Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Health Library
Health Insurance Marketplace Assistance
Interpreter and Communication Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Records
Accountable Care Organization
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials
Food and Nutrition Services
Back to Health Library   Print This Page Print    Email to a Friend Email

Kidney anatomy
Kidney anatomy


Definition:

Cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter is cancer that forms in the pelvis or the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.



Alternative Names:

Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Cancer can grow in the urine collection system, but is uncommon. As a group, renal pelvis and ureter cancers account for no more than 5% of all cancers of the kidney and upper urinary tract. They affect men more often than women and are more common in people older than 65.

Tumors of the renal pelvis and ureter are usually transitional cell cancers. Approximately 10% are squamous cell carcinomas.

The causes of this cancer are not completely known. Long-term (chronic) irritation of the kidney from harmful substances removed in the urine may be a factor. This irritation may be caused by:

  • Analgesic nephropathy
  • Exposure to certain dyes and chemicals used to manufacture leather goods, textiles, plastics, and rubber
  • Smoking

Patients with a history of bladder cancer are also at risk.



Symptoms:

Signs and tests:

A physician will examine the abdomen by touch. Rarely is there a lump (mass) or enlarged kidney. The patient may have blood in the urine. A complete blood count (CBC ) may show anemia .

Cancer cells may appear on the following tests:

The tumor, or signs of urinary obstruction , may appear on:

An x-ray, CT scan, or MRI of other areas of the body may show that the cancer has spread from the kidneys.



Treatment:

The goal of treatment is to eliminate the cancer.

Surgery to remove all or part of the kidney (nephrectomy ) is usually recommended. This may include removing part of the bladder and tissues around it, or the lymph nodes. If the tumor is in the ureter, it may be possible to remove it while preserving the kidney.

When the cancer has spread outside of the kidney or ureter, chemotherapy is often used. Because these tumors are similar to a form of bladder cancer , they are treated with a similar type of chemotherapy.



Support Groups:

For additional information and resources, see cancer support groups .



Expectations (prognosis):

The outcome varies depending on the location of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. Cancer that is only in the kidney or ureter can be cured with surgery.

Cancer that has spread to other organs is usually not curable. However, there are exceptions.



Complications:
  • Kidney failure
  • Local spread of the tumor with increasing pain
  • Spread of the cancer


Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have the symptoms listed above.



Prevention:
  • Follow your health care provider's advice regarding medications, including over-the-counter pain medicine
  • Stop smoking
  • Wear protective equipment if you may be exposed to substances that are toxic to the kidneys


References:

National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Bladder Cancer, Including Upper Tract Tumors and Urothelial Carcinoma of the Prostate. National Comprehensive Cancer Network; 2008. Version 2.2008.




Review Date: 6/10/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Library

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100