Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer
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Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer

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Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that make up tissues. Tissues make up the kidneys and the other organs of the body....

Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that make up tissues. Tissues make up the kidneys and the other organs of the body.


Normal cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.


Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn’t need them, and old or damaged cells don’t die as they should. The buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor.


Tumors in the kidney can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign tumors are not as harmful as malignant tumors:


Benign tumors (such as cysts):

-- are usually not a threat to life

-- can be treated or removed and usually don’t grow back

-- don’t invade the tissues around them

-- don’t spread to other parts of the body

Malignant growths:

-- may be a threat to life

-- usually can be removed but can grow back

-- can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs

-- can spread to other parts of the body

Kidney cancer cells can spread by breaking away from the kidney tumor. They can travel through lymph vessels to nearby lymph nodes. They can also spread through blood vessels to the lungs, bones, or liver. After spreading, kidney cancer cells may attach to other tissues and grow to form new tumors that may damage those tissues.


National Cancer Institute:

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Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer Presentation Transcript

  • Fitango Education Health Topics Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancerhttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7
  • Overview Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that make up tissues. Tissues make up the kidneys and the other organs of the body. Normal cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 1
  • Overview Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn’t need them, and old or damaged cells don’t die as they should. The buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor. Tumors in the kidney can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign tumors are not as harmful as malignant tumors:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 2
  • Overview **Benign tumors** (such as cysts): -- are usually not a threat to life -- can be treated or removed and usually don’t grow back -- don’t invade the tissues around themhttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 3
  • Overview **Benign tumors** -- don’t spread to other parts of the body **Malignant growths:** -- may be a threat to life -- usually can be removed but can grow back -- can invade and damage nearby tissues and organshttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 4
  • Overview **Benign tumors** -- can spread to other parts of the body Kidney cancer cells can spread by breaking away from the kidney tumor. They can travel through lymph vessels to nearby lymph nodes. They can also spread through blood vessels to the lungs, bones, or liver. After spreading, kidney cancer cells may attach to other tissues and grow to form new tumors that may damage those tissues.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 5
  • Overview **Benign tumors** National Cancer Institute:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 6
  • Symptoms Common symptoms of kidney cancer include: -- Blood in your urine (which may make urine look rusty or darker red) -- Pain in your side that doesn’t go away -- A lump or mass in your side or abdomenhttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 7
  • Symptoms -- Weight loss for no known reason -- Fever -- Feeling very tiredhttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 8
  • Symptoms These symptoms may be caused by kidney cancer or by other health problems, such as an infection or a kidney cyst. People with these symptoms should tell their doctor so that any problem can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. National Cancer Institute:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 9
  • Symptoms http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/kidne y/page5http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 10
  • Diagnosis If you have symptoms that suggest kidney cancer, your doctor will try to find out what’s causing the problems. You may have a physical exam. Also, you may have one or more of the following tests:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 11
  • Diagnosis **Urine tests:** The lab checks your urine for blood and other signs of disease.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 12
  • Diagnosis **Blood tests:** The lab checks your blood for several substances, such as creatinine. A high level of creatinine may mean the kidneys aren’t doing their job.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 13
  • Diagnosis **Ultrasound:** An ultrasound device uses sound waves that can’t be heard by humans. The sound waves make a pattern of echoes as they bounce off organs inside your abdomen. The echoes create a picture of your kidney and nearby tissues. The picture can show a kidney tumor.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 14
  • Diagnosis **CT scan:** An x-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of your abdomen. You may receive an injection of contrast material so your urinary tract and lymph nodes show up clearly in the pictures. The CT scan can show cancer in the kidneys, lymph nodes, or elsewhere in the abdomen.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 15
  • Diagnosis **MRI:** A large machine with a strong magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of your urinary tract and lymph nodes. You may receive an injection of contrast material. MRI can show cancer in your kidneys, lymph nodes, or other tissues in the abdomen.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 16
  • Diagnosis **IVP:** You’ll receive an injection of dye into a vein in your arm. The dye travels through the body and collects in your kidneys. The dye makes them show up on x-rays. A series of x-rays then tracks the dye as it moves through your kidneys to your ureters and bladder. The x-rays can show a kidney tumor or other problems. (IVP is not used as commonly as CT or MRI for the detection of kidney cancer.)http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 17
  • Diagnosis **Biopsy:** The removal of tissue to look for cancer cells is a biopsy. In some cases, your doctor will do a biopsy to diagnose kidney cancer. Your doctor inserts a thin needle through your skin into the kidney to remove a small sample of tissue. Your doctor may use ultrasound or a CT scan to guide the needle. A pathologist uses a microscope to check for cancer cells in the tissue.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 18
  • Diagnosis **Surgery:** After surgery to remove part or all of a kidney tumor, a pathologist can make the final diagnosis by checking the tissue under a microscope for cancer cells. National Cancer Institute:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 19
  • Treatment Common treatment options for people with kidney cancer are surgery, targeted therapy, and biological therapy. You may receive more than one type of treatment. The treatment that’s right for you depends mainly on the following: -- The size of the tumorhttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 20
  • Treatment -- Whether the tumor has invaded tissues outside the kidney -- Whether the tumor has spread to other parts of the body -- Your age and general health -- You may have a team of specialists to help plan your treatment.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 21
  • Treatment -- Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 22
  • Treatment You may want to see a urologist, a surgeon who specializes in treating problems of the urinary tract. Other specialists who treat kidney cancer include urologic oncologists (surgeons who specialize in cancers of the urinary tract), medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Your health care team may also include an oncology nurse and a registered dietitian.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 23
  • Treatment Your health care team can describe your treatment choices, the expected results of each, and the possible side effects. Because cancer therapy often damages healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Before treatment starts, ask your health care team about possible side effects and how treatment may change your normal activities. You and your health care team can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 24
  • Treatment At any stage of disease, supportive care is available to control pain and other symptoms, to relieve the side effects of treatment, and to ease emotional concerns. Information about such care is available on NCI’s Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping. For example, some people with kidney cancer may need to have radiation therapy to relieve pain or certain other problems. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 25
  • Treatment National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/kidne y/page8http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 26
  • Causes When you get a diagnosis of kidney cancer, it’s natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. Doctors usually can’t explain why one person gets kidney cancer and another doesn’t.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 27
  • Causes However, we do know that people with certain risk factors may be more likely than others to develop kidney cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. Studies have found the following risk factors for kidney cancer:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 28
  • Causes -- Smoking: Smoking tobacco is an important risk factor for kidney cancer. People who smoke have a higher risk than nonsmokers. The risk is higher for those who smoke more cigarettes or for a long time. -- Obesity: Being obese increases the risk of kidney cancer.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 29
  • Causes -- High blood pressure: Having high blood pressure may increase the risk of kidney cancer. -- Family history of kidney cancer: People with a family member who had kidney cancer have a slightly increased risk of the disease. Also, certain conditions that run in families can increase the risk of kidney cancer.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 30
  • Causes -- Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome: VHL is a rare disease that runs in some families. It’s caused by changes in the VHL gene. People with a changed VHL gene have an increased risk of kidney cancer. They may also have cysts or tumors in the eyes, brain, or other parts of the body. Family members of those with VHL can have a test to check for a changed VHL gene.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 31
  • Causes Many people who get kidney cancer have none of these risk factors, and many people who have known risk factors don’t develop the disease. National Cancer Institute:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 32
  • Living and coping Learning that you have kidney cancer can change your life and the lives of those close to you. These changes can be hard to handle. It’s normal for you, your family, and your friends to need help coping with the feelings that a diagnosis of cancer can bring.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 33
  • Living and coping Concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are common. You may also worry about caring for your family, keeping your job, or continuing daily activities. Here’s where you can go for support:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 34
  • Living and coping -- Doctors, nurses, and other members of your health care team can answer questions about treatment, working, or other activities. -- Social workers, counselors, or members of the clergy can be helpful if you want to talk about your feelings or concerns. Often, social workers can suggest resources for financial aid, transportation, home care, or emotional support.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 35
  • Living and coping -- Support groups also can help. In these groups, patients or their family members meet with other patients or their families to share what they have learned about coping with cancer and the effects of treatment. Groups may offer support in person, over the telephone, or on the Internet. You may want to talk with a member of your health care team about finding a support group.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 36
  • Living and coping NCI’s Cancer Information Service can help you locate programs and services for people with cancer. Call 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237). Or chat using LiveHelp, NCI’s instant messaging service, at https://livehelp.cancer.gov/. For tips on coping, you may want to read the NCI booklet Taking Time: Support for People With Cancer.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 37
  • Living and coping National Cancer Institute:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 38
  • Additional resources National Cancer Institute Kidney Cancer Homepagehttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=7 39