Carcinoma of the male urethra is infrequent. To date approximately 600 cases have been reported. We reviewed 16 cases of carcinoma of the male urethra seen at the University of Tennessee and the Memphis Veterans Administration Hospital. The mean patient age was sixty-three years (range 38 to 84). The most common presentation was a palpable mass followed by symptoms of urinary obstruction. Five urethral carcinomas arose distal to the suspensory ligament of the penis while 11 were of bulbar or bulbomembranous origin. The histology was squamous cell carcinoma in 8 patients (50%), mixed squamous and transitional cell carcinoma in 5 (31%), transitional cell carcinoma in 2 (13%), and adenocarcinoma in 1 (6%). The mean patient survival was fifteen months following diagnosis of a proximal urethral tumor and seventy-seven months for tumors arising distally. Neoplasms of the distal urethra can be surgically managed successfully even if regional lymph nodes are involved. The prognosis for proximal urethra tumors remains poor and is best treated by a combination of surgery and radiotherapy.
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