First, let’s learn about cancer, how the kidney works, and the types, subtypes, causes, and risk factors of kidney cancer to help you become familiar and comfortable with the different vocabulary you will hear throughout your journey.
Learning all you can about kidney cancer will help you feel more prepared for discussions with your doctor and to make treatment decisions. Studies have shown that people with cancer who are well informed about their cancer and treatment options usually have better outcomes and fewer side effects.
Cancer occurs when there is abnormal cell growth that form a mass of tissue called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. A benign tumor is not cancer, can be removed and usually will not grow back, and do not invade nearby tissue or other parts of the body. A malignant tumor is cancerous, may grow back after removal and can invade nearby tissue or other parts of the body.
Cancer is named for the place the cancer starts, so, kidney cancer starts in the tissues of the kidney. Kidney cancer is also referred to as renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
When cancer spreads from the place it formed to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. The most common places that kidney cancer spreads are the lungs, Small groups of disease fighting cells located throughout the body.lymph nodes, and bones. Even if the cancer spreads somewhere else, it is still kidney cancer because the abnormal cells are kidney cancer cells.
The kidneys are part of the urinary system which is a group of organs that remove waste from the body in the form of urine. Each kidney is about the size of an adult’s fist. Renal is another way to refer to the kidneys. The kidneys perform many jobs to keep your body healthy by filtering and cleaning the bleed. Your kidneys make hormones to help control your blood pressure and to tell the body to make more red blood cells. The main job of the kidneys is to filter blood in order to remove waste and extract water from the body.
There are several different types of kidney cancer. A A doctor who is an expert at looking at cells and tissue under a microscope to identify diseasepathologist will look at a sample of your tumor to see what type of kidney cancer you have. Your treatment plan will be based on the type of kidney cancer, stage, and grade of the tumor.
The stage refers to the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.
The grade of the tumor describes how abnormal the tumor’s cell appear under a microscope and can be an indicator of how quickly the tumor is likely to grow.