Kidney Cancer: Get the Facts, Advanced Diagnostics and Specialized Care for the Fight
What is kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer occurs in the kidneys when abnormal cells begin to grow out of control. Last year, more than 50,000 people were diagnosed with this disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that roughly 63,990 new cases of kidney cancer (40,610 in men and 23,380 in women) will develop in 2017.
But with our highly specialized, dedicated care within reach, there is always hope. Right now, more than 200,000 kidney cancer survivors are living in the United States.
Kidney cancer types
There are three main types of kidney cancer, with the most common being renal cell carcinoma (RCC). About 9 out of 10 kidney cancers are renal cell carcinoma, which form in the tissues of the kidney that make urine.
There are also several subtypes of RCC, the most common of which is clear cell renal cell carcinoma. About 7 out of 10 people with RCC have the clear cell type. Under a microscope, the cells that make up clear cell RCC are identified by a very pale or clear color.
Once your doctor knows the RCC subtype, he or she can determine if your cancer is linked to an inherited genetic syndrome and recommend the most effective treatment.
Are you at risk for getting kidney cancer?
Several risk factors — from lifestyle-related to environmental to inherited — can increase your chances of getting kidney cancer. Key risk factors include:
- Age – the average age of people diagnosed with kidney cancer is 64, and it is considered uncommon in people younger than 45
- Exposure to cadmium, certain herbicides and organic solvents such as trichloroethylene
- A family history of kidney cancer
- Being born with von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, or familial papillary renal cell carcinoma
Symptoms of kidney cancer
Signs of kidney cancer include:
- Blood in the urine
- Unexplained low back pain on one side
- A lump on the side or lower back
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss not caused by dieting
- Fever not caused by an infection/doesn’t go away
- Anemia (low red blood cell counts)
Detecting kidney cancer
If you are at low or average risk for kidney cancer, there are no recommended tests for the disease. However, people at high risk for developing kidney disease should get screened, as kidney cancers can often be successfully treated if detected early.
The following tests can be effective at revealing tumors and other abnormalities in the kidneys, to determine the presence of kidney cancer and the extent of metastasis (spreading):
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Bone scan
- Positron-Emission Tomography (PET)
- IV Pyelogram
- Blood tests, urinalysis and staging
The stages of kidney cancer
Staging indicates the extent of the cancer, such as how large the tumor is, and if it has spread. The two stages of kidney cancer are:
- Clinical stage – The physician’s estimate of the extent of your disease, based on the results of the physical exam, lab tests and imaging tests you’ve had.
- Pathologic stage – After surgery, doctors can more accurately assess the stage, while factoring in surgical findings and exam results of removed tissue.
Treating kidney cancer with innovative therapies and holistic support
Although this type of cancer affects thousands of people each year, there are no sweeping solutions that work for everyone. With advanced testing and treatments, the dedicated physicians at RCCA focus on your individual needs; creating a treatment plan that takes into consideration your current state of overall health, your test results, cancer stage and other personal factors. RCCA also offers complete mind/body support, from nutritional counseling to yoga and more.
The following therapies may be used singularly or in combination to provide the highest-quality care and to achieve the best possible results:
- Targeted Therapy
- Radiation Therapy
- Clinical Trials
- Genetic Testing
- Palliative Care
- Integrative Care
The nation’s largest network of cancer physicians puts your care close to home
With 31 locations throughout New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland, there’s a dedicated, caring physician close to home. Your RCCA doctor is ready to stand with you and your family, providing the most advanced and effective kidney cancer treatments for your very personal journey.