Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma (UC)

What is Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma (UC)?

Urothelial Carcinoma (UC), or transitional cell carcinoma, is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the urinary tract. These cells line the ureters, urethra, bladder, and renal pelvis and control the passage of urine out of the body. Metastatic UC, also known as advanced or Stage IV UC, is a form of UC in which the cancer has spread beyond the urinary tract into other parts of the body, such as the lungs and bones. Metastatic UC can be life-threatening and requires aggressive treatment.

Risk Factors for Metastatic UC

Metastatic UC can happen in people of any age, though it is more common in older adults, especially in those over the age of 65. There are several factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing metastatic UC, including:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Chronic bladder inflammation or infection
  • Having a weakened immune system due to a chronic illness or medication
  • Exposure to certain industrial chemicals such as arsenic, chromium, and cadmium
  • Having a family history of UC or bladder cancer

Signs and Symptoms of Metastatic UC

The signs and symptoms of metastatic UC can vary depending on where the cancer has spread to. Common symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or lower back
  • Blood in the urine
  • Weight loss

Diagnosis and Treatment of Metastatic UC

Metastatic UC is usually diagnosed with a combination of tests, including blood tests, imaging tests, and biopsies. Once the cancer has been diagnosed, treatment will depend on the size and location of the tumor as well as how far the cancer has spread. Treatment for metastatic UC may include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. In some cases, targeted therapies or immunotherapy may be used to help fight the cancer.

Living with Metastatic UC

Metastatic UC is a serious and potentially life-threatening cancer, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and to seek medical help if you have any concerns. Treatment for metastatic UC can improve quality of life and extend life expectancy, and there are various strategies and techniques that can help people cope with the effects of the disease. It is important to discuss any concerns or worries with your healthcare team.