Urethral cancer is the formation of cancerous cells in the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine, and in men, semen from the body. This cancer is often associated with invasive bladder cancer which tends to spread to adjacent soft tissue. Urethral cancer is rare and can occur at any age.
There are five types of urethral cancer that may form:
- Squamous cell carcinoma develops in flat, scaly surface cells.
- Transitional cell carcinoma develops in surface cells of the urethra.
- Melanoma develops in pigment-producing skin cells
- Sarcoma develops in blood vessels, smooth muscle, and connective tissue.
- Adenocarcinoma develops in glands located near the urethra.
The symptoms of urethra cancer do not develop until the later stages of the disease. The symptoms are the following:
- Blood in urine; frequent urination; pain during or after sexual intercourse; urethral discharge and swelling; painful urination; diminished urine steam; hardening of tissue in the perineum, labia or penis; recurrent urinary tract infection
Treatment of urethral cancer depends on the stage of the disease, the type of cancer and the patient's age and overall health. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In some cases, treatments are combined.