Kidney Cancer: Introduction
Kidney cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer that occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cancer cells that form a malignant tumor in the kidney. The most common form of kidney cancer is renal cell cancer.
The kidneys are a pair of bean shaped organs located in the abdomen. The function of the kidneys is to filter the blood of certain wastes creating urine. Normally, cells in the kidneys that are old or damaged will stop dividing and die before they can become cancerous. These cells are normally replaced by healthy young cells. Kidney cancer occurs when old or damaged cells continue to divide and multiply uncontrollably.
Kidney cancer is most treatable and curable if caught in the earliest stage of the disease. Untreated and/or advanced kidney cancer can spread from the kidney into surrounding tissues and into the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones and brain, where it can form another cancerous tumor. This is called metastasis.
People at risk for developing kidney cancer include those who smoke, are obese, or have certain rare genetic disorders, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) or Birt Hogg Dube Syndrome (BHD). Other risk factors include having advanced kidney disease, a family member with kidney cancer, and/or exposure to certain toxic substances, such as asbestos, trichloroethylene, and cadmium. Kidney cancer is more common in men than in women.
Common symptoms of kidney cancer include hematuria (blood in the urine) and flank pain or back pain. However, there are often no symptoms in early stages of the disease. Kidney cancer can also cause serious complications. For more details on other key symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of kidney cancer.
Diagnosing kidney cancer begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms and risk factors for kidney cancer. Diagnosis also includes completing a physical examination.
A test on the urine, called an urinanalysis, is performed to check for blood in the urine (hematuria) and to rule-out certain other conditions with similar symptoms, such as a bladder infection or kidney stones.
Kidney cancer can often be diagnosed with one or more imaging tests that create a picture of the kidney. Imaging tests can include CT scan, PET scan, ultrasound, intravenous pyelogram, ultrasound and/or MRI.
Rarely, a kidney biopsy may be necessary. A kidney biopsy involves removing a sample of cells from the kidney tumor with a very fine needle inserted through the skin. The sample of cells is then examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells to confirm a diagnosis.
Other diagnostic tests may be performed to rule-out or diagnose metastasis of kidney cancer to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver or brain.
The prognosis for people with kidney cancer varies depending on the stage of advancement of the cancer, the specific type of kidney cancer, and other factors. Treatment of kidney cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and/or chemotherapy. For more details about treatment, refer to treatment of kidney cancer.
A diagnosis of kidney cancer can be missed or delayed because some symptoms of kidney cancer are similar to symptoms of other conditions and for other reasons. For more information about other diseases, disorders and conditions that can mimic kidney cancer, refer to misdiagnosis of kidney cancer. ...more »
Any cancer involving the kidneys. Wilms' tumor, transitional cell cancer and renal cell cancer are examples of types of kidney cancer. Smoking and certain conditions such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension may increase the risk of developing kidney cancer. ...more »
Kidney Cancer: Symptoms
In the early stage of kidney cancer, there are often no symptoms. Kidney tumors can become very large before causing symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the most common one is blood in the urine (hematuria). There is generally no pain during urination.
Other common symptoms include mass or lump in the abdomen and back pain or flank pain. Less common symptoms ...more symptoms »
Kidney Cancer: Treatments
There is no specific way to prevent kidney cancer, although there are measures that can help to minimize the risk of developing kidney cancer and other types of cancer. This includes seeking medical care as soon as any symptoms of kidney cancer are noted. It is also important to seek regular medical care throughout the lifetime. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to ...more treatments »
Kidney Cancer: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of kidney cancer can be delayed or missed because some symptoms of kidney cancer can be similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions. These include urinary tract infection, bladder infection, cystitis, pyelonephritis, and kidney stone. ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Kidney Cancer
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symptoms of Kidney Cancer
Treatments for Kidney Cancer
See full list of 13
treatments for Kidney Cancer
Home Diagnostic Testing
Home medical testing related to Kidney Cancer:
- Colon & Rectal Cancer: Home Testing
Wrongly Diagnosed with Kidney Cancer?
Kidney Cancer: Related Patient Stories
Kidney Cancer: Deaths
Read more about Deaths and Kidney Cancer.
Alternative Treatments for Kidney Cancer
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Kidney Cancer may include:
Types of Kidney Cancer
- Kidney cancer category by type of cell affected:
- Renal cell cancer (carcinoma)
- Transitional cell cancer (carcinoma)
- Wilms' tumor - a common childhood kidney tumor.
- more types...»
See full list of 4
Types of Kidney Cancer
Curable Types of Kidney Cancer
Possibly curable types of Kidney Cancer include:
Rare Types of Kidney Cancer:
Rare types of Kidney Cancer include:
Diagnostic Tests for Kidney Cancer
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diagnostic tests for Kidney Cancer
Kidney Cancer: Complications
Review possible medical complications related to Kidney Cancer:
Causes of Kidney Cancer
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causes of Kidney Cancer
More information about causes of Kidney Cancer:
Disease Topics Related To Kidney Cancer
Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Kidney Cancer:
Kidney Cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Kidney Cancer
Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms
of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed.
The best known, irritable bowel syndrome, is...read more »
Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea
is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance.
The digestive system contains a variety of "good"...read more »
Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely
to cause some level of diarrhea in patients.
The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria,
but can...read more »
Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down
with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning).
In fact, it's more likely to be an ...read more »
Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the
more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed
(it can, of course, also fail...read more »
Spitz nevi misdiagnosed as dangerous melanoma skin cancer: One possible misdiagnosis to
consider in lieu of melanoma is spitz nevi.
See melanoma and spitz nevi....read more »
Interstitial cystitis an under-diagnosed bladder condition: The medical
condition of interstitial cystitic is a bladder condition that can be
misdiagnosed as various conditions such as overactive...read more »
Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive
conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety of symptoms (see symptoms of
celiac disease)....read more »
Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent
difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases....read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Kidney Cancer
Kidney Cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists
Research related physicians and medical specialists:
- Cancer Specialists:
- Urinary & Bladder Specialists (Urology):
- Kidney Health Specialists (Nephrology):
- Digestive Health Specialists (Gastroenterology):
- more specialists...»
Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:
Hospitals & Clinics: Kidney Cancer
Research quality ratings and patient safety measures
for medical facilities in specialties related to Kidney Cancer:
Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »
Choosing the Best Hospital:
More general information, not necessarily in relation to Kidney Cancer,
on hospital performance and surgical care quality:
Kidney Cancer: Rare Types
Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:
Latest Treatments for Kidney Cancer
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latest treatments for Kidney Cancer
Evidence Based Medicine Research for Kidney Cancer
Medical research articles related to Kidney Cancer include:
Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database
Kidney Cancer: Animations
More Kidney Cancer animations & videos
Prognosis for Kidney Cancer
Prognosis for Kidney Cancer:
The prognosis can vary considerably depending on what stage the cancer is diagnosed at, the individual response to treatment and the overall health of the patient.
More about prognosis of Kidney Cancer
Research about Kidney Cancer
Visit our research pages for current research about Kidney Cancer treatments.
Clinical Trials for Kidney Cancer
The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally
and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.
Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Kidney Cancer include:
- A Safety, Tolerability and Efficacy Study of E7070 in Patients With Renal Cell Carcinoma - This study has been completed (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - E7070
- Comparison Between Surgery and Radiofrequency for Treatment of Renal Tumors - This study is currently recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006)
- Biological Therapy Following Chemotherapy and Peripheral Stem Cell Transplantation in Treating Patients With Cancer - This study is no longer recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - interferon alfa,interleukin-2,sargramostim
- Amifostine to Protect From the Side Effects of Peripheral Stem Cell Transplantation in Treating Patients With High-Risk or Relapsed Solid Tumors - This study is no longer recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - chemoprotection,bone marrow ablation with stem cell support,amifostine,busulfan,filgrastim,melphalan,thiotepa
- Interleukin-11 Plus Filgrastim Prior to Peripheral Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients With Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Hodgkin's Disease, Breast Cancer, or Other Solid Tumors - This study is no longer recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - filgrastim,interleukin-11
- more trials...»
See full list of 367
Clinical Trials for Kidney Cancer
Statistics for Kidney Cancer
Kidney Cancer: Broader Related Topics
Types of Kidney Cancer
Kidney Cancer Message Boards
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