Urologic care for bladder, kidney, testicular, and prostate cancer

Performing the highest volume of robotic surgeries for urologic malignancies in Washington D.C., the surgical team at the Urologic Oncology Center at MedStar Health focuses on delivering a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and management of all urologic cancers.

Our cancer specialists are leading experts in treating patients with complex urologic cancers through the use of advanced technologies and procedures including robotic, laparoscopic, and open surgery with the goal of ensuring that maximum functionality is restored to the affected organs.

Treatment of urologic cancer

Urologic cancers are defined as cancer involving any of the following organs:

Treatment and management plans are determined based on the type of cancer that is diagnosed as well as the stage at diagnosis. Our team of urology specialists advocate for patient involvement in the diagnosis and treatment process in order to provide a personalized treatment plan that meets the specific needs of each individual.

Prostate cancer

The prostate gland is a walnut-sized organ in the male pelvis that surrounds the urethra (urinary pipe) and produces a fluid that forms part of the semen. Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland and is the most common non-skin cancer in men.

Treatment of prostate cancer

As with all cancer patients who are treated at the Hospital Center, our urologists employ a multidisciplinary approach through building a team of urologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and clinical trial specialists. The multidisciplinary care team will determine the full spectrum of treatment options available that are most suitable for each individual’s needs.

Bladder cancer

The bladder is a hollow organ in the pelvis with flexible, muscular walls. Its main function is to store urine before it leaves the body. Bladder cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the tissues of the urinary bladder, typically the urothelium (the lining of the bladder). Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and eighth most common cancer in women.

Treatment of bladder cancer

The urologists at the Hospital Center use blue light cystoscopy to improve detection and identification of bladder tumors, which may be difficult to see using traditional white light cystoscopy.

Treatment of bladder cancer generally depends on which layers of the bladder tissue are involved. Treatment options may include minimally invasive options, such as endoscopic therapies, or invasive procedures, such as intravesical therapy.

Bladder cancer symptoms

  • Blood in urine (hematuria) may appear dark yellow, bright red, or cola-colored
  • Urine may appear normal, but blood may be detected in a microscopic examination
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic pain

Bladder cancer risks

  • Smoking

  • Older than age 40

  • Being male

  • Exposure to chemicals

  • Chronic bladder inflammation

  • Taking diabetes medication pioglitazone (Actos) for more than a year

  • Personal or family history of bladder cancer

  • Prior cancer with the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)

Kidney cancer

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist, located on each side of the spine, behind the abdominal organs. The function of the kidneys is to filter the blood and produce urine, which is transported by the ureters to the bladder.

Kidney cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the tissues of the kidneys. Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women, with the most common type of kidney cancer being renal cell carcinoma.

Treatment of kidney cancer

Treatment options will depend on the stage of cancer, but may need to include surgery to remove the tumor or, in advanced circumstances, the entire kidney. Treatment may also include immunotherapy and medications that act on specific receptors or enzymes to help thwart the cancer.

Kidney cancer symptoms

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Lower back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
  • Lump on the side or lower back
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss not caused by dieting
  • Persistent fever that is not caused by an infection

Kidney cancer risks

  • Being older, your risk of kidney cancer increases as you age
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Treatment for kidney failure
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma

Testicular cancer

The testicles are male reproductive organs that produce male sex hormones and sperm. They are located inside the scrotum, under the penis. Testicular cancer is primarily diagnosed in young adult males between the ages of 15 and 35. However, compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare.

Treatment of testicular cancer

The stage and symptoms of testicular cancer at the time of diagnosis will determine treatment options. Treatment for testicular cancer typically involves removing the affected testicle.

Testicular cancer symptoms

Some cases of testicular cancer have no symptoms. If there are symptoms, they may include:

  • Discomfort or pain in the testicle, or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • Pain in the back or lower abdomen
  • Enlarged testicle or a change in the way it feels
  • Excess amount of breast tissue (gynecomastia); however, this can occur normally in adolescent boys who do not have testicular cancer
  • Lump or swelling in either testicle 

If the cancer has spread (metastasized) beyond the testicles, it can infiltrate the abdomen, pelvis, back, lungs, or brain.

Testicular cancer risks

Some of the main factors that may increase the risk of developing testicular cancer include:

  • An undescended testicle: The testes form in the abdominal area during fetal development and usually descend into the scrotum before birth. Men who have a testicle that never descended are at greater risk of testicular cancer in either testicle than are men whose testicles descended normally. The risk remains elevated even if the testicle has been surgically relocated to the scrotum. Still, the majority of men who develop testicular cancer don't have a history of undescended testicles.
  • Abnormal testicle development: Conditions that cause testicles to develop abnormally, such as Klinefelter's syndrome, may increase the risk of testicular cancer.
  • Family history: If family members have had testicular cancer, you may have an increased risk.
  • Age: Testicular cancer affects teens and younger men, particularly those between ages 15 and 35. However, it can occur at any age.
  • Race: Testicular cancer is more common in white men than in black men.

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