Genitourinary Cancer

Condition

What is Genitourinary Cancer?

If you have a type of genitourinary cancer, you’re not alone. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans discover they have cancer in their urinary tract or reproductive organs. Genitourinary cancer affects parts of the genitourinary tract, which includes the urinary system and reproductive organs.

At Mercy, you’ll find experienced oncologists who understand these concerns and treat all types of genitourinary cancer. And we’ll do everything in our power to simultaneously treat your cancer while preserving your quality of life.

Types of Genitourinary Cancer

The genitourinary tract refers to the organs, glands and tubes that make up our urinary and reproductive systems. Some of these body parts have dual roles. In men, the penis and urethra have both urinary and reproductive functions. When cancer strikes these areas of the body, it’s usually named for the specific organ or gland where it began. Genitourinary cancers include:

Genitourinary Cancer Treatment at Mercy

Mercy’s cancer team treats all forms of genitourinary cancer, including rare or advanced varieties that need aggressive treatment. Equally as important, our caregivers treat our cancer patients with dignity, compassion and respect.

Your treatment strategy will depend on several factors, which include the location of your cancer and what stage it’s in. Your doctor may recommend one or more types of treatment for you. Treatment types for genitourinary cancer can include the following.

Chemotherapy may be used as your primary method of treatment if a genitourinary cancer has spread throughout the body. Medicine for this treatment can be given in pill form or delivered directly into the veins.

Hormone Therapy is typically used as a treatment for localized genitourinary cancer. If you’re not a candidate for surgery or radiation, hormone therapy may be your best bet for treatment.

Targeted Therapy uses drugs and other substances to precisely target cancerous cells, sparing surrounding healthy cells. It can also be used alongside other treatment types, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.    

Immunotherapy can be used to activate your immune system to battle cancer cells more effectively. It’s also known as Biologic Response Modifier (BRM) therapy, biologic therapy or biotherapy.

  • External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) is the most common type of radiation therapy. A special X-ray machine is used to aim powerful radiation directly at tumors in your body.
  • Brachytherapy refers to various procedures that place radioactive material inside your body. It’s not as common as EBRT.
  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is a type of radiation therapy that kills cancer cells inside your body. It allows your care team to match radiation beams to the unique shape of your tumor.
  • TomoTherapy is a type of therapy where radiation is aimed at your tumor from a variety of angles. You lie on a table while a machine rotates around you in a spiral pattern emanating radiation.

 

Some cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, can temporarily or permanently impact fertility. If you’re concerned about having children after your treatment, talk to your Mercy physician about your options.

Surgery is another treatment option to remove a cancerous mass in the body. It can include the use of minimally invasive techniques using state of the art robotic technology. During this procedure, your Mercy doctor will make a series of small cuts to operate on your tumor. Patients who undergo this type of surgery can expect less pain and faster recovery times than with open surgery or traditional laparoscopy.

Also referred to as cryotherapy or cryosurgery, cryoablation is a minimally invasive surgical treatment used to freeze the affected gland and destroy cancer cells. It’s sometimes used if a patient’s cancer has returned or as an alternative to the surgical removal of the infected gland.

 

Radiofrequency ablation is another type of minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to stop the transmission of pain from nerve endings to the brain. It can help some patients avoid surgery altogether and return to normal activities faster than with other treatment techniques.

Active Surveillance (AS) is also known as watchful waiting. This is an option for some men who are at low-risk or have slow-growing prostate or kidney cancer. Instead of starting immediate treatment, which may cause unwanted side effects, your Mercy doctor will closely monitor your prostate and kidneys.

It’s normal to have conflicting feelings about your treatment options. We know that you’re eager to put your cancer behind you. However, you may have concerns about the side effects of certain treatments. Patients often wonder whether they can live without their bladder or if prostate cancer treatments affect sexual performance. While we can’t guarantee a recovery free of side effects, we can promise to take your concerns seriously when crafting your care plan. We offer advanced radiation therapy that targets cancer while sparing nearby organs. This technology allows us to treat your cancer faster and with fewer side effects, achieving better results. At Mercy, we use fertility-sparing treatments whenever possible.

Throughout your time at Mercy, you’ll find an abundance of care and support. Whether you need a skilled surgeon or a dose of reassurance, you can take comfort knowing your Mercy team will provide it.

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