Several treatments are available for urethral cancer. The best option for you depends on the type of urethral cancer you have, where it is, and what stage the cancer is.
Work closely with your doctor to understand your best option. Each of these treatments do have some risk of side effects. Select a treatment option that makes you feel confident and prepared for all possible outcomes.
Surgery is the most common treatment for urethral cancer. During surgery, a doctor can remove the tumor from either inside the urethra or from outside. They may also remove nearby lymph nodes if they’re impacted by the cancer.
This treatment targets and destroys cancer cells with beams of intense energy from outside your body. Radiation therapy can be used alone, but it’s frequently used with surgery or chemotherapy.
These anti-cancer drugs can be used prior to surgery to shrink the tumor and decrease the extent of surgery needed to treat the cancer. Chemotherapy can also be used after surgery to prevent the disease from coming back or if the cancer has spread beyond the primary tumor site.
Active surveillance is also an option for urethral cancer treatment. In fact, it’s a treatment that doesn’t require treatment — if the tumor isn’t causing any issues and doesn’t show signs of growing or spreading, your doctor may choose surveillance.
This is a common option for older adults with health issues that may complicate other types of treatment. If the tumor begins to change and show that it’s becoming more aggressive, then you may consider other treatment options.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following:
- The stage and size of the cancer (whether it is in only one area or has spread to other areas).
- Where in the urethra the cancer first formed.
- The patient's general health.
- Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
Treatment options depend on the following:
- The stage of the cancer and where it is in the urethra.
- The patient's sex and general health.
- Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred.