What is Melanoma of the Urethra or Urethral Melanoma?Melanoma of the urethra is an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer that arises from melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment melanin, found in the skin and mucous membranes, including the urethra. This type of cancer is very rare, accounting for less than 1% of all urethral malignancies.
SymptomsSymptoms of urethral melanoma may include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Frequent urination or a persistent urge to urinate
- Pain during urination (dysuria)
- A lump, mass, or pigmented lesion in the area of the urethra
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
Disease Aetiology (Causes)The exact cause of urethral melanoma is unknown. However, like other melanomas, it likely involves genetic mutations in melanocytes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth.
DiagnosisThe diagnosis of urethral melanoma often involves:
- Detailed medical history and physical examination
- Biopsy of the suspicious lesion for microscopic examination and immunohistochemical staining to confirm the presence of melanocytes
- Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to determine the extent of the cancer
TreatmentThe treatment for melanoma of the urethra typically involves:
- Surgery: The primary treatment, often involving wide local excision of the tumour. In some cases, more extensive surgery may be needed, such as partial or total urethrectomy.
- Immunotherapy: Drugs that stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells may be used, especially for more advanced cases.
- Targeted therapy: Drugs that specifically target mutations found in melanoma cells may be used.