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Renal cell carcinoma
Alternative namesRenal cancer; Kidney cancer; Hypernephroma; Adenocarcinoma of renal cells; Cancer - kidney
DefinitionRenal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer that involves cancerous changes in the cells of the renal tubule, is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Renal cell carcinoma affects about 3 in 10,000 people, resulting in about 31,000 new cases in the US per year. Every year, about 12,000 people in the US die from renal cell carcinoma. It is more common in men than women, usually affecting men older than 55.
People with von Hippel-Lindau disease, a hereditary disease that affects the capillaries of the brain, commonly also develop renal cell carcinoma. Kidney disorders that require dialysis for treatment also increase the risk for developing renal cell carcinoma.
Signs and testsPalpation of the abdomen may show a mass or organ enlargement, particularly of the kidney or liver. There may be a testicular varicocele .
TreatmentSurgical removal of all or part of the kidney ( nephrectomy ) is recommended. This may include removal of the bladder or surrounding tissues or lymph nodes.
Radiation therapy is not commonly used for treatment of renal cell carcinoma because it is usually not successful. Hormone treatments may reduce the growth of the tumor in some cases.
Medications such as alpha-interferon and interleukin have been successful in reducing the growth of some renal cell carcinomas , including some with metastasis. Chemotherapy may be used in some cases, but cure is unlikely unless all the cancer can be removed with surgery.
Support GroupsThe stress of illness can often be helped by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. See cancer - support group and kidney disease - support group .
Expectations (prognosis)The outcome varies depending on the amount of metastasis . The 5-year survival rate is around 60% to 75% if the tumor is in the early stages and has not spread outside the kidney. If it has metastasized to the lymph nodes, the 5-year survival is around 5% to 15%. If it has spread to other organs, the 5-year survival at less than 5%.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider any time blood in the urine develops. Also call if any other symptoms of this disorder occur.
PreventionMinimize or stop smoking. Follow your health care provider's recommendations in the treatment of kidney disorders, especially those that may require dialysis .
Update Date: 8/3/2002Scott Howard, M.D., M.S., Memphis, TN. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT