The kidneys are bean-shaped organs the size of large oranges that sit on the top part of the abdomen, above the intestines and either side of the spine.
Blood passes through the renal artery to the kidneys where it filters out water and other waste materials to form urine. This is then sent to the bladder via tubes called ureters. Urine is then passed via the urethra when we go to the toilet.
The blood that has been filtered is sent back to the heart where it is recirculated throughout the body.
Kidney cancer is where the cells of the kidney become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control forming a tumor. The most common form of kidney cancer is Renal Cell Carcinoma (also sometimes referred to as Renal Adenocarcinoma) where cancer begins in the tiny tubes (tubules) inside the kidney. RCC accounts for over 80% of kidney cancers.
A less common form of kidney cancer is Transitional Cell Cancer (TCC), which develops in the central part of the kidney called the Renal Pelvis. This is the area of the kidney where the urine is collected before being passed through the ureter to the bladder.
In the early stages, there are generally very few symptoms. If a tumor is larger or if at a later stage, the following symptoms may be experienced:-
There are a number of risk factors associated with this form of cancer. Please remember that having one or more of the risk factors below does not necessarily mean you will get the disease.
The most common risk factors for kidney cancer are:-
The figures below give us an indication of the number of patients that lived for at least 5 years after being diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Stage 1 – 81%
Stage 2 – 74%
Stage 3 – 53%
Stage 4 – 8%
These statistics should only be used as a guide because patients respond differently to both conventional and complementary treatments. As with any cancer, the sooner that it is discovered and treated the better the outlook.
For further information on available treatments, please see our recommended kidney cancer treatment page.
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