With a Urologic Oncologist on staff, the Sol and Margaret Berger
Department of Urology at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, New
York City treats the entire spectrum of urologic cancers with a team approach
of highly trained urologic surgeons, laparoscopic surgeons, radiation
oncologists, urologic fertility experts, pathologists, radiologists, and
oncology nurses. The department works closely with Continuum Cancer Centers
of New York, the multi-specialty cancer treatment center for both Beth
Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
Support staff and services including individual, family, and group support
counseling are offered as part of our comprehensive treatment plan.
Dr. Caner Dinlenc of the Berger Department of Urology at Beth Israel Medical
Center recently performed a live webcast of a robotic
prostatectomy, showcasing our expertise in minimally-invasive solutions
to cancerous prostate removal. To view the webcast, email questions to
the surgeons and learn the tremendous patient benefits of robotic prostatectomy,
The testicles are responsible for producing sperm, which fertilizes the
female egg for reproduction, and testosterone, which is the hormone accounting
for most male sexual characteristics. The testicles lie within the scrotal
sac. They are normally smooth and roughly of equal size. It is common
that one testicle lies lower than the other testicle. A soft tube-like
structure called the epididymis lies behind the testicle and collects
the sperm. The sperm travels up the vas deferens and is deposited in the
prostate during sexual activity at the time of orgasm.
Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancer of men ages 15-34.
Approximately 7,400 young men develop testicular cancer yearly. Men with
a past history of having a testicle that is not completely descended into
the scrotum at birth are at a much higher risk of developing testicular
cancer. Men with either a father or a brother with testicular cancer are
also at higher risk.
If discovered in the early stages, testicular cancer can be treated
very effectively. Remarkable strides have been made in treating
testicular cancer; cure rates are now above 95%. It's important for you
to take time to learn the basic facts about this type of cancer - it's
symptoms, treatment, and what you can do to get the help you need when
The first signs of testicular cancer can be subtle. You may simply notice
a slight enlargement of one of the testes or a change in its consistency.
Pain may be absent, but at times there is a dull ache in the lower abdomen
and groin, together with a sensation of dragging and heaviness. Some men
feel a hard lump or nodule in the testicle. Sometimes, a sign is breast
discharge or tenderness.
Your best hope for early detection of testicular cancer is a simple monthly
examination which only takes a minute. The best time is after a warm bath
or shower, when the scrotal skin is most relaxed. Roll each testicle gently
between the thumb and fingers of both hands. If you find any hard lumps
or nodules, you should see your doctor promptly. They may not be malignant,
but only your doctor can make the diagnosis. Following a thorough physical
examination, your doctor may perform certain X-ray studies to make the
most accurate diagnosis possible.
If a patient presents with symptoms of testicular cancer, more thorough
testing is needed. A history will be taken to determine risk factors,
and a thorough physical exam will be done. Diagnostic tests such as ultrasound
and CT scans are used to determine the size and type of mass, and blood
tests will look for cancerous markers. If the above tests cannot determine
the type of mass found, a biopsy will be done to determine if it is benign
Surgery is usually the initial form of treatment and typically requires
removal of the testicle. Depending on the type of cancer present, additional
surgical treatment to remove lymph nodes, radiation treatment, or chemotherapy
is sometimes necessary. If additional therapy is necessary, there can
be effects on future fertility. You should discuss fertility issues and
concerns with your doctor before treatment.
Adrenal Cancer is a rare urologic cancer (about 1 person/million), and
affects the adrenal glands, which control the production of certain hormones.
The adrenal glands are located on the top of the kidneys. Most adrenal
tumors are non-cancerous (benign) and do not require treatment. Its cause
is unknown, with heredity being a risk factor for individuals with a family
history of the disease. Cancers in other areas may also metastasize (spread)
to the adrenal glands.
Types of Adrenal Cancers
Pheochromocytoma (usually found in ages 30-50)
Neuroblastoma (usually found in infants and children)
Some adrenal cancers produce no symptoms, but for those that do, symptoms
vary on whether the tumor is functioning (overproducing hormones) or non-functioning
(does not produce hormones), and by the particular hormone that is being
Some individual symptoms of functional tumors are: fever, constant abdominal
pain, unexplained weight loss, gynemasticoma (breast enlargement in men),
abnormal hair growth in women or children, hyperglycemia (abnormal blood
sugar/diabetes), early puberty in children.
Some adrenal cancers have symptoms that are exclusive to them. The types
and their particular symptoms are:
Bruising easily, absence of menstruation, abnormal hair growth in women,
severe acne, slowed growth rate in children, muscle weakness, flushing
Chronic thirst, hyperglycemia, excessive urination, low potassium level
in the blood
Sustained high blood pressure that is resistant to treatment, severe headaches,
sweating, rapid pulse, nausea
Diagnosis for adrenal cancer involves a medical history, a physical exam,
imaging (CT and MRI) tests to view the adrenal gland and look for growths,
and a blood and urine test to test for abnormal hormone levels. If necessary,
a biopsy will be done to determine if any growths are benign or cancerous.
