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Urological cancers: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About urological cancers

Urological cancers include cancers of the kidneys and bladder, as well as the prostate and the testes.

Urological cancers: Incidence, age and sex

Urological cancers are relatively common. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One out of every 10 men will develop the disease at some time in his life — most often after age 50.

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men and the ninth most common among women in the United States. Among men age 15 to 44, testicular cancer is the most common.

Symptoms and signs of urological cancers

Blood in the urine, painful or burning sensation during urination and needing to urinate frequently, particularly during the night, are all symptoms common to bladder, kidney and prostate cancers, Kidney cancer may also result in symptoms of fever, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and a pain in the side that does not subside. Prostate cancer will affect the flow of urine; patients may experience difficulty starting or stopping urination as well as difficulty in achieving an erection. Testicular cancer often presents as an enlargement or swelling of the testicle, pain in the scrotum and/or pain in the groin, back or lower abdomen.

Causes and Prevention of urological cancers

The risk factors for different organs within the urological system are variable. Advancing age, smoking, certain bacterial infections and occupational chemical exposure are risk factors for bladder cancer. For kidney cancer, the risk factors include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and heavy metal exposure. The odds of developing prostate cancer are raised by age and family history, while testicular cancer risk factors include family history and congenital abnormalities of the testes, the kidneys and the penis.

Urological cancers: Complications

These can produce local infiltration as well as distant metastasis to bones, lungs, liver and brain.

Urological cancers: Treatment

There are three main categories of urologic cancer treatment: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. A fourth option for prostate cancer is watchful waiting. In this case, a prostate tumour that is determined to be of very small size and slow growth is not actively treated.