The ureters are the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The renal pelvis is the part of the kidney that connects to the ureters. It funnels urine from the kidney into the ureters.
The renal pelvis and ureters are made up of layers of tissue. The inner lining is called the mucosa, then there is a layer of connective tissue, a layer of muscle, and a layer of fat.
Cancers that start in the ureter or renal pelvis are rare. Of all kidney cancers, only about 7 out of 100 (7%) begin in the renal pelvis, and 5 out of 100 (5%) in the ureter. Usually only one ureter or kidney is affected.
They are more common in men than women. They are rare under the age of 65. There is a more common type of kidney cancer called renal cell cancer (RCC). The tests, investigations and treatment for RCC are very different to those for cancer of the ureter and renal pelvis.
Rarely, other types of cancer can start in the ureter or renal pelvis. These include some types of lymphoma (a cancer that starts from the cells of the lymphatic system) and sarcoma (a cancer that develops from the supporting tissues of the body, such as muscle or cartilage).
This information is about cancer that starts in the ureter or renal pelvis. Cancer that spreads from another part of the body to the ureter or renal pelvis is called secondary or metastatic cancer. The treatment of a secondary cancer depends on what part of the body the cancer started from.