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Urologic Cancers

Urologic Cancers

Urologic cancers affect five main areas of the body: the bladder, prostate, testicles, kidneys and adrenal glands. Urologic cancers are among the most common cancers. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that over 240,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year. For bladder cancer, ACS counts more than 69,000 new cases per year, meaning one in 26 men, and one in 86 women, will develop the condition in their lifetime.

Temple's urologists offer leading-edge minimally invasive treatments including robotic-assisted surgery for most forms of urologic cancer. Read more about the types of urologic cancers treated at Temple:

Adrenal Cancer

The adrenal glands sit atop both kidneys. They secrete hormones to assist kidney function and control the body's response to stress. Cancer of the adrenal glands is relatively rare, with about 300 to 500 cases occurring in the United States each year. When it does occur, adrenal cancer is most likely to be found in women over the age of 45.

The body has two adrenal glands, one above each kidney. Each adrenal gland is made of two parts: the cortex and the medulla. Tumors can develop in either area.

Cortical tumors begin in the cortex and exist in two forms: benign adenomas and adrenal cortical carcinomas.

Benign adenomas are the most common type of cortical tumor. They are small noncancerous tumors usually less than two inches across. They usually occur in a single adrenal gland, though they can occur in both. Benign adenomas generally do not cause any symptoms, but if they cause excess hormones to be produced, symptoms may be similar to those caused by adrenal cortical carcinoma — the cancerous form of a cortical tumor.

Adrenal cortical carcinomas are larger than benign adenomas. The can grow so large that they press on nearby organs, causing an array of symptoms. When adrenal cortical cancer interrupts hormone production, the symptoms may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Early puberty
  • Excess body or facial hair in women
  • Buildup of fluids

The other part of the adrenal gland is called the medulla. Two main types of tumors arise here: neuroblastomas, an aggressive form of pediatric cancer, and pheochromocytomas, typically benign growths that increase the adrenal gland's hormonal output.

The risk factors for developing adrenal cancer are:

  • Smoking
  • Certain genetic conditions, including:
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis

Temple's urologists offer minimally invasive treatments for adrenal cancer, including both laparoscopic adrenalectomy and robotic-assisted adrenalectomy.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

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Bladder Cancer

Most bladder cancers progress very slowly and are unlikely to spread to other areas of the body. Regardless, early detection remains critical as bladder cancer has the potential, though rare, to become life-threatening.

More than 90% of bladder cancer cases in the United States are referred to as transitional cell carcinomas. Transitional cell carcinomas begin in the transitional cells of the bladder wall. These cells are on the innermost layer of the wall.

Most cases of transitional cell carcinoma are superficial in nature. Superficial bladder cancer only affects the cellular lining of the bladder. This type of cancer does not tend to progress to a life-threatening form. Still, it often returns quickly after treatment. It usually reoccurs as a second case of superficial cancer, though it has been observed growing past the lining and into the muscles of the bladder.

Much rarer, squamous cell carcinoma is a type of bladder cancer that begins in the squamous cells, which appear in a healthy bladder in response to inflammation and infection. Also rare, adenocarcinoma is a bladder cancer that begins in the cells within the bladder’s mucus-secreting glands.

Cancer that grows past the bladder lining is called invasive bladder cancer. Most cases of squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma are invasive. They are particularly dangerous because they can spread to other parts of the body, including the prostate in men and the uterus in women. If invasive bladder cancer reaches the lymph nodes, it can spread to the liver or lungs.

All forms of bladder cancer have distinguishing signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Painful urination
  • Bloody urine
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Inability to urinate despite feeling the need to

Temple's urologists offer robotic-assisted cystectomy (both partial and total) and bladder reconstruction for the treatment of bladder cancer.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

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Kidney Cancer

Brian faced the possibility of losing his kidneys due to cancer on two separate occasions, but a robotic partial nephrectomy was able to save a portion of his kidneys in both cases:



The most common form of kidney cancer in adults is called renal cell carcinoma. This is a type of cancer that forms in the lining of the tiny tubes within the kidneys. Other types of kidney cancers include:

  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Renal sarcoma
  • Wilms' tumors (a pediatric form of kidney cancer)