Treatment for adrenal cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer at
time of diagnosis and the symptoms shown, as some symptoms of adrenal
cancer must be under control before undertaking further treatment.
Treatment options are:
Medical management - to control the symptoms of increased hormone
Chemotherapy - using drugs to destroy cancer cells or suppress adrenal
Radiation - using focused X-rays to destroy cancer cells (not a primary
Surgery - removal of the adrenal gland, the only cure for the disease
Bladder cancer primarily involves tumors in the layers of the bladder
lining, and accounts for 90% of the cancers of the urinary tract. Tumors
are categorized as either superficial or invasive, depending on their
location in the bladder lining.
Incidence of bladder cancer is highest in industrialized nations, and
is three times more common in men than women, with the average age at
diagnosis being 65.
Development of bladder cancer may originate with cancer-causing agents
in the urine, with smoking contributing to 50% of the cases. Other risk
factors are a diet high in saturated fat, family history, race (caucasians
have higher risk), and parasitic infection. Certain occupations may also
increase your risk for bladder cancer through repeated exposure to chemicals
used in paints, inks, hair dyes, chemotherapy drugs, leather, rubber and
The primary symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria).
Hematuria may be visible or microscopic (visible only under a microscope)
and is usually painless. Other symptoms may include frequent urination
and painful urination (dysuria).
Diagnosis for bladder cancer involves a medical history (to determine
risk factors), urine tests (to test for blood, cancer cells or infection),
and imaging tests. The primary imaging test for bladder cancer is the
Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP), in which a radiopaque dye is administered
intravenously and X-rays are taken as the dye moves through the urinary
tract. This test provides information about the structure and function
of the entire urinary tract. Other imaging tests that may be used in diagnosis
are a CT scan, MRI scan, bone scan, and ultrasound.
If cancer is suspected, a cytoscopy (a small telescope used to evaluate
the bladder walls, inserted via the urethra) will be performed or a biopsy
will be taken of the tumor to check for cancerous cells.
Treatment for bladder cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer at
time of diagnosis and other factors, such as age and health of the patient.
There are four treatment options for bladder cancer; chemotherapy, radiation,
immunotherapy, and surgery, with some of these treatments being combined
in certain cases.
Chemotherapy - Using drugs to destroy cancer cells. These may
be delivered orally, intravenously, or in early stage cases, by direct
infusion into the bladder.
Radiation - Using focused X-rays to destroy cancer cells, delivered
to the bladder by external beam or by radioactive seed implant.
Immunotherapy – Using a vaccine, delivered via infusion,
to build up the immune system and it’s ability to fight cancer.
This treatment is used in early-stage superficial cases.
Surgery - Surgical treatment will depend on the stage of the
disease. Early-stage tumor removal can be accomplished on a minimally
invasive basis, preserving the bladder. Later-stage cases may involve
either partial or total removal of the bladder, as well as surrounding
lymph nodes. This will result in the patient permanently having a urostomy
or other urinary diversion to remove urine from the body.
Bladder cancer does have a high rate of recurrence, so it is very important
to be evaluated closely in the first two years after treatment to check
for any new occurrence of the disease. You should be re-evaluated every
six months to one year thereafter.
The kidneys act as a 'filter' for the body, removing waste products from
the bloodstream and removing these waste products from the body in the
form of urine. The kidneys also produce hormones that regulate blood pressure,
calcium absorption and the production of red blood cells in bones. Renal
Cell Carcinoma (RCC) is a form of kidney cancer that accounts for the
vast majority (85%) of cases of the disease. With RCC, cancerous cells
grow on the inside of the kidney’s tubules and eventually form a
In the United States, there are about 30,000 new cases of kidney cancer
every year. As with most other cancers, if diagnosed early, kidney cancer
is highly curable, and tumors that are discovered early respond very well
to treatment. Generally, the disease affects men and women between the
ages of 50 and 70, affecting men about two times more than women.
There are numerous symptoms to kidney cancer, with the following being
Blood in the urine (hematuria)
A mass or lump in the abdomen, or persistent pain in that area
High blood pressure
Swelling of the legs and ankles
Rapid, unexplained weight loss
If symptoms of a patient indicate a possibility of kidney cancer, numerous
tests must be done to confirm that diagnosis. These begin with:
A physical and medical history (to determine risk factors)
Laboratory tests, which may include:
A urine test (to test for blood in the urine, cancer cells or infection)
A blood test (to test for too few ((anemia)) or too many red blood
cells or elevated calcium or liver enzymes)
Imaging tests, such as a CT scan, MRI scan, bone scan, X-ray, Intravenous
Pyelogram (IVP), and ultrasound are used to provide a visual picture
of the kidney and any abnormalities.
Biopsy of the tumor, for microscopic analysis
Treatment for kidney cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer, location
(one or both kidneys) and other factors, such as age and health of the
patient. There are few treatment options for kidney cancer, and generally
involve surgery with or without immunotherapy. Surgery remains the mainstay
of treatment, as the majority of tumors are resistant to chemotherapy
and radiation. Kidney cancer patients are evaluated closely after treatment
to check for any new occurrence of the disease, involving physical exams,
X-rays and blood tests.