Urothelial Carcinoma Recurrent

Understanding Urothelial Carcinoma Recurrence

Urothelial carcinoma, also known as transitional cell carcinoma, is a genitourinary cancer that begins in the urothelial cells lining the bladder, kidney, or ureters. When this cancer recurs, a new tumor forms in the same area as the initially treated tumor. This return of cancer is called a recurrent urothelial carcinoma. In some cases, recurrence occurs within months of the initial treatment. While recurrence is not an unusual part of the cancer journey, treatments may be available that can help improve the patient’s condition and their outlook for future health.

Risk Factors

Recurrence is more likely to occur in certain patients due to their risk factors for developing or maintaining a recurrent cancers. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Age – Patients over the age of 50 may be more likely to experience recurrence
  • Poorly performed treatments – If the initial surgery or chemotherapy treatment is not done correctly or is incomplete, it can enable the cancer to recur
  • Cigarette smoking – Studies have found that smoking is linked to higher recurrence rates in urothelial cancer

Signs & Symptoms

Patients with recurrent urothelial carcinoma may have a variety of symptoms that signal that the cancer has returned. While the symptoms vary depending on the location of the recurrent tumor, common signs and symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently
  • Painful urination
  • Blood when urinating

Diagnosis & Treatment

If the patient is showing signs of urothelial cancer recurrence, they will need to undergo a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis. Common tests include imaging, such as CT scans or MRI’s, and urine samples. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the treating physician will discuss the best treatment plan. Common treatments for urothelial cancer recurrence include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or surgery.


Recurrent urothelial carcinoma is an unfortunate part of the journey for some cancer patients. While treatments are available, it is important that patients recognize the risk factors for recurrence and contact their care team at any sign of a recurrence. By staying informed and recognizing the signs and symptoms, patients can help ensure they get the medical attention they need in a timely manner.