Helpful Terms

  • Biopsy - A medical test in which body tissue or cells are studied to look for a disease and figure out how dangerous that disease might be. A biopsy usually involves a minor operation to get a sample of body tissue and cells to be studied.
  • Catheter - A tube that is inserted into the bladder to remove urine from the body. One end of the catheter is inserted through the penis or vagina, up the urethra and into the bladder. The other end is connected to a bag that holds the urine.
  • Complete response - In some cancers, including low-grade UTUC, this means that after treatment there is no evidence of cancer when the doctor checks the area with an endoscope or looks at sample cells under a microscope.
  • Endoscope - A tool used to look inside the body. Urologists use a certain type of endoscope, called a ureteroscope, to see where tumors are located. It also lets them see what they’re doing during endoscopic procedures.
  • Endoscopic management/endoscopic resection - Minor operations that a urologist does to remove UTUC tumors. These operations also can be done using a laser, forceps, or another surgical tool. However, they are always done using an endoscope, which lets the urologist see inside the body during the operation.
  • Grade - The term used to describe how likely cancer cells are to grow and spread. Low-grade UTUC usually grows slowly and is less likely to spread than high-grade UTUC.
  • High grade - Describes cancer cells that are more aggressive and are more likely to spread to other parts of an organ or other parts of the body.
  • High risk - The term used to describe cancer that is more dangerous. The risk of UTUC usually depends on grade, stage, tumor size and location, chances of recurrence, and the overall health of the person.
  • Lesion - An area of abnormal body tissue. May be used to describe a lump, mass, or tumor; also a spot or change in the appearance or texture of skin, such as an open sore, scab, bump, or discolored area. May also be referred to as a tumor.
  • Low grade - Describes cancer cells that are less aggressive and are less likely to spread to other parts of an organ or other parts of the body.
  • Low risk - The term used to describe cancer that is less dangerous. The risk of UTUC usually depends on grade, stage, tumor size and location, chances of recurrence, and the overall health of the person.
  • Nephroureterectomy (NU) - The medical name for the surgery that is done to remove a kidney, ureter, and a small part of the bladder. This also could be called a radical nephroureterectomy, or RNU.
  • Radical nephroureterectomy (RNU) - The medical name for the surgery that is done to remove a kidney, ureter, and a small part of the bladder. This also could be called a nephroureterectomy, or NU.
  • Recurrence - When cancer that was removed or cured comes back or happens again.
  • Remission - A complete or partial disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer in response to treatment; the period during which a disease is under control. A remission may not be a cure.
  • Stage - Describes how deep the cancer has grown into the tissue of the organ. The stage of your cancer could be anywhere from 0 to 4. UTUC that is stage 0 is right on the surface of your urothelium. UTUC that is stage 4 has grown deep into your kidney or ureter and has also spread to other parts of your body. However, it can be hard to know what stage UTUC is. Your urologist might not always be able to tell.
  • Tumor - An abnormal lump or mass of tissue. Tumors can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
  • Ureteroscope - A tool used to look inside the body. A ureteroscope is a type of endoscope, and urologists use it to see where tumors are located. It also lets them see what they’re doing during endoscopic procedures.