Treatment at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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Ureteral cancer treatment typically involves surgery. Your treatment options for cancer of the ureter will vary depending on the size and location of your cancer, how aggressive the cells are, and your own goals and preferences.


Surgery is often recommended to remove cancer of the ureter. The extent of your surgery will depend on your situation.

For very early-stage ureteral cancer, surgery may involve removing only a portion of the ureter. For more advanced ureteral cancer, it may be necessary to remove the affected ureter and its associated kidney (nephroureterectomy). Sometimes a portion of the bladder also is removed.

At Mayo Clinic, surgeons are highly skilled in the latest minimally invasive surgery techniques. Whenever possible, surgeons prefer to use minimally invasive surgery to remove cancer of the ureter.

Minimally invasive surgery methods include:

  • Endoscopic surgery. Endoscopic surgery allows certain ureteral cancers to be removed during ureteroscopy. Special surgical tools can be passed through the scope in order to remove the cancer.
  • Laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery involves making several small incisions in your abdomen. Specialized surgical tools, including a camera, are inserted through the incisions and used to perform the surgery.
  • Robotic surgery. Robotic surgery is a type of laparoscopic surgery in which the surgical tools are manipulated by a robot that's controlled by the surgeon. Robotic surgery allows for more-precise movements in tight spaces.


Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is sometimes used before surgery to shrink a tumor and make it easier to remove during surgery. Chemotherapy may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may remain.

In cases of advanced cancer of the ureter, chemotherapy may be used to control signs and symptoms of the cancer.

Aug. 21, 2014