What is Transitional Cell Carcinoma (Urethra)?Transitional cell carcinoma (urethra) is a very rare cancer that arises from the transitional cells that line the urethra and urethral opening. The urethra is a thin tube that starts from the lower opening of the bladder and extends outside the body. Urine is excreted from the body through the urethra.
Disease EpidemiologyAccording to the Urethral Cancer Surveillance Report, the incidence of transitional cell carcinoma (urethra) is about 10% in the US population. It is slightly more prevalent in males than in females. The median age at diagnosis of transitional cell carcinoma (urethra) is 75 years, range from 30 to 90 years.
Disease Etiology (Cause)There is no well-known cause, however, certain hereditary genetic mutations and risk factors such as cigarette smoking, excessive consumption of coffee or tea usually more than 7 cups per day, excessive and unnecessary consumption of pain relievers, occupational exposure to chemicals used in plastic, and tar industries and interstitial nephritis are considered responsible for transitional cell carcinoma (urethra).
Signs and SymptomsIn most cases, symptoms only appear when the disease progresses. The patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms.
- Urinary retention (it is impossible to empty the bladder completely
- The repeated urge to go to the toilet for urination
- The increased urinary frequency at night
- Passage of blood or blood particles in urine
- Blood spotting from the vagina or urethra
- Flank/loin pain
- Pain at the perineum (pelvis)
- Pain during sexual activity
- Swelling around the perineum
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Urine complete examination (UCE) to detect any urinary tract infection and blood in the urine
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Renal Function Test (RFT’s) to check the serum urea and creatinine
- Liver function tests (LFT’s)
- Imaging techniques like CT-abdomen and pelvis, USG abdomen and pelvis, MRI, CT-chest, and X-ray to assess the site, size, extent, and distant metastasis of the tumor.
- Cystoscopy; is similar to an ultrasound examination of the ureter, which allows direct visualization of the ureter with cystoscopy.
- Urinary cytology; is a microscopic examination of the cells present in urine and their characteristics.
- Transurethral biopsy