Kidney Cancer Stages, Diagnosis and Treatment

Several types of cancer can develop in the kidney. The most common is renal cell cancer (RCC) which develops from the tubules within the cortex. The other variety is transitional cell cancer which develops in the pelvis. In childhood, a different type called Wilms’ tumour can occur. This article will deal with RCC only.

Kidney Cancer Stages

Kidney cancer produces no symptoms in its early stages, especially when it is less than 7 cm size Stage 1. As the cancer grows, it can cause bloody urine. By then, it is usually > 7 cm Stage 2. In Stage 3, it has grown beyond the kidney to invade its surrounding fat. Subsequently, it spreads to the lymph nodes and within the vein draining the kidney. Distant spread finally occurs and this is mostly to the lungs and bones Stage 4.

Kidney Cancer Causes

Most of the kidney cancer cases do not have any underlying cause. Men outnumber women in kidney cancers. In a small number of patients, the cancer runs in the family. People who have an inherited disorder called Von Hippel Lindau disease are also at a greater risk of developing kidney cancer. Patients on long term kidney dialysis for chronic renal failure are also at increased risk.

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

In the early stages, kidney cancer produces no symptoms. Indeed, many are discovered on screening ultrasound. But as the cancer grows in size, the following symptoms may occur:

a) Blood in the urine (haematuria)- either gross or microscopic.
b) Pain in the loin which is usually persistent.
c) Other symptoms include weight loss, appetite loss, recurrent fever and tiredness.