What Is Ureter Cancer


Urothelial carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops in the urinary tract. The type of cancer known as urothelial carcinoma is born in the urothelium, the tissue that lines a portion of the urinary tract. About 90% of bladder cancers and 7% of kidney cancers are caused by urothelial carcinoma. Similar symptoms can be seen in urothelial carcinomas of the bladder and kidney. They both have similar prognoses in that they are easily treatable when discovered early on but frequently recur.

Both bladder and kidneys may be impacted by urothelial carcinoma in different ways.

The triangle-shaped bladder sits beneath the kidneys, above the urethra, and in the middle of the hip bones. The bladder, which is lined with a tissue known as urothelium, receives urine from the kidneys as it flows into the organ. The cells that make up urothelium expand as our bladder fills with urine and contract when it is empty. (About 2 cups of urine can fit in the bladder.)

Unusual urothelial cells spread from the inner lining to other layers deep into the bladder in bladder cancer. The abnormal cells could also penetrate the fatty tissues that surround the bladder and enter the bladder. If bladder cancer is not treated, it may spread through the bladder walls to adjacent lymph nodes and ultimately to the bones, lungs, or liver.

High-grade or low-grade bladder cancer is both possible:

A high-grade urothelial carcinoma could be fatal. After treatment, it frequently returns. It might also spread to the lymph nodes, other parts of the body, and the bladder's muscle layer.

Although it seldom invades the muscle layer of the bladder or other areas of the body, low-grade urothelial carcinoma may reoccur.

Typically, a person has two kidneys. The bean-shaped kidneys are located beneath our stomach and just below the ribs. Our kidneys produce urine, which gathers in the renal pelvis, which is positioned in the centre of each kidney, to remove waste and toxins from your blood. After that, the urine flows through a protracted tube that joins both the kidney and bladder. A ureter is this tube. Both the renal pelvis and ureter are lined with urothelial tissue, much like our kidneys are.

Tumours in the kidneys, renal pelvis, or ureter are created by aberrant urothelial cells in kidney cancer. Other organs or tissues may become infected with kidney cancer.

Stages of ureter cancer

Bladder cancer stages

Depending on its stage, bladder cancer can either be localised (limited to the bladder lining) or invasive (penetrating your bladder wall and possibly spreading to nearby organs or lymph nodes). The stages of bladder cancer are:

Stage I: Cancer has not yet spread to the bladder's main muscle wall but is restricted to the lining or connective tissue close below the lining.

Stage II: The bladder's muscular wall has been affected by cancer that has disseminated.

Stage III: The fatty tissue outside of your bladder muscle has been affected by cancer.

Stage IV: Your bladder cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, other organs, or bones.

Moreover, bladder cancer may be classified by medical professionals as noninvasive, non-muscle-invasive, or muscle-invasive.

Noninvasive: This bladder cancer may simply be present on or close to the bladder's surface or it may take the form of tumours in a tiny area of tissue.

Non-muscle invasive: This describes bladder cancer that has progressed beyond the bladder but not to the muscles.

Muscle-invasive: This bladder cancer has penetrated the muscle that lines the bladder wall and may have migrated to nearby organs or to fatty layers or tissues there.

Kidney cancer stages

The stages of kidney cancer are not divided by the type of cancer cell by medical professionals. About 7% of kidney malignancies are urothelial carcinomas. There are many cancer phases for kidney cancer, renal pelvic cancer, and ureter cancer.

Stage I: Your kidney's cancer has not spread.

Stage II: Your kidney has developed cancer, but it hasn't spread.

Stage III: Cancer has migrated from the kidney to the renal vein and inferior vena cava, other major blood arteries, the tissue surrounding the kidney, and/or neighbouring lymph nodes.

Stage IV: Cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes or other organs from your adrenal gland, a little gland that sits on top of your kidney.

Renal pelvis and ureter cancer stages

Stage 0: The tissue lining your renal pelvis or ureter contains aberrant cells. Papillary carcinoma or carcinoma in situ are two names for this cancer stage.

Stage I: Cancer invades a layer of connective tissue through the lining of your ureter or renal pelvis.

Stage II: Cancer has reached your renal pelvis and/or the muscle layer lining your ureter through connective tissue.

Stage IV: Cancer has spread to more distant organs, such as the lung, liver, or bones, as well as one or more lymph nodes, the layer of fat around your kidney, and nearby organs.

Causes of ureter cancer

The specific cause of urothelial carcinoma in your bladder and kidneys is unknown to medical researchers. Nonetheless, they have found a few widespread risk factors

Smoke from cigarettes: Urothelial carcinoma is a factor in the development of malignancies of the urinary system.

Exposure to specific chemicals: Research suggests that those who work with specific chemicals found in dyes, rubber, leather, paint, some fabrics, and hair styling products may be at an increased risk of developing urothelial carcinoma, a kind of cancer of the urinary tract.

