Our Program

The urologic oncology program at USC Norris Comprehensive Center and the USC Institute of Urology is a recognized center of excellence for the surgical treatment of urologic cancers and home to one of the region’s most experienced urologic surgery teams. As a university-based medical center, we welcome the most difficult cases and complex patients who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer (renal cell cancer) and other urologic cancers.

Treatment options vary, depending on the type, diagnosis and progression of the disease. We offer:

  • Brachytherapy or internal radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Endoscopic tumor removal for low-grade tumors
  • High intensity focused ultrasound
  • Hormone therapy
  • Image guided targeting and 3D guidance
  • Immunotherapy (BCG)
  • Radical cystectomy for invasive bladder cancer including nerve-sparing and fertility-sparing options
  • Robotic minimally invasive surgery
  • Transurethral resection (TUR)
  • Urinary diversion

As a premier destination for patients seeking surgery for bladder cancer, we have been a recognized center of excellence for the treatment of all stages of bladder cancer for more than 30 years. The first orthotropic bladder reconstruction, which provides a viable alternative to a colostomy bag, was developed at USC. We were the first institution in California to offer the latest generation of the da Vinci® robotic surgical system in our operating room, which translates to our physicians arguably having unmatched experience in using this tool. Our surgeons also have pioneered the use of minimally invasive cystectomy and urinary diversion.

We are among the nation’s leaders in prostate cancer research and the treatment of prostate cancer and among only a handful of programs in the United States that offers robotic radical prostatectomy. Our physicians’ advanced robotic surgical technology skills and other state-of-the-art techniques increase your chances for eradicating cancer while preserving potency and continence. We also focus on the quality of your life after surgery, which is why we specialize in procedures designed to help men to retain sexual function after surgery.

The diagnosis and treatment of testicular cancer is one of the primary specialties of the urologic oncology program at USC Norris. As a referral center for high risk and recurrent cancer patients, our expertise has allowed us to offer much needed hope in certain complex cases.

For kidney cancer, USC urologists – the very same physicians who pioneered and refined these procedures – continue to define the field of minimally invasive surgery, with special expertise in kidney-saving techniques. The combined experience of our urologists exceeds 3,500 clinical cases, which is among the highest in the world. This extensive experience and expertise results in optimal outcomes for some of the most challenging surgical cases. We also were the first in world to use the high intensity-focused ultrasound (HIFU), a laparoscopic device, to remove a kidney tumor in an outpatient procedure following Food and Drug Administration approval. HIFU surgery can also be an option for cancer of the prostate, liver, pancreas and other organs.

We are the only health-care provider in the western United States to offer a new diagnostic tool for urologists when they examine the inside of the bladder for cancer. The “blue light cystoscopy” helps urologists identify more bladder tumors and extended lymph node dissections during surgery. These innovations have significantly improved patient outcomes.

Our Approach

Our nationally respected medical oncologists, urologic surgeons and radiation specialists work collaboratively to provide optimal, individualized care for our patients who have urologic cancers. We strongly believe in spending ample time with you and your family. Together, we develop a plan that best suits your lifestyle and needs while optimally treating your cancer.

Our specialists regularly attend patient care conferences to discuss every patient’s individual care and to develop a unique comprehensive treatment plan. Your integrated team can be in immediate communication with one other to share new information or advise on your treatment.

Continuous improvement in surgical techniques and post-operative care has greatly reduced late effects of surgery, including sexual dysfunction in select cases. At Keck Medicine of USC, we offer patients the option of minimally invasive techniques, including robotic-assisted laparoscopy, or the traditional open approach.

Our stem cell and tissue regeneration laboratory is a unique resource. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, it is ranked as one of the top laboratories of its kind in the world. We are focusing on cell therapeutics for tissue regeneration and tissue bioengineering research to repair or grow new organs, such as the kidney and bladder.

Conditions

The USC Institute of Urology at Keck Medicine at USC in Los Angeles, part of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, uses the most advanced technology combined with world-renowned experience and research to comprehensively diagnose and treat a wide range of urological cancers.

