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Urethral cancer in men

Ralph Madeb, MD
Dragan Golijanin, MD
Edward Messing, MD, FACS
Bridget F Koontz, MD
Section Editors
Jerome P Richie, MD, FACS
W Robert Lee, MD, MS, MEd
Deputy Editor
Michael E Ross, MD


Primary urethral cancer is a rare malignancy in men [1]. Differences in anatomy and etiology lead to important differences in the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of urethral cancer in men compared with women.

Information about the natural history and prognosis of urethral cancer in men is derived from small cases series, and recommendations for treatment are based upon general oncologic principles and extrapolation from other diseases.

The diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of male urethral cancer will be reviewed here. Female urethral cancer is discussed separately. (See "Urethral cancer in women".)


The male urethra extends from the base of the bladder to the external urethral meatus and averages 21 cm in length. It is customarily divided into prostatic, bulbomembranous, and penile segments [2], or alternatively, into posterior (membranous and prostatic) and anterior (glanular, penile and bulbous) portions [3].

The normal prostatic and bulbomembranous urethral segments are lined with transitional epithelium that is similar to the upper urinary tract. The penile urethra is lined with pseudostratified columnar epithelium, and the meatus is lined with stratified squamous epithelium.


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jan 13, 2015.
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