Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in
the renal pelvis and ureter.
The renal pelvis is the top part of the ureter. The ureter is a long tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. There are two kidneys, one on each side of the backbone, above the waist. The kidneys of an adult are about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide and are shaped like a kidney bean. The kidneys clean the blood and make urine to rid the body of waste. The urine collects in the middle of each kidney in the renal pelvis. Urine drains from the renal pelvis through the ureter, into the bladder, where it is stored until it is passed from the body through the urethra.
The renal pelvis and ureters are lined with transitional cells. These cells can change shape and stretch without breaking apart. Transitional cell cancer starts in these cells. Transitional cell cancer can form in the renal pelvis or the ureter or both.
Renal cell cancer is a more common type of kidney cancer. See the PDQ summary about for more information.
|Anatomy of the male urinary system (left) and female urinary system (right) showing the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Urine is made in the renal tubules and collects in the renal pelvis of each kidney. The urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the bladder. The urine is stored in the bladder until it leaves the body through the urethra.|
Misuse of certain pain medicines can affect the risk of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter include the following:
- Misusing certain pain medicines, including over-the-counter pain medicines, for a long time.
- Being exposed to certain dyes and chemicals used in making leather goods, textiles, plastics, and rubber.
- Smoking cigarettes.
Possible signs of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter include blood in the urine and back pain.
These and other symptoms may be caused by transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. There may be no symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms may appear as the tumor grows. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following problems:
- Blood in the urine.
- A pain in the back that doesn't go away.
- Extreme tiredness.
Weight loss with no known reason.
- Painful or frequent urination.
Tests that examine the abdomen and kidneys are used to detect (find) and diagnose transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter.
The following tests and procedures may be used:
Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the stage and grade of the tumor.
The treatment options depend on the following:
Most transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter can be cured if found early.
- The stage and grade of the tumor.
- Where the tumor is.
- Whether the patient's other kidney is healthy.
- Whether the cancer has recurred.