Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Tract Cancer | Loyola Medicine

Ureter Cancer

Top Urology Program for Diagnosing and Treating Ureter Cancer

Ureter cancer, also referred to as urinary tract cancer, is a rare form of cancer that is treated by the highly skilled doctors at Loyola Medicine. Loyola is widely recognized as one of the top urology programs nationwide and is known for diagnosing and treating a broad spectrum of diseases such as ureter cancer.
Ureter cancer develops in the ureter, which is a muscular tube that propels urine from the kidneys and out of the body through the urethra. Ureter cancer is also known as ureteral cancer and renal pelvic cancer. 
The renal pelvis and ureters are lined with transitional cells, which can change shape and stretch without breaking apart. Cancer of the ureter starts in these transitional cells.


How is Ureter Cancer Diagnosed?

Doctors at Loyola approach the diagnosis of ureter cancer with great compassion and care. A patient’s medical history and the following physical symptoms could indicate the presence of ureter cancer:

  • Back or side pain that doesn't go away
  • Fatigue
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Painful or frequent urination
  • Weight loss

If your doctor suspects ureter cancer based on your symptoms and physical exam, the following tests may be conducted:

As with most cancer types, biopsy and cytology are used to definitively diagnose ureter cancer. 

What are the Common Types of Treatment for Ureter Cancer?

Treatment for ureter cancer is specific to each individual person. Your treatment will depend on the size and stage of your cancer, as well as the part of the urethra that is affected. At Loyola, an interdisciplinary team of doctors works together to develop the most comprehensive cancer treatment plan that will result in the best outcome for you. 
The four primary treatments for ureter cancer are:

Our doctors most commonly manage ureter cancer surgically, by removing the entire or a portion of the ureter and a kidney. We use endoscopic management to treat ureter cancer, which involves inserting a tube with cameras through the kidney. 

Chemotherapy and radiation are second-line options for patients with ureter cancer. These treatments can be inserted directly into the ureter to diminish or destroy the tumor and minimize impact on the rest of the body.

The urologic oncology clinic at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center provides the latest procedures and care for patients with ureter cancer. In addition, NIH-funded outreach programs and clinical trials are available.