Surgery is the traditional first-line treatment for cancer of the ureter, which is the tube that transports urine from the kidney to the bladder, according to Temple Health Fox Chase Cancer Center. The stage, size, type and lesion location determine individual treatment goals for cancer of the ureter, also called transitional cell carcinoma.
Most commonly, surgery involves the removal of the entire kidney and the ureter. Nephron-sparing surgery to preserve the kidney may be possible in some instances, explains Temple Health Fox Chase Cancer Center. During the procedure, a surgeon uses a telescope to target the ureteral tumor, leaving the kidney intact. Surgeons remove larger ureteral tumors by removing only the diseased portion of the ureter without affecting the kidney. In other instances, surgeons may rebuild the ureter after removing the tumor.
Another option when the tumor is located in the bottom section is an ureteroneocystomy, also known as reimplantation surgery, notes Temple Health Fox Chase Cancer Center. During the procedure, a surgeon removes the section of the ureter affected, and then reconnects the remaining section to the bladder in an effort to retain renal function. When the entire kidney and ureter require removal, a surgeon can perform a laparoscopic procedure that is less invasive than open surgery.