There are several types of cancer that can develop in the kidneys. The most common form is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which accounts for nearly 85% of all cases. In RCC, cancerous cells develop in the lining of the kidney’s tubules and develop into a tumor. A single tumor develops in most cases, but more than one tumor can grow within one or both kidneys.
The earlier the tumor is discovered, the better the chance for survival and treatment. If a tumor is found at an early stage, it often will respond well to treatment, increasing the chance of survival. If the tumor has grown too large or spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to other parts of the body, it becomes more difficult to treat.
Symptoms Of Kidney Cancer
Below are possible signs that kidney cancer has developed. Many of these tumors are found when imaging (mainly a CT scan) is done for unrelated reasons.
- Abdominal mass or lump
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Pain in the side (flank) or back
- Rapid, unexplained weight loss
- Swelling (edema) in the legs and ankles
Risk Factors For Kidney Cancer
Some of the major risk factors for kidney cancer are below.
- People who are very overweight have a higher risk of developing RCC. Some doctors think obesity is a factor in about two out of 10 people who get kidney cancer. Obesity may cause changes in certain hormones that can lead to RCC.
- Certain workplace exposures
- Genetic and hereditary risk factors
- Patients who have the conditions listed here have a higher risk for getting kidney cancer:
- von Hippel-Lindau disease
- Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma
- Hereditary leiomyoma-renal cell carcinoma
- Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome
- Hereditary renal oncocytoma
- Family history of kidney cancer
- High blood pressure
- End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
- RCC is about twice as common in men as in women. Men are more likely to be smokers and are more likely to be exposed to cancer-causing chemicals at work, which may account for some of the difference.
- African Americans have a slightly higher rate of renal cell cancer, though the reasons for this are not clear.
Treatment Options For Kidney Cancer
Through eliminating the cancer, our physicians always try to preserve as much of your existing kidney function as possible. Our team of trained professionals will thoroughly assess your needs and preferences to determine the best approach for you.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Our physicians are highly trained and have extensive experience with laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgical approaches. To learn more about general laparoscopy, click here. For more information on robotic-assisted surgery,
Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy
A scope and small instruments are used to remove the entire kidney, the surrounding fat, part of the ureter and possibly the adjacent adrenal gland.
Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy
In a partial nephrectomy, just the tumor with a margin of normal kidney tissue is removed rather than the entire organ.