Screen Readers Skip to Content

Kidney Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Updated/Revised Date: 2022-08-19
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Additional References: Kidney Cancer Publications

Synopsis: Information on benign and malignant kidney cancer tumors plus related articles. In the human body, the Kidneys are located toward the back of the flank, with one Kidney on either side. Most people have two Kidneys, which produce urine and drain through narrow tubes called ureters into the bladder. Just above the Kidneys are the Adrenal glands, which produce essential hormones that sustain life. These hormones regulate blood pressure, stress responses, and sugar levels in the blood, and Epinephrine controls the pulse rate and blood pressure.

advertisements

Definition

Human Kidneys

Human kidneys are two reddish-brown bean-shaped organs found in vertebrates. They are located on the left and right in the retroperitoneal space and, in adult humans, are about 12 centimeters (4 1/2 inches) in length. Your kidneys remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Your kidneys also remove acid produced by your body's cells and maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium in your blood. Without this balance, your body's nerves, muscles, and other tissues may not work normally. Your kidneys also make hormones that help:

  • Make red blood cells
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Keep your bones strong and healthy

Main Document

Kidney cancer is cancer that originates in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They're located behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine. The two most common types of kidney cancer are renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the renal pelvis. These names reflect the type of cell from which cancer developed.

Kidney organs are responsible for eliminating waste material from the blood through the urine and producing hormones, which regulate blood pressure and control red blood cell production.

In the human body, the Kidneys are located toward the back of the flank, with one Kidney on either side. Most people have two Kidneys, which produce urine and drain through narrow tubes called ureters into the bladder.

Fig 1. Kidney location in the human male body.Fig 1. Kidney location in the human male body.

Fig 2. Kidney location in the human female body.Fig 2. Kidney location in the human female body.

Just above the Kidneys are the Adrenal glands, which produce essential hormones that sustain life. These hormones regulate blood pressure, stress responses and sugar levels in the blood as well as Epinephrine, something which controls the pulse rate and blood pressure.

The body can function well enough with one Kidney and one adrenal gland if they are healthy. One healthy Kidney and one healthy Adrenal gland allow for the removal of one entire Kidney and Adrenal gland if necessary to remove cancer located in the kidney area. If a patient has poor kidney function before the development of Kidney cancer, it might not be possible to remove one kidney and still have normal function.

The Kidney is held inside the Gerota's Fascia, a fibrous sheath.

Inside, the Gerota's Fascia is a layer of fat that surrounds the Kidney. The layer of fat is thin and covers the outer surface of the Kidney, somewhat like the outer layer of an apple. A primary vein drains the kidney, called a 'renal vein,' and merges with the vein that takes blood to heart, called the 'Vena Cava.' The word 'renal' means Kidney. An Adrenal gland is located above each Kidney within Gerota's Fascia.

Types of Kidney Tumors: Benign and Malignant

The words 'mass', 'lesion','and 'tumor' are often used interchangeably. Tumors may be 'Benign,' meaning that the tumor is not cancerous, or 'Malignant,' meaning that it is cancerous.

Cysts are the most common type of Kidney tumor and are fluid-filled. Simple Cysts are benign and usually do not require follow-up treatment; they typically appear in imaging studies. On the other hand, Complex Cysts might be cancerous; they also do not have a typically benign appearance in imaging studies. If a Complex Cyst is found, treatment is determined individually.

One other form of Kidney tumor is a solid Kidney Tumor, named because it is not fluid-filled. A Solid Kidney Tumor may or may not be benign; they are typically malignant. Over ninety percent of all Solid Kidney, Tumors are malignant.

Kidney Cancer Statistics

Kidney cancer is the seventh most common cancer and the tenth most common cause of cancer death for men, and it is the tenth most common cause of cancer for women. Most people with kidney cancer are older. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 64. Kidney cancer is very uncommon in people younger than age 45.

Slightly more men than women find themselves battling Kidney cancer and are usually diagnosed with it between the ages of fifty and seventy. However, it can happen at any age. For adults, the most common form of Kidney Cancer is 'Renal Cell Carcinoma,' also known as 'Renal Adenocarcinoma' or 'Hypernephroma.'

The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for kidney cancer in the United States are for 2015:

These numbers include all types of kidney and renal pelvis cancers.

Labeled Cross-Section of a Human Kidney

Labeled structure of the human kidney: 1 Renal pyramid, 2 Interlobular artery, 3 Renal artery, 4 Renal vein, 5 Renal hilum, 6 Renal pelvis, 7 Ureter, 8 Minor calyx, 9 Renal capsule, 10 Inferior renal capsule, 11 Superior renal capsule, 12 Interlobar vein, 13 Nephron, 14 Minor calyx, 15 Major calyx, 16 Renal papilla, 17 Renal column.Labeled structure of the human kidney: 1 Renal pyramid, 2 Interlobular artery, 3 Renal artery, 4 Renal vein, 5 Renal hilum, 6 Renal pelvis, 7 Ureter, 8 Minor calyx, 9 Renal capsule, 10 Inferior renal capsule, 11 Superior renal capsule, 12 Interlobar vein, 13 Nephron, 14 Minor calyx, 15 Major calyx, 16 Renal papilla, 17 Renal column.

Can Older Adults Safely Donate Kidneys?

With increasing organ demand, living kidney donation from older donors has become more common. A new Clinical Transplantation study indicates that kidney donation among carefully selected adults over 60 poses minimal perioperative risks and no added risk of long-term kidney failure.

A combination of an aging population and an overwhelming kidney transplant waitlist will necessarily compel transplant centers into accepting older donors as a way to expand the donor pool.

"What this study demonstrates is that carefully selected older kidney donors are at no higher risk, short-term or long-term, than their younger counterparts, and this finding has the potential to expand the donor pool by making accessible a whole segment of the population that previously was perceived high-risk for donation," said lead author Dr. Oscar Serrano, of the University of Minnesota - Wiley

Signs Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

The most common signs and symptoms of kidney cancer are a mass in the abdomen or blood in the urine (or hematuria). Other symptoms may include tiredness, loss of appetite, weight loss, high temperature, heavy sweating, and pain in the abdomen. However, many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, and there may also be no signs or symptoms in a person with kidney cancer, especially in the early stages of the disease.

Treatment for Kidney Cancer

A Kidney imaging study is one of the first things a doctor usually orders when a Kidney Tumor is suspected and takes the form of a CT Scan, an MRI, or an Ultrasound. Occasionally, a doctor will order a combination of these imaging tests so that they may obtain a complete evaluation of the tumor. If the doctor suspects a tumor is cancerous, they will evaluate the patient to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the kidney. A biopsy may be performed in the case of Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Doctors discourage available biopsies of kidney cancer for many reasons, including the potential for false negative readings, the vascularity of the tissue, as well as the fact that if it is cancerous, it can, in rare cases, spread along the exit path of the needle used to obtain the biopsy.

When a biopsy is performed, a doctor removes a tissue sample so that they may examine it underneath a microscope. When examined under a microscope, two distinct cell types are visible. These cell types include Clear Cell, Granular Cell, or 'Sarcomatoid' cells. Cancer cells are a mixture of both forms of cells. The kinds of cells usually do not influence the outcome following treatment, but in some studies, certain medication results in improved outcomes for patients who have Clear Cell Carcinoma.

Treatment for kidney cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease. Surgery is typically the mainstay of treatment and usually doesn't involve chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as kidney cancers often do not respond to these treatments.

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Subtopics and Associated Subjects


Latest Kidney Cancer Publications

Chart of Kidney Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) number according to your age, includes a table showing chronic kidney disease (CKD) stages.
Author: Disabled World
Publish Date: 2019-01-14 - Updated: 2022-08-18
Blood Test to Detect Kidney Cancer 5 Years Before Diagnosis thumbnail image.
Molecule KIM-1 protein in the blood of some patients with renal cell carcinoma is at elevated levels and may predict kidney cancer up to 5 years before diagnosis.
Author: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Publish Date: 2018-08-22 - Updated: 2022-09-11

List of possible acute and chronic kidney diseases and other medical conditions that can affect human kidney function.
Author: Disabled World
Publish Date: 2018-08-04 - Updated: 2022-08-18
Increased Lifespan of Transplanted Kidney's thumbnail image.
An international study lead by kidney specialist Maarten Naesens of KU Leuven shows that the progress of the lifespan of a transplanted kidney is stagnating.
Author: Ku Leuven
Publish Date: 2018-07-30 - Updated: 2018-08-08

Additional Pain: Acute and Chronic Publications

Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Financial support is derived from advertisements or referral programs, where indicated. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2022, August 19). Kidney Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment. Disabled World. Retrieved December 9, 2022 from www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/kidney/

Permalink: <a href="https://www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/kidney/">Kidney Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment</a>