Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is the eighth most common cancer in men and the tenth most common cancer in women. The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma that forms in the lining of the renal tubules in the kidney that filter the blood and produce urine.

Facts About Kidney Cancer

Following are some facts about kidney cancer:

  • Approximately 85 percent of kidney tumors are renal cell carcinomas.
  • When kidney cancer spreads outside the organ, it can often be found in nearby lymph nodes, lungs, bones or liver, as well as the other kidney.
  • More than 32,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with kidney cancer-many of them don’t have symptoms.
  • Typically, those with kidney cancer are past the age of 40 and twice as often are men.

Risk Factors

The following risk factors can make you more likely to develop kidney cancer:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Long-term dialysis
  • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

The incidence of kidney cancer is on the rise. Fortunately, the availability of modern imaging technology has led to more frequent detection of small, asymptomatic tumors that otherwise would be undetected.

Following are some symptoms of kidney cancer:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Side pain that does not go away
  • A lump or mass in the side of the abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Feeling very tired

These symptoms may be caused by other illnesses also. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your primary care physician to determine the cause.

Imaging Exams for Detecting Kidney Cancer

Your physician may order one of many imaging exams to diagnose kidney cancer. CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds and angiograms may be used to see images of the kidneys that enable a radiologist to identify tumors.

Radiology Procedures for Treating Kidney Cancer

Laparoscopic partial nephrectomy surgery offers the best treatment for a cure. However, some patients benefit from minimally invasive, kidney-sparing treatment, such as those with high surgical risk, underlying illnesses, multiple recurrent tumors, borderline kidney function or only one kidney.

Percutaneous cryoablation has proven to be a successful treatment option and some patients with kidney cancer may elect to avoid surgery and have their tumor treated this way. The urologist and interventional radiologist work together to determine whether a less invasive percutaneous ablation can be done safely and effectively.