What Happens To The Kidney During Cancer?

There are two main types of cancer which affect the kidneys in adults, which are known as renal cell cancer and transitional cell cancer. The former is a cancer which arises from the main body of the kidney, and while it is not known what causes the normal cells to undergo a malignant change, it can occur in certain hereditary conditions. Transitional cell cancer develops from within the drainage system in the kidney, and is the same cancer which can commonly form in the bladder. The two most prominent risk factors for this form of cancer are cigarette smoking and kidney damage from prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers. Both of these cancers rarely arise in people under the age of 50 and as we age, they become more prevalent. Studies also show that they are two to three times more common in men than women. The most common symptoms of kidney cancer are blood in the urine, discomfort in the flank, and non-specific symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite and weight loss. If your GP suspects that you may have kidney cancer, you will undergo a microscopic examination or the urine for abnormal cells, an ultrasound of the kidneys, an x-ray of the kidneys, and a CT scan. Depending on the severity of your condition, your treatment will vary. It is usually required that your surgeon will remove either the whole or part of the kidney – no other treatments for cancer, such as radiotherapy, have been proven to be effective for this form of cancer.


Cancer of the kidney is a very serious condition for which early detection is hugely important. Your long-term outcome depends on how advanced the cancer is at the time of your surgery, so the earlier it can be spotted the better. New surgical techniques offer ways to preserve as much of the kidney as possible, without the need to remove the whole organ. Surgery is usually the first step for treating this disease, and the new data being sourced questions whether there is a possibility of removing just the tumour as opposed to the whole kidney. This could preserve the tissues which will reduce the likelihood of future kidney failure. Researchers compared the incidences of moderate kidney dysfunction, kidney failure and kidney disease from two groups – 255 people had partial nephrectomy and 259 people had a radical nephrectomy. The latter of these treatments involves removing the whole kidney, adrenal gland and the surrounding tissues. All of the people who were tested had been diagnosed with a small kidney cancer and had a normal-functioning second kidney.


The study found that the frequency of moderate kidney dysfunction was 20 lower in patients who had the partial nephrectomy. However, researchers noticed that while the overall kidney function was better in the partial nephrectomy group, it didn’t improve the level of survival. In fact, there were fewer deaths in the radical nephrectomy group according to the results of the study. The most common form of kidney cancer is a renal cell carcinoma, which develops in the lining of the tubes which filter the blood and waste from the body. It’s thought that 65,000 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed every year in the US alone, and around 13,700 deaths are expected to occur from this amount. In order to reduce this amount, you should be aware of the symptoms of kidney cancer so that you can detect it early and benefit more from the treatment. If you suspect that you have kidney disease or kidney cancer, you should seek advice from your GP as soon as possible.

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