Signs and symptoms of ureter cancer

It's possible that urothelial cancer won't show symptoms straight away. Blood in the urine is typically the first observable symptom. If you  observe blood in your urination or have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe back discomfort
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of weight without cause
  • Unpleasant urination (dysuria)
  • A tumour or lump around your kidneys
  • A low-grade fever

Management and treatment for ureter cancer

Urothelial carcinoma that affects your urinary system can frequently be treated by medical professionals if it is discovered in its early stages. Regrettably, these cancers frequently recur. Make every effort to monitor your follow-up care if you've had treatment for one of these cancers, urothelial carcinoma in your bladder, kidneys, renal pelvis, and ureter cancer can be treated in a variety of ways by medical professionals. 90% of all bladder cancers and 7% of all kidney cancers, including cancers of the renal pelvis and ureter, are brought on by urothelial carcinoma.

Treatment for bladder cancer

  • One form of treatment is surgery. A procedure called fulguration allows surgeons to either remove the tumour or burn it away using high-energy electricity
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • radiation treatment
  • Targeted treatment

Treatment for kidney cancer

Many of the same treatments that are used to treat bladder cancer are also used to treat kidney cancer. Other therapies could consist of:

  • Surgery. The cancerous portion of your kidney may be removed through surgery. You could possibly have your entire kidney removed
  • Cryoablation
  • Ablation with radiofrequency
  • Ureter cancer: The cancerous portion of your renal pelvis or ureter is surgically removed

Diagnosis of ureter cancer

The following examinations may be used by medical professionals to identify urothelial carcinoma as well as bladder and kidney cancer. Tests comprise of:

  • Urinalysis: A test to determine your urine's colour and composition, including any sugar, protein, blood, or bacteria
  • Urine cytology: is the process through which medical professionals look for abnormal cells in your pee under a microscope. Cancer cells may be excreted in your urine if you have cancer of the kidneys, bladder, or ureter
  • A series of X-rays: of your kidneys, ureter, and bladder are taken during an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) to look for malignancy. One of your veins receives a contrast dye injection from medical professionals. While the dye passes through your kidneys, ureter, and bladder, X-rays are then taken to check for any obstructions
  • Ultrasound: A procedure in which inside tissues or organs are hit by high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) and create echoes. A sonogram—a representation of the body tissues—is created by the echoes. An abdominal ultrasound may be performed by medical professionals to assist in the diagnosis of renal, pelvis and ureter cancer
  • Using a magnet, radio waves, and a computer, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) creates a series of finely detailed images of internal body parts like your pelvis. Another name for this process is nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI)

Risk factors of ureter cancer

Ureteral cancer risk factors include the following:

  • Advancing years: Age raises the risk of ureteral carcinoma. Most patients with this malignancy are in their 70s or 80s when they are diagnosed
  • Prior renal or bladder carcinoma: Ureteral cancer risk is higher in people who have had bladder or kidney cancer previously
  • Smoking: In addition to other urinary tract malignancies like kidney cancer and bladder cancer, smoking tobacco raises the risk of ureteral cancer
  • Cancer in the family: The risk of colon cancer and other cancers, such as ureteral cancer, is raised by Lynch syndrome, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). Talk to your doctor if there is a significant history of cancer in your family. Together, you can decide whether to explore genetic testing for inherited cancer syndromes like Lynch syndrome and others


How common is ureter cancer

Ureteral cancer is rare. Most frequently, it affects elderly folks and those who have had bladder cancer treatment in the past.

How can I prevent ureter cancer?

Although there is no known way to totally avoid kidney cancer, there are certain ways you can reduce your risk, including

  • Giving up smoking
  • Bringing down blood pressure
  • Preserving a healthy weight
  • Consuming a diet low in fat and high in fruits and veggies

Find out more about your individual risk of cancer by speaking with your medical team.

When should I see a doctor?

When the symptoms are visible.


Urothelial carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops in the urinary tract. It affects 90% of bladder cancers and 7% of kidney cancers. The bladder is lined with a tissue known as urothelium and receives urine from the kidneys. Unusual urothelial cells spread from the inner lining to other layers deep into the bladder and can penetrate the fatty tissues surrounding the bladder. High-grade or low-grade bladder cancer is both possible and can be fatal.

Kidney cancer is caused by aberrant urothelial cells in the kidneys, renal pelvis, or ureter. Other organs or tissues may become infected with kidney cancer. The stages of bladder cancer are localised (limited to the bladder lining) or invasive (penetrating the bladder wall and possibly spreading to nearby organs or lymph nodes). Kidney cancer is not divided by type of cancer cell, but there are many cancer stages for kidney cancer, renal pelvic cancer, and ureter cancer. Urothelial carcinoma in the urinary system is caused by a variety of risk factors, such as smoking and exposure to specific chemicals. Symptoms of urothelial carcinoma include severe back discomfort, tiredness, loss of weight, unpleasant urination, a tumour or lump around the kidneys, and a low-grade fever.

Urothelial carcinoma can be treated in a variety of ways by medical professionals, such as surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation treatment, and targeted treatment. Examinations such as urinalysis and urine cytology may be used to identify urothelial carcinoma.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Poonam Ramker Yadav

Science Enthusiast, Researcher & Published author
India, UK

Poonam. a versatile individual, is known for their passion and commitment to Science and books. With a strong foundation in research, they have demonstrated a remarkable ability to excel in their endeavors.
Her love for learning has led to remarkable experiences and achievements, demonstrating their determination and dedication.

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