Genitourinary cancers refer to cancers of the urinary system of men and women and the reproductive organs in men. Women also develop cancer in their reproductive organs, which are classified as gynecologic cancers.
Urinary cancers are diseases that form when abnormal cells grow in the prostate, bladder, kidney, adrenal gland, urethra, or other parts of the urinary tract system. The UMMC Cancer Institute genitourinary team treats both men and women with these types of cancer. Genital cancers in men include penile and testicular cancer.
The UMMC Cancer Institute genitourinary care team includes urologists, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and nurses. The team has experience with many unusual and complex cases and sees patients with advanced cancers and other complex medical problems.
Team members meet as a group monthly to review imaging, pathology, and other matters unique to each patient. Together, they consider and discuss a patient's type of cancer, how advanced it is, and other conditions or personal matters that may impact treatment recommendations. Members follow National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines in developing treatment plans.
This team also includes a coordinator who helps guide patients through the ins and outs of cancer treatment and coordinates their initial visit.
Contact the coordinator to schedule appointments or ask questions beforehand. We’ll work to schedule all of your appointments at the same time to make your care easier and more convenient. Most services will be at the Cancer Institute in the Jackson Medical Mall, but we also provide cancer care on the main campus at University Hospital and the University Physicians Pavilion.
UMMC urologists screen for prostate cancer in men beginning around age 50. African-American men or men with a close family history of prostate cancer should talk to their doctor about beginning the annual screening earlier. Men can also conduct a self-exam for testicular cancers at home.
UMMC offers the leading-edge technology and treatment for genitourinary cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and clinical trials, when appropriate.
Cancer can take an emotional toll on you and your family, and our job is to help you through it. Whether you need financial assistance or advice, help with a wig fitting, counseling or a support group, or any other social or medical services, your nurse coordinator can quickly connect you to the care you’re looking for.
Before treatment begins, the team determines the type of genitourinary cancer and how far it has progressed (stage). If a tumor is found, doctors will determine its grade, or how abnormal the cells look, and how many are dividing. Increasingly, molecular subtyping of the tumor tissue is being done to aid in developing a prognosis and plan of therapy.
If the cancer has moved beyond the location in the body where it began, doctors say it has metastasized. Staging indicates how far a cancer has spread. Stages run from stage zero to stage four, depending on how advanced the cancer is and how far it has spread. The stage of cancer affects the recommended treatment plan.
Definitions provided by the website of the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov).
A rare cancer that forms in the outer layer of tissue of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline to control heart rate, blood pressure, and other body functions). Also called adrenocortical cancer and cancer of the adrenal cortex.
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Cancer that forms in tissues of the bladder (the organ that stores urine). Most bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in cells that normally make up the inner lining of the bladder). Other types include squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). The cells that form squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma develop in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation.
Cancer that forms in tissues of the kidneys. The most common type of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell carcinoma. It forms in the lining of very small tubes in the kidney that filter the blood and remove waste products. Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis is kidney cancer that forms in the center of the kidney where urine collects. Wilms tumor is a type of kidney cancer that usually develops in children under the age of 5.
A rare cancer that forms in the penis (an external male reproductive organ). Most penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the penis).
Cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men, and may not require therapy based on the patient’s age and the characteristics of the cancer.
The most common type of kidney cancer. It begins in the lining of the renal tubules in the kidney. The renal tubules filter the blood and produce urine. Also called hypernephroma, renal cell adenocarcinoma, and renal cell carcinoma.
The renal pelvis is the area at the center of the kidney. Urine collects here and is funneled into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. Transitional cells line the renal pelvis and ureter. Transitional cells can change shape and stretch without breaking. Cancer in the transitional cells can start in your renal pelvis, ureter, or both.
Cancer that starts in the renal pelvis or ureter is rare, accounting for about 5 percent of cancers of the kidney and upper urinary tract.
Cancer that forms in tissues of one or both testicles. Testicular cancer is most common in young or middle-aged men. Most testicular cancers begin in germ cells (cells that make sperm) and are called testicular germ cell tumors.
A rare cancer that forms in tissues of the urethra (the tube through which urine empties the bladder and leaves the body). Types of urethral cancer include transitional cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that can change shape and stretch without breaking apart), squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the urethra), and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids).