Welcome to UrachalCancer.org
Our scientific goal is to gain more insights in the molecular, histopathological and clinical characteristics of urachal cancer to improve the understanding and finally therapeutical approaches.
On these pages, we aim to give an overview on this rare disease and our efforts!
Information for patients
What is urachal cancer?
Urachal cancer derives from the urachus, an embryologic structure between the urinary bladder and umbilicus. This structure usually degenrates after birth but remnants can rarely be found in later life. Urachal cancer is therefore not an actual bladder cancer but can occur in the midline from the bladder dome or front wall of the bladder to the umbilicus.
Urachal cancer is usually an adenocarcinoma (cancer from gland cells), but other forms of cancer can also occur.
How often is urachal cancer?
It is estimated that about 1 new case per year per 1 million people occurs. It seems as if there are variations in different regions of the world. Men are affected more often than women (about 60% are men) and it is most often detected in the the 5th decade of life.
Are there known risk factors for urachal cancer?
No genetic or environmental risk factors are known. Persistent remnants of the urachus can give rise to urachal cancer.
What are the symptoms of urachal cancer?
In most cases, the first symptom is blood in the urine (haematuria). However, in 90% haematuria has benign reasonons, as for example bladder stones or infections. More uncommon symptoms in urachal cancer such us mucus discharge from the bladder (mucusuria) or umbilicus, local pain and recurrent bladder infections can occur. If possible, you can seek an urologist for further help with these symtpoms.
How can urachal cancer be detected?
This usually done by physical examination by your doctor and imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT and cystoscopy. If rarely a tumour can be detected, usually a multidisciplinary team is involved in the diagnosis and further treatment.
How can urachal cancer be treated?
In early stages of the disease, surgical excision of the tumor can often cure the disease. This often is done by partial excision of the tumor containing bladder dome and tissue in the midline with the umbilicus.
In later stages and when urachal cancer has spread to other organs or sites, palliative chemotherapy can be an option. Regmies containing 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) have been shown to be effective. In recent years also targeted therapy agents (for example cetuximab) known especially from cancer of the large bowel have also shown efficacy in some cases.
For further reading on urachal cancer, please see the Patient Information on urachal cancer by the European Association of Urology (EAU).