About this disease

What it is about

A malignant tumor can also develop in the intervening areas - in the renal pelvis or ureters. This has many similarities with bladder cancer. Risk factors also include smoking, obesity, chronic inflammation and, less frequently, exposure to toxins from the chemical or steel processing industries, as well as hereditary factors with accumulation of other cancers in the family.


The majority of renal pelvic and ureteral carcinomas, as with bladder cancer, are transitional epithelial or urothelial carcinomas, in each of which the same types of cells degenerate. Squamous cell carcinomas are rare. They can occur singly or at multiple sites in the urinary and reproductive organs - in the so-called genitourinary system.

Symptoms and consequences

One of the most common symptoms of renal pelvic and ureteral cancer is blood in the urine, known as hematuria. If the tumor presses on the ureter or narrows the confluence with the bladder, urinary retention may occur. This is usually associated with flank pain or febrile infections. The cancer may spread to the lymph nodes in the region or to other organs and metastasize. These most commonly occur in the bone or lungs and cause symptoms such as back pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, or other general symptoms such as fatigue.

What we do for you

Examination and diagnosis

In addition to blood and urine samples, the urologist performs an ultrasound and a bladder or ureteroscopy. This is followed by X-ray examinations such as computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which are used on the one hand to visualize the cancer and on the other hand to find out whether the cancer has already spread in the body and spread to other organs. In addition, it is possible to assess whether a temporary urinary diversion is necessary.


As part of the interdisciplinary tumor case discussion, the appropriate therapy concept is discussed together with specialists from different disciplines. The location and extent of the cancer in the ureters and the kidney function are decisive factors. In the case of surgery, depending on the stage, either only parts of the organ are removed or - especially in the case of aggressive tumors in the upper urinary tract - the entire kidney. If the cancer has already spread throughout the body, chemotherapy or immunotherapy is used, or radiation in the case of painful bone metastases.

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