Kidney cancer (tumor)
Back | Nephrology | Kidney cancer (tumor) (Disease)
Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that make up tissues. Tissues make up the organs of the body. Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. New cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor.
Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not cancer: Benign tumors are rarely life threatening. Usually, benign tumors can be removed, and they seldom grow back. Cells from benign tumors do not invade tissues around them or spread to other parts of the body.
Malignant tumors are cancer: Malignant tumors are generally more serious than benign tumors. They may be life threatening. Malignant tumors often can be removed, but they can grow back. Cells from malignant tumors can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Also, cancer cells can break away from a malignant tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system. That is how cancer cells spread from the original cancer (primary tumor) to form new tumors in other organs. The spread of cancer is called metastasis.
Causes and Risk factors
Several types of cancer can start in the kidney. The renal cell cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults. This type is sometimes called renal adenocarcinoma or hypernephroma. Another type of cancer, transitional cell carcinoma, affects the renal pelvis. It is similar to bladder cancer and is often treated like bladder cancer. Wilms tumor is the most common type of childhood kidney cancer. It is different from adult kidney cancer and requires different treatment.
When kidney cancer spreads outside the kidney, cancer cells are often found in nearby lymph nodes. Kidney cancer also may spread to the lungs, bones, or liver. And it may spread from one kidney to the other.
When cancer spreads (metastasizes) from its original place to another part of the body, the new tumor has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary tumor. For example, if kidney cancer spreads to the lungs, the cancer cells in the lungs are actually kidney cancer cells. The disease is metastatic kidney cancer, not lung cancer. It is treated as kidney cancer, not lung cancer. Doctors sometimes call the new tumor metastatic or distant disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Surgery is the initial treatment for the majority of kidney cancers. The type of surgery your doctor recommends will be based on your cancer and its stage, as well as your health. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding and infection.
For some people, surgery isnt an option. In these situations, kidney cancer treatments may include: treatment to freeze cancer cells (cryoablation), treatment to heat cancer cells (radiofrequenc...