About 50,000 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. It is most likely to appear in men between the ages of 50 to 70. The most common symptoms of kidney cancer are:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Back and side pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling and pain in the abdomen
  • Swelling of the testicular veins

It is not clear what causes kidney cancer, but physicians know that certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing kidney cancer, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Undergoing dialysis treatment
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Family history of kidney cancer
  • Having a horseshoe-shaped kidney

Temple's urologists offer minimally invasive and robotic treatments for kidney cancer, including laparoscopic cryoablation, and laparoscopic and robotic-assisted radical and partial nephrectomy.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

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Prostate Cancer

With a family history of prostate cancer, Katie's husband had been carefully monitored by their primary care physician. But when his PSA began to quickly rise, they knew he would require surgery:


The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland found beneath the male bladder. Its job is to create a fluid that is a major component of semen. Cancer that begins in the prostate is the most common type of cancer in men. While prostate cancer is very treatable, it remains the second deadliest cancer in men. It must be detected and treated early for a good prognosis.

In the early stages, most types of prostate cancer grow slowly and tend to stay within the prostate. However, as the cancer develops, it can easily spread to the bones, lymph nodes, or other areas of the body. Rarer, more aggressive forms of prostate cancer are much quicker to grow and spread to new areas of the body. Early detection is vital: the most successful treatments for prostate cancer are begun before the cancer has spread.

Early forms of prostate cancer often do not cause symptoms, underscoring the importance of screening with digital rectal exams and PSA tests in those with risk factors. Late-stage symptoms may include:

  • Bloody urine or semen
  • Dribbling or leaking urine
  • Urination that is slow to start
  • Straining to urinate
  • Inability to pass all of the urine within the bladder
  • Lower back or pelvic bone pain (often a sign that prostate cancer has spread)

Prostate cancer is strongly linked to older age, and is rarely found in men under 40. African-American men, who can develop prostate cancer at any age, are an exception. Other people at high risk for prostate cancer include:

  • Men over 60
  • Men with a father or brother with prostate cancer
  • Men who abuse alcohol
  • Men with a high-fat diet

Temple's urologists offer robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer.

MR/ultrasound fusion biopsy is a novel technology that improves the physician's ability to detect clinically significant or high-grade prostate cancers. The technology fuses pre-biopsy MR (magnetic resonance) images of the prostate with ultrasound-guided real time images, resulting in enhanced visualization and an improved ability to detect and target potentially cancerous lesions for biopsy. The process typically involves a 20-minute procedure done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia.

Who is a candidate for MR/Ultrasound Fusion Biopsy?

There are several situations in which an MR/ultrasound fusion biopsy may be recommended. These situations include patients who have:

  • An elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level greater than four
  • A negative prior trans-rectal, ultrasound-guided biopsy with continued elevation or rising PSA
  • A positive digital rectal examination with negative trans-rectal, ultrasound-guided biopsy
  • Patients on active surveillance for low risk prostate cancer

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

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Testicular Cancer

The testes are the male reproductive glands located below the penis inside the scrotum. The testes produce sperm. Testicular cancer begins in the testes (most often in just one) and can spread to other areas of the body. It is the most common form of cancer in men ages 15 to 35, though in rare cases is can occur in young boys or older men. Caucasian men are more likely to develop testicular cancer than African-American men.

The two main forms of testicular cancer occur in the "germ cells," or the cells that produce the sperm. Seminomas are slow-growing germ cell cancers found in men in their 30s and 40s. Seminomas usually do not spread beyond the testes and are very responsive to radiation therapy.

Nonseminonas are the more common type of testicular germ cell cancer. These tumors grow quickly and are composed of many different types of cells.

It is not understood exactly why testicular cancer occurs, but several factors are known to increase the risk of developing the condition, including:

  • Family history of testicular cancer
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Abnormal development of the testicles
  • History of an undescended testicle
  • HIV infection

Testicular cancer may or may not present any symptoms. When it does, symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the back or lower abdomen
  • Heavy feeling in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in the testicles
  • Enlarged, lumpy or swollen testicles
  • Development of excessive male breast tissue

Temple's urologists offer retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, both open and robotic-assisted, for the prognostic staging and treatment of testicular cancer.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

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