Renal Cell Carcinoma

Renal Cell Carcinoma
Renal Cell Carcinoma

Overview Of Renal Cell Carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer that starts in the lining of very small tubes (tubules) in the kidney.

Commonly Associated With

Renal cancer; Kidney cancer; Hypernephroma; Adenocarcinoma of renal cells; Cancer – kidney

Causes Of Renal Cell Carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults. It occurs most often in men 60 to 70 years old.

The exact cause is unknown.

The following may increase your risk of kidney cancer:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Dialysis treatment
  • Family history of the disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Horseshoe kidney
  • Long-term use of certain medicines, such as pain pills or water pills (diuretics)
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease (a hereditary disease that affects blood vessels in the brain, eyes, and other body parts)
  • Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome (a genetic disease associated with benign skin tumors and lung cysts)

Symptoms Of Renal Cell Carcinoma

Symptoms of this cancer may include any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Swelling of the veins around a testicle (varicocele)
  • Flank pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • Excessive hair growth in females
  • Pale skin
  • Vision problems

Exams & Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This may reveal a mass or swelling of the abdomen.

Tests that may be ordered include:

  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Blood chemistry
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • Liver function tests
  • Renal arteriography
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen and kidney
  • Urinalysis

The following tests may be done to see if cancer has spread:

  • Abdominal MRI
  • Biopsy
  • Bone scan
  • Chest x-ray
  • Chest CT scan
  • PET scan

Treatment Of Renal Cell Carcinoma

Surgery to remove all or part of the kidney (nephrectomy) is usually recommended. This may include removing the bladder, surrounding tissues, or lymph nodes. A cure is unlikely unless all of the cancer is removed with surgery. But even if some cancer is left behind, there is still benefit from surgery.

Chemotherapy is generally not effective for treating kidney cancer in adults. Newer immune system medicines may help some people. Medicines that target the development of blood vessels that feed the tumor may be used to treat kidney cancer. Your provider can tell you more.

Radiation therapy is usually done when cancer spreads to the bone or brain.