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Cancer that forms in tissues of the kidneys. Kidney cancer includes renal cell carcinoma (cancer that forms in the lining of very small tubes in the kidney that filter the blood and remove waste products) and renal pelvis carcinoma (cancer that forms in the center of the kidney where urine collects). It also includes Wilms tumour, which is a type of kidney cancer that usually develops in children under the age of 5.
Renal cell cancer (also called kidney cancer or renal adenocarcinoma) is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the lining of tubules (very small tubes) in the kidney. There are 2 kidneys, one on each side of the backbone, above the waist. The tiny tubules in the kidneys filter and clean the blood, taking out waste products and making urine. The urine passes from each kidney into the bladder through a long tube called a ureter. The bladder stores the urine until it is passed from the body.
Anatomy of the male urinary system (left) and female urinary system (right) showing the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Urine is made in the renal tubules and collects in the renal pelvis of each kidney. The urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the bladder. The urine is stored in the bladder until it leaves the body through the urethra.
Cancer that starts in the ureters or the renal pelvis (the part of the kidney that collects urine and drains it to the ureters) is different from renal cell cancer.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for renal cell cancer include the following:
Another type of kidney cancer is called transitional cell cancer (TCC) of the renal pelvis. The renal pelvis is the central area of the kidney where urine collects before it goes down the ureter to the bladder. About 7 or 8 out of every 100 (7 to 8 %) kidney cancers diagnosed in the UK are TCCs. The treatment for this type of kidney cancer is similar to the treatment for bladder cancer.
This is a rare and very aggressive variant of kidney cancer that represents less than 1% of cases. This form of RCC is usually metastatic at the time of diagnosis, and is more common in younger individuals. Treatment has been directed at using chemotherapy-based regimens, similar to those used in the treatment of transitional cell carcinoma (see below), as these tumours do not respond to traditional RCC therapies such as bioimmunotherapy.
Primary squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the renal pelvis is an extremely rare entity representing only 0.5% to 15% of all urothelial malignancies. It is usually associated with longstanding renal stone disease. This tumour is aggressive in nature and usually has a poor prognosis.
These and other symptoms may be caused by renal cell cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. There may be no symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms may appear as the tumour grows. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following problems:
The following tests and procedures may be used:
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
For more information on Renal Cell Cancer click here
This link is to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer website in the United States. There may be references to drugs and clinical trials that are not available here in Australia.
Information has also been sourced from kidneycancer.org, Kidney Health Australia & ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
For information courtesy of Cancer Australia, please click here
Page last updated: 30/04/2020