Urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. In women, the urethra is about 1Â½ inches long and is just above the vagina. In men, the urethra is about 8 inches long, and goes through the prostate gland and the penis to the outside of the body. In men, the urethra also carries semen.
Urethral cancer is a rare cancer that occurs more often in women than in men. There are different types of urethral cancer that begin in cells that line the urethra. These cancers are named for the types of cells that become malignant (cancerous):
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of urethral cancer. It forms in cells in the part of the urethra near the bladder in women, and in the lining of the urethra in the penis in men.
Transitional cell carcinoma forms in the area near the urethral opening in women, and in the part of the urethra that goes through the prostate gland in men.
Adenocarcinoma forms in glands near the urethra in both men and women.