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Ureteral cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that make up the inside of the tube that aids movement of urine from the kidney to the bladder.
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It has not been clear to doctors what causes ureteral cancer. The cells lining the ureter undergo a mutation that causes the abnormal growth of cells. Patients who have been diagnosed with bladder cancer are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with ureteral cancer. This is likely because the lining cells of the bladder and the ureter are of the same type. As a result, the cells tend to block the ureter or even spread to other body parts.
Various symptoms point towards a diagnosis of ureteral cancer. They include
Ureteral cancer is commonly treated with surgery. Options of treatment for this kind of disease are different from one patient to another. The size and location of cancer, age, aggressiveness of the cancer cells, and goal and preferences of the patient are among the factors that are considered before any treatment begins.
Surgery for patients with less advanced ureteral cancer involves the removal of only the affected area of the ureter, while those with advanced cancer may have the entire ureter, the linked kidney, and even a part of their bladder removed. In other cases, the disease may have just affected the surface of the ureter, and therefore electrosurgery or laser therapy is utilized. Electrosurgery is the process by which electric current is used to remove the affected cells. Laser therapy involves the passing a ureteroscope through the bladder into the ureter, where a beam of the laser is passed through the tube to destroy the cancerous cells.
Radiotherapy can be used together with surgery in advanced cases. It involves the use of high energy rays from outside the body, while brachytherapy is a surgical procedure by which radioactive seeds or pellets are implanted to destroy the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells that might have spread and thrived in other parts of the body other than the initially affected part. It can be used either before to shrink the tumor to prepare for surgery, or after to kill any remaining cancer cells.
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