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Staging Urethral Cancer

Staging systems provide doctors with a common language for describing tumors. After urethral cancer is diagnosed, a series of tests are used to investigate the extent of the cancer and to see whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Staging is a way of recording the size, aggressiveness and growth of a cancer, and determining the plan for treatment. By understanding the stage of your cancer, you can make informed decisions about your treatment.

Staging urethral cancer attempts to discover the following:

  • The size of the tumor
  • Whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and tissues
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body

Stages of Urethral Cancer

Staging urethral cancer helps our urologists compare an individual's clinical scenario to other patients with urethral cancer. They can also review clinical studies on groups of patients in similar cancer stages to determine how the cancer may behave and how different treatments may work.

Staging urethral cancer is based on its location:

  • Anterior urethral cancer: tumors are superficial and affect the part of the urethra that is closest to the urethral opening.
  • Posterior urethral cancer: tumors are deep and affect the urethral opening closest to the bladder as well as the prostate gland in some men.

Urethral cancer may also be staged as follows:

  • Stage 0: Abnormal cells are found inside the lining of the urethra but no cancer cells have invaded through the lining of the urethra.
  • Stage A: Cancer has formed and spread to the layer of tissue underneath the lining of the urethra.
  • Stage B: Cancer is in the muscle around the urethra or in the penile tissue surrounding the urethra.
  • Stage C: Cancer is in the penis in men, or vagina in women, or there is a single lymph node involved.
  • Stage D: Cancer has spread to the other nearby organs or lymph nodes in the pelvis and the groin, distant lymph nodes or other organs in the body.