Understanding Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer develops in the kidneys. When healthy cells in one or both the kidneys grow out of control and when a lump is formed, this disease develops. In early stages the tumor is small less than 3cms and patients are asymptomatic, and it’s incidentally found during a checkup. RCC (RENAL CELL CARCINOMA) is the most common type of kidney Cancer, especially among men between the ages 50 and 70.:

KIDNEY CANCER SPREADS FAST: The tiny tubes which are there in kidneys, filter the blood, removes the waste and makes urine. RCC starts when cancer cells grow uncontrollably in the lining of the tubes in the kidneys. RCC spreads very fast to the lungs and surrounding organs.


These signs and symptoms are seen in the early stages. When a patient goes for an abdominal imaging test or for other complaints this disease is found by chance. As the tumor grows, the symptoms that are noticed are:

–blood in the urine,

–lower back pain,

–a lump at the side of the waist or in the lower back,

–tiredness, fever, sweating in the nights, and weight loss are also noticed.


  • Reason quiet unknown.
  • As people age they may develop kidney cancer.


  • Smoking,
  • being obese,
  • high blood pressure,
  • Men develop this disease more than women,
  • Hereditary
  • usage of pain—relieving drugs for long,
  • people are working from a long time in asbestos industries or cadmium.
  • Long –term dialysis:
  • some anti-rejection medicines are taken during kidney transplant this can also cause kidney cancer.
  • some times with surgery the entire kidney is removed as the tumor has grown so large that it has destroyed most of the kidney.
  • if the tumor is big it’s better to remove the whole kidney or if it is small only the tumor can be removed. This can stop other problems connected to heart and blood vessel disease.

TESTS to be done for KIDNEY CANCER:

  • Complete blood count
  • CT scan
  • Abdominal and kidney ultrasounds
  • Urine examination
  • Biopsy
  • Bone scan
  • PET scan
  • Chest X-ray


  • Stop smoking,
  • Maintain your weight
  • Stop getting exposed to certain chemicals and toxins.


  • RENAL CELL CARCINOMA (RCC): In adults this is the most common kidney cancer. It starts in the renal tubules — in the lining of the tiny tubes in the kidney. It starts in the kidney, and can spread to the bones, lungs or brain.
  • CLEAR CELL RENAL CELL CARCINOMA: It is known as ccRCC or conventional renal cell carcinoma. It is the most common kidney cancer and is more common among adults than in children.
  • Rare types of kidney cancer: mostly occur in children, teenagers and young adults are – Papillary renal cell carcinoma ( PRCC ), Translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC ).


Complications are kidney failure, tumor can spread with increasing pain, spread of the cancer to the lungs, liver and the bones.


When it is clear that it is kidney cancer, the doctor gets a number of tests done to check the spread within the kidney or to the other parts of the body. This process is called staging. If the stage is known a treatment plan is made. If the stage is higher, it means that the cancer is serious.

  • Stage 1: the tumor is only limited to the kidney. 
  • Stage 2: involvement of perinephric fat,
  • Stage 3:3a renal vein involvement; 3b-nodal involvement 3c—both 3a and 3b.
  • Stage 4: 4a spreads to nearby organs and 4b—spreads to different parts of the body.


Treatment will depend on the stage of the disease, general health, age and other factors. The different types of treatments are:


Stages 1,2 and 3 can be cured with surgery. Surgery is the most common treatment for kidney cancer.

Partial nephrectomy—in this a part of the tumor or the kidney with the tumor is removed and much of the kidney is left behind.

Radical nephrectomy—in this the full kidney is removed. The surrounding tissues and lymph nodes can also be removed.

The other surgical approaches are—open, Laparoscopic and robotic.

If both the kidneys are removed, dialysis or transplant is necessary.



Thermal ablation: this treatment kills the tumor by burning or freezing-for small tumors.

Active surveillance: if the tumor is less than 4cms in size.

Chemotherapy and Radiation: different forms of chemotherapy and radiation are used to treat the different forms of kidney cancer.

Targeted therapies – are a new therapy, where drugs are used and certain cancer cells are attacked without damaging healthy cells., 

Immunotherapy – is also called as BIOLOGIC THERAPY-works with the immune system to attack the cancer and Antiangiogenic targeted therapies.

Systemic therapy – generally patients with gynecological cancer are treated with systemic anticancer treatment.


Use of the targeted therapy-CABOZANTINIB, this treatment is administered to patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma or if the tumor has not responded to the first treatment or who had a relapse after the previous treatment. But there were side effects after the treatment like—tiredness, nausea, no appetite, painful mouth sores, diarrhea and high blood pressure. So 20% discontinue the treatment.


  • Fruit and especially citrus fruit, apples and vegetables among non smokers are advisable.
  • Frequent consumption of fried/ sautéed meat increases the risk of RCC by 60%.
  • Changes in diet will prevent a recurrence of cancer or cure cancer.
  • A healthy, well- balanced diet helps the patient maintain strength, prevents body tissue from breaking down, and prevents infection.
  • Food rich in vitamins C and A as well as fiber, this includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Maintaining weight is utmost important while the treatments are going on like surgery, radiation therapy and systemic therapies.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption, stop smoking, salty snacks, control  your blood pressure.
  • Eating sitting up is good,  whole grain flour or oats, good quality protein food and eating food with others is also better than eating alone, drink sufficient water to avoid dehydration and regular exercise helps for a healthy mind.
  • A healthy diet helps to prevent kidney stone.
  • Foods to be avoided—black pepper, parsley, poppy seeds, foods high in salt, too much of water, as over-hydrating is not good.

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