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Kidney Cancer

About the kidneys

Every person has two kidneys, one on each side of the spine above the waist. Each of these reddish-brown, bean-shaped organs is the size of a tiny hand. They are found in the back of the body rather than the front.

Impurities, excess minerals and salts, and excess water are removed from the blood by the kidneys. The kidneys filter around 200 quarts of blood every day to produce 2 quarts of urine. Hormones produced by the kidneys aid in the regulation of blood pressure, red blood cell formation, and other biological activities.

About kidney cancer

When healthy cells in one or both kidneys alter and expand out of control, a mass known as a renal cortical tumor forms. A tumor might be malignant, benign, or indolent. A cancerous tumor is one that can develop and spread to other sections of the body. Even if an indolent tumor is malignant, it seldom spreads to other regions of the body. The term “benign tumor” refers to a tumor that can develop but will not spread.

Types of kidney cancer

There are several types of kidney cancer:
Renal cell carcinoma : Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults and accounts for about 85% of diagnoses. This type of cancer begins in the proximal tubules that make up the kidney’s filtration system. Each kidney has thousands of these small filter units.
Urothelial carcinoma: This is also called transitional cell carcinoma. It accounts for 5% to 10% of the kidney cancers diagnosed in adults. Urothelial carcinoma begins in the area of the kidney where urine collects before moving to the bladder, called the renal pelvis. This type of kidney cancer is treated like bladder cancer because both types of cancer begin in the same cells that line the renal pelvis and bladder.
Sarcoma: Kidney sarcoma is an uncommon cancer. This form of cancer occurs in the kidney’s soft tissue, the capsule, a thin layer of connective tissue that surrounds the kidney, or the surrounding fat. Surgery is frequently used to treat renal sarcoma. Sarcoma, on the other hand, frequently returns in the kidney area or spreads to other parts of the body. Following the first operation, more surgery or chemotherapy may be necessary.
Wilms tumor: Wilms tumor is more frequent in children than in adults, and it is treated differently. Wilms tumors account for roughly 1 percent of kidney malignancies. When paired with surgery, this form of tumor is more likely to be effectively treated with radiation treatment and chemotherapy than other types of kidney cancer. As a result, a new therapeutic strategy has emerged.
Lymphoma: Lymphoma can cause both kidneys to grow and is linked to enlargement of lymph nodes in other regions of the body, such as the neck, chest, and abdomen, a condition known as lymphadenopathy. Kidney lymphoma can present as a single tumor mass in the kidney, with enlargement of nearby lymph nodes in rare instances.

Risk Factors

The following factors may raise a person’s risk of developing kidney cancer:
Smoking: Tobacco use increases the risk of kidney cancer by twofold. It is thought to be responsible for roughly 30% of kidney cancer in males and 25% in women.
Gender: Men are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop kidney cancer than women.
Age: Kidney cancer is typically found in adults and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70.
Nutrition and weightResearch has often shown a link between kidney cancer and obesity.
High blood pressure : Men with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, may be more likely to develop kidney cancer.

Autoimmune diseases: People who have autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren syndrome, are more likely to acquire specific kinds of NHL. Some autoimmune illness medications may raise the risk of NHL.

Overuse of certain medications: Phenacetin-based analgesics have been banned in the United States since 1983 due to their association with transitional cell carcinoma. Diuretics and analgesics such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are also associated with kidney cancer.
Exposure to cadmium: Several studies have shown an association between exposure to the metallic element cadmium and kidney cancer. Dealing with batteries, paints, or welded materials can also increase a person’s risk. This risk is even higher for smokers exposed to cadmium.
Chronic kidney disease: People with impaired kidney function who have not yet undergone dialysis may be at increased risk of developing kidney cancer.
Family history of kidney cancer: PPeople with a strong family history of kidney cancer may be at increased risk of developing kidney cancer. This may include first-degree relatives such as: parents, siblings, sisters, children. The risk is also increased if other extended families, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and cousins, are also diagnosed with kidney cancer. Specific factors in the family are hereditary, including early diagnosis, rare types of kidney cancer, cancers of both kidneys (bilateral), multiple tumors of the same kidney (multifocal), and other types. A tumor, benign or malignant, that may increase the risk of kidney cancer.


In the testicles, a rapid development of a cluster of enlarged veins, known as a varicocele, around a testicle, particularly the right testicle, may indicate that a large kidney tumor may be present


Kidney cancer is most often treated with surgery, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are occasionally used.

Surgery: Surgery is the removal of the tumor and surrounding healthy tissue during surgery. If the cancer has not spread beyond the kidneys, surgery to remove the tumor may be the only treatment that needs surgery. Surgery to remove a tumor may mean removing part or all of the kidney, and in some cases, nearby tissue or lymph nodes.

Types of surgery used for kidney cancer include the following procedures:

Radical nephrectomy : A radical nephrectomy is a surgery that removes the tumour, the whole kidney, and the surrounding tissue. If the illness has spread to neighbouring tissue and lymph nodes, a radical nephrectomy and lymph node dissection is required.
Partial nephrectomy : A partial nephrectomy is the surgical removal of the tumor. This type of surgery preserves kidney function and lowers the risk of developing chronic kidney disease after surgery.
Laparoscopic and robotic surgery (minimally invasive surgery): During laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes multiple tiny cuts in the belly instead of a single bigger cut as in standard surgery. The surgeon next uses telescopic tools to entirely remove the kidney or perform a partial nephrectomy through these microscopic keyhole wounds.
Non-surgical tumor treatments: Sometimes surgery is not recommended because of characteristics of the tumor or the patient’s overall health. The following procedures may be recommended:
Radiofrequency ablation: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is the use of a needle inserted into the tumor to destroy the cancer with an electrical current. The procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist or urologist.
Cryoablation: Cryoablation, also called cryotherapy or cryosurgery, is the freezing of cancer cells with a metal probe inserted through a small incision. The metal probe is placed into the cancerous tissue.
Therapies using medication: Systemic therapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. This type of drug is given orally or directly through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body. The types of systemic therapies used for kidney cancer include:
Targeted therapy : Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer`s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells and limits damage to healthy cells.
Immunotherapy : Immunotherapy, also called biological therapy, aims to increase the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses materials made in the body or in the laboratory to enhance, target, or restore the function of the immune system.
Radiation therapy : Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells.


Different forms of cancer are caused by various circumstances. Researchers are still looking into what causes kidney cancer and how to avoid it. Although there is no way to totally avoid kidney cancer, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk: