Renal pelvis or ureter cancerTransitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter; Kidney cancer - renal pelvis; Ureter cancer
Cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter is cancer that forms in the kidney's pelvis or the tube (ureter) that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
Cancer can grow in the urine collection system, but it is uncommon. Renal pelvis and ureter cancers affect men more often than women. These cancers are more common in people older than 65.
The exact causes of this cancer are not known. Long-term (chronic) irritation of the kidney from harmful substances removed in the urine may be a factor. This irritation may be caused by:
- Kidney damage from medicines, especially ones for pain (analgesic nephropathy)
- Exposure to certain dyes and chemicals used to manufacture leather goods, textiles, plastics, and rubber
People who have had bladder cancer are also at risk.
Symptoms may include any of the following:
- Back pain, most often where ribs and spine meet
- Bloody urine
- Burning, pain, or discomfort with urination
- Dark, rust-colored, or brown urine
- Flank pain
- Weight loss that can't be explained
- Urinary frequency or urgency
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam, and examine your belly area (abdomen). In rare cases, this may reveal an enlarged kidney.
If tests are done:
- Urinalysis may show blood in the urine.
- A complete blood count (CBC) may show anemia.
A complete blood count (CBC) test measures the following:The number of red blood cells (RBC count)The number of white blood cells (WBC count)The tota...
- Urine cytology (microscopic examination of cells) may reveal cancer cells.
Other tests that may be ordered include:
- Abdominal CT scan
- Chest x-ray
- Cystoscopy with ureteroscopy
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
- Kidney ultrasound
- MRI of the abdomen
- Renal scan
These tests may reveal a tumor or show that the cancer has spread from the kidneys.
The goal of treatment is to eliminate the cancer.
Surgery to remove all or part of the kidney (nephrectomy) is often done. This may include removing part of the bladder and tissues around it, or the lymph nodes. If the tumor is in the ureter, it may be possible to remove it while preserving the kidney.
Kidney removal, or nephrectomy, is surgery to remove all or part of a kidney. It may involve:Part of one kidney removed (partial nephrectomy)All of ...
A tumor is an abnormal growth of body tissue. Tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).
When the cancer has spread outside of the kidney or ureter, chemotherapy is often used. Because these tumors are similar to a form of bladder cancer, they are treated with a similar type of chemotherapy.
Bladder cancer is a cancer that starts in the bladder. The bladder is the body part that holds and releases urine. It is in the center of the lower...
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.
The following organizations are good resources for information on cancer:American Cancer Society -- www. cancer. orgCancerCare -- www. cancercare. or...
Outcome varies depending on the location of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. Cancer that is only in the kidney or ureter may be cured with surgery.
Cancer that has spread to other organs is usually not curable.
Complications from this cancer may include:
- Kidney failure
- Local spread of the tumor with increasing pain
- Spread of the cancer
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your provider if you have any of the symptoms listed above.
Measures that may help prevent this cancer include:
- Follow your provider's advice regarding medicines, including over-the-counter pain medicine.
- Stop smoking.
- Wear protective equipment if you are likely to be exposed to substances that are toxic to the kidneys.
National Cancer Institute. PDQ transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated October 1, 2015. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/transitionalcell/HealthProfessional. Accessed June 30, 2016.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN clinical practice guidelines in oncology (NCCN guidelines): kidney cancer. Updated May 26, 2016. Version 3.2016. www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/kidney.pdf. Accessed June 30, 2016.
Pili R, Kauffman E, Rodriguez R. Cancer of the kidney. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2014:chap 82.
Kidney anatomy - illustration
The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes from the body, regulating electrolyte balance and blood pressure, and stimulating red blood cell production.
Review Date: 5/20/2016
Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.