Urologic oncology: A comprehensive guide

Written by: Mr Aasem M Chaudry
Edited by: Carlota Pano

Urologic oncology encompasses a wide range of cancers affecting the urinary system and male reproductive organs.


Here, Mr Aasem M Chaudry, renowned consultant urologist, offers an expert insight into urologic oncology, discussing the nuances of detection, treatment, and ongoing research initiatives.



What is urologic oncology?


Urologic oncology is a specialised field of medicine dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of cancers that affect the urinary system and male reproductive organs. Urologic oncologists are highly trained specialists with expertise in these types of cancers, utilising a multidisciplinary approach to provide comprehensive care to patients.


What are the common types of urological cancers?


Several types of cancers fall under the purview of urologic oncology, including:

  • Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men and develops in the prostate gland.
  • Bladder cancer: Bladder cancer originates in the bladder, the organ responsible for storing urine.
  • Kidney cancer: Kidney cancer arises in the kidneys, affecting the filtration and excretion of waste from the body.
  • Testicular cancer: Testicular cancer primarily affects younger men and develops in the testicles, the male reproductive organs responsible for sperm production.
  • Penile cancer: Though relatively rare, penile cancer affects the tissues of the penis and requires specialised care for treatment.


What are the risk factors for developing urological cancers?


Several factors may increase a patient’s risk of developing urological cancers, including:

  • Age: Advanced age is a significant risk factor for most urologic cancers.
  • Sex: Some cancers, such as prostate and testicular cancer, predominantly affect men.
  • Family history: A family history of certain cancers may predispose an individual to develop similar malignancies.
  • Smoking: Tobacco is strongly associated with an increased risk of bladder and kidney cancers.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Occupational exposure to certain chemicals, such as those found in dyes, rubber, and textiles, may elevate the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Chronic inflammation: Conditions causing chronic inflammation of the urinary tract, such as recurrent urinary tract infections or bladder stones, may increase the risk of developing cancer.


How are urological cancers detected and diagnosed?


Early detection is essential for favourable treatment results. Common symptoms that may indicate the presence of urological cancers include:


If any of these symptoms are present, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional promptly for further evaluation. Diagnosis typically involves a combination of physical examination, imaging tests (such as ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI), urine tests, blood tests, and sometimes a biopsy.


What are the treatment options for urological cancers?


Treatment for urological cancers varies depending on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient's overall health. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery: Surgical removal of the cancerous tissue is a common approach for many urological cancers, especially localised tumours.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or to slow their growth, and it's often used in conjunction with other treatments.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells and may be administered externally or internally, depending on the specific cancer type.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy works by harnessing the body's immune system to target and destroy cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to precisely identify and attack cancer cells, minimising damage to healthy tissues.
  • Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy may be used to treat cancers that are hormone-sensitive, such as prostate cancer, by blocking the effects of certain hormones that fuel cancer growth.


Is there ongoing research into new treatments for urological cancers?


The field of urologic oncology is continually evolving, with ongoing research aimed at developing new and improved treatments for urological cancers. Clinical trials play a crucial role in evaluating the safety and efficacy of these novel therapies, offering hope for patients who may not have responded to traditional treatments. Research areas include innovative surgical techniques, more targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and advancements in early detection methods.



If you would like to schedule an appointment with Mr Aasem M Chaudry, head on over to his Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Aasem M Chaudry

Mr Aasem Chaudry is a consultant urologist in Bedford who specialises in benign prostate hyperplasia, prostate cancer diagnosis, kidney stones and management of stone diseases.

Mr Chaudry graduated from the University of Punjab, Pakistan in 1986. He undertook his basic surgical training in both Pakistan and the UK. Mr Chaudry passed his Fellowship in general surgery in 1990 and undertook his post-fellowship training in Yorkshire.

He completed his specialist training in urology at the Institute of Urology London in 1994. From 1996 to 2006 Mr Chaudry was a consultant urologist in tertiary care settings in Pakistan. He has worked as a consultant in Churchill Hospital in Oxford, Southmead Hospital in Bristol, Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and Guy’s Hospital in London.

He is currently the Clinical and Cancer Lead in Urology at Bedford NHS Hospital.

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