Cancers can be either benign or malignant, and can have the risk of metastasizing (spreading throughout the body). Each type of cancer is unique, with different symptoms, signs and risk factors. Conditions treated at the USC Institute of Urology include:

Bladder cancer, which occurs when tumors develop in the bladder. Its cause is unknown.

Kidney cancer occurs when cancer is found in the kidney and its cells. It is most common in men aged 50 to 70 years old, and its cause is unknown. Most kidney cancers are renal cell cancers.

Prostate cancer is found in the prostate gland, a small, walnut-sized structure that makes up part of a man’s reproductive system. Some growth, called prostate hyperplasia, is not cancerous, but other growths in the prostate can be cancerous. Prostate cancer affects one in every six men and is the most common cancer not specific to the skin.

Testicular cancer is cancer of the testis. This cancer is the most common cancer in younger men between the ages of 15 and 34.

Treatments and Services

USC urologists offer distinctive services for urologic cancers that include pediatric urology and stem cell therapies, female urology and incontinence surgery, genito-urinary reconstruction and prosthesis, minimally invasive “belly-button” kidney donation surgery, and scar-free, single-port laparoscopic surgery.

Diagnostics and treatments will vary according to the type of cancer that is suspected and diagnosed. Surgical treatments can include radiosurgery or radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments depending upon your condition and health.

Bladder cancer diagnostics are a premiere service as USC urologists are the only health care providers in the western United States to offer a new diagnostic tool used to examine the inside of the bladder for cancer. The “blue light cystoscopy” helps urologists identify more bladder tumors, which are difficult to see using conventional “white light cystoscopy,” resulting in a better diagnosis.

Chemotherapy treatments are options, which utilize cancer-killing drugs that are injected into a vein or taken by mouth. Chemotherapy may be used with radiation (chemoradiation), with targeted therapy (biologic drug) to treat persistent, recurrent, or late-stage cancer or as palliative therapy for advanced (metastatic) cancer.

High intensity focused ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that uses high-intensity ultrasound waves to heat and destroy (ablate) uterine fibroids. This “thermal ablation” procedure is performed with a device, the ExAblate, which combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ultrasound.

Hormone therapy is when hormones are used to treat cancers. Female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and sometimes the hormone testosterone are utilized. Hormone therapy is used to treat symptoms of menopause, but also can be used for a variety of cancers.

Image guided targeting and 3D guidance utilizes three-dimensional images provided by a CT scan to precisely target either radiation or surgical tools to the tumor. This technique has been especially valuable in treating prostate cancer, but it used on other cancers as well

Immunotherapy uses targeted immune cells to attack cancer cells. In addition to classic chemotherapy drugs that target cancer cells, some forms of kidney cancer respond to medicines that activate the body’s own natural defenses to kill the cancer cells.

Immunotherapy (BCG) is used to treat bladder cancer. This technique involves triggering your immune system to attack cancer cells. Known also as the Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccine (or BCG), it is delivered via catheter directly to the bladder.

Minimally invasive surgery is an option for patients with certain urologic cancers. The dedicated team of urologists have special expertise in kidney-saving techniques.

Radical cystectomy is an invasive technique that involves the complete removal or partial removal of the bladder and nearby lymph nodes to treat used bladder cancer.

Transurethral resection (TUR) is the removal of the bladder through the urethra.

Urinary diversion, a surgical procedure to reroute urine flow, may reduce the incidence of incontinence and significantly improve patient outcomes.

Patient Information

When you make an appointment with the urological cancer specialists at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, you will be treated by a team of nurses, physicians, surgeons and other specialists who will tailor their care to you. This care will represent the most advanced services available, the result of decades of clinical experience and research expertise, much of which was conducted at USC.

We strongly believe in spending ample time with you and your family. Together, we develop a plan that best suits your lifestyle and needs while optimally treating your cancer. Your integrated team can be in immediate communication with one other to share new information or advise on your treatment.

In addition to our clinical centers and hospitals on USC Health Sciences campus providing treatments and diagnosis on an out- or in-patient basis, we offer a number of specialized services:

Minority Men’s Health Center is housed at LAC+USC Medical Center. The Minority Men’s Health Center offers unique screening services to minority men in the community. Our physicians provide free prostate cancer screenings, and, in collaboration with LAC+USC Medical Center, services are expanded to screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.

Lynne Cohen Clinic is a preventive medicine clinic specifically aimed at women who are at increased risk for breast and gynecological cancers based on either genetic mutation or family history. The clinic is unique because a breast and gynecology specialist will see you together with a genetic specialist in one location. The focus is early detection/prevention for women who are at elevated risk.

The Cancer Genetics Program assists patients who are diagnosed with a wide range of cancers. Some inherited cancers appear to be generated by a single specific gene mutation, while others are caused by a number of genetic mutations, and some genetic mutations are associated with multiple cancers.

Resources

There are a number of online local, national and international resources to learn more about urological cancers. In addition, USC hosts patient support groups for a number of conditions; you can check with your team members about a support group that is appropriate for you.

American Cancer Society
www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute
www.cancer.gov

Kidney Cancer Association
www.kidneycancer.org

Prostate Cancer Foundation
www.pcf.org

Testicular cancer society
www.testicularcancersociety.org

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network
www.bcan.org

Patient Outreach and Community Center
The outreach and community center is a modern facility with print and electronic cancer education and resource materials devoted to patients, their families and community members seeking information on cancer.
http://uscnorriscancer.usc.edu/patient_care/peoc

Clinical trials
Patients have the option of taking part in clinical trials being conducted at Keck Medical Center of USC. While clinical trial participation does not ensure that an effective treatment will be received, participation does help provide invaluable information for future treatments and possibly a cure in the future. Learn about clinical trials at Keck Medical Center of USC in Los Angeles as they become open to patients: http://urology.keckmedicine.org/clinical-trials/

Patient testimonials http://urology.keckmedicine.org/category/testimonials

Our Physicians

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Practicing Locations

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
USC Verdugo Hills Hospital
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Practicing Locations

USC Norris Westside Cancer Center
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC – Palmdale
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
USC Verdugo Hills Hospital
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Practicing Locations

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital

Specializing In

Urology

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Practicing Locations

Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Beverly Hills
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
USC Urology – Thousand Oaks
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital

Specializing In

Robotic, Laparoscopic and Open Surgery for Bladder, Prostate, Kidney and Testis Cancer; Complex Oncology and Reconstructive Surgeries

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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC – Glendale
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
USC Urology - Bakersfield

Specializing In

Surgical Correction of Urethral Strictures, Male Incontinence, Erectile Dysfunction, Penile Curvatures (Peyronie’s Disease)

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Practicing Locations

Keck Medicine of USC - Beverly Hills
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Beverly Hills
USC Institute of Urology – Porterville
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
USC Verdugo Hills Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital

Specializing In

Female Pelvic Medicine/Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS), Urinary Incontinence/Voiding Symptoms (Men/Women), Prolapse, Fistula, Neurogenic Bladder

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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital

Specializing In

Robotic Nerve-sparing Prostatectomy, Robotic Partial/Radical Nephrectomy, Kidney Stone Surgery, Prostate Cancer Active Surveillance, Bladder Cancer Treatment & Management, Enlarged Prostate Management & Treatment

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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC – Glendale
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

Specializing In

Robotic Prostatectomy, Robotic Partial Nephrectomy, Kidney Stone Surgery and Prevention, Prostate Cancer Surveillance and Prevention

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Practicing Locations

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Beverly Hills
USC Urology - Bakersfield

Specializing In

Pelvic Medicine and Reconstruction, Female/Male Incontinence, Neurogenic Bladder, Voiding Dysfunction, Prolapse Repair, Hysterectomy, Urinary Fistulas, Robotic and Vaginal Surgery

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Practicing Locations

Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Beverly Hills
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital