Uro - Oncology
Uro-oncology, or urological oncology, is a cancer discipline that deals with cancer of the male and female urinary tracts, as well as, the male reproductive organs. Urological oncology is concerned with the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of urological cancers that affect the urinary bladder, kidney, prostate, penis, and testicles.
A urological oncologist is a qualified and trained surgeon who provides urology cancer treatment. When a patient has urological cancer, then generally surgery is the first treatment suggested. This is particularly true during the early stages of cancer. As cancer progresses, surgery is used along with other techniques like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy.
Narayana Health has revolutionized the effective treatment of localized urological cancers with limited side effects. The multi-disciplinary team in the department of Uro- Oncology offers compassionate care for those diagnosed with
- Adrenal Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Ureteral and Renal Pelvis Cancer
- Penile Cancer
Treatment options offered include medical, surgical and management of a tumour through chemo and radiation therapy.
We personalize cancer treatment for each of our patients based on the type and extent of their disease.
An overview of urological cancers
The various urological cancers include:
1. Kidney cancer
Kidney or renal cancer is a cancer that affects the kidneys. Kidney cancer may show symptoms like pain in the side or back, weight loss, fatigue, blood in urine, or fever. It occurs due to mutations in the DNA. People with high blood pressure, those who smoke, have kidney problems, and are overweight are at higher risk of getting kidney cancer. Treatment for kidney cancer is surgery where a part of the kidney or the entire kidney is removed. Ablative treatments and radiation therapy are also used in some cases.
2. Bladder cancer
Bladder cancer is a common form of cancer that generally affects more men than women. Back pain, frequent urination, pain in pelvic region, blood in urine, and pain while urinating are common symptoms a person may experience. When detected at an early stage, 7 out of 10 cases are treatable. Cell mutations cause this cancer and those who smoke and are exposed to chemicals are at higher risk. Bladder cancer can be treated by surgery to remove cancerous cells. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy are other options to treat bladder cancer. Bladder reconstruction may be needed after treatment.
3. Prostate cancer
The prostate in males produces seminal fluid that transport sperms. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Some of the symptoms of prostate cancer are trouble while urinating, blood in semen, discomfort in the pelvic region, and pain in the bone. Prostate cancer can be detected through screening, by carrying out a digital rectal exam and through blood tests. In very early cases, the uro-oncologist may choose not to treat prostate cancer but watch its progress. Removal of the prostate surgically, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy are other treatment options.
4. Testicular cancer
The testes in men produces the sperms and the male hormones. Cancer in the testes is a common cancer in males and can usually be treated easily. A lump in the testicle, dull ache in the groin, back pain, fluid accumulation in the scrotum, and pain in the testicle are symptoms of this cancer. Most cancers occur due to mutations in the germ cells. Surgery is an option to treat cancer where the entire testicle is removed along with lymph nodes. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are other treatments.
5. Penile cancerUro-oncology is also concerned with cancer of the penis, the male sex organ. It is a rare form of cancer but can affect men causing rashes or growth on the penis. A lump or bleeding can be signs of penile cancer. Older men, those who have HPV, and have phimosis are at higher risk of getting penile cancer. In early stages, penile cancer can be treated through the use of creams, laser, circumcision, laser, or cryotherapy. In later stages, chemotherapy may be used and in some cases, the penis may have to be removed.
Diagnosis of urological cancers
The diagnosis of urological cancer can be done through physical examination and through various other ways like:
- A urine test may be done to check for the presence of cancer cells.
- Imaging tests, where the doctor gets an image of the affected region using an MRI or CT-scan. The image test would help the doctor see the urinary and reproductive organs clearly to try and detect the presence of cancer.
- Cystoscopy is a test where a cystoscope is a tube inserted into the urethra. This device has a lens allowing the doctor to look for signs of cancer inside the bladder.
- Biopsy is where a sample of tissues from the affected organs is taken. This can be done using cystoscopy.
- The sample is sent to the lab for testing to check for the presence of cancer.
- A digital rectal exam is where the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to check the prostate for any lumps or abnormalities. This is helpful to detect prostate cancer.
- Bone scan may be needed to determine the extent of cancer and to determine its stage.
- Blood tests are carried out to determine tumor markers. These are substances found in the blood and when the level of the substances is high, it could be a sign of cancer.
Uro-oncology specialists would work with a radiation oncologist when radiotherapy needs to be administered. The uro-oncologist would determine if any other treatment like chemotherapy is needed. Surgery is one of the important tools used to treat urological cancers. Some of the surgical treatments for urological cancers include:
- Prostatectomy is a surgical procedure to treat prostate cancer. It is required in advanced stages when the entire prostate needs to be removed.
- Cystectomy is a surgical procedure used to treat bladder cancer. It may be performed as a partial cystectomy where a part of the bladder is removed or a radical cystectomy where the entire bladder is removed. It can be done either through an incision on the abdomen or through laparoscopic surgery.
- When the entire bladder is removed, then reconstructive surgery is carried out to create a channel for urine to be removed from the body.
- In the case of kidney cancer, nephrectomy is the procedure carried out to remove cancerous cells in the kidney. If cancer occurs at an early stage, then partial nephrectomy shall be carried out to remove only the affected parts. If it is at an advanced stage, then radical nephrectomy is carried out to remove the entire kidney. It may be done through open surgery or laparoscopy that involves minor incisions.
- The surgical procedure to treat testicular cancer may involve radical inguinal orchiectomy. In this procedure, the entire testicle may be removed along with the cancerous cells. The spermatic cord connecting the testicle to the abdomen would also be removed. Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection is a related procedure where the nearby lymph nodes are removed if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
Cancer usually occurs due to abnormal cell mutation and it may occur due to factors beyond a person’s control. There are risk factors that can lead to urological cancers. Prevention to reduce these risks can be helpful in uro-oncology prevention, especially among people who are at high risk. Some of the measures include:
- Regular check-ups to detect prostate or testicular cancer. This ensures that when treated at an early stage, the treatment is effective. Those with a family history of cancer should undergo annual health checkups.
- Smoking is a major risk factor for most types of cancer and giving up smoking is strongly advised.
- Diet can help in preventing cancer. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables having antioxidants will help in reducing the risk of cancer.
- Exercise is helpful for general immunity and it helps obese people lose weight. Obesity is a major risk factor for most urological cancer.
Uro - Oncology FAQ's
Uro Oncology or Urologic Oncology is a branch of medicine that treats tumours or cancers of the urinary systems. Some of the cancers under Uro-oncology include adrenal cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, penile cancer and pelvis cancer.
For the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, there are a couple of tests and procedures done. These include
- Digital Rectal Exam: A DRE is performed to examine the prostate and check if there are any abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of the gland.
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: PSA is a substance produced by the prostate gland. Through a blood test, the level of PSA in the blood is analyzed.
Others test such as ultrasound, collecting a sample of prostate tissue and MRI fusion is conducted for diagnosis and biopsy.
Treatment of prostate cancer includes removing the prostate gland with
- Radical prostatectomy
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Biological therapy
Urology is a branch of medicine that deals with all illnesses concerning the urinary tract and the male reproductive tract. Oncology is the field that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of tumours and cancers in the human body. Uro-oncology is referred to as the diagnosis and treatment of tumours of the urinary tract/system.
A urologic oncologist is a doctor who is specialized in treating cancers associated with the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs. Most commonly diagnosed urological cancers are of the prostate, bladder and kidneys.
Prostate surgery refers to the surgical procedure of removing the prostate and killing cancer. Recovery from prostate surgery takes some time. After a week of the surgery, the operated area will start healing. For over a month after the surgery, it is recommended to avoid all kinds of strenuous activities.
The scope of uro-oncology is cancer treatment for all cancer pertaining to the urinary and reproductive systems in men, and the urinary system in women. It deals with cancer of the bladder, kidney, testicles, prostate, and the penis.
If you’re having any of the following conditions, you can consider meeting a uro-oncologist. You must note that all these can be symptoms of other diseases too.
- Blood in urine or semen.
- Pain in the pelvic region.
- Lump in the testicles or prostate.
- Back pain or pain in the side that persists.
- Difficulty in urinating with pain.
- Frequent urination.
In most cases, patients would go to a urologist who may in turn recommend an appointment with a uro-oncologist.
The following are more at risk of developing urological cancer:
- People who smoke.
- Those who are obese.
- Exposure to chemicals.
- Elderly people.
- Those who have a family history of urological cancers.
The doctor would first carry out a physical examination and understand your symptoms. Tests would then be carried out, which can include blood tests, X-ray, ultrasound scanning, CT-scan, etc. Where there is a tumor or mass detected, a biopsy is advised, where the doctor would take a sample of the tissues either by using a fine needle or through an incision. The biopsy is then sent to the lab. If cancer is confirmed, then the stage of cancer is determined after which the treatment is advised.