In February 1902, a group of eight New York Genito-Urinary Society members met and formed the American Urological Association (AUA). In its 112 years of existence, the AUA has grown to more than 20,000 members worldwide and supports its members through the promotion of the highest standards of urologic care, emphasis on education and research, and the formulation of healthcare policy.
Over time, the field of urology has made a number of key contributions to the medical field, including:
Used in multiple specialties as a conduit for dyes and medication, the concept of catheterization dates back to antiquity, when the Ancient Chinese used onion stalks to relieve urinary retention, making it one of civilization's first therapeutic inventions - and a powerful example of how ingenuity can turn an ancient remedy into a modern mainstay.
The forerunner to endoscopy and laparoscopy, cystoscopy was the earliest way physicians had of viewing the body's inner geography - particularly the easily accessed genitourinary system. Early scopes - including Philip Bozzini's Lichtleiter and Maximilian Nitze's "kystoskop" were popular for their novel concept, but the field of cystoscopy gained widespread appeal after Thomas Edison developed the incandescent lamp in 1880. Physicians now use fiber-optic scopes to view not only the urologic organs, but many other areas of the body as well.
The concept of cutting hormone production to treat cancerous tumors was born in a Chicago laboratory in the 1940s, when AUA member urologist Charles B. Huggins made history by altering the body's hormonal milieu to slow or stop cancer cell growth. The discovery would ultimately lead to a Nobel Prize for Dr. Huggins; the concept would lead to some of the most exciting bench-to-bedside research in the field of oncology: angiogenesis and gene therapy.
Other milestones specific to urology included the prostatectomy, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, and key developments in the treatment of bladder and kidney stones, infertility, sexual dysfunction and incontinence.
Fueled by the AUA, urologists continue their pursuit of new knowledge to lead the way in the field. This professional association of physicians provides a foundation for support and a worldwide arena for new developments and progress in urologic care.