Although not as common as in men, kidney or bladder cancer can affect women. Blood in your urine is often a first sign. Because this symptom is related to many issues, you should see a urology specialist.
If you believe you may have cancer or have already received a diagnosis, Western Michigan Urological Associates has the expert knowledge and compassionate care you need. We provide world-class care from the initial visit and evaluation through treatment, recovery and follow-up consultations.
We start with a complete patient assessment and diagnostic evaluation. Then, our experienced team members work to create a treatment plan tailored to you, using the most advanced techniques, including da Vinci robotic and minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries, cryoablation, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. We will ensure you receive the smoothest, most efficient and best care possible.
Kidney cancer tends to occur most commonly in individuals older than age 40 and is more frequent in men than women. Most kidney cancers occur spontaneously, although some result from hereditary conditions.
Local kidney cancer – Roughly 60% of kidney cancers are diagnosed at a localized stage (cancer confined to kidney without spread). Localized cancers may not have symptoms or may be associated with hematuria (blood in the urine), flank pain or abdominal discomfort. Surgery is the most effective treatment.
Advanced kidney cancer – Approximately 40% of kidney cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage that has spread to surrounding structures, lymph nodes or metastasis to more distant sites. Common sites of metastatic spread include the lung, bone and brain.
- Blood in urine, which may make urine look rusty or darker red
- Side pain that doesn’t go away
- A lump or mass in your side or abdomen
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Family history — People with a family member who had kidney cancer have a slightly increased risk. Certain conditions that run in families also can increase risk.
- Urinalysis (urine test) – checks urine for blood and other disease signs
- Blood tests — checks blood for several substances, including creatinine. A high creatinine level may mean the kidneys aren’t functioning properly.
- Ultrasound — sound waves that create a picture of your kidneys and nearby tissues can show a kidney tumor.
- CT scan – a series of detailed pictures of your abdomen show your urinary tract and lymph nodes, and may show if cancer is present in your kidneys, lymph nodes, or elsewhere in the abdomen.
- MRI – this large machine with a magnet linked to a computer creates detailed pictures of your urinary tract and lymph nodes. You may receive an injection of contrast material. An MRI can show cancer in your kidneys, lymph nodes or other tissues in the abdomen.
- IVP – a dye, injected into a vein in your arm, travels through the body and collects in your kidneys. The dye makes the kidneys show up on x-rays. A series of x-rays tracks the dye’s movement through your kidneys to your ureters and bladder. The x-rays can show a kidney tumor or other problems.
- Active surveillance of small, early-stage, low-risk kidney cancers may be an option for those not interested in (or candidates for) surgery or ablative therapy. Active surveillance may be appropriate for older individuals with small kidney tumors for whom surgery risk is too great.
- Ablative therapies use radiofrequency energy and extremely low temperatures to cause tissue destruction. Ablative therapy is most commonly used in older or medically unhealthy patients for whom surgical risk is too great.
- Partial nephrectomy – removal of the tumor without removing the entire kidney – is often recommended for smaller kidney tumors, in patients with a single kidney or tumors in both kidneys. We may also recommend this procedure for patients with diabetes or hypertension to preserve as much renal function as possible. This can be done through a conventional (larger) incision or with a robotically assisted laparoscopic approach.
- Radical nephrectomy consists of removing the entire kidney with the surrounding tissue. This approach is most often used in cases in which a partial nephrectomy is not possible because of tumor size or location. Radical nephrectomy is also the standard treatment for high-risk kidney cancers.
Bladder Cancer tends to occur most often in individuals older than age 60 and is two to three times more common in men than in women.
There are two broad categories:
- Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer — Approximately 70% of patients have non-muscle invasive cancer.
- Muscle-invasive and advanced bladder cancer — Between 20% and 25% of bladder cancer cases are muscle-invasive.
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Painful urination
- Urinary frequency
- Urinary urgency
- Abdominal pain
- Bone pain or tenderness
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Urinary incontinence
- Weight loss
- Cigarette smoking — increases bladder cancer risks nearly fivefold. As many as 50% of all bladder cancers in men, and 30% in women may be caused by cigarette smoke. People who quit smoking have a gradual decline in risk.
- Chemical exposure at work — About one in four bladder cancer cases is caused by exposure to cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) on the job. Dye workers, rubber workers, aluminum workers, leather workers, truck drivers and pesticide applicators are at the highest risk.
- Radiation and chemotherapy — Women who received radiation therapy to treat cervical cancer have an increased risk of developing transitional cell bladder cancer. Some people who have received the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) are also at increased risk.
- Bladder infection — A long-term (chronic) bladder infection or irritation may lead to squamous cell bladder cancer. Bladder infections do not increase the risk of transitional cell cancers.
- Parasite infection — Infection with the schistosomiasis parasite has been linked to bladder cancer.
- Abdominal CT scan
- Cystoscopy (examining the inside of the bladder with a camera)
- Bladder biopsy (usually performed during cystoscopy)
- Intravenous pyelogram — IVP
- Urine cytology
If the cancer has spread into the bladder wall or outside the bladder, treatment may include:
- Cystectomy with urinary diversion — In men, the bladder and prostate are identified, dissected and removed. In women, the bladder, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and anterior portion of the vagina are identified, dissected and removed. Surrounding lymph nodes are removed to assess the extent or spread of the cancer.
- Chemotherapy — a systemic treatment in which drug is given throughout the entire body. It’s designed to kill cancer cells. Typically, it is administered intravenously (through a vein).
- Radiation therapy with chemotherapy — Radiation uses high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. The addition of systemic chemotherapy makes cancer cells more vulnerable to the killing effects of radiation. Radiation therapy is also used to relieve symptoms of advanced bladder.