Minimally Invasive Procedures for Kidney Cancer & Prostate Cancer

Kidney Cancer Renal Cell Carcinoma: Diagnosis and Treatment

Renal Cell Carcinoma: Diagnosis and Treatment

Important: This article is not intended to replace a physician examination, review of your pathology report and consultation.

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Renal Cell Carcinoma: Diagnosis and Treatment

Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults. In early stages, RCC does not usually give obvious symptoms. It is common that the cancer goes undiscovered until it is in its advanced stages.

Symptoms for RCC:

-Blood in the urine (hematuria)

-Pain in the sides of the mid back (the flank)

-A lump in the abdomen or side of the back

-Weight loss

-Pain in the back, side, or stomach

If you are having any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

RCC Diagnosis:

Surprisingly most kidney tumors are discovered incidentally with an imaging study such as an ultrasound or CT scan of the abdomen. Many of these patients do not have symptoms of RCC.

If you have symptoms of RCC, your doctor may determine it appropriate to order an ultrasound or a CT scan to look at the kidneys. Contrary to other cancers, it is NOT always necessary to have a biopsy to determine if you have RCC. The diagnosis sometimes can be based on how the tumor looks on a CT scan.

RCC Staging:

RCC Stages are based on:

-The size of the tumor

-Spread of cancer to the lymph nodes

-If there are signs of cancer in other organs

Typically, lower stage cancers are less aggressive or advanced and less likely to come back after treatment. Stages I, II, and III RCC are referred to as “localized” RCC while stage IV is referred to as “advanced” or “metastatic” RCC.

RCC Treatment:

Localized RCC

For most people with localized RCC the preferred treatment is surgery to remove part or all of the kidney (Partial or Radical Nephrectomy). For others, Robotic Partial Nephrectomy or cryoablation may be a more desirable treatment, however this decision should be made after careful physician’s review of the patient’s renal mass and other health conditions.

Advanced RCC

In cases of Advanced RCC, medicine (in pill or sometimes IV form) may be recommended for treatment instead of or in combination with surgery. In these cases, surgery may not cure the cancer, but it may help to reduce symptoms or delay systemic medical treatment. Advanced RCC is difficult to cure and many times patients are encouraged to enroll in a clinical trial.

After RCC Treatment:

For many with Localized RCC further treatment may not be necessary after surgery. However, it is important to see your doctor on a regular basis after being treated to check for signs that the cancer has returned. During a follow-up visit, you may have an exam, lab tests, and x-ray tests. Depending on the individual, follow-up tests may be needed every 6-12 months for at least 5 years.


Last modified on Friday, 08 March 2013 12:51

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