Ureteral cancer


Ureteral cancer is a rare type of cancer in which abnormal cells develop on the inner lining of the ureter (tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder). Ureter is part of the urinary tract system, which transports urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Ureteral cancer and bladder cancer are closely linked as the cells that line the lining of the bladder also line the ureters. Therefore, bladder cancer risk is significantly increased in people with ureteral cancer. Ureteral cancer commonly affects older adults or people who had been diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Treatment options for ureteral cancers are surgery, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.


Ureteral cancer signs and symptoms include:

  • Painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Lower back pain

If you are experiencing any persistent sign and symptoms, please consult a specialist for proper diagnosis.


The exact cause of ureteral cancer is unknown. When cells on the inner lining of the ureter experience changes (mutations) in their DNA, ureteral cancer develops. The instructions that inform a cell what to do are encoded in its DNA. The modifications instruct the cells to quickly multiply and to survive through their typical life cycle. The mass of ureteral cancer is growing abnormal cells that could block the ureter or it could spread to the other part of the body.

Risk factors

Ureteral cancer risk factors include the following:

  • Age: Older adults at the age of 70 to 80 years old have higher risk to develop the disease.
  • History of cancer: Ureteral cancer risk is higher in people who have been diagnose with bladder or kidney cancer.
  • Family history: Family history of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) or also known as Lynch syndrome are at higher risk to develop ureteral cancer.
  • Smoking: Could cause a higher risk to develop ureteral cancer or kidney and bladder cancer.