University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute | UCCI

Contact and Appointments: (513) 475-8500

Treatment & Services

Our Genitourinary Cancer Center has helped thousands of patients get back to what they love to do. Every patient and every cancer is unique so we focus on providing the right care at the right time. We help you understand your diagnosis, the extent of the cancer, your treatment options and your prognosis.

Treatments for urologic cancers may include:

  • High dose interlukin-2 for metastatic renal (kidney) disease – We are the only provider in the region to offer this curative treatment
  • Robotic prostate cancer surgery
  • Kidney-sparing, laparoscopic renal surgery
  • Targeted radiation therapy through implantable radiation seed treatments (brachytherapy)
  • Radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation for small kidney tumors under CT guidance
  • Prostate MRI and spectroscopy services
  • Clinical trials for all genitourinary malignancies
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy and TomoTherapy® for prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer

Diagnosis

UC Health offers unique imaging facilities and innovative techniques for treating patients with all stages of prostate cancer. Our urologists and radiologists work together to develop improved imaging for the early stages of diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

MRI-ultrasound fusion, which is used locally only by UC Cancer Institute experts, is making it possible to improve prostate cancer diagnosis and detection. Typically, when a man shows an increased risk of prostate cancer based on blood testing or physical exam findings, his physician takes 12 “random” samples of the prostate for examination cancer by a pathologist.

MRI-ultrasound fusion provides a more accurate means of diagnosing and monitoring prostate cancer by identifying areas within the prostate that are most likely to have cancer. With this technology, we can more efficiently and effectively biopsy the potentially cancerous prostate and decide if surgery is truly necessary.

We utilize imaging information to create a treatment plan for each patient based on the characteristics of the specific cancer.

Treatments

Active Surveillance
Because most prostate cancer often progresses slowly, sometimes the best treatment may be to simply monitor the cancer. This does not mean ignoring the condition, but rather developing and implementing a plan of measuring the progression of disease over time. We actively monitor and identify those with cancers that grow more quickly or cause symptoms so the cancer can be treated effectively before spreading outside the gland, never forsaking the opportunity to treat when necessary without losing the opportunity for successful treatment.

Focal Therapy
Using MRI scans, we have the opportunity to improve certain treatments for prostate cancer. We are currently participating in clinical trials for high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to treat prostate cancer. HIFU is guided by MRI imaging to treat areas of the prostate positive for cancer, leaving the remainder of the prostate intact.

Surgical Intervention
Technological advances have dramatically changed the surgical treatment of prostate cancer. Open Radical prostatectomy, which involves removing the entire prostate gland, the seminal vesicles and often the surrounding lymph nodes, is no longer the only surgical option. Laparoscopy and robot-assisted laparoscopy (minimally invasive procedures) allow for treatment that is more precise and significantly reduce pain, shorten the hospital stay and minimize complications.

UC Health uses the da Vinci Robot for minimally invasive urologic surgeries. Several small incisions allow cameras and instruments to be placed inside the abdomen, which are controlled by your surgeon using 3-dimensional magnified images. The daVinci Robot provides enhanced vision and precise robotic movement so our surgeons effectively remove the prostate while sparing the surrounding nerves and minimizing blood loss.

Innovation Decreases Discomfort and Increases Patient Satisfaction After Cancer Surgery

UC Health is one of the few health care systems in the United States and the first in Ohio to offer robot-assisted prostate cancer surgery without the need for a postoperative urethral catheter. In traditional prostate cancer surgery, patients have a urethral catheter for up to 8 days draining urine while the surgical site heals. The “no catheter” technique involves draining urine directly from the bladder through a small incision above the pubic bone. This spares the patient the discomfort of a urethral catheter and allows for early urethral sphincter training.

Nilesh Patil, MD, a UC Health urologist and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine cites that a significant majority of patients undergoing Robotic prostatectomy are bothered by the presence of a urethral catheter after surgery. “Patients experience less pain with this technique and the outcomes are no different when the surgery is performed at experienced medical centers like UC Health,” adds Patil. Collectively, UC Health’s urology team performs hundreds of robot-assisted radical prostatectomies annually. Patients typically require an overnight stay in the hospital and are able to resume normal activities within a few weeks.

Nilesh Patil, MD, a UC Health urologist and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is an established treatment option for certain types of prostate cancer. New refinements of EBRT include Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy and 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy. TomoTherapy® is another radiation technique that minimizes exposure to healthy tissues, treating prostate cancers that, because of their location, may be difficult to treat with other radiation therapies. Brachytherapy is a method of radiation therapy in which radioactive seeds are distributed throughout the prostate. The seeds remain in the prostate and discharge their radiation over time.

Hormone Therapy
Prostate cancer that spreads beyond the prostate gland (metastasized) to other organs can have its progression slowed by hormone therapy. Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) blocks prostate cancer cells that are hormone dependent, but only affects cells that require testosterone (which promotes prostate cancer growth and progression). Hormone therapy is used in combination with radiation therapy in some cases.

Cryotherapy
UC Cancer Institute is one of the few medical centers using and evaluating cryotherapy for prostate cancer. Cryotherapy involves freezing the prostate cancer cells while leaving the surrounding tissue unaffected. It is performed under anesthetic and takes approximately two hours to complete. Patients typically leave the hospital after the procedure or the next day. Cryotherapy is used for prostate cancers that have been unsuccessfully treated with radiation.

Kidney Cancer

Diagnosis

Imaging studies are the main way of diagnosing kidney cancers. CT (computerized tomography) scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasonography, angiography and a renal scan may be performed to determine the presence of a kidney tumor. For kidney cancers in the lining of the urinary transport system (renal pelvis, ureter), a ureteroscope is used to examine the lining of the kidneys and ureters and to perform a biopsy of any tumors. In addition, the cells of the urine are inspected.

There are various treatment options available to treat kidney cancer including surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or a combination of these treatments. We have established multiple programs designed to treat kidney cancer.

Treatments

Surgery
Surgery is generally the primary treatment for kidney cancer. Even when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, removing the primary tumor in the kidney provides information that guides additional treatments. Surgical treatments range from total removal of the kidney to freezing or removing only the cancerous tissue.

Kidney Sparing Surgery (Partial Nephrectomy)
Preserving the normal part of the kidney has been shown to decrease the onset of future medical illness. Therefore, UC Health urologists perform normal kidney sparing procedures whenever possible. The malignant tumor is removed either through open or robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery, or destroyed by laparoscopic or CT-guided percutaneous cryoablation.

Cryoablation
UC Cancer Institute offers CT (computerized tomography)-guided percutaneous cryoablation, an innovative treatment option for small tumors. Using imaging technology, a small probe is inserted through the skin into the kidney tumor. Additional cryo (freezing) needles are inserted and the cancer tissue is frozen while avoiding healthy areas surrounding the tumor. Because minimally invasive cryoablation spares patients open surgery, it is especially useful for those who may be too frail for major surgery. Most patients who undergo CT-guided cryoablation go home the next day.

Nephrectomy
When removal of the entire kidney (nephrectomy) is necessary, we often utilize minimally invasive surgical techniques to speed the recovery time and decrease discomfort after surgery. Laparoscopic surgery, robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery and hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery are other options available.

Bladder Cancer

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of bladder cancer starts with a health history and physical examination, which is followed by a CT (computerized tomography) urogram (X-ray image of the urinary tract). Additionally, a cystoscope is used to inspect the lining of the bladder and take a biopsy (tissue sample) of any lesions. Finally, we test for abnormal cells in the urine (urine cytology) to confirm the diagnosis of bladder cancer.

Treatments

The most common category of bladder cancer is low-stage and low-grade disease. This means the cancer is confined to the bladder and is less aggressive. Treatment for this type of bladder cancer is to remove the tumor using a minimally invasive technique. Bladder cancer that is more widespread and/or high grade requires a more extensive surgical intervention followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Testicular Cancer

Diagnosis

A thorough physical exam and additional tests are necessary to diagnose testicular cancer. Your physician feels for swelling, tenderness and/or nodules. A scrotal ultrasound provides detailed information of any abnormality. Blood tests are used to diagnose different types of testicular tumors based on the proteins that some testicular cancers produce.

Treatments

When testicular cancer is diagnosed, surgery to remove the testicle is the preferred treatment for most types and stages of the disease. The testicle is removed through an incision in the groin. When the cancer is discovered in its early stage, surgery may be the only treatment required. In other cases, additional surgery to remove lymph nodes may be necessary. Radiation or chemotherapy may be needed for advanced stages of testicular cancer.

Adrenal Cancer

Diagnosis

A physical examination gives your physician information about symptoms of adrenal gland cancer and other health problems. After a thoroughly examine your abdomen for evidence of a tumor, your blood and urine is tested to look for high levels of the hormones produced by some adrenal tumors and cancers. If an adrenal tumor or cancer is suspected, imaging tests will be done to look for a tumor. These tests may include: CT (computed tomography) scans, PET scan (positron emission tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasound and chest X-ray.

Treatments

The preferred treatment for adrenal tumors is surgical removal. Laparoscopic adrenalectomy involves removing the entire adrenal and surrounding tissue. This treatment is typically used for benign adrenal tumors larger than five centimeters or small tumors that may be malignant or are producing high levels of hormones.

Currently, open surgery is only performed when the adrenal tumors are larger than 10 centimeters or when cancer is suspected and it appears to have spread to other neighboring organs.