Urologic Oncology Overview
Thousands of men and women are diagnosed each year with cancer of the prostate, bladder or kidney, as well as testicular cancer. New breakthroughs in cancer care, experimental treatment options, and ongoing research into the causes and potential cures of urologic malignancies spell new hope for patients from all walks of life.
Kidney cancer — also called renal cancer — is a disease in which kidney cells become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control, forming a tumor. Almost all kidney cancers first appear in the lining of tiny tubes (tubules) in the kidney. This type of kidney cancer is called renal cell carcinoma. The good news is that most of kidney cancers are found before they spread (metastasize) to distant organs. And cancers caught early are easier to treat successfully. However, these tumors can grow to be quite large before they are detected.
Cancer of the urinary bladder is one of the most common cancers. The most common type of bladder cancer in the United States and western Europe is urothelial carcinoma, also known as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). The optimal treatment for urothelial bladder cancer depends upon the cancer’s stage and grade, and also on the health of the patient.
In the vast majority of cases, the prostate cancer starts in the gland cells – this is called adenocarcinoma. In this article, prostate cancer refers just to adenocarcinoma.
Prostate cancer is mostly a very slow progressing disease. In fact, many men die of old age, without ever knowing they had prostate cancer – it is only when an autopsy is done that doctors know it was there. Several studies have indicated that perhaps about 80% of all men in their eighties had prostate cancer when they died, but nobody knew, not even the doctor.