Treatment at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Successful treatment of cancer of the ureter is shaped by many factors, including the size, location and stage of the cancer. Mayo Clinic's experienced team of oncologists, radiation oncologists and urologists will review options with you to define a treatment approach that best meets your needs. Treatment may include one or a combination of the following options.

Surgery

Surgery is the most common treatment for cancer of the ureter. Mayo Clinic surgeons are highly experienced at minimally invasive methods and surgical techniques that preserve urinary organs and function, and use these approaches whenever possible. Minimally invasive methods include:

  • Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery, using instruments inserted through small keyhole incisions in the abdominal wall
  • Robotic surgery, an alternative to traditional laparoscopic surgery
  • Natural orifice surgery, a type of laparoscopic surgery done through the vagina or penis

Surgery for cancer of the ureter can range from removing cancer from the ureter wall to removing part of the ureter (partial ureterectomy), to removing a kidney and the affected ureter.

For advanced and invasive cancer of the ureter and renal pelvic cancer, surgeons most often remove the ureter, the attached kidney and a portion of the upper bladder in a procedure known as a nephroureterectomy (NE-fro-u-REE-ter-EC-to-mee). Depending on the cancer's stage, nearby lymph nodes and other tissues also are removed and tested to determine whether the cancer has spread.

Chemotherapy

Your treatment team may recommend chemotherapy before or after surgery, and in some instances in combination with radiation therapy, to ensure all cancer is gone. For advanced cancer that has spread beyond the ureter, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy without surgery to keep the cancer under control.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. In rare instances, or when surgery is not an option, radiation therapy may be appropriate. Your doctor may use it along with chemotherapy.

Jun. 27, 2013