Upper tract tumors are relatively rare accounting for less than 1% of cancers. These particular tumors are often associated with bladder cancer and develop in the tissue in the kidneys that collects urine and the ureters (the narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder).

There are several types of tumors of the upper tract including renal pelvic tumors that develop in surface lining cells. This is also known as transitional cell carcinoma and can be found in multiple areas of the upper urinary tract. Less than 10% of renal pelvis tumors are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers develop in the flat-lying surface cells that line the renal pelvis. The most rare of all, is adenocarcinoma, which develops in glandular cells. The most common symptom of an upper tract tumor or tumors in the bladder is hematura (blood found in the urine).

Although the exact cause of cancers of the upper tract is unknown, smoking cigarettes significantly increases the risk. A personal history with bladder cancer will also be a major risk factor.


Upper tract tumors can often be treated surgically depending on the size and stage of the tumors. A nephroureterectomy is the surgical removal of the kidney, ureter and a portion of the bladder. Smaller less aggressive tumors may be treated with laser ablation surgery.

To learn more about upper tract tumors, or to schedule an appointment at our Plano, Richardson and Frisco locations, call 972.612.8037. To schedule an appointment at our McKinney location, call 972.548.8195.