms may include:

  • Bone pain
  • Extreme pain
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in urine
  • Kidney failure
Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. If you’re 40 or older, and have a family history of prostate cancer, ask about prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening and related tests such as free PSA (fPSA) testing. This helps your doctor to determine whether a biopsy is needed.

Prostate Cancer Symptoms  

While most prostate cancer does not cause any symptoms at all, the symptoms and signs of prostate cancer may include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder
  • The urge to urinate frequently at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • New onset of erectile dysfunction
  • Pain or burning during urination, which is much less common
  • Discomfort or pain when sitting, caused by an enlarged prostate

Other noncancerous conditions of the prostate such as, urinary tract infection, BPH or an enlarged prostate, etc., can cause similar symptoms.

If cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, symptoms and signs may include:

  • Pain in the back, hips, thighs, shoulders, or other bones
  • Swelling or fluid buildup in the legs or feet
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Change in bowel habits

Treatment options include:

  • Active Surveillance – May be appropriate for low risk or favorable intermediate risk patients.
  • Androgen Deprivation Therapy – This therapy removes the chemical hormone that fuels cancer cells to slow or stop the growth and spread of a tumor.
  • Biopsy
  • Radiation therapy - We offer the most comprehensive radiation oncology services in the Upstate at Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute, including the SpaceOAR System.
  • Robotic prostatectomy
  • Radical prostatectomy - This removes prostate gland and lymph nodes.
Kidney Cancer

Kidney Cancer

Kidney tumors vary in size and speed of growth. Your urologist will biopsy tissue samples and determine the best course of care for kidney masses such as active surveillance or treatment.

Kidney Cancer Symptoms

Kidney cancer usually doesn't have signs or symptoms in its early stages. In time, signs and symptoms may develop, including:

  • Blood in your urine, which may appear pink, red or cola colored
  • Pain in your back or side that doesn't go away
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Fever

Kidney tumors:

  • Renal cell carcinomas (RCC) – This is the most common cancerous kidney growth. It may involve one or more kidneys.
  • Benign tumors – There are many types of noncancerous kidney tumors. Your urologist will identify whether a tumor is cancerous and offer treatment options based on the tumor’s size, type and rate of growth.

Treatment options include:

  • Robotic radical nephrectomy (minimally invasive kidney removal)
  • Robotic partial nephrectomy
  • Open radical and partial nephrectomy
  • Cryoablation 
Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a common type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bladder. Different types of cells in your bladder can become cancerous. The type of bladder cell where cancer begins determines the type of bladder cancer that is present. Doctors use this information to determine which treatments may work best for you.

Bladder Cancer Symptoms

People with bladder cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with bladder cancer do not have any of these changes. 

  • Blood or blood clots in the urine
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night
  • Feeling the need to urinate, but not being able to pass urine
  • Lower back pain on one side of the body

Types of bladder cancer:

  • Urothelial carcinoma (or UCC) - Accounts for about 90% of all bladder cancers. It begins in the urothelial cells found in the urinary tract. Urothelial carcinoma is sometimes also called transitional cell carcinoma or TCC.
  • Carcinoma in situ (also called CIS or Tis) - Very early, high grade cancer cells that are only in the innermost layer of the bladder lining. 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma - Squamous cells develop in the bladder lining in response to irritation and inflammation. Over time, these cells may become cancerous. 
  • Adenocarcinoma - This type accounts for about 2% of all bladder cancers and develops from glandular cells.

Treatment options include:

  • Transurethral resection (TURBT) - An endoscopic or scope procedure that removes tumors from the bladder but does not involve making an incision in the body.
  • Intravesical therapy – This involves placing medicines directly into the bladder via a urethral catheter.
    • Mitomycin C - A chemotherapy drug that kills the normal DNA function in cancer cells and is easily absorbed into the bloodstream through the bladder's lining.
    • Bacille Calmette–Guerin (BCG) - An immunotherapy drug that makes the body’s immune system respond to the BCG drug in the lining of the bladder, forcing the immune system to help fight off the cancer. About 50 to 68 percent of patients with non muscle-invasive bladder cancer have a very good response to BCG.
  • Radical cystectomy - Removal of the bladder.
Penile Cancer

Penile Cancer

A disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the penis. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection may increase the risk of penile cancer. Condom use and the HPV vaccine can help prevent infection with HPV.

Penile Cancer Symptoms

Penile cancer may begin as a blister on the foreskin, head, or shaft of the penis. It may become a wart-like growth that discharges blood or foul-smelling liquid.

Treatment options include:

  • Surgery - the most common treatment for all stages of penile cancer 
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
Testicular Cancer

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is a disease that occurs when cancerous (malignant) cells develop in the tissues of a testicle. The development of cancerous cells in both testicles can occur but is very rare. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 20 to 35. The disease is usually curable.

Testicular Cancer Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer 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 include:

  • Surgical treatment: This treatment can include removing the testicle (orchiectomy) and removing associated lymph nodes (lymph-node dissection). 
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high-dose X-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation might be used alone or after surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: This treatment uses drugs such as cisplatin, bleomycin, and etoposide to kill cancer cells. 
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