Urethral Cancer: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes

urethral cancer presents with various symptoms. Also, many symptoms of urethral cancer overlap with those of many other urological problems. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to these symptoms, especially when they are persistent, and consult a specialist for a thorough evaluation.

How Common is Urethral Cancer?

Urethral cancer is considered rare, comprising only a small fraction of all urological cancers. Its incidence is higher in men than women. Being aware of the different symptoms and risk factors is crucial for the early detection and timely treatment of urethral cancer.

Urethral Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

People often wonder, "What are the signs of urethral cancer?" "What are the early signs?" "What are the symptoms of advanced-stage urethral cancer? Urethral cancer presents with multiple symptoms; some may be seen in the early stages and some in the advanced stages. Often, urethral cancer symptoms overlap with the symptoms of certain benign urological conditions, such as urethral stricture, urethral caruncle, and urethral diverticulum, and complications from indwelling catheterization. Hence, a prompt evaluation of symptoms is always recommended for a definitive diagnosis. The following are the commonly observed urethral cancer symptoms:

What are the Urethra Cancer Causes?

Many often wonder, “What causes urethral cancer?” While the exact cause is yet to be identified, we do know that certain factors can increase the risk of urethral cancer. Individuals with these risk factors have a higher chance of developing urethral cancer. The following are some of the possible urethral cancer causes:

When to See an Oncologist?

Consulting an oncologist is essential when facing potential urethral cancer signs. If you are experiencing symptoms like urination difficulties, blood in the urine, and persistent discomfort in the pelvic region, seeking prompt medical attention is crucial. Having risk factors, such as HPV infection, a history of smoking, or previous urethral conditions, may increase one’s urethral cancer risk. In such cases, it is important to proactively opt for regular health check-ups and cancer screening.


Understanding the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of urethral cancer is crucial for its early detection and effective management. While rare, this malignancy demands vigilance, regular medical check-ups, and awareness of potential urethral cancer signs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Urethral cancer initially spreads to nearby structures, such as surrounding tissues and lymph nodes. Gradually, it will spread to nearby organs and eventually to distant organs.

This varies from one patient to another. Some individuals may experience pain, discomfort, or irritation, especially during urination. However, pain levels can differ, and not all cases of urethral cancer cause significant pain.

The prognosis for urethral cancer depends on various factors, including the stage of diagnosis, treatment response, and overall health. Early-stage cancers, wherein there is a localized tumor in the urethra, have better survival rates as compared to advanced-stage cancers. It is, therefore, important to be aware of the different urethral cancer symptoms, opt for regular health check-ups, and consult a specialist if your symptoms are persistent.

Weight loss can be associated with advanced stages of urethral cancer, especially if the cancer has spread to other body organs. However, weight loss is not a universal symptom. Hence, if you are losing weight unintentionally, you should see a doctor to learn the underlying cause.

The color of urine in urethral cancer may change, typically presenting with visible blood (hematuria). However, not all patients with urethral cancer have a change in urine color.

Urethral cancer in males may present with painful urination, frequent urination, difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, unusual discharge from the urethra, a lump or mass in the genital area, and painful ejaculation.

In women, urethral cancer may present with blood in the urine, painful urination, frequent urination, difficulty urinating, unusual discharge from the urethra, a lump in the genital region, pain during sexual intercourse, changes in the vaginal discharge, and vaginal discomfort.

The survival rate of urethral cancer depends on multiple factors, such as the type of urethral cancer, its stage and grade, the treatment administered, the treatment response, and the overall health condition of the patient. The survival rates are excellent if the patients are treated in the early stages and do not have any underlying health conditions. That said, today, there are numerous modern treatment approaches available that can prolong survival and improve the quality of life for patients with advanced-stage cancers.