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Urethral Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 11/14/2013

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Treatment Options for Urethral Cancer

Distal Urethral Cancer
Proximal Urethral Cancer
Urethral Cancer that Forms with Invasive Bladder Cancer
Metastatic or Recurrent Urethral Cancer



Distal Urethral Cancer

Treatment of abnormal cells in the mucosa (inside lining of the urethra that have not become cancer, may include surgery to remove the tumor (open excision or transurethral resection), electroresection with fulguration, or laser surgery.

Treatment of distal urethral cancer is different for men and women.

For women, treatment may include the following:

For men, treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor (transurethral resection), electroresection and fulguration, or laser surgery for tumors that have not spread deeply into tissue.
  • Surgery to remove part of the penis (partial penectomy) for tumors that are near the tip of the penis. Sometimes nearby lymph nodes are also removed (lymph node dissection).
  • Surgery to remove part of the urethra for tumors that are in the distal urethra but not at the tip of the penis and have not spread deeply into tissue. Sometimes nearby lymph nodes are also removed (lymph node dissection).
  • Surgery to remove the penis (radical penectomy) for tumors that have spread deeply into tissue. Sometimes nearby lymph nodes are also removed (lymph node dissection).
  • Radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy given together with radiation therapy.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with distal urethral cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Proximal Urethral Cancer

Treatment of proximal urethral cancer or urethral cancer that affects the entire urethra is different for men and women.

For women, treatment may include the following:

For men, treatment may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with proximal urethral cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Urethral Cancer that Forms with Invasive Bladder Cancer

Treatment of urethral cancer that forms at the same time as invasive bladder cancer may include the following:

If the urethra is not removed during surgery to remove the bladder, treatment may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with urethral cancer associated with invasive bladder cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Metastatic or Recurrent Urethral Cancer

Treatment of urethral cancer that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) is usually chemotherapy.

Treatment of recurrent urethral cancer may include one or more of the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent urethral